30 November, 2012

Day 142, 414km: This is it!

This is it! After 142 days, 40,000km+ today I'm heading to Rio de Janeiro. The final destination of my journey.

It has been an incredible adventure and getting on the bike was definitely emotional. I then tried to stay focused, that's definitely not the day you want to crash (if you ever want to).

My poor chain ... she'll get changed in Canada! Just hold on till Rio ok?
Back on the boat towards the mainland, and north towards Rio.

Ilhabela ever farther on the horizon
My chain was giving me a bit of trouble that day. I quickly learned in the morning that the engine's torque had to be kept to a minimum, or the chain would come off.

Well, lesson learned. I guess I'll change the sprockets in Canada too!
So I kept it a very smooth, steady drive to make sure I wouldn't break the chain and that it wouldn't come off again. Bertha was very nice and did a pretty good job.

I decided to take the coast road to Rio de Janeiro. First because it would be a beautiful drive from what I red and second because Brazilian drivers are definitely in my top 3 of the worst drivers of the continent, so the less of them, the better.

Nice views along the coast
And then somewhere along the coast, driving up a hill, I reached perhaps the most important milestone of my journey. 40,000km. That's almost exactly the circumference of the earth at the equator. So I clearly didn't take the shortest route from Vancouver to Rio de Janeiro ... actually for fun I looked on Google maps, the shortest route is 16,000km (Vancouver - Panama 8,000km then Bogota - Rio 8,000km).

So that's a 2.5 factor over the shortest road path. Interesting perhaps for people planning their own trips!

40,000km baby!!
1 finger for each 10,000km. I had to cut my thumb off for the pic.
The spot where I passed this milestone
I was pretty happy to pass the 40,000km mark on my last day. I don't know, it sounded nice!
On the way I was recommended by Christophe (my friend who lives in Rio de Janeiro) to stop in Paraty, a nice little colonial town by the sea.

Reminded me of Colonia, Uruguay! Pretty town indeed
Cool restaurants along the river going to the sea
And even a bit of dirt-road to leave town!
Back on the coast, beautiful landscapes
And then soon enough I reached Rio de Janeiro. The city is huge, and the continuously urbanized part started 70km before I reached my destination. My destination being roughly halfway in the city's center. So you can imagine how monstrously big the city is.

There are a few tunnels entering Rio from the coast. After one of them, I had in front of me Rio's famous Sugarloaf mountain (Pain de sucre). Wow. That hit me directly in the feelings, as strongly as I got hit when driving on the salaar de Uyuni. I had a lot of thoughts for a person who I wish could have seen this and been told the story of my trip. Perhaps from up there she knows.

My brain then went on a fast forward mode, remembering all the great people, places, events, roads, borders, food, troubles, little pleasures, big pleasures, big troubles that I had along the way. That was very intense and definitely great. One of these "fuck yes I did it" moments, certainly. Not that the journey was really difficult, but just the sudden realization that "this is it" I'm not on the road anymore. I made it, I reached Rio de Janeiro.

Felt great. I stopped alongside the road because I needed to take a break and gather my thoughts. I took this opportunity to plug-in the GoPro and you'll have below a quick view of Rio de Janeiro, driving along the coast and the famous beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, up to Christophe's appartment in Flamengo.

Unfortunately there was some fog building-up in the camera's box so the last minutes of the video aren't very clear sorry for that.

The long way south: done
And this is it! I made it to Christophe's appartment, my face dirty with pollution, but so happy to be here. Thanks again Christophe for welcoming me at your place, it's great to see you again!
He had arranged everything and a parking spot was waiting for me + the keys to his apartment. Perfect :-)

Pretty awesome view as well
Oh and you can see the Corcovado too! (Cristo Redentor statue)
Getting some rest at Christophe's appartment (or should I say eagle's nest, up there on the hills with this awesome view?) I was hit by exhaustion. The fatigue of the entire journey, the feeling of having done it, that the trip is over, I was tired. Happy, but tired.

I'll go on to spent a few days in Rio de Janeiro, to figure out what to do with Bertha (send her to France? sell her in Canada? find a way to sell her here?) and make the necessary arrangements for shipping and my return to Thailand.

A happy, tired Guillaume wishes you a great weekend ahead.


  1. I've been following your trip since you started. I'm glad that you decided to go to Rio -- beautiful place. Congratulations on completing such an amazing journey!

    1. Hello Oliver, thanks a lot! It's really cool knowing that you enjoyed following the trip. For more, check-out http://advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=2

  2. Salut mon Neveu,

    Super !

  3. CONGRATS on a great adventure!~

  4. Hope you are well! Just checking in