SOUTH AMERICA 360
THE LONGEST TOUR IN THE WORLD*
Let me introduce our group on this adventure of a lifetime:
- Ted, at 70 years solid, riding a BMW GS 1200. (check out his tour blog at Ted’s Big Ride).
- Bob and Donna, riding two up, also on a BMW GS 1200, married now for over 30 years,
- Clara and Rachel, sisters, riding two up on a Kawasaki KLR 650,
- And of course the infamous Raymond…who you might know from such documentaries as the Road of Bones and Cairo to Capetown, on his very trusty and experienced DR 650,
- last but not least, your two Compass Expeditions guides, Justin from Canada and Felix from Galicia, Spain.
It all started in Santiago, Chile, leaving from Triumph’s Headquarters with our host with the most, Christian, the owner, providing us with typical Chilean hospitality, a great send off and a Triumph Tiger Xcx!
The Tiger, will be our lead riders motorcycle on the 360, shown here taking a break in Patagonia after a good work out and a fuel top up.
These out of the way places are so packed with all sorts of adventure travelers on motorcycles, 4x4s, buses, overland trucks, bicycles, and hitchhikers, all stocked with loads of stickers, as you can see on these fuel station windows. Donna is amazed with all the artwork.
Our brand new support vehicle, a Mercedes Sprinter, was decked out with all sorts of handy features and prepared by Elio at Super in Santiago.
Again in the Patagonia for a quick break with the Argentine flag waving us on in the background.
The local Moto News, Motootematicos was attending our pre departure get together at Triumph, getting some great footage of our group and learning about our mega tour around the whole of South America. The owner and interviewer chose to interview our two sisters from New Mexico, USA, much to the chagrin of the awesome tour guides, Justin and Felix, who had a little talk about what, why, and how of the situation. They were a bit perplexed about why their stimulating conversation would be passed up for the two sisters….hmm
We began our journey with beautiful riding days, great scenery, great terrain, an awesome start to a very long adventure.
On our first picnic lunch stop in a perfect spot picked by Felix, Justin thought it might be a good idea to go for a quick hunt for some fresh Huanacos to do a nice BBQ for the group, but then spotted the no hunting sign and decided against it. But it was not a problem because we were well prepared with plenty of delicious treats from the town before. Lunch was spread, everyone filled their bellies, everyone was happy.
Lunch is set in a beautiful spot in Patagonia were it is most always windy. We were in luck and the winds were at a very low whisper, and allowed us to have an awesome break.
We continued on after lunch, to find some very challenging terrain. I wouldn’t call it gravel or dirt, but more like a field of river rock, very slippery, very loose and dangerous. We had our first crash. It was Clara and Rachel. They went down very hard and at a good pace. This is very tough terrain. Clara was stunned, shaken and hurt. Rachel was bruised with whiplash. Shock had set in on Clara, she connected hard with helmet to earth.
Ted was riding behind them and witnessed the whole thing, and was quick to help. It was also amazing to see the local cars stop and offer help, with frozen water for sprains and pains, and just general concern. Great folks are around when they are needed in South America.
We loaded Clara’s bike into the back of the van and headed on to Perito Moreno, which was our overnight stop and luckily not far away. There was a Hospital there but being a Sunday the doctors and x ray technician needed to be called in to attend. Once they arrived the girls received very quick attention, and it worked out well with no broken bones, just some twists, sprains and pains.
All injuries will heal in a few days, and the girls will be ready to ride again.
The Compass mega Van fuels up in Argentinian Patagonia, again, notice all the stickers plastered all over the pumps. Of course I had to add a couple more new ones to the mix.
February 26, 2017, 10:43 AM, the eclipse hit in the late morning out on a dusty road near the town of Facundo, just outside of Gobernador Costa. We knew before hand about this event, but it had left our memories until we were right in the middle of it. We were so lucky to be in such a wonderful spot to witness this amazing event. The skies turned dark, and with the heavy clouds and dusty road, made day into night as you can see in the bike and Van photos.
We are now safe and sound in El Calafate, and have just come back from the 3rd largest Glacier in the world, Perito Moreno and it is also the 3rd largest reserve of fresh water. They’ll even sell you a scotch on the rocks, Glacier rocks that is.
Tomorrow morning bright and early we head out to Torres del Paine National Park, another amazing UNESCO place, with a border crossing back into Chile.
More to come…