St Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana
Dec. 9, 2013
French bureaucracy rears its ugly head. Had our bikes impounded for not having costly, impossible to procure EU insurance. Thankfully, an amazing group of customs officials took us in, let us join a birthday celebration, and put us up for the night.
Itaporanga D'Ajuda, Brazil
Dec. 29, 2013
After a 320mi ride, we arrived in Sao Cristovao - one of Brazil's oldest towns - at dusk to find the only guesthouse was a love hotel. Rode to the next town still lit up with Christmas lights, and dined with everyone gathered at the one snack stand.
Jan. 19, 2014
First solo ride, I navigated out of the Sao Paulo chaos and headed alongside forests and lakes on the winding highway down to Curitiba, arriving just in time to find the one open sports bar for the football conference championships. GO BRONCOS!
Jan. 20, 2014
Worked and explored intermittently, hopping from cafe to cafe and taking in the super forward-thinking, ecologically-minded city. Cooler temperatures, pedestrian streets everywhere, tons of outdoor hang outs; definitely one of Brazil's nicest cities.
Jan. 21, 2014
Odd juxtaposition riding through rice paddies in rural Brazil, next to old Swiss and German rural farmhouses in the Vale Europeu. Evening spent with beer and bratwurst in a German valley town famous for its raucous Oktoberfest.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Jan. 22, 2014
Hit 16k miles during a long 370 mile day, a couple beaches before the famous surf spot at Guarda do Embau. Ran out of digits to count the miles on, so had to improvise with a foot. Celebrated with cigar and microbrew in Porto Alegre's central park.
Treinta y Tres, Uruguay
Jan. 23, 2014
40 days and 5,500 miles from north to south, I finally exited Brazil into Uruguay. Obrigado for the memories, Brazil, and I'll see you next month for Carnival! Ended up in an absolute middle of nowhere town with nothing around for a hundred miles.
Jan. 25, 2014
After months of riding in what could be described as 'unpleasantly hot' conditions, the weather took a sudden dive and gave me my first 'unpleasantly chilly' ride in a year. Fortunate realization that I need to fix my jacket zipper before the Andes.
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Jan. 29, 2014
Took advantage of the first non-rainy, non work-filled day to make the short ride to the cobbled streets, microbrews, and somewhat funky vibe of Colonia, directly across the channel from Argentina.
Fray Bentos, Uruguay
Jan. 31, 2014
Not liking 5am nor paying $130 for the ferry, I decided to head over the bridge 150 miles north. Celebrated 17k miles at a roadside grill, put diesel in my tank and promptly siphoned it dry, and broke a toll booth gate with my head. Eventful detour.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Feb. 1, 2014
Finally in Buenos Aires, it was time to enjoy a bit of fiesta, eats, and new friends. Little did I know that I would end up sticking around for a week more than planned thanks to a combination of work, bike repairs, and forgotten importation papers.
Feb. 19, 2014
Picked up my baby from the shop after 2 weeks of work and made the short ride to the hometown of Messi and apparently the 'world's biggest flag memorial.' Put back some microbrews with friends from Hawaii days at a Californian-owned pub.
Feb. 20, 2014
Long straight stretches of plaines and paddocks led the way to Cordoba, a 'rival' city of Buenos Aires in terms of sports and culture. Wonderful selection of pedestrian roads downtown. Spent my time toiling away at web work over a couple rainy days.
Feb. 22, 2014
Lunch at the lakeside town of Carlos Paz before heading up into the clouds and otherworldly rocky mountain landscapes. Got down into the 50s and felt blessed to have heated hand grips. Gazed out on the square's nightlife in mountainside Nono town.
Feb. 23, 2014
Savored one of the last coveted Brazilian cigars as I crossed the 18,000 mile-mark en route to Mendoza. Feasted on a mammoth pepper-corn Argentinian beef steak in the evening to celebrate the last big riding stop before the long push to the South.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Feb. 28, 2014
So begins Rio Carnaval! Spent Day 1 as we would spend most days during the 5 day fiesta: floating between 'blocos' (block parties that number from 500 to 500,000 people) and keeping the party alive at night with Caipirinhas in the streets of Lapa,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
March 4, 2014
What better way to spend the final Day of Rio Carnaval than using home-made press passes to get onto the floor of the Sambadrome to get a close-up view of the floats and dancers of the famous samba school competitions?
March 7, 2014
After 9 days of Rio Carnaval, I arrive back to Mendoza just in time for its (wine) harvest festival. Everyone out in the streets for a night parade of 18 floats, one for the harvest queen nominee of each region of Mendoza. Best in show: a bbq float.
March 8, 2014
Met up with Taryn to catch the afternoon parade with empanadas and beers. Did a quick evening wine tasting and bought a couple bottles to hike with several miles out of town and up a hill to watch the main show of the festival for free from above.
March 9, 2014
Day 1 of the final push down to the southernmost point of the continent. Set off on the famed Ruta 40 where a 6 lane highway with normal gas stations quickly gave way to 2 lanes with horses and guachos (cowboys) hanging out at abandoned gas stations.
Chos Malal, Argentina
March 10, 2014
The road south quickly empties out as I am basically alone on an eerily quiet section of Ruta 40 surrounded by sprawling, otherworldly landscapes of colorful mountains, streams, and desert. Loose gravel roads made a case to be on my dislikes list.
San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
March 11, 2014
Pretty but monotonous long stretch of desert riding with only a handful of passers by ended as I reached the lake towns of Junin and San Martin, snow resorts in the winter and fly fishing bastions in the summer. Fixed my heated handgrips. Clutch.
El Bolson, Argentina
March 12, 2014
Simply spectacular ride through the 'seven lakes' district and the road to El Bolson, where turquoise waters and rugged mountain landscapes put the famous vacation town of Bariloche to shame. Reached 19k miles at a gorgeous lakeside campground.
March 13, 2014
Last minute decision to ditch the upcoming monotonous/windy stetch of Ruta 40 south to cross the Andes into Chile to ride the more interesting (and green) Carretera Austral. Stayed in a gorgeous valley town famous for whitewater sports.
March 14, 2014
All gravel day, first through the mountains past whitewater rapids and then merging onto the infamous Carretera Austral, Chile's great adventure roadtrip. Cows dictated traffic. Cold rain made the sketchy roads of Queulat National Park treacherous.
March 15, 2014
Bumped into a group of Argentinian bikers filming a motorcycle documentary of their trip and hiked together to view my first glacier at Queulat. Rain resumed and provided an eerie setting for riding through the spectacular park.
March 16, 2014
First day off from riding in a week, I charged both my bike's battery and my own in the 'big city' (population 60,000) of Chile's Carretera Austral. Hung my clothes by the fireplace for gloriously dry riding gear after 2 days of rain-riding.
March 17, 2014
Pavement returns to loose gravel as I leave the city on what would be one of the most gorgeous rides of the trip: snowcapped peaks loomed over of a landscape of fall foliage, deer crossings, canyons, and an endless network of rivers and lakes.
Gobernador Gregores, Argentina
March 18, 2014
170km on a glorified cattle track from Carretera Austral back onto Ruta 40 via the most gorgeous border crossing in the world (a 11km Andean pass), sheep, alpacas, horses, and emus fleeing my path. 6 hours riding without passing a single soul.
El Chalten, Argentina
March 19, 2014
Oscillated between gravel and pavement sections of Ruta 40, with construction zones all down the highway. Interesting to see the transformation to pavement firsthand. 30mph (50km) winds hit which certainly made the gravel even more... adventurous.
El Chalten, Argentina
March 20, 2014
Full day of hiking, following the Rio Blanco through forests and past glaciers, then up the steep slopes to the turquoise glacial lakes right in front of Mt Fitz Roy. Celebratory cigar settings don't get much more epic (20k mile milestone).
El Calafate, Argentina
March 21, 2014
Mt. Fitz Roy - which had been covered in clouds these 3 days - finally made an appearance on my ride out of town. Absolutely spectacular landscape. Fairly short (though cold!) ride on pavement, then took the day to catch up on internet-y things.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
March 22, 2014
Ice hiking around the Perito Moreno Glacier, taking in the craggy peaks, deep blue hues of sink holes, and eerie calving sounds of the 250 square km glacier. Whiskey has never tasted as good as it does atop a glacier... with glacial ice of course.
Rio Grande, Argentina
March 23, 2014
411 miles, 2 border crossings, and a ferry across the Straits of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego. Longest distance covered in one day of riding to get within easy 200km range of Ushuaia. Road signs turn from 'Ruta 40' to the 'end of the world' moniker.
March 24, 2014
A short ride past a motocross event and through the unique landscapes and alpine scenery of Tierra del Fuego before I triumphantly arrived in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city. Met up with some friends and had a raucous celebration.
Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina
March 25, 2014
Rode to the 'end of the road' at Tierra del Fuego National Park and sparked up my footlong victory cigar. Having finally made it all the way south, I hiked around the lakes and hills in isolation with the massive stogie, contemplating the journey.
March 26, 2014
Tough final day of riding as the morning saw near freezing conditions with an unpleasant mixture of rain, sleet, and wind, which saturated my shoddy waterproof gear. Sun made a brief but glorious appearance as I passed a flamingo refuge. Reached 21k.
Punta Arenas, Chile
March 27, 2014
Sun finally came out as I rode to the ferry terminal, strapped my bike down for the hairy sea crossing (so as not to jeopardize my sale), and left Tierra del Fuego. Had my last ride on the bike and showed her off to Leo, her new owner.
Punta Arenas, Chile
March 28, 2014
Completed the title transfer and visited a notaria to make some documents to get us and the bike out. After 21,219 miles through 18 countries, I handed over the keys - and metaphorical reigns - as one man's journey came to an end and another's began.