International motorcycle trip: Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, Ending the first cycle

I started my international motorcycle trip passing through southern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile on November 4th, 2019 without knowing for sure how much I would ride.

The main idea: to get to know regional cuisines and share these experiences on social networks. Also get to know places, people and cultures.

I always had in mind to close the cycle of the motorcycle returning to the starting point no matter how long the trip took.

I didn’t have anything actually planned, so where I was going to go I only had an idea. For a long time I honestly  had no idea, but I never imagined it would take so long to close this first cycle for reasons beyond my control.

Until then no one knew what was to come. When the health crisis hit, I was in the Atacama Desert, Chile, in the final moments of this leg of the trip for financial reasons.

Who am I?

Let me introduce myself.

I’m Rodrigo Schmiegelow, an advertiser specializing in Digital Marketing, today I live as a Digital Nomad (what is it), in other words, that I have geographic freedom and can work from anywhere in the world.

I started a trip around the world to get to know places, cultures and regional cuisines and I will bring great surprises from these experiences.

Follow the Project O Mundo em Lanches (The world in sandwiches) blog on Instagram.

International motorcycle travel: closing borders

Suddenly the borders between the countries started to close, as I was in Chile, I would need to pass through Argentina, Bolivia or Peru to return to Brazil.

At the end of March 2020 I had less than a day to decide whether I would return through Argentina; they had announced the closing of the country’s borders the next day.

Not knowing for sure what was going to happen, I decided to wait. The next day I still had the opportunity to go back through Bolivia, a country that I really want to know, but reading some reports, I was afraid of doing everything in a hurry and not having all the necessary documentation to cross the country.

>> Read CORONAVIRUS – COVID 19 – QUARANTINE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY

After passing through Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, how did I get back to Brazil?

I made two friends on the road going to Atacama, they are Chileans and they offered me a place to spend a few nights in Santiago and leave the motorcycle there.

I returned to Brazil by plane, postponing the closing of this first cycle of the experience indefinitely.

Just a year and a half later, at the first opportunity, I returned to Santiago, Chile.

However, the cycle of this international motorcycle trip needed to be closed and in addition to the anxiety of going to other countries after the Coronavirus, I also had this expectation of completing the route.

Final moments in another country

In Argentina I went through Mendoza, where I visited Córdoba and decided to go to Buenos Aires where I wanted to go to some restaurants I saw on Street Food America Latina and Every body Feed Feels, both on Netflix. This visit was really worth it.

From Buenos Aires the plan was to go to Brazil.

From Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Uruguaiana, Brazil, there were almost 700 kilometers of endless road but very preserved.

I wasn’t able to start the route early, but after a traffic jam that lasted more than an hour in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, I regained some time on the quiet road.

Around 10 pm I was in Paso de Los Libres, the last Argentine city before the border that I would cross the next day. I found a cheaper hotel to spend the night there.

At 4 a.m. I was woken up by thunder, the weather completely changed after a very hot day.

At 9 a.m. It was still raining, I put my things on the motorcycle and went on my way.

Crossing the Argentina Border

To close the cycle of this international motorcycle trip through Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, I needed to go by the border from Argentina to Brazil.

As I spent the night in Paso de los Libres, in less than 15 min I was at the Border Center Paso de los Libres.

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La Faula, Argentina

I left the bike near the guardhouse and went to Customs to get the exit visa, all very quickly.

The Argentine soldier also took me to two Brazilian officers who only asked me if I was carrying something of value that I could have bought in the other countries and told me that after crossing the bridge I would need to go through the Brazilian Customs.

I continued on my journey while it was still raining.

Return to Brazil on an international motorcycle trip

The place the two officers pointed out to me after the bridge was closed. The Brazilian customs were completely empty.

I even stopped at a nearby store to find out where I could make my entry official, but no resident of Uruguaiana knew.

I continued the trip because I would still have to travel 550 kilometers to Passo Fundo in Rio Grande do Sul.

The rain only stopped 6 hours later.

Unlike Argentina, this Brazilian stretch is a mountainous region, so I greatly reduced the average speed on BRs 472, 285 and 377 (Roads).

On roads with one lane going and another coming back (with shoulder), lots of trucks, while it was raining and windy made the day very tiring.

In addition to that, even though there were newly paved stretches, many sections were very bumpy and others with distorted roads, which made me slow down even more.

In Brazil, there are also police stations on the roads, but almost all of them were empty.

And, in this stretch, even with famous gas stations, the convenience stores were independent, which I think is great for local businesses, but without much quality standard.

Last leg of the international motorcycle trip

After spending a week in Passo Fundo to be able to finish my work for my clients acting as a digital nomad, I continued on the last leg of the trip.

Almost a thousand kilometers separated me from the end.

I managed to start the course on a Friday that was quieter at work. But the day on the road didn’t go as expected.

The next day,I drove about 400 kilometers to São Mateus do Sul. Again due to the same factors: mountain road with curves, many trucks and bumpy stretches.

It was good because I tried a Carne de Onça (jaguar meat), a typical food from Paraná (it’s not a jaguar, it’s a raw ground meat that gets its name because it would be the dish that the jaguar would eat).

The next day I drove 100 kilometers to Curitiba (state of Paraná), and then got on the BR 116, a road that made things faster to São Paulo.

At the end of the day I was finally in São Paulo and could complete this first cycle of travel. It was gratifying to arrive back at the starting point and think about everything I’ve lived through this whole period (on the road and quarantine).

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Last leg of the international motorcycle trip

There were 20 thousand kilometers driven in this international motorcycle trip, passing through Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, visiting more than 150 cities. I met a lot of people and tried many regional dishes that you can read more post like this one in the Project The World in Sandwiches: URUGUAYAN SEAWEED MUFFINS (BOLINHOS DE ALGA)- TYPICAL FOOD FROM URUGUAY

I also invite you to follow my Instagram profile O Mundo em Lanches (The world in Sandwiches). In February 2022 I will start a new cycle on a motorcycle trip getting to know Brazilian regional cuisines, of course, I will also show you many places, people and cultures!

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