M/Cing to SA – Precision Planning … Not

Where upon we learn about shipping by water and a bunch of other things on the S.H.E.

We flew past “Plan B” the moment we landed in Buenos Aires.  We must be on E or F by now.  The bottom line is this:  our motorcycle (and Rawhyde Adventures’ trucks and m/c’s) won’t clear Argentine Customs in time for the start of the rally/tour because our ships were late getting here.  This has had a ripple effect on the entire first phase of our trip, with constantly changing Plans C, D, E and F.  As I write this, I’m not sure what we’re going to do.

But, there are a lot of lessons to be learned for the newbie international traveler.

  • First, shipping via ocean isn’t a precision business.  There are storms, traffic jams getting into ports, loading/off-loading restrictions, Customs operating hours, etc.  Throw-in a couple of holidays and we were off on our timing by an order of magnitude.
  • Make sure you keep on the freight forwarders ass to understand why delays happen.  My bike sat in a warehouse/dock for almost 30 days.  I trusted them to keep the bike moving…
  • Get ready for the shaft when it comes to pricing.  Regardless of the estimated quote before you give them your vehicle, you will be provided with the actual invoice AFTER the boat has sailed.   Not much negotiating power then.   I’m not sure it would have been more expensive to ship the bike via air when all is said and done.

OK, enough with the learning about transportation nuts and bolts.   We’ve also learned a lot about Buenos Aires during our six days here.  First, a few pictures are in order.

Late night (at least for a 6:00PM dinner guy) planning session on figuring out Plans D,E,F. Weather is spectacular, making outdoor dining at 11:00PM no big deal. Jorge (center) and his son, Nacho, are the Pampa Adventures guys doing all the logistics.  Jim Hyde, on the left, is the Founder of Rawhyde Adventures.

Every Sunday there is a street fair/party in San Telmo, Buenos Aires oldest neighborhood. This shot gives you a sense of the size of crowd and the vibe on the street

KR gets attacked by Argentine vampires on a trip to San Telmo.  We didn’t know that some things live forever…

During this entire Shit Happens Express episode, KR kept telling me not to lose my head. This is another guy waiting for his m/c to clear customs. He obviously didn’t listen to KR’s advice

Obviously, I couldn’t work in this place

Another day was spent in La Boca, built on the mouth of the River Plata by Italians. Most of the buildings are brightly paintedcorregated tin. La Boca is a hot bed of street and cafe Tango dancers.

The guy with the cigarette is a “volunteer.” This is a Goucho, swinging a bola. He never smiled, but clipped the cigarette a couple of itmes.

We’ve had a lot of great meals. This is an Italian restaurant in Palermo, another hi-style neighborhood in Buenos Aires

Even the cows get into the swing of celebrating the Holiday season.

Back to reality as the Shit Happens Express keeps plugging along. I pulled a muscle in my leg, which prevented me from walking for a day. As the S.H.E. would have it, that was the day I had to pick out a rental bike as a temporary replacement for Now Voyager.  I manned-up and tried a couple on for size.  I settled for a wee-people’s bike – a 650.

This is where we stand at 9:30AM on December 31, 2010

This is where the Shit Happens Express has left us.  We have rented a replacement for Now Voyager so that we can still do part of the Dakar Rally.  We’re unsure as to how much of the rally we will follow, but will make that decision today.  There are a lot of financial and logistical implications and we’re “working the problem.”  Tonight we will take possession of said steed and load him up. The Dakar officially starts tomorrow on the largest avenue in BA.   Tomorrow we’re riding from BA to Cordoba to meet up with the other Rawhyde Dakar tourists and to start The Chase.

More as it happens.


13 replies
  1. Name (required) says:


  2. Pam Dodrill says:

    A lesson to us all. You need to go with what you get. Thanks for leading by example! Safe travels and lots of fun to you both!

  3. Peter Valleau says:

    Well there could be worse things than spending New Years in B.A.! High today in San Diego is 58 degrees. Have a great New Years.

  4. Erick Herring says:

    It wouldn’t be an adventure if S. didn’t H. Buenos Aires is magical – it’s almost a shame that you aren’t stuck there longer, but I know you have Dakars to chase. As Susan loves telling people, I went to Argentina under protest and ended up looking at real estate. Bon voyage and drive safely – we’re looking forward to the next update.

  5. Your devoted #1 Sister says:

    I have to go to school to understand all your jargon S.H.E.etc. Enjoyed immensely your update but hope this is not an indication of the balance of this fabulous adventure. Glad to see KR has good advice! Start paying attention to her! You don’t know everything S.A. Thank goodness you decided to take her along! Whew! Otherwise you probably would be on that ship with the M/C! Happy New Year God Love You my dear Baby Brother! luv

  6. Maria &Lilly says:

    Hay que adventuras en Sud America!!! Feliz Ano Nuevo!
    Cuando van a llegar al plan XXX? Ayayayayayeeeeee!!!!

  7. FHW says:

    Very funny, but Lilly probably DOES understand more Spanish than I do. I’ve never felt dumber than in a land in which I can’t really communicate. Having said that, somehow we’re getting by.

  8. FHW says:

    Good to hear from you and yes there is nothing precise or predictable about Customs in SA. We’re on our way back to Buenos Aires to pick up NV from Customs on Monday afternoon. It’s take us a couple of days to get our act together and then we’re off (I hope) west toward Santiago. fw

  9. FHW says:

    Well, you should know! We’re twelve days into this adventure and I feel like it hasn’t really started yet. I’m looking forward to rolling into more towns that I’ve never seen before and just figuring it out. We’ve done that a little so far as we ride the Rented Now Voyager back to Buenos Aires to get our real bike. Maybe then we’ll catch our groove. fw

  10. FHW says:

    Well, perhaps not so surprising, we’re becoming familiar with vino in Argentina. Not the pursuit of fine Malbecs that the country is known for, of course, as that wouldn’t be our style. No, we’re finding out a few facts about HOW to drink wine here. First, you can occasionally order a GLASS of vino blanco, but not a big bottle. Only small bottles of vino blanco are available. On the flip side, you can’t order a glass or small bottle of Vino tinto, only big bottles.

    My good friend, neighbor and present landlord, Steve Owens, would cringe when he reads the following: most of the house wine is damn good. I know, there’s no accounting for taste. fw

  11. FHW says:

    I agree about BA. The first time we went in 05, I thought about living there, but it was just too far South to be practical. But the RE prices were an absolute bargain and it was tempting even then. This visit has just reinforced what a great city it is. It is…big, beautiful, stylish, diverse,cosmopolitan, and they like to eat. I’m continually amazed at how interesting all the architecture is. I’m not sure I’ve been to any place that’s more architecturally interesting other than Paris, of course.

    We stayed in Recoleta for convenience-sake this trip. Known as the Beverly Hills of BA, its far too proper for us. We like San Telmo the best, followed by Palermo. The spontaneous street party that erupted in Palermo on New Years Eve will always be one of the most memorable of my life. We’re on our way back to BA for a couple of days to pick up NW and to get our collective act together.

    I think you and Susan should move to BA so I can have another reason to visit often. fw

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