My last day on the ghost road BR 319 came and I woke up with some sorrow. Yes, I haven’t finished the last stretch yet and I still had some issues with the bike to resolve, so it was too early to relax. But something told me that yesterday was my biggest challenge, and now the road was favorable to me.
No wonder I woke up in a great mood, I haven’t had such a sweet and serene dream in a long time. I slept on a veranda in a hammock, falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of the Amazonian jungle, and for me it was the best lullaby in the world. I decided that I would not hurry today anywhere, I will try to fully enjoy these last moments on the road, to remember every sound, every shade, to keep in my memory every moment. So for some time after waking up I was swinging in a hammock, absorbing the impressions and sensations around me.
But soon my hospitable family woke up too and came out on the veranda, so I had to get out of the hammock and start preparing for a new day. Now we have met with the family for the second time – in the light of the day, in a calm and rested state of mind. The head of the family was Cabeludo himself. It wasn’t his name, but a nickname, due to his very long hair. Although it was not obvious at the first glance, as he hid it under his cap. By the way, I even forgot to ask about his real name. His wife’s name was Daniela, and they’ve been living here with their kids for quite a few years. Actually, they were from a big city, but they moved here because of financial difficulties and in order to protect their children from the bad influence. The life for them was nice and peaceful here, though not easy at the same time. Especially during the rainy season. The nearest town is Realidade, 15 km away, where you can buy everything you need. The kids take the school bus to go to school. People passing by on the road often stop here, Cabeludo is known to everyone, including motorcyclists. His place is a helpful harbor for many people who need help, whether with staying overnight or anything else. So I ended up being one of them.
As I wrote, I was welcomed by them with the open arms, and I immediately felt safe, there was nothing to worry about. Daniela started preparing breakfast, we chatted as much as my Portuguese allowed me. They were very interested to know where I was traveling and what I saw, they had a special delight asking me what exotic fruits and vegetables I tried in Brazil. It turned out that I tried a lot of them, but I haven’t heard of even more. They kept showing me pictures of the fruit and tried enthusiastically to explain how they tasted like.
But it was time to think about the day and issues to resolve. Yesterday, my motorcycle leaked out all the coolant and I was almost out of fuel. Realidade is only 15 km away, but these kilometers promise to be quite difficult, so I may not get there with my last fuel drops. Not to mention that riding without any coolant is not the best idea, I was not even sure yet whether my adventure of yesterday would be without consequences…
And so Cabeludo suggested something that almost made me want to kiss him on both cheeks. He said he would go to Realidad himself on his bike, buy me everything I needed, and I could stay and wait for him here. I didn’t even dare to dream of that option and of course I accepted it with gratitude.
Cabeludo went to the town, and I had some more time to recover from yesterday and tune up for the last day in the Amazon jungle. I was also happy of Cabeludo’s suggestion to go to Realidad because when he comes back he will tell me about the condition of the road. Today it was a sunny day and it was almost noon, so there was enough time for the road to dry after yesterday’s rain. I really hoped for that.
Cabeludo came back soon, brought the coolant and fuel, we poured it all into the bike, and I was ready to go. Cabeludo confirmed that the road was almost dry, so I shouldn’t have any problem. But of course, I have to ride carefully anyway, as the road all the way to Realidad is full of deep and nasty potholes, just like yesterday. I didn’t want to wait any longer as the weather in the jungle is unpredictable and if it rains again, it would make it harder for me to leave. So I said a warm goodbye to my new friends, hoping to see them again one day, and headed towards Realidad.
I soon realized that the fact that I had stopped at Cabeludo’s yesterday and had not continued on the wet road towards Realidad was a real providence. Even now, with the road almost dry, it took me a lot of effort and incredible concentration to ride around the potholes. If the same road was wet, it would have been much harder for me. The idea to add some more fuel served well too.
And there was a city ahead of me, I finally got to Realidad, 15 kilometres seemed just endless.
I immediately spotted Shell gas station and headed there. Now it was ok to say that I have managed the most difficult part of the road, and now I could breathe with a sigh of relief and relax. There were quite a few people at the gas station, including a group of motorcyclists who were on their way back from a motorcycle event in Porto Vello and were going to take the road towards Manaus. As soon as I stopped and got off the bike, a man and a woman approached me as if they had been waiting for me here a long time and were happy to see me: “And we were just talking about you, wondering how you were, and if you arrived safely!” It turned out that they were driving in one of the trucks that stopped on the way to ask if I was all right. Nice coincidence and nice encounter now. They invited me to have lunch together near their truck. I gladly agreed, I was getting hungry already, and of course I wanted to have a word with someone and to exchange impressions of the road. Soon a group of motorcyclists came to greet us, they seemed surprised to see me riding from that side of the road alone, we chatted for a while, took photos, exchanged contacts.
It was time to move on…
There were another 50 km left till the turn to the city of Humaita, it will still be offroad with small patches of asphalt, and after the turn to Humaita there will start a good paved road. Actually, the road BR319 ends officially in Porto Velho, which is still 200 km from Humaita, but it’s already an ordinary paved road and by no means a ghost road.
The last few kilometres were much quicker to ride, and after all that I have survived through before, this stretch of the road seemed like a walk in the park. But I still tried to ride slower to stretch the time on that road a little longer. Something told me I was going to miss that road and everything it showed me and taught me. The experience of traveling down that road was much more than just riding another challenging road. Probably, this experience was more about self-confidence and trust in the world, about skills of listening to your feelings, intuition and sensitivity to the signs around you, about the spirit of comradeship shared by everyone passing this road.
I stopped several times to breathe in the jungle atmosphere again, to stay in silence with myself, with my motorcycle, with the road, to feel all the gratitude filling me up.
When I saw the turn to Humaita at the distance, I cried out load all the joy and happiness I had inside of me. I made it! The ghost road was behind me… It couldn’t stop me and didn’t become an obstacle on my way, moreover, I felt that we made friends with it. It must have been one of the most emotional moments of my entire journey. It was still hard to believe that what I was so scared of was now in the past, and now I can add it to my list of victories.
For a while, I stood next to that sign and couldn’t move on. I was incredibly happy that I decided to take up the challenge and tested myself on the ghost road. And of course, if you ask me if I would advice anyone to drive or ride down that road, I would say yes without thinking twice. But still, I would probably dare give some advice to those who are going to do it.
I think the most important thing is to try to find people who were traveling it recently, not a year ago, not a month ago, but as close to the time of your departure as possible. This road is not just a ghost road but also a mutant road. It is constantly changing, and what was relevant a few days ago can now be different. So the more recent information you get, the better for you.
Second, make sure you stock up on fuel. You will not find any gas station along the way for almost 500 km. It’s true that sometimes local people sell fuel along the road, but you can’t rely on that either.
Carefully choose the season you’ll be traveling this road. Plan ahead so that it is not a rainy season. Then the road becomes almost impassable. When I just crossed it, many people told me I was lucky because it wasn’t raining heavily. I answered that there was no luck in it, there was a choice and a plan. I wouldn’t go down this road in the rainy season. In fact, I do not applaud to the courage of those who go somewhere in the obviously wrong season – either in winter with the snow or in the rainy season, and then courageously overcome the difficulties. In this case, it is everyone’s personal choice, and by doing some things, you take full responsibility for what can happen.
I would advise you to take your time when you ride down this road. Yes, you can cover it even in one day, but you won’t feel its spirit. Give yourself time to stop, be alone with yourself, listen to the sounds of the jungle, give yourself time to talk to the people who live here and people who travel along this road. It’s precious, don’t take it away from yourself. Journey down this road is not just about the road itself, it is the combined experience of everything that you can see, hear and feel here.
And of course, the most important thing is your attitude and faith that everything will be allright. All our achievements, as well as our failures, start in our minds, and we ourselves are able to attract certain things into our lives – both positive and negative. Tune your consciousness to the highest and most positive frequency, let yourself be your own help.
Would I be willing to travel this road again… a good question. I heard that the government of Brazil is going to asphalt this road again, as it used to be, and in this case it will be easier to drive, and of course the traffic will also become more intense. It will be a different adventure, but who says everything has to be the same? I would love to see the people I met again, maybe I would like to show this road to some friends and travel it together. But this first time will always be the most meaningful and the most iconic for me. Maybe that’s why I’ve paid so much attention to this road in my descriptions and videos. Maybe I did it first of all for myself to keep in my memory all the little things, all the episodes, so that nothing of what I experienced at that time might be lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday and comfortable life.