The ride from Salto to Rivera, Uruguay was beautiful. Through pampas and large estancias, large herds of cattle, horses and sheep. all being herded by the colorful gauchos of Uruguay. It is thrilling to come over a hill to see a large herd of cattle in front of you being carefully driven by three guauchos and several dogs. The gauchos are really professional cowboys, in colorful vests and hats, all the time snapping long whips. A lonely life, perhaps, but colorful.
The road across the pampas was 130 miles without a single store or town. Some small villages every fifty miles or so but no stores. The road, asphalt most of the way but ten miles or so of packed dirt. I am glad it was not raining. Packed red clay gets very slick when it rains.
I reached the border with Brazil at about 2:30 P.M. But, there is no border crossing, no guards or gate...Nothing! I stopped and asked where the crossing with Brazil was only to learn I was in Brazil. Someone directed me to the National Police and I went there to find a long line. However, an official came out and took me inside, where they quickly stamped my passport and told me to go on. I am concerned that we filled out no papers temporarily importing my bike, but the officials knew I was riding the Goose so I hope we did all that was needed.
I am lost! I cannot speak a word of Portuguese and have only met one person that even speaks a little English. There are no direct roads in Brazil, only small roads connecting one town to the next, with no order to the system. I have to travel close to 4000 miles to reach Belem and right now I wonder if it will take me all of February.
Today, I stopped at the small town of Rosario Du Sul, Brazil, so I would be sure to have a hotel for the night. I am in a nice, but simple hotel, with air and warm water all for the equivalent of US$25. It is a good thing it was not more, I have only a small amount of Reals, the currency of Brazil. I went to an ATM at the local bank but it will not honor my ATM card. I will hopefully find a bank Monday that will honor my card.
The Goose ran strong today, no leaks at all. I checked several times. While riding up the main road this afternoon, in Brazil, the truck in front of me stopped and I saw trucks in the oncoming traffic stopped. A huge bull was in the road, the largest I have ever seen. Full horns, head lowered and snorting viciously at the truck. For a second I thought about getting off the Goose to take a picture, but then he turned and looked at me and I reconsidered. When the animal went back to challenging the truck, I gunned the Goose and safely passed the bull and trucks and ran for safety.
It is very hot here, but it did not rain at all on me today. Tomorrow..........we will see tomorrow.