We leave in a week

Wow, thanks for all the comments here and on Deby’s Facebook page. I hope this is an adventure worthy of everyone’s time. You just never know….

So, what’s the plan? Well, like most things it started out simple and became more complex. That’s OK, I’ll start at the beginning.

Because of Michael’s “win” of a free tour we are going with an outfit called Ride Adventures – Tours and Rentals. They specialize in adventure motorcycle tours around the world taking people on grand adventures in amazing places. But…. they have one, select, very special tour in the United States. Guess where???? WISCONSIN! What? Most of you probably know Deby and I grew up in Wisconsin where we met and moved to Seattle after college. We learned Eric Lange, the founder of Ride Adventures is also from Wisconsin, small world.

Michael’s free tour was one of the more basic self guided Patagonia tours they offer so Michael decided it would be worthwhile to pay for an upgrade to what they call “The Patagonia Experience“, a 14 day motorcycle tour.

Deby and I have been to some of these places and so has Michael on our first Motoraid trip in 2013, we are really excited to go back and further explore the area. But there is more…. besides me and Deby, Michael invited his friend Chris. We’ve met Chris a few times and rode together on enough trips that I can say he will be a fun riding partner. He is a very interesting person, Michael calls him Dr. Science because of his technical background prior to retiring from Boeing.

Chris and Michael on our September 2018 trip

Dr. Chris Science has a full blown race car simulator that he hand built in his basement. Michael and I went to check it out this past spring and it is amazing!!

Michael in the simulator

Chris can describe it in more detail but all I know is that it’s really realistic and I could never make it as a race car driver. Chris is pretty good at it.

OK, that sounds like a reasonable plan, two weeks on a prescribed tour complete with reservations at really nice hotels along the way. Then I get a call….. it’s Michael. “Hey Donn, what do you say we fly down a little early and just rent some bikes?” Ummm, sure! So now we are flying down 10 days before the “official” tour begins and Michael’s wife Dee Dee is coming with us on the back of Michael’s bike for this part of the trip. This will be fun. We first met Dee Dee when she flew to Cusco, Peru in 2013 to meet us on our first South America trip. We took nearly a week and explored the area and did the 4 day hike to Machu Picchu. We’ve all been good friends ever since.

Donn, Deby, guide, Michael, Dee Dee
At Machu Picchu, Peru

“Oh Donn…,” Michael says, “since you’ve been there before could you plan our route?” Well, I suppose that makes sense in a way.. So, I made a rough plan.

Route with Dee Dee

I have this mostly (sort of) planned out, at least the first few days. We leave Seattle on January 16 and arrive in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday the 17th. From there we take a small plane to Temuco and then a shuttle to Pucon, Chile where we pick up the motorcycles.

Coincidence #1: We randomly sign up with a company founded by a guy from my home town in Wisconsin.

Cocindence #2: Ride Adventures tour company’s South America base is in Pucon Chile. Pucon is the city that became the sister city of Lake Oswego Oregon in the early 60’s and for that reason became the destination of the 1963 Motoraid trip by Keith Thye and David Yaden. When we re-created that trip its 50th anniversary with Keith and Dave, Pucon was our ultimate destination. What does that mean????

From Pucon, the trip with Dee Dee will take us to Valdivia, Puerto Varas and then points south on the famed Carretera Austrel. At some point we will cross the Andes and ride north to San Carlos de Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes and then a new route north before cutting east over the Andes and back down to Pucon. What could go wrong?

For those of you who want to know, and I know who you are…, Michael and I are both renting the Honda Africa Twin 1000cc, Deby will be on a Honda 500x and Chris (I think) is on a BMW F700GS. These are all pretty reliable motorcycles but for the most part we will be responsible for breakdowns. I’m packing my own tool kit.

I’ll try to get another post out before we leave with our preparations. Thanks for the notes and for following along.

Donn and Deby

January 2019 -Were Back!

What the? Where have we been? I’m continually amazed at how many people I run into that mention how much they enjoyed following our blog. Sure, mostly people are just nice, but it does mean a lot to us and those comments are truly appreciated.

I’ll skip to the good part. We are leaving in less than two weeks for a return to South America! So many people have asked to follow along via this blog that I decided to dust off my WordPress skills and give it a shot.

As you may recall the whole thing started with our original MotoRaid trip in 2013 with Keith Thye and David Yaden. That trip was documented in this blog (Click HERE or the tab on top). Keith immortalized both his 1963 trip and our 50th anniversary trip in the book, The Whole Story, that can be purchased from his website here: http://www.keithsrides.com/books.html

There is a back story to our return and it’s probably worth telling…..

It started with this guy…

Mr. Michael Hansen in 2013

We met Michael Hansen on the original MotoRaid trip in 2013. Over the years we’ve kept in touch, and without our meaning to, became good friends with Michael and his wife Dee Dee. Michael and Dee Dee live in Idaho but we’ve managed to schedule numerous visits and motorcycle trips together.

Last June (2018) we attended the Touratech Motorcycle Rally together in Plain Washington with a small group that attends almost every year. We camp in a back corner and keep a little bit to ourselves but have a huge amount of fun.

Scenic stop at the 2018 Touratech Rally

When we checked into the rally we were each given 4 raffle tickets, over the course of the event we had the opportunity to visit the variety of vendors onsite and if we liked their product we could drop off a ticket with that vendor. I like this idea because if your ticket does get drawn at least you end up with something you might like. One of the vendors was an outfit offering tours of Patagonia, Deby and I immediately dropped all eight of our combined tickets into that bucket. Hey, we had been back less than a year from our last trip there but why not try!

Michael, who is very well known for being, um.. let’s say, frugal, decided to drop in only ONE ticket and save the others for who knows what… a t-shirt? Ok, you can guess what happened. It’s towards the end of the night and we’re standing around with some cool beverages not far from the fire. On stage there are a couple of the organizers picking tickets out of a big bucket. They save the big Patagonia trip for last…. out of our whole group and a combination of probably 20 tickets we haven’t won anything yet. With way too much drama (just like this paragraph) they draw a ticket and call our Michael’s name! Holy Buckets! We’re all jumping around laughing and slapping high fives. Suddenly it struck me… I turned to Deby and said in my most calm and serious voice, “this is gonna really cost us”.

The End of the Ride

I’m writing this from the comforts of the USA. It’s good to be back and ride roads that are mostly in pretty good condition, speak in my native tongue and slip into the easy travelling mode that will describe the rest of out trip home.

I’m concluding the blog at the Mexican border although we still have some weeks before we are home. The rest of the trip will be easy, mostly paved and take a roundabout route visiting family along the way. Fun for us but maybe not up to the level of adventure the readers of this blog are used to (really big grin here…). Continue reading

Mexico – A second wind

Our last border crossing before the final one into the US. On Friday May 19 we rode 140 miles from Chichicastenago to the La Mesilla border crossing into Mexico arriving about 1:30 in the afternoon. It was a surprisingly quiet border crossing with no people hustling us and no lines of people, nice. That didn’t mean it was fast, we still needed to make copies of various things running to a tienda across the street but after about an hour we were let into Mexico. Yooohooo, we’ve been to Mexico so many times it just seemed easier. The roads in general were nicer and we started switching over to the toll roads just to avoid all the topas (speed bumps). Continue reading

Central America – Part 1

I see it’s been a few days since the last post….. Central America will do that. It’s HOT, WET and HUMID. The close proximity of countries with their border crossings and narrow roads through cities filled with topas (speed bumps), slows everything down. In a way we want to hurry through Central America, in another way we want to explore places we haven’t been. I’m counting border crossings in my head, two more until the USA. I’ll be glad when we are done with those and am worried about having only one blank page left in my passport…. Continue reading

Colombia

Imagine a cat hissing and screaming while in a fight for it’s life, multiply that by 100 cats at the same time in a giant brawl and have that sound reverberate in a dark cave made out of marble walls. That is what we heard as we dropped into the marble caves of Rio Claro in the tropical rain forest of Colombia. We couldn’t see these loud birds but they obviously didn’t like our intrusion into their den of darkness and showed their displeasure by hissing and screaming at us.

Continue reading

The Northern Hemisphere

On Saturday April 15, 2017 we crossed from the southern hemisphere into the northern hemisphere at where else but The Equator! A momentous event as we finished the southern half of the globe and transitioned closer to our home hemisphere. It also occurred to me that we also transitioned from fall to spring in one step. Ha, how cool was that? Since we left Seattle before the first day of winter we managed to totally skip winter 2016/2017. I’ll take that. Continue reading