Published: January 11th 2012January 11th 2012
The plane tickets and the bike are booked and there are 50 days to go. The plan, so far as it goes, is to fly over to Santiago to pick up the bike, a lovely BMW F800GS and explore a bit of the Central Valley, Norte Chico and Norte Grande. With any luck I will see a bit of Chile's famous wine growing region, visit one of the famous observatories (hopefully at night!), explore a bit of the Atacama desert and reach the Bolvian border before heading back south.
Once back in Santiago I will head south for Osonoro and swap the bike for a BMWR1200GS. This is the bike a have at home and what I'd prefer for whole trip but none are available until I had south. At Osonoro I'll be joining a small group of like minded bikers on an organised trip to Ushuaia.
So here's the route. I say route but the first half at least is very flexible. I might find some places more interesting than I expected and so I might stay longer at some places and miss others altogether - we will see!
6 March 2012 - Santiago
8 March - Vicuna.
A small town on the edge of Atacma. A vicuna is a small llama type so I might luck as see a few but Vicuna is the base to visit cerro mamalluca observatory http://www.mamalluca.org
9 & 10 March - Copiapo
Copiapo was a stop over for the Dakar 2012 and featured in the news in 2010 because of the Copiapo mining accident. I want to take advantage of the stop over to ride east to the border with Argentine at Paso San Francisco. The pass into Argentina at 4748 metres and where the Dakar crossed into Chile in January - in the snow ! I really want to come up here to see Laguna Verde (Green lake) and Ojos del Salado volcanco at 6893 metres (22,609 feet) which is the world's highest active volcano and Chile's highest peak
11 March -Antofagasta
Another Dakar stop over
12 & 13 March - San Pedro de Atacama
A tourist centre for Atacama proper. The area is famous for is classic cone shaped volcanos, salt lakes and flamigos, Valle de Luna (Moon Valley and well known for it's lunar landscape), massive sand dunes and its indigo, violet, orange & red sun sets.
14 March - Chanaral
15 March - Coquimbo
16 March - Curico
17 March - Osorno
The bike swap and the tour starts
18 March - San Carlos de Bariloche
We are straight into Argentina in an area known as little Switzerland
19 March - Esquel
Found by Welsh miners
20 March - Puyuhupai
Back into Chile on the infamous Carretera Aurtral road
21 March - Coyhaique
Riding in proper mountains with hanging glaciers and plenty of twisty roads
22 March - Puerto Guardal
More mountain riding
23 March - La Angostrura
Back into Argentina onto Argentina's Ruta 40
24 & 25 March - El Calafate
More magnificant mountains & lakes. Visiting the famous Perito Moreno glacier (you know the one Biran Cox visited on onders of the Universe)
26 & 26 March - Torres del Paine
Another fabulous National Park
28 March - Cerro Sombrero
crossing the Magellan Straits onto Tierra del Fuego
29 & 30 - March - Ushuaia
The end of the world !! You can't get much further south than this
31 March - Rio Grande
Heading back north with visits to a memorial to those killed in the Falklands War and the penguin colony
1 & 2 April - Punta Areanas
Beer, steak and diry women and then fly home
Many of these places are not on the map and quite a bit of the route is not on tarmaced roads but check out the attached maps for a rough idea of the route and check out Google Earth
I hope to provide regularly updates, mainly for a record for myself and my friends back home.