Ok... I rode from Los Angeles California to the southern tip of South America, and back. I started out with a friend from Alberta Canada - Larry is a rancher whom I met when I rode to Alaska a few years earlier and had stayed in touch with. He had recently bought a new bike and wanted to go for a ride. So we set our sights on Tierra Del Fuego. But, he had to turn back in Colombia. Then I rode with Brian from England, Patrick from Ireland, and Damon from New Zealand, from Columbia to Santiago Chile. After that, I was on my own.

This was an exciting trip for a number of reasons. It was over 30,000 miles thru Latin America and the Andes mountains, and I didn't speak much Spanish. There was also the small detail of the Darien Gap. And, then there was "Death Road" in Bolivia - supposedly the most dangerous road in the world.

Anyway, I blogged about the entire journey right here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Andes…

I had been riding in the Andes mountains pretty much since I arrived in South America.  They are the longest mountain range on the planet.  The scenery and riding was great.  But, I was getting a little tired of the daily afternoon rains and wasn’t making much progress on my journey south.    So, I decided to head for the coast where the weather was dryer and the roads were straighter.

I plotted a course for the coast using my trusty GPS and off I went - dreaming of sunny days and flat strait roads.  Twenty minutes later I found myself on a muddy mountain road, in some very dense fog, as I worked my way across the Andes one more time.  I rode late into a cold, wet night before finally stopping at a hotel in tiny town in the mountains.  The next morning I thought the worst was thru but found myself still riding in fog as I went thru a construction zone.  Suddenly the road was gone, replaced by many large dirt mounds.  As I looked around, I saw a small motorbike disappear into the fog, as he went around a large mound of dirt and down a narrow trail.  Hmmm… what to do?  Of course, I went down the rabbit hole…

Fortunately, the trail was heavily used dispite its initially diminutive size.   However, it was mostly used by foot traffic.  But, after several questionable moments I made my way down the mountain side to the pavement below.  Then, it was on to Peru.

My first impressions of Peru - beautiful beaches, vast deserts, tropical farmlands, and the land of the mototaxi.  These are small motorized utility tricycles used for a variety of purposes but mainly as taxi’s.
Anyway, I made my way to Lima, the capital of Peru, and discovered one of the harshest environments for motorcycling.  Generally speaking, drivers in Peru are horrendous!  They are inconsiderate, aggressive, foolish, arrogant and dangerous.  And, the elite of this noxious bunch can be found in Lima. Now that doesn’t mean they aren’t nice people - they’re great people.  But something happens to them when they get into a vehicle.  So, I stayed just long enough to use an ATM.   Then it was off the Cuzco (a historic city in the mountains) and Machu Picchu (the famous ruins of an Inca city high in the mountains.)  Yup… back to the mountains!

I ran into Brian, Patrick and Damon again… this time on the street in Cuzco.  Hey… you look familiar!  So, I ended up going  with them on a 3-day excursion to Machu Picchu that included a full days ride with a substantial amount of dirt, a 1 hour taxi ride, a 3 hour hike, and a 30 minute bus ride…. each way!  Was it worth the trouble?  Yes.  It was amazing!

Anyway, I’m riding with the guys again for a while.  And, tomorrow we’re off to Arica, Chile where we plan to watch the Dakar Rally competitors as they come racing thru.  It will be a long day as we have a lot of miles to cover in a short period.  So, until next time.







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