Chris is Going South


Chris is Going South

In 2009 I set out on an 8-month solo trip to South America from Vancouver - on a motorbike. Somewhere around California I learned to ride the damn thing and once I got to Guanajuato, Mexico I found out her name. Rocinanta and I had an eventful 40,000 km together on the way to Ushuaia, Argentina. Come along for the ride?

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén December 6th 2009

Ran out tonight. Just as the sun went behind the mountain, I ran East out after it. Coming out of town, the road descended slightly and I could actually see the shadow of the mountains creeping fast up the hill in front of me. But Rocinanta was faster. I tweaked the trottle a little more, and rode back into the sunlight. It was a fabulous moment, all the better because of where I was and where I was going. For most of the ride from El Calafate to El Chaltén I'd been giddy as a child. The massive spires of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre shot up into the first perfectly clear sky I'd seen for weeks. I saw them the moment I hit Ruta 40 coming out of El Calafate and they grew taller ... read more

South America » Argentina » Tierra del Fuego » Ushuaia November 28th 2009

Antarctica or Bust? I guess calling it "busted" at Ushuaia - for now. Or rather broke. Financially broke, yes, but I'd rather imagine this as though late last night a great wave washed down a dreamy river, down from the mountains to the north, down to the coast and broke there against the lapping waves at Lapataia. At the end of the road and of the world as I, for the time being, will know it. I've stood on many cliffs along the way; in the high Altiplano of Bolivia; at the citadel of Machu Picchu; up on Vulcan Cayambe in Ecuador; at the Grand Canyon and the grander Barranca del Cobre, to name the more lofty few. But none had the same gravity as this here, leaning over the railing, a short 2 meters over ... read more
Austral Sun
Km 66,666.6
Standard photo...

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu October 26th 2009

The plan was to set out at 7 am. Jeff, the owner of the closest thing to a biker bar in Cuzco, had given me on the scoop on the back door entrance to The Citadel. Follow the route to Santa Maria via Oyantantambo and turn left. Follow that road to its end at the hydroelectric plant, and walk from there. Simple. Of course, my seven o'clock start became an 8 o'clock start before I left the bar because I had much to discuss with Ken and Carol, two aussies that have been doing laps around the world on their BMW for years. Talked gear, repairs and maintenance with Ken, routes in Argentina with Carol. At any rate, I was feeling fresh and ready for a challenge - gassed by the shocking beauty as I rounded ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco October 17th 2009

The trucks backfiring, people smashing their way into the hotel and varied explosions made their way into my drowsing head, keeping it on yellow alert most of the night in case the maniacs outside made it into my room. I was in a lucid state of slumber or lost in a foggy semi-conscious mental ambulation, but the point is I was both sleep- and wakefulness- deprived all night. I have a few memories of ugly dreams and one of it occurring to me that with all the hubub my Baby might not be safe. She was calling out to me through the dream world. ...and, in a Kieth Richards "satisfaction" kind of way i woke up and wrote the following down: So if Cusco is the navel of the world then I suppose Canada would be ... read more
Dawn breaks over Puquio
High Altiplano

South America » Ecuador » North » Tabacundo September 28th 2009

Marco: "So when the bull comes in, you have to find a spot to climb up." I surveyed the walls of the bullring, but found no room - the three story wooden scaffolding was packed with bodies. Just then all the guys standing around the chute scattered sending a shock wave through the crowd. Here we go. Bucking and snorting the beast chargedin tossing his fierce horns at a thousand people at once. He rounded the ring at a steady gallop bucking up at the brave souls who were the last to jump up to safety, inches above the range of the bulls horns. Luckily Marco found a friend on the wall just in time so we had both a place to hang (literally) and someone to supply us with beer. The tricky bit was climbing ... read more
This guy knew what he was doing
He played the bulls like a pro all weekend.
After the goreing

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito September 26th 2009

Her breath stank. Surely she'd been eating her young - or someone elses. And she was close - too close. I didn't sign up for this... They'd found us roaming the streets of Quito, looking for trouble near Plaza de las Americas. I was with Marco and Checho (Jose) another Ecuadorean who lives in and rode a motorcycle down from Texas. Immediately they were attracted to the pride from fifty meters away... maybe they could smell the motorcycle on us. Three regal lionesses found three poor, brave young lions - was it meant to be? I'd heard about this, studied it a little. One must always exercise caution and know damn well what their up against when hunting the South American Puma. It's a completely different animal to the North American Cougar or the Central American ... read more
Puma Attack!

South America » Ecuador » North » Cayambe September 20th 2009

I knew I had a long day ahead of me; over 500 km between Popayan, Colombia and Cayambe, Ecuador. At least 7-8 hours, plus a border crossing. What I underestimated was how spectacular the ride would be, how much I'd want to stop and take pictures or just slow down and take it in. Still, in the end that didn't slow me down half as much as the horrendous road conditions going through the desert between Popayan and Pasto. Pot-holes like empty graves, just waiting to be filled by unsuspecting motorcyclists... It had been cool in the morning when I left Popayan, so I was enjoying the desert heat at first, but soon I began to bake as i sped through the dry, choking, windless heat. I hadn't been through terrain like that since Chihuahua in ... read more
Back in the desert again
Big place.
here just a cool 600 meter drop from the road...

South America » Colombia » Cali September 16th 2009

It took me a while to get my act together. I want to blame it on my cold but I know that it was just the same old crap. Andy stood there shaking his head as I got everything just so. "Are you done leaving yet?" - One last sarcastic remark before my departure. If I see his arse on the other end of the continent it will be too soon. I got lost on the way out of town, ended up in Caldas. I pulled off at one point to ask a truck driver. "I'm lost... How do I get to Calí?" "Lost? You're not lost. Just keep going that way!" he chuckled I shuddered briefly. Was this the highway? It couldn't possibly like this all the way, road winding through town after town, kid's ... read more
Caught on Camera!
Failed attempt.
The sun hangs low over the Cauca

¨That´s exactly why we had the war. For freedom of expression, for democracy, for the rights of the people, of the farmers and of the Earth.¨ He spoke passionately but I could tell it was not the first time he´d said the words. I was speaking with Don Miguel, the owner of our hostel who, along with most of the other citizens of Perquín and, indeed, the whole state of Morazán, had repopulated the abandoned mountainsides. The whole region had been a war zone little more than a decade earlier but already you can hardly tell. Looking around town there are only shy, smiling faces to be found. Its hard to believe that within many of these people´s lives, whole towns were massacred a few miles away. As the night sets in so does the fog, ... read more
Marco and Baby: A glamour shot
Don't mind the livestock..
This was almost the last photo Marco ever took.

We managed to leave Antigua almost on time, which for various reasons seemed a long shot. I´ll say no more than that Antigua can be a rough town on a guy like me, all the more so on a night when Tequila fell from the sky. The most of ride to the border was fast and beautiful, winding between volcanos and ranchland. The only exception was Esquintla. As soon as we hit the town I stopped to ask directions because we were told we wouldn´t have to go through it. Before I could flip up my visor or find someone to ask a what looked like a delivery bike pulled up beside me and the rider asked where we were going. The next thing I know we´re winding through town following some strange man. I was ... read more
Lunch by the roadside
Slap tortilla up!
Goodbye Guat!

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