Ok… I crossed the border into Brazil and discovered that my ATM card would not work anywhere in the town of Foz Do Iguacu. Waited till Monday morning when the banks were open to get money. Then, I was on my way. But, fuel prices were so high that I decided to skip going to Rio De Janeiro and instead headed for Florianopolis, a small paradise island off the coast of Brazil. Spent just a week there at a really cool hostel “The Tucano House” - really nice folks (a brother and sister) who really enjoy running their hostel. Probably the best hostel I have ever stayed in. They had really great food too. But, Brazil was much more expensive than the Latin American countries I had been visiting. I also spoke no Portuguese. So, after a week I decided to head north into Paraguay. But, a funny thing happened along the way. I pulled into a gas station for fuel and discovered that my front tire was almost flat. So, I aired it up. But, I could hear the air coming out of a gash in the side of my tire. I had lost my tire changing tools in Argentina and been unable to replace them. And, I don’t think they sell tire spoons anywhere in South America. The big moto shops have tire changing machines and the small ones make their own tire spoons out of a hunk of metal. Anyway, it was 240km to the next town. But, I have a rim lock on my front tire since I have used my bike off-road quite extensively. And, I knew that it would keep the tire on the rim. I also knew from riding off-road with a friend from New Zealand (Kiwi Paul) that at over 60mph, centrifugal force will keep a flat front tire inflated. In fact I couldn’t even tell the tire was flat at higher speeds. So, I found myself riding even faster than before getting the flat tire. When I finally did get to a town my tire was completely flat. I rode around town for almost an hour, at low speeds before giving up on finding tire spoons again. I finally just went to an auto tire shop and while trying to explain that I needed to change the tube (No falo Portuguese) they just started pumping air into the tire. OK… Im thinking, they will figure it out any second now. But, WAIT! This apparently wasn’t just any air - It was MAGIC AIR! Two days of riding later (500+ miles)... and it is STILL HOLDING AIR!
This was an exciting trip for a number of reasons. It was over 30,000 miles thru Latin America and the Andes mountains, and I didn't speak much Spanish. There was also the small detail of the Darien Gap. And, then there was "Death Road" in Bolivia - supposedly the most dangerous road in the world.
Anyway, I blogged about the entire journey right here.