Motorcycle trip to Serra do Rio do Rastro 2016
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Any self-respecting biker ever heard of Serra do Serra do Rio do Rastro, in Santa Catarina, with 284 curves, some reaching up to 180 degrees. I was planning this trip from a long time, and finally the “conjunction of the stars” allowed me and three friends (Bramac, Hertz and Rubão) to sync our schedules and left to SRR in Sep, 22 2016!
First day (off-road emotion)
The idea was to make the entire trip in 4 days, leaving Piracicaba (friends leaving from Paulínia and Campinas), meeting the guys in Tatuí, and stopping at Curitiba to overnight. The path was chosen to go by the Serpent’s Trail
We were in four motorcycles, two Harleys, a BMW GS1200 and a Triumph Tiger 800. Needless to say, the Harleys were those that suffered most in this circuit. Honestly, I do not advise anyone to do the serpent’s trail while the works are not completed. In addition to more dangerous and stressful, the travel ends up taking much more time than anticipated. We left home at 7:30 and arrived in Curitiba at 6:00 pm!
We stayed at the Che Lagarto Hostel. We had dinner at the mall that was next to the hostel and went to a motorcycle-themed bar, to drink a craft beer (a walking circuit, since the locations are near to each other). We scheduled with a local friend to go to a rock’n’roll bar (with live music) when we return from SRR.
Second day (bucolic path)
We had coffee at 7:00 am, and left to Urubici, where we would stay overnight. The initial planning was to arrive in time to do the Serra do Rio do Rastro also at the night. The chosen path was a hint from Elisabete Bach, described by her as a more “bucolic” circuit compared to just taking the BR 101 highway, and really worth it! Roads and beautiful mountains, with good asphalt and little traffic. We stopped in Jaraguá do Sul for gas and to eat something, and moved to Blumenau, stopping to visit the German Village (where the Oktoberfest happens) and to lunch. Following the way through the European Valley, with a stop in Pomerode, to take a look at the newly opened brewery factory “Schornstein”.
From Pomerode, we left for the final destination of the day, Urubici, passing by Camboriú, Florianópolis, São José, and going up trough the Santa Catarina’s range. The traffic to San Jose was really heavy! Unfortunately, night has fallen and we ended up passing by the mountains without sunlight, so we couldn’t enjoy the view… what a shame!
We arrived in Urubici around 9:00 pm, and meet Wesclei, the owner of Woodpecker’s Inn. A hint for those who want an excellent lodging option in Urubici, with an impeccable service! We eat pine nuts toasted in the wood stove, while waiting for just ordered pizzas. One of Harleys engines was dying when it slows down. After consulting our “technical support” Alex (Bros Bikers), which gave us some guidelines on what to do, we went to take a shower and to sleep.
Day 3 (the range and the cripple)
We had coffee the 8:00 am, fueled up with gas, and left to the Church’s Hill. This is an obligatory stop for any traveler around. The view is simply magnificent! The clouds were low, and we had the impression of being “in the sky”, looking at the clouds from above.
Leaving the Churchs’s Hill, we ride to the Mirante da Serra do Rio do Rastro (passing by Urubici again). The path is very nice, mostly with good asphalt and beautiful views, with lots of green and full of pines. Entering the SC-390, the asphalt became much worse, but nowhere near the “badness” of the Serpent’s Trail.
Arriving at the belvedere, the amazing view above the clouds impressed and disappointed at the same time, since it hid the famous curves and avoided us from enjoying the hilly landscape as we drove down the mountain.
We had a visit from some Coatis, which are walking free and peacefully in the place, looking for easy food.
Going down the mountain, we crossed the clouds that we had spotted from the belvedere. The humidity was high enough to wet the helmets. In the end, looking back to the point from which we came, there was nothing but heavy clouds.
Westopped for gas and left to Curitiba. Surprise! Waze’s estimated more than 6 hours to arrive. And it was already 4:00 pm! We left to Curitiba, by the BR 101, with sawmill and rain, arriving at the Slaviero Hotel around 11:00 pm, cold and wet (when it started to rain, there were no gas stations or overpasses nearby, where we could stop to wear the raincoats)! But nothing is so bad that it can’t get any worse. Rubão took a “keel over” when leaving the bike and upon arriving at the front desk, we were told that reservations (made by booking.com) had not been registered by an employee of the hotel. In the end, after some hassles, we could enter the rooms. Needless to say, nobody was in physical condition to make the so planned visit to a rock’n’roll bar.
Bramac found out that he had lost the key of his Givi’s top case, containing all his clothes! The spare key was left in his home. The insurance does not want to send a locksmith, because the problem was in the top case, not with the bike itself. He called a 24/7 locksmith, who wasn’t able to open the lock! In the end, he had to dry his clothes and keep using them. I’m glad we were on the penultimate day.
In total, we drove almost 700 km that day! WTF!
Day four (the return)
Wake up the 7:00 am, we had coffee, and left to home. Fortunately, the return’s path wasn’t by the Serpent’s Trail, but rather by the BR-116 (Regis Bittencourt). About 20 miles out of Curitiba, we stopped at the famous Graciosa’s Road. Unfortunately, the weather was bad, with lots of mill, but that did not stop us to get down the mountain, which has much of its path made of cobblestones. The road is beautiful and picturesque, with lots of green and the Atlantic forest bordering the track continuously. There are several viewpoints where you can stop to admire the nature and eat/drink something.
We return to the Regis’ highway and continue the way back. Upon arriving near to Cachimbo’s range, the highway had many works and hundreds of trucks. Near the Mário Cova’s road ring, there was an accident that just didn’t stop us completely because the bikes are narrow enough to pass between cars!
I got home the 8:00 pm, with the feeling of challenge fulfilled and the impression that it was not the last time that I visit that region.
Considerations and tips:
- Avoid (really!) to go by the Serpent’s trail while the works are not finished, unless you are ready to face an “off-road” environment.
- Don’t be fooled by the time it takes to make the trip legs! The average speed for the trip was 73 km/h, that is, you’re going to take a lot longer than if you had used a good highway.
- The weather in the Serra do Rio do Rastro is unpredictable. It is good in one day and bad the next. If you have a flexible schedule, try to stay on the outskirts of the Sierra for more than a day, so if the weather is bad, there is still a chance to get it clean the next day. Checking the live cameras may help.
- It’s absurd to charge tolls for motorcycles! The structure of the existing toll plazas was not made for that, and didn’t suffer any adjustment to facilitate the life of the biker. On the contrary! We are obliged to use the same cars and trucks cabins, which often has the pavement full of oil.
- Do not entire rely on Waze, because, of course, at some point it will be offline for the lack of cellular network. Take a GPS offline application, as Here Maps, or even Google Maps, remembering to download the maps before.
- Inns may be better than hotels, see the experience with the Woodpecker.
- Despite having bikes for many, many years, this was the first truly long trip I did on two wheels. Even with all the obstacles, bad back, arm, cold, rain, etc., the feeling of freedom provided by the two wheels is unsurpassed.
It’s in the difficult times that you became really creative, LOL. We took a heavy rain arriving in Curitiba, which wet the clothes and obviously the sneakers. So, what to do?
Bramac tried to use the microwave method, but it didn’t work (I told him it wasn’t going to happen, LOL). After that, he was more creative and used the lamps heat:
I filled the shoes with toilet paper, which pulled most of moisture during the night. Then I wrapped the hair dryer’s power cable around its power button, so it stay pressed, and left it blowing air for about 10 minutes, and it worked perfectly!
Visit www.motoencontros.com to know several points of interest in several regions of Brazil!
Live long and prosper! Up the Irons!