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Sundown STX Motard: the fantastic land of Kalunga

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For many years I've nurtured a dream, a desire of getting to know the land of Kalunga people.  They are descendants of african slaves in Brazil (working mainly in farms and gold mines at the time) that fled for freedom, and remained isolated for more than 200 years in the rugged country nearby Cavalcante - GO.  They made a group totalling approximately 5 thousand people, dispersed in a huge area of 230 thousand hectare.  This people remained isolated mainly due to the difficulty of accessing their preservation area and due to the distance from the nearest urban area as well. They are distributed along more than 20 communities in the mentioned area.

I left Goiânia - GO heading to Brasília - DF by 08:00 AM, on the 29/07/2009.  From Brasília - DF I took the Chapada dos Veadeiros direction, where is located the city of Alto Paraíso de Goiás - GO.  From there I headed to Teresina de Goiás - GO, reaching then my first destination of this trip - Cavalcante - GO - 530 kilometers far from Goiânia - GO.

On the way to Alto Paraíso de Goiás - GO. At the horizon we can see the beginning of the plateau called Chapada dos Veadeiros.    Road map signalling the main spots at the Chapada dos Veadeiros and neighbourhood.

The views of the Chapada dos Veadeiros are beautiful.  The wide horizons take our breath and allow us a superb ride, the road surface is very good, it is a real pleasure to ride a motorcycle under these circumstances.  There is a clear difference between the views of the Chapada dos Veadeiros plateau and the stone rugged country situated along the stretch of road linking the towns of Teresina de Goiás and Cavalcante - GO.  The vegetation in there is greener than at the Chapada dos Veadeiros plateau, principally at the green natural pastures covering the valleys.  I have to mention that we are now, at this period of the year, at the peak of the dry season in the Mid West region of Brazil.

Another view of the Chapada dos Veadeiros.        A stone wall close to Teresina de Goiás - GO.

On the following day (30/07/2009) I left Cavalcante - GO early in the morning taking the gravel road heading to the Kalunga community of Engenho II (the nearest of the urban area), which is located approximately 25 kilometers apart from the city centre.  There is a population of around 320 people there.

Gravel road heading to the Kalunga community of Engenho II.        Another view of the road heading to the Kalunga community of Engenho II.

This unpaved road - very well maintained by the way - take us along beautiful views.  At its highest point we can stop at the Nova Aurora lookout, and appreciate a superb wide view of the region.  The clear sky allows us to focus at the far horizon.

Nova Aurora lookout.    Panoramic view from the Nova Aurora lookout.    Road sign indicating the direction of the Kalunga community of Engenho II.

Along this gravel road we cross many beautiful valleys, rich in natural pastures, crystal clear small streams that join to form small rivers tributaries to the Tocantins river.  This is a special path that enriches any motorcyclist ride because there we can be in straight liaison with Mother Nature at its best. 

My Sundown STX Motard at the gravel road. Buriti palm trees at the back.    A young quilombola lad and his bicycle.    A natural pasture sideways the gravel road.

From this point ahead I was preparing myself to the emotion of being in Kalunga land.  When I entered the community area of Engenho II - a Kalung historic site - I could confirm my expectation.  A dream was coming true.  I should say a modest dream for many, but not for me at all.  My valiant Sundown STX Motard took me there.

A Kalunga family and their hut made by adobe brick and covered with palm leaves. This is the authentic African kalunga style.    The family: Joelson, his mother Maria and his wife Andrelina.    Here I am between Da. Maria and Andrelina, happy for being among people that is pure at heart and soul. Simple people, simply that.

This region in my view emphasizes what nature can offer at its best.  I would consider it as the most beautiful natural scenery that I ever spotted in my 39 Years of Motorcycling travelling all Brazilian regions.  What a pleasure being there, what a must ride there.  There I could realize what I already knew along my life: the rich human mosaic that mold Brazilian population and culture.

Main street at Engenho II.    Children of the community stopping their morning playing to be photographed.    The community public school.

The inhabitants of this community are of African origin, they are pure at their hearts and souls, and they are used to guide tourists by their beautiful region.  Their simplicity make us think how life truly should be, and how important is to be happy taking what life give us.  They really show us how less can mean more.  One of them, a young guy called Sergio, made a point of taking me to the Santa Bárbara waterfall.

My guide Sérgio on the trail leading to the Santa Bárbara waterfall.    On the trail to the waterfall, morning of 30/07/2009.    Sérgio and my Motard, where we had to leave it before walking the final distance of approximately 2 km until we reached the waterfall.

This waterfall is the most beautiful cascade of this region.  The high quality of this water come clear to our eyes.  The pristine condition of the whole place is a must.

Santa Bárbara waterfall.            I made a point of being in this shot at the waterfall.

A smaller waterfall prepare us for the visual impact caused by the bigger waterfall - Santa Bárbara.  The high quality of the waters of this region certainly contributes to the longevity of the people living there.  After riding over a dusty gravel road these waters form a truly oasis.  This is a magic place to be in, for sure.

The smaller Santa Bárbara waterfall.        Crystal clear water natural tub.        A close view of the smaller waterfall.

The region is already a well known hot spot for the tourism, but mainly for those tourists that value nature.  The bulk of the tourists visiting this region come from Brasília - DF.  The inhabitants of this community are closely related by blood, and they form a knitted community.  They clearly know how to preserve their environment.  Only recently they had electricity coming to their place.  They make a point of guiding all tourists visiting their region, and in this way they can remain being the truly "nature guardians", on the other hand the money they make guiding tourists can address their material needs.  Many of them work at the farms in the region.  But above all, for the sake of it, they keep alive their rich traditions, and this is what matters most.

Returnig to Cavalcante - GO.        Here I stopped my bike to take a photo of this steep descent.

I found the gravel road very well maintained.  The entire distance ridden from Goiânia - GO to Cavalcante - GO (530 kilometers) was over a superb road - the tarmac (asphalt) surface is smooth and well signalled.

Rebuilding the log bridge. Here I crossed the creek of limpid waters.    A closer view of the workers rebuilding the log bridge.

The photos above show a log bridge being reconstructed by workers of the local government.  Here I stopped to take these two photos by noon.

A street at the city centre of Cavalcante - GO. The afternoon sun produces a beautiful veil for the mountain at the horizon.    This is one of the many Pousadas (Hotel) of Cavalcante - GO.    Stone portico of Alto Paraíso de Goiás - GO.

The first two photos (from left) above show different views at Cavalcante - GO.  The third photo shows the stone portico and the totem at the main entrance to the town of Alto Paraíso de Goiás - GO.

From São Gabriel - GO to the Petrobras petrol station close to the entrance to Santo Antônio do Descoberto - GO I covered a distance of 127 kilometers  with a consumption of 3,02 litres of fuel (Supra gasoline, by Petrobras), thus resulting in the best performance of my Sundown STX Motard so far- a huge economy achievement of 42,05 km/litre.

To close this report of my adventure trip to the fantastic land of Kalunga I should say: It was a great adventure in two wheels; quality wise the best of my entire life.  I would like to dedicate it to my late father, who was a Nature lover by principle and attitude, and to all motorcyclists like me that really like to ride.  Under any circumstances, without taking in account the size and power of their motorbikes.

I will take this opportunity to say three cheers to my fellow riders at the forum http://www.mychinamoto.com (Chinese Motorcycle Community and Resources).

In this trip I covered a total distance of 1.119 kilometers, from which 60 kilometers on gravel road.  My Sundown STX Motard had a splendid performance, it was a superb ride.  I come back to Goiânia - GO renewed and ready for new adventures as soon as possible.

On the 24th of September, 2009 I took my Motard to the Sundown dealer in order to have the 15.000 km maintenance service done.  More to attend what the factory recommend than to necessity properly, as my bike is performing superbly well.  They will do all the recommended procedures, including an oil change and oil filter change as well.  I will be adding to the oil the 100ml of Bardahl B12 Plus, as I normally do in every oil change.  This will guarantee the excelent performance my bike is showing.

This photo below shows my Sundown STX Motard on the 25th of September, 2009; on that occasion I was collecting my bike after having the 15.000 km maintenance service done.  Here I am with Marconi at my right and Janio at my left.  Marconi is Customer Service receptionist and Janio is the mechanic who looks after my Motard.

Photo taken on the 25/09/2009. Notice how my bike is in pristine condition after clocking 15.000 km.

During the period between the 08th of October, 2009 and the 12th of October, 2009 I have been in São Paulo - SP for two very special reasons: to visit the Salão Duas Rodas as a guest of the organizers, and to participate of the national promotion Best Motorcyclist of Brazil (a joint promotion of the oil lubricant Shell Advance and the magazine Duas Rodas) as well; I was selected one of the finalists.

Check it out how we performed in such event.

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