Mendoza is the wine producing region of Argentina. Many of the vineyards and wineries are located within a 40km area. One can visit the wineries by organized tour, car or two wheels. And, not necessarily two wheels on a motorcycle. It is completely possible to visit a number of wineries by bicycle...so that's what I did.
A fellow traveler that I met named Randy and I rented some bikes from a place called Mr. Hugo's...and off we went.
The first stop was the winery called Museo y Bodega La Rural.
They had museum with a collection of old wine making equipment like these wine sacks.
Wine press, the kind that you jump on top and mash grapes with your bare feet.
Mechanical wine press.
Wine fermenting barrels.
Old cash register.
And of course there was a wine tasting. This varietal was a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The second place we visited was a winery called Trapiche.
Out front they had a small organic vineyard.
They had a large and modern production facility, but they also had restored this old winery building.
The original owner had built a private railroad line to facilitate the transportation of wine. Prior to the construction of the railroad, to transport wine by horse and carriage from Mendoza to Buenos Aires would take weeks. With the railroad, they could transport more wine and the journey would only take 24 hours.
Inside the winery was a receiving area to weigh the grapes.
There was this amazing rosewood tile floor.
Oak barrels imported from France and the United States.
And of course there was a wine tasting of Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and a Malbec Dulce. At this winery we ran into some other travelers that I had met previously in the town of Bariloche. Jeff and Christie from San Diego. Clinton and Laura from Sydney. We all shared in the wine tasting.
The third winery was called Tempus Alba.
It was a fairly new winery that had only been in operation for 6 years.
They had some of their own vineyards, but also sourced grapes from nearby vineyards to round out their varietals
We took a break here to enjoy some food and drink. We bought some bottles of Malbec and Syrah.
In August 2011, I purchased a new 2011 Suzuki DR650 motorcycle for a trip through South America. The engine, exhaust, chassis and suspension have been maintained in the original (stock) configuration. This approach was chosen to increase reliability and facilitate repair or replacement of items with original parts while traveling. The modifications were only made to the motorcycle to add durability, safety, comfort and protection. The prices listed below were the original costs of the items. The prices are listed to serve as a reference point for the cost of the build.
Many of you that follow this blog know that I really enjoy hiking, camping and backpacking. Whether it is camping in the front country or back country... it is all good.
I recently came across a resource that has really made it easier for me to research and plan my trips. The website, app and community are called TheDyrt. "The Dirt" is an idiom which means the gossip or real story. So getting TheDyrt is a play on words which translates to finding out the real story about campgrounds.
TheDyrt.com website allows users to search for campgrounds in the U.S. (currently only available within the U.S.) and read user generated reviews of the campgrounds. Sometimes the reviews are very general and sometimes very specific - down to the campsite number or cleanliness of the facilities. The website markets itself and its service as the Yelp.com of camping.
UPDATE as of April 2015. The roll-on roll-off ferry service Ferry Xpress to cross from Panama to Colombia has suspended their service.
The Darien Gap is a 30 mile stretch of land that lies between Panama and Colombia. It is thick jungle that is pretty inhospitable to most human beings. There are some indigenous people, guerrillas and drug runners that do inhabit the area.
There was one group of adventure motorcyclists that crossed through the Darien Gap in 1995 on specially modified motorcycles. Their journey is documented at Outback of Beyond.
For most adventure motorcyclists there are a few options for crossing the Darien Gap.
1. Ship your bike from Colon to Cartagena on a cargo ship and buy a ticket on a separate ship or airplane for yourself.
2. Ship your bike from Colon to Cartagena on a passenger sailboat that will carry both you and your bike.
3. Ship your bike from Panama City to Bogota on a cargo airplane and buy a separate airplane ticket for yourself.