May 19, 2011

Looking Back

We’ve been home for a couple of months, so it’s time to take a look back at our Latin American adventure.  This journey was our longest to date and probably will not be surpassed, at least in the near future.
The numbers from the trip say a lot:
166 days
3 continents
15 countries
23 border crossings
26,033 miles
(bikes-18256, air-4892, cruise-1890, side trips by bus, van, taxi, train, subway, ferry-995)
One of the hardest parts about this trip, due to its length, was the pre-trip planning and preparation: buying and outfitting the bikes, organizing spare parts and tools, selecting clothing/riding gear and packing it, procuring paper/GPS maps and guide books, getting vaccinations, taking care of money matters (credit cards, bill paying, etc.)  It was almost a relief to get on the road so we could stop worrying and wondering if we had all the loose ends tied up.  We believe that our pre-trip organization paid off in spades with very few surprises along the way.  The only date set in stone was 12-29-10, (cruise departure) so we had great latitude as to where we went, how long we stayed in various locations, and how many miles we had to cover each day.
Jean, in her last post, summed up things quite nicely, but sold herself a little short.  She is a lady with incredible energy and drive and as a result was our hotel front person, usually off her bike first at the hotel and in the door to arrange accommodations while the rest of us were still dismounting or still sitting on our bikes.  She also was the  leader in border crossings charging from one bureaucratic office to another.  As the trip progressed and living on the road became a routine, the synergism in the group was quite obvious.
One of the unique highlights of the trip was the cruise to Antarctica, a very interesting and “different” kind of excursion.  The beauty of southern Chile/Argentina along with Patagonia will remain with us forever.  Our host at the Residencial El Rincon near Los Angeles, Chile, said that Patagonia, to many people, was more of a state of mind than a physical place and I tend to agree with him.  Many of our more vivid memories emanate from that time of our journey.
We are all back into the routine of our domestic existence at this time.  Next winter?  Jean and Ross will be on the high seas again while RA and I are contemplating a return to SAm to see a few things that are still on the bucket list:  Rio de Janeiro, Easter Island, Lake Titicaca, and the Galapagos Islands.  We are becoming quite fond of  avoiding the depths of Wisconsin winters and still enjoy the lure of far away and intriguing locales.  The language on a t-shirt seen at a motorcycle rally sums it up quite nicely: So Many Roads So Little Time!
Many thanks to Jean and Ross for inviting us on this adventure and then waiting a year while we went Down Under for a couple of months during the winter of 2009/2010.
Thanks for coming along--we’ll be back!!