Santa Catarina


Continuing north along the coast, Torres is the last town in the province of Rio Grande before entering the province of Santa Catarina. Torres is a nicely developed resort with attractive beaches. In April, it hosts gatherings of hot air balloonists, as well as a "bike week" for motorcyclists. Brasileros are South Americas most avid motorcycle enthusiasts--as we would find out later. Since it was  the off season in Torres, we were able to splurge and plop down the 40 dollars for a corner suite at one of the towns best hotels (and also the closest to the beach). Below is the sunrise from our window.
Torres was another of those stopovers that turned out to be two days.
About 25 miles or so out of Torres we had to slow as we went through a tiny village. As I went to downshift, I found that my shift lever was no longer there. Some locals on small motor bikes told us there was a bike shop about 20 miles ahead. I rigged up a small vicegrips on the shifing shaft so that I could up shift. Unfortunately, I could not downshift. I had to put the bike in third by hand, and when it got rolling I could shift to 4th and then 5th. If  I had to slow down, I had to pull over and put it back into third. We found the shop, and they had a shift lever that fit perfectly. The cost, including installation, was 10 Reals (3 bucks). I am certain that this would be a 50 dollar item at BMW. 
On the road again, it began to drizzle. The weather didn't look so bad so we decided to have lunch and see if it would stop. When we came out of the restaurant, the traffic in the direction that we were going was at a standstill, and was backed up as far as we could see in both directions. There was no traffic at all coming from the other direction. Along with several other people on motorbikes, we skirted the traffic using the shoulder for about 4 kilometers. Like most roads in Brasil this is a two-lane blacktop, and cars pass trucks without regard for what is coming the other way. They figure that if they cannot complete the pass the oncoming car can move over onto the shoulder. Frequently this is the result.
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Three towtrucks were trying to right this tandom trailer. It was loaded with heavy clay roofing tiles. Amazingly the driver was unhurt. The occupants of the car beneath it did not fair as well. We followed the group of bikes to a muddy road a bit farther down the hillside and bypassed the 8-mile backup. The worst weather, however, was still ahead. As you head north through Santa Catarina the feel is increasingly tropical. We kept a close eye on these clouds (below) as we prepared to leave the coast as the road rises into the province of Paraná.
This storm found every little leak in our gear, and by the time we got to Curitiba, we were wet, angry, and tired. Arriving at rush hour did not improve our dispositions. To make matters worse, after unloading everything at the first hotel we found, we learned that the parking garage did not accept motorcycles. We were pretty miserable, but it turned out to be a blessing. The hotel they suggested turned out to be a much nicer place with suites for 30 dollars.
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