After a pleasant and productive week of repairs, eating and sightseeing in Foz du Iguacu, we ride east toward the coast. We’ve got a ticking clock ahead of us in the form of reserved flights for the bikes and for us from Buenos Aires back to North America. So the first day back on the road we choose to cover 400 miles. That may not sound like much in the US, but down here it’s a lot. The first 50 miles or so east of Iguacu is a highway with two lanes going each way. Traffic is minimal on Sunday anyway, so when the roads narrows to one lane each direction we still have plenty of room.
The land between Iguacu and Curitiba goes through lots of transformations – from lush green (nearly jungle) rolling hills to red dirt farmland, and back again.
These giant strange pine trees have matching giant cones, which are harvested and taken apart into the individual pine cone parts. When those are cooked they yield a surprisingly delicious pine nut which we got to try in Iguacu thanks to Rod and Mariane. I see roadside stalls cooking and selling them all along the road today.
We see native people selling colorful baskets at roadside palapas too.
As we cross into other “counties” we see a federal police checkpoint at each border. There are dozens of smashed up cars and bikes at each. And it takes me a while to figure out these aren’t just junk yards, they are the remains of vehicles either abandoned or wrecked on the highways of Brazil.
This highway is littered with toll booths too, and unlike many countries in South America which offer a lane for bikes to use to ride around them and avoid paying, we have to sit in line and pay high tolls. Each of our bikes costs us around $17 US dollars just this day.
And on we go….all the while I watch the land. I wonder to myself how much of this land was once covered by the famous Brazilian rainforest which was cut down sadly, to convert it to cropland.
We stop on the west edge of town as the sun is getting low and find a place to camp. It’s an RV park but they take tents too.
And sticky gray frogs climb the bathroom walls and keep me company when I go take a shower.
The next day we cover another 200 miles to get to Florianopolis, a very modern and tourist-y city on the coast. I stop for an up close look at the pinion tree when we stop for lunch at a roadside café.
The highway from Curitiba to Florianopolis is a fast-paced truck festival, but the view as we descend from the high farming plateau toward the humpbacked hills on the coastal flats is gorgeous.
We stop for a photo of Lady Liberty, which happens to be the symbol for the Havana department store chain down here. It’s a little strange to see her at first, but I can understand them wanting to imitate something so beautiful.
About an hour more of highway and we cross the bridge toward the island of Santa Catarina, home of Florianopolis (well the east half anyway…).
At last we are here! We stop to fuel up and get some Reais and then move on toward the quieter part of the island…this big city scene is not for us. But it’s been a spectacular ride and I want to see more.