10-15-2010, 02:05 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: The Badlands (of NJ)
Flying south to Patagonia.
The idea for this trip came from an issue of Dual Sport News several years back (nowadays, Adventure Motorcycle News). There was either an article or a letter to the editor that caught my eye: the author was describing riding in the south of Chile and mentioned in passing that he was just setting up a motorcycle touring and rental outfit.
Lewis and I have ridden in several worldwide locations by then - South America became a logical choice for our next outing. We decided to rent bikes from that DSN writer, Roberto, and to hire him to accompany and guide us through Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, to reach World's End - the end of Route 3 in Argentina.
The organization of the trip took quite a while; Roberto, an American expatriate living in Patagonia, had a rather sporadic access to phone and email. Fortunately, I started the preparations well over half a year in advance.
Finally, the time of departure arrived. Our plans called for Lewis meeting me in Punta Arenas, Chile, on 2nd March 2009. My brother was going to join the fray as well, but a medical emergency in his family forced him to back out within a few weeks of the trip.
It was a gloomy late-winter day at Newark Airport. At least I was flying into a similar climate: fall conditions in the Southern Hemisphere. Drastically changing climatic zones is a pain: one needs clothing for hot and cold weather and I somehow always mess that up.
First stop en-route: Lima, Peru. While waiting for the plane to Santiago, Chile, I had my first cappuccino of the Cappuccino Tour.
OK, here it is: the Santiago flight.
Santiago is a wonderful city and worthy of a report on its own. It's a motorcycling forum, though, so here are just a few pictures - to give you a flavor of the place.
A good attitude: cops on dual-sport bikes.
The city is very civilized and modern. Here is a food market filled with restaurants.
Street vendor selling 1973 memorabilia. We did not gain too many friends by installing Pinochet.
The inner section of the city really appealed to my Europhile sentiments. This would not be out of place anywhere in Central Europe - in Santiago, I felt right at home.
On the road again. At the Santiago airport, awaiting departure to Punta Arenas. Checking out the cappuccino, of course...
This will take me to the End of the World.
Punta Arenas: arriving by taxi from the town airport.
Afternoon stroll through the pleasant streets of Punta Arenas.
Punta Arenas ("Sandy Point") - and the whole surrounding region of Chile - is a geopolitically interesting place. It really has little economic standing of its own; the base for its 19th century development was sheep farming and prisons (Punta was a penal colony). Now, it is the "foot in the sand". Chilean government encourages and supports settlements here, by subsidies and by tax incentives - in order to be able to claim it rights in the upcoming struggle for sub-Antarctic natural resources. That is my political opinion, but well justified.
Hotel Nogueira in the historic section of town.
City square. Another example of the phenomenon first seen in Santiago: streets in this part of the world are filled with stray dogs, seemingly everywhere.
rdwalker screwed with this post 10-19-2010 at 11:44 PM