ITS GREAT TO SLEEP BACK AT SEA LEVEL! We've been riding these adventure bikes at some of the highest elevations in the Andes Mountains, which of course makes for thin air and occasional difficulty sleeping. Much better now though, having descended from 3700 meters to get to the Pacific Ocean. (And there are higher passes, like the one at San Antonio de Los Cobres measuring 4,850 meters!)
Riding along the shoreline as we headed north from Iquique, it's also clear that this once-small town in northern Chile is growing by the amount of construction and tall buildings being built. We can see behind us the paragliders leaping off the peaks that surround this city to the east, very close to the ocean. Iquique is a special city also, because it's so close to both Bolivia and Peru, so people from those countries have migrated here and make up part of the regular population with my fellow Chilenos.
(See blog post from Day 2 of this research trip on this link.)
Of course one of the great things about riding in the Atacama Desert, the "driest desert in the world," the weather is absolutely beautiful once again! Even the brief rainy season here is 'barely' rainy, so we mostly have bright blue sunny skies to enjoy.
Waking up to a view overlooking the harbor in Antofagasta, we headed north along the coast for some great sweeping curves and twisties similar to those found on California's Hwy 1, or as the PanAmerican Highway feels along the shorts of Peru just to the north. Waves crashing, birds hunting, and that wonderful scent of ocean air makes us just love this trip.
(Continued from the Day 1 blog post on this link.)
We had a little change of plans today: Instead of going east and over the Andes Mountains into Argentina, our "scouting" group rode to the west. Across the Atacama Desert and over the "Cordillera de la Sal," the Pacific Ocean and coastal city of Antofagasta, Chile became our target. This gives us the chance to ride past small lagoons that are often populated with pink Andean Flamingos and other local birds. That's right: The World's Driest Desert also has pink flamingos in it!
It's been a while since any of us was out in the Atacama Desert, but the reasoning is not for it's lack of charm and riding opportunity. Simply put: The Patagonia motorcycle touring season has kept us so incredibly busy that its 6-7 month riding season keeps us so occupied year-round, that the northern areas of Chile and Argentina just sort of "slipped" out of focus for a while now.
It never should have though! The adventure riding possibilities around San Pedro de Atacama and Bolivia are so great, that Ulli, Andres, and Andres Perez have been out exploring and reconfirming route conditions and such, because as of now, we have BMW GS's and Kawasaki KLR 650's based in Antofagasta, Chile. This will make rental options and tours for the Atacama area much more reasonable to start from than Santiago or points further south. The idea is to have a small portion of the fleet there in Antofagasta from about May through September each year.
Namibia is like a painting – one of the most striking destinations on the planet – astonishing colors abound, completed by a transcendent quality of light, clear blue skies and vast wild spaces. This is a country where you can ride motorcycles for days without seeing another person. In a remote wilderness far from the modern world, things we’d usually take for granted take on a different meaning. Enjoyable, freshly cooked meals eaten under the stars. A roadside stop in the deep shade of an Acacia tree, a beer with friends round a campfire after a day in the desert.
Etosha National Park
Stand at the edge of this 22000 km sq ancient lake and see the curvature of the earth, plus an amazing variety of wildlife, Lion, Hyena, Elephant and much more..
Great news, adventure riders: Honda's new Africa Twin CRF1000L is coming to Chile! With a scheduled arrival of September, Honda's reintroduction of this adventure riding classic will be available along with our other Patagonia motorcycle rental options just in time for you to head down the Carretera Austral this coming 2016/17 season.
Considering just how "absent" Honda Motorcycles has been from the fast-growing world of adventure riding, early feedback from other riders suggests the new Africa Twin is well worth the wait. With the BMW GS bikes still making up the definite majority of the rentals we offer, Honda sure will have their work cut out for them trying to gain market share. Nonetheless, we're excited to further diversify the options that we offer in Chile, Argentina and of course other locations soon.
Instead of posting an immediate reaction to BMW’s R1200GS Adventure when the updated Liquid-Cooled version of it became available a couple of years ago, I wanted to wait and see how this latest version of the famous “GSA” performed in the rental business for a while. After all, it’s probably not just my personal opinion of how the bike rides & feels that you’re probably interested in. Those of us in the international motorcycle rental business are in a unique position to comment on the overall performance of these bikes and their durability, dependability, etc. over some time. So here we are, about 2 years after the updated, Liquid Cooled “Water Boxer” version of the GSA became available….
Riders, are you headed to any BMW motorcycle-focused events or rallies this year? Be sure to say "Hi" when you see us there! Below is a list we've compiled that shows much of what some of the various BMW Clubs from around the U.S. are planning for 2016.
Of course the largest gathering of BMW riders internationally will be a Motorrad Days in Garmisch, July 1-3. That evening, after all the tire-kicking is over, will mark the rally-point and gathering time for our "Alps Moto Explorer" motorycle trip package, as we embark on a 15-day itinerary to see the absolute highlights of Austria, Germany, Italy & Switzerland. Summertime, riding in the Alps, staying in great establishments and dining our way across Europe ... all put together for you already.
Are you more of a "Lone Wolf" type of motorcycle rider who prefers to not be part of a group ... yet you can also appreciate the safety and security of having other riders or a support truck nearby? If so, then check out our Self-Guided, Truck Supported, "Full Patagonia Adventure" motorcycle trip package!
This trip format is one we've had in mind for a while, and has actually been requested by many of you over the years. Only this last Patagonia season though did we finally have the right opportunity to "test it out" a bit and see how it'll work.
As is explained in the brief video below, this "Self-Guided, Truck Supported" format might be exactly the type of package you're looking for in a Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego motorcycle trip. The 5 points from the video are: