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.
(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.
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:
It sure did take us a while to make the announcement, but in case you didn't notice, we have another great dual sport motorcycle trip opportunity for you to check out. This time, it's in southern Africa!
Late in 2015, a group of friends & customers of RIDE Adventures set out on a mission to explore and conquer some popular routes in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The result: our new "Southern Africa Experience" motorcycle tour package represents the absolute highlights to be enjoyed in this region.
Our research, as you can imagine, is crucial to our success with these motorcycle tours, and a large part of why RIDE Adventures continues to grow now in its 6th year of operations. We start as we did with this Africa project by reading what experienced riders are saying, listening to what our local partners recommend, and by seeing what some other companies are doing, before setting out to confirm what we want the tour of the region to look like. Customers of RIDE Adventures have come to trust that our recommended routes will focus on the best riding "moments," and have the highest percentage of peak-level scenery, riding, and overall experience possible.
If you've either purchased, or are planning to buy the perfect dual sport motorcycle for some much needed adventures, how about a little list of events and ideas to help get you 2016's rally planning started? (Can you we're excited about the nice springtime weather?!!?)
Over the past 6 years, we've enjoyed meeting fellow riders at some of these events, although admittedly, there are quite a few on this list below that we haven't been to yet. Whatever it takes, RIDE Adventures will have staff out at as many of these rallies as possible, hoping to be there and meet you in person.
While we tend to get busy answering questions at rallies, the hope of course is that we'll get a chance to actually RIDE with you while we're there! Be sure to seek us out if you're interested in any of our tours, but are perhaps unsure about whether your riding skills are appropriate for any of our Guided Tours or Self-Guided Packages. We know all these routes and road conditions, but are you sure you're ready to handle something like our new Self-Guided, Truck Supported "Full Patagonia Adventure" package? Be sure to check with us at your next opportunity, and see you at the dual sport rallies this summer!
Sitting here on my last flight before arriving in northern Patagonia, I’m reminded once again what it might be like for any first-time motorcycle rider about to embark on their first journey through southern Chile & Argentina. Despite having been riding and living part time down here in South America each year since 2009, I can still can get that warm rush of excitement that comes with knowing the road ahead for the next few weeks. Or perhaps it’s the unknown outcomes and new discoveries that come with each guided tour that really gets me going.
Winter has finally cleared and some long-awaited sunshine here in Oregon made for a brief photo shoot this morning. Introducing to you: The nameless behemoth that many riders will see up close on motorcycle trips, and at rallies, races, and events in the coming years....the new RIDE Adventures Mercedes Sprinter Van.