The Route   4 comments

Please note that this page refers to the 2010 Bike Trip. Our 2014 Rucksack Tour follows roughly the same route but with variations due to using public transport and the appetite to try something new and different…

Well, the route looks roughly like this and will cover approx. 10,000 miles/16,093 kilometres (mmm, it will be rather 15,000 miles / 24,000 kilometres – but you know why women are bad at estimating… ;-)):



Note: I will update this page with the actual progress every day as I go along. You can also check where I currently am on my Findmespot site (courtesy of Chris’s generosity – thanks to you my family and friends can sleep better – muchísimas gracias).


Tuesday 10th August: Ride the bike to London-Heathrow to be crated and shipped to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Tuesday 17th August: Get myself to London-Gatwick to be shipped to Buenos Aires via Madrid, Spain.


Wednesday 18th August: Arrive at Ezeiza International Airport, explore city by public transport and on foot.

Thursday 19th August: Get bike out of customs and stay another night in San Telmo.

Friday 20th August: Stop by at Dakar Motos.

Saturday 21st August: Stay another night at Dakar Motos, sort out a few things on the bike, re-pack and arrange luggage; enjoy company of RTW travellers Adrian and Mick.

Sunday 22nd August: Hit the road – Buenos Aires to Fray Bentos in Uruguay on Rutas 9. 12 and 14; crossed Río Uruguay via Puente Internacional de Liberador General San Martin. 167 miles / 268 kilometres.


Monday 23rd August: Fray Bentos to Termas del Daymán, Uruguay on Ruta 3 with excursions to Nuevo Berlin and La Meseta de Artigas. 207 miles / 334 kilometres.

Tuesday 24th August: Termas del Daymán to Paso de los Libres, Argentina via Ruta 14, RA 129 to Monte Caseros, RA25 to Libertad and again RA14. 197 miles / 317 kilometres.


Wednesday 25th August: Paso de los Libres to San Ignacio Miní, Misiones, Argentina on Rutas 14, 105 and 12. 248 miles / 399 kilometres.

Thursday 26th August: San Ignacio to Puerto Iguazú via Ruta 12. 172 miles / 277 kilometres.

Friday 27th August: Visiting the Cataratas del Iguazú – the Iguazú Falls. 24 kilometres by ‘colectivo’ (local bus), 10 kilometres by eco-train in the National Park, 7 kilometres on foot.

Iguazú Falls


Saturday 28th August: Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, to Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil. Then on to


Saturday 28th August: Ciudad del Este to Villarrica. 158 miles / 254 kilometres

Sunday 29th August: Villarrica to Asunción via fantastic trails, Paraguarí and the Ruta 1. 117 miles / 188 kilometres

Monday 30th August: Asunción to Río Verde on the Trans Chaco Ruta 9. 205 miles / 330 kilometres

Tuesday 31st August: Rio Verde to Loma Plata, a German-speaking Mennonite community in the middle of the wild Chaco. 79 miles / 127 kilometres

Wednesday 1st September: Loma Plata to Fortín Infante Rivarola at the border between Paraguay and Bolivia. 213 miles / 343 kilometres

Thursday 2nd September: Infante Rivarola to Mariscal Estigarribia and back (due to a logistic error and not recognising the correct immigration office…) and then on to


Thursday 2nd September: Ibibobo to Villamontes. 375 miles / 603 kilometres

Friday 3rd September: Villamontes to Ibibobo and back (they should really sign-post their immigration posts properly – or should I pay more attention?). 85 miles / 137 kilometres

Saturday 4th September: Villamontes to Entre Ríos via Ruta 11 through the Cañon del Pilcomayo. 93 miles / 150 kilometres

Sunday 5th September: Entre Ríos to Tarija on the beautiful Ruta 11. 72 miles / 116 kilometres

Monday 6th September: Tarija to Villazón via Rutas 1 and 301. Mountain passes over 4,000 metres above sea level and breathtaking pistas – literally… 119 miles / 190 kilometres

Tuesday 7th September: Villazón to Tupiza, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid country. 58 miles / 93 kilometres

Wednesday 8th September: Rest day in Tupiza – time to relax, looking the bike over more thoroughly, enjoying the beautiful town and its picturesque surroundings. 1 mile / 1.609 kilometres to the local workshop for minor repairs.

Thursday 9th September: Tupiza to Uyuni via Antocha; desert with lots of sand on the road and the worst corrugated pista of the whole trip so far. 132 miles / 212 kilometres

Friday 10 September: Bike maintenance and blog update day in Uyuni. 1.1 miles / 1.8 kilometres to a friend’s courtyard where I was able to work on the DRZ in peace and quiet.

Saturday 11th September: Exploring the Salar de Uyuni from Colchani to Villa Martín and back to Uyuni including visits to the Isla Incahuasi and the Isla de Pescado. 177 miles / 285 kilometres

Sunday 12th September: Uyuni to Potosí through stunning landscape via cor-ru-ru-ga-gated pista, smooth tarmac (had almost forgotten how that feels), sand, mud, gravel, clay and smoooth tarmac again. 132 miles / 212 kilometres

Monday 13th September: Potosí to Sucre on the paved and silky smooth Ruta 5 through wonderful countryside. Bolivia rocks. 100 miles / 161 kilometres

Tuesday 14th September: Maintenance day for bike and rider in Sucre, La Ciudad Blanca – the White City, and constitutional capital of Bolivia. 4 miles 7 6.5 kilometres to Motoservi (Avenida Jaime Mendoza 1104, just in case you are in the area) who allowed me to use their workshop for oil change, air filter cleaning, chain adjustment. Sight-seeing, laundry and haircut all on foot.

Wednesday 15th September: Sucre to Oruro taking the sensible route, i.e. back to Potosí and then north on the Ruta 1 and not the Ruta 6 over the Cordillera. My parents will be proud of me… 😉 298 miles / 480 kilometres

Thursday 16th September: Oruro to Cochabamba on the Ruta 4 via the Paso La Cumbre – 4,500 metres above sea level. Now back at a toasty warm altitude of 2,570 metres. 136 miles / 218 kilometres

Friday 17th September: Cochabamba to La Paz on Ruta 4 and Ruta 1, which is pretty straight, busy and boring until the snow-capped peaks of the High Andes appear on the horizon. 239 miles / 384 kilometres

Saturday 18th September: Sight-seeing day in the amazing city of La Paz. Several kilometres on foot.

Sunday 19th September: La Paz to Copacabana on Lago Titikaka. Fantastic views, an interesting crossing of the Strait of Tiquina on a barge, and then a very twisty and enjoyable mountain road. 106 miles / 170 kilometres

Monday 20th September: Boat trip on Lake Titikaka to the Isla del Sol. Lots of hiking and subsequently limping now…



Tuesday 21st September: Copacabana, Bolivia, to Puno in Peru. Pleasant border crossing with very friendly and efficient officers on both sides of the frontera. 95 miles /153 kilometres

Wednesday 22nd September: Puno to Cuzco via Ruta 3. Encountered one of the notorious Peruvian road barricades in Sicuani – the locals were protesting against the privatisation of the water supply (rightly so!) by blocking the road for 48 hours. Got round it on a dirt track through the river… 243 miles / 391 kilometers

Thursday 23rd September: Sight-seeing in Cuzco, organising bike insurance, buying train and entrance tickets for Machu Picchu, consulting Chiropractic to sort back pain out (caused by still limping about…), and enjoying the night life. Several kilometres on foot.

Friday 24th September: Cuzco to Ollantaytambo, a beautifully set village in a deep river valley surrounded by Inka ruins, from where the train leaves for Machu Picchu at 5:32 tomorrow morning… 60 miles / 96 kilometres

Saturday 25th September: Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and back by train, bus and lots of steep kilometres exploring the ancient Inca city on foot.


Machu Picchu

Sunday 26th September: Ollantaytambo to Cuzco through the Sacred Valley with a brief detour to the amazing Salineras de Moray, a terraced salt field dating back to Inka times. 80 miles / 128 kilometres

Monday 27th September: Cusco to Chalhuanca on the Ruta 26 through stunning countryside and the beautiful valley of the Río Pachachaca. 197 miles / 317 kilometres

Tuesday 28th September: Chalhuanca to Nazca on the Ruta 26. Motorcycle heaven – I’m still dizzy from all the twisty mountain passes; one bend after the other and the views were just breathtaking. Up to 4,558 metres above sea level today and I even saw two condors! 222 miles / 357 kilometres

Wednesday 29th September: Visiting the famous ‘Lineas de Nazca‘ and the Maria Reiche Museum, getting as close as possible to the ‘Cerro Blanco‘, the highest sand dune in the world (2,078 metres), and riding a stretch of the fabulous Ruta 26 again to get a picture of the condors I saw yesterday for my Possu. Unfortunately the birds had a different appointment… 81 miles / 130 kilometres

Thursday 30th September: Nazca to Camana on the Ruta 1 – the Panamericana – along the Pacific coast. Ab – so – lute – ly beau – ti – ful, one of the most stunning roads I have ever ridden. Wait until I’ve finally managed to upload the pictures onto Smugmug… 247 miles / 397 kilometres

Friday 1st October: Camana to Cabanaconde, first on the Panamericana until El Pedregal, then on a pretty tough dirt track over the Sierra (up to 4,300 m high) via Huacán and Huambo into the Cañon del Colca. 151 miles / 242 kilometres

Cañon del Colca

Saturday 2nd October: Cabanaconde to Arequipa continuing on dirt track via the Cruz del Condor (where I’ve seen condors!!!) and Yanque and then on the paved Ruta 112 climbing up to 4,882 metres above sea level at the Mirador de los Volcanes and down to the beautiful city of Arequipa. 136 miles / 218 kilometres

Sunday 3rd October: Minor bike maintenance and sight-seeing day in Arequipa – spent four hours in the amazing Santa Catalina Convent, a city within the city. Worth its own photo gallery. Several kilometres on foot.

Monday 4th October: Arequipa to Tacna on the Ruta 1, the Panamerican Highway. Desert, barren wasteland, strong winds and very occasionally a fertile river valley – sometimes it can feel a bit lost and lonely on a little DRZ… 238 miles / 383 kilometres

Tuesday 5th October: Tacna to border between Peru and



Tuesday 5th October: Longest border crossing so far – one whole hour including immigration, vehicle registration, chatting with the officials about my trip and a thorough luggage search which meant taking all my panniers off, having them X-rayed and then loading the bike again… Mind you, due to those rigorous controls Chile is free from any fruit, plant and animal plagues. Now in Arica for a few days. 40 miles / 64 kilometres

Wednesday 6th October: Bike maintenance day in Arica – new front tyre, new front brake pads, oil and filter change, air filter cleaned and lubed, fuel pipe replaced, chain lubed and adjusted, new seal for fuel tank lid carved. Still no care package from my Possu though… 😦

Thursday 7th October: Relaxing day by the sea in Arica. Walked along the Morro, held my feet into the South Pacific, visited the cathedral (designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1876) and the fascinating Museo del Mar. Several kilometres on foot.

Friday 8th October: After a last attempt at the post office (unfortunately in vain…), I went from Arica to Putre on the way to the Parque Nacional Lauca, one of the most impressive ones in Chile. No mobile reception on the Chilean Altiplano and the SPOT didn’t send a message either. After spending a week at sea level it’s nice to be back at refreshing 3,600 metres… 😉 100 miles / 161 kilometres

Saturday 9th October: Wonderful day in the Lauca National Park. Went up to 4,700 metres, saw impressive colonial churches, one of the highest non-navigable lakes on earth (Lago Chungará), the Payachata Volcanoes and Alpacas, Vicuñas, Flamingos and Vizcachas!!! Drank Chachacoma Mate (to cope with the altitude) and bought a pair of silky-smooth Baby-Alpaca socks… Back to Arica in the late afternoon. 178 miles / 286 kilometres

Sunday 10th October: And another day in Arica! After the Chileans changed the clock to their summertime and the landlord of my hotel gave me a long and amazing history lesson about the Inca and the Mapuche, it was already too late to set off to Iquique, so I finally visited the Morro de Arica, the museum at San Miguel de Apaza to look at the world’s oldest mummies and then Alto Ramirez to see the local geoglyphs. Spent some time by the sea, watched the impressive waves and the surfistas and was then invited to share dinner with my hosts. 40 miles / 64 kilometres

Monday 11th October: Arica to Iquique on the Rutas 5 and 16. Lots of sand, strong winds and steep river valleys. Stopped at the Oficina Salitrera de Humberstone, a former saltpetre refinery which was founded in 1872 and working until 1960, then turned into an open air museum and declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2005. Very impressive. 250 miles / 402 kilometres

Tuesday 12th October: Iquique to Tocopilla on the Ruta 1 along the Pacific Coast. Only sand and huge dunes on one side and the sea on the other, quite hostile in places but also awesome and very beautiful. 154 miles / 247 kilometres

Wednesday 13th October: Spent the day in bed in Tocopilla feeling poorly. But I couldn’t have chosen a better place to be ill – the Señoras in the hotel looked after me very well and in the evening I was up and running again. A few hundred metres to the restaurant for dinner on foot – so close to the sea it had to be mariscos and pescado, of course. Still feeling okay so far… 😉 Great joy and relief: all 33 of the trapped Mineros in San José are safely rescued!

Thursday 14th October: Tocopilla to San Pedro de Atacama via the Rutas 24 and 25. Stopped at Chuquicamata, the second-biggest copper mine in the world – 5 kilometres long, 3 km wide and 1 km deep; you can even see it from space. Was just in time for the free (!) guided tour – very impressive. Now in San Pedro and completely gobsmacked by the local price level (tap water and stale bread it is from now on…). 172 miles / 276 kilometres

Friday 15th October: Another day in bed with an aching tummy and head… Hope to feel fit enough to explore the area around San Pedro de Atacama tomorrow. Probably a kilometre on foot today to find a fuse for my mobile phone charger, look at the second oldest church in Chile and go to an internet café to update my blog…

Saturday 16th October: San Pedro de Atacama to the Geyser El Tatio and the Valle de la Luna. Had the Geyser all to myself and even took a bath in the hot springs. Fantastic landscape around here. 127 miles / 207 kilometres

Sunday 17th October: San Pedro to Antofagasta via the Rutas 23, 25, 5 and 26, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn. My demand for desert is pretty much satisfied now, could do with some greenery… 😉 199 miles / 319 kilometres

Monday 18th October: Antofagasta to Taltal on the Rutas 28, 5 and 1. Stopped at the Mano del Desierto and decided – after lots of sand, rocks and strong winds – that Chañaral would be a bit too far today. Now in this beautiful little town by the sea in a very nice and even cheap-ish hotel with lovely hosts. 197 miles / 317 kilometres

Tuesday 19th October: Taltal to Copiapó, a town you probably all know by now. Took a little detour through the gorgeous Pan de Azucar National Park before joining the Ruta 5, the Panamericana, again. And phew, the prices are starting to come down as well – staying in a nice, cheap Residencial tonight with a very kind host family and was also taken out for dinner (psst, don’t tell Possu… ;-)). 203 miles / 327 kilometres

Wednesday 20th October: Copiapó to La Serena on the Ruta 5. The countryside is getting greener! Found a nice family-run Hostal and will explore the area tomorrow a bit more. Possu wants me to swim in the cold Pacific at least once although it’s still the equivalent of our April over here! 212 miles / 341 kilometres

Thursday 21st October: From La Serena into the beautiful Valle de Elqui up to Pisco – vineyards, orchards with papayas, oranges and medlars and lots of green – then back to the Pacific and along the Bahia de Coquimbo. Absolutely no one was in the water, Possu… 152 miles / 245 kilometres

Friday 22nd October: La Serena to Valparaíso on the Ruta 5 and from Papudo onwards on the F-30-E along the coast – avoiding motorways tolls and enjoying the stunning scenery. Staying at the famous ‘Villa Kunterbunt’ for a few nights, hostel and meeting point for motorcycle travellers from all over the world. 265 miles / 426 kilometres

Saturday 23rd October: Sight-seeing day in Valparaíso; tried to retrieve Possu’s parcel (there’s still hope…) and get a new speedo cable. 34 miles / 54 kilometres on the bike, several more on foot.

Sunday 24th October: Day trip from Valparaíso to Santiago by coach, metro and foot – wonderful city with lovely people, impressive architecture, monuments and museums.

Monday 25th October: Another bike sorting and sight-seeing day in Valparaíso. Got a new number plate that looks almost exactly like the original one – thanks to graphic designers Dunia and Gonzalo – and found out that I don’t need a new cable but the speedometer itself – thanks to Mauricio and Pedro from Alcalde Motos in Viña del Mar (who didn’t even charge me for taking the speedo apart) – highly recommended! 20 miles / 32 kilometers, a few more on foot in the evening.

Tuesday 26th October: Another day in the beautiful cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. In the first I found out that Possu’s parcel is now in Santiago for some strange reason (…) and that the Suzuki dealer in the capital has the right speedo part (yippee!), in the latter I explored half of the cerros (the hills on which the upper town is built) on foot and enjoyed a culture festival with poems, music and dance – absolutely stunning. Tomorrow I will carry on to Santiago and further south at long last…

Wednesday 27th October: Valparaíso to San Fernando via Santiago where I finally got Possu’s parcel!!! Also had my speedo fixed at Promoto (Suzuki & KTM) in downtown Santiago. Staying with Elisabeth and José, the lovely couple I met at the wind park near La Serena. 140 miles / 312 kilometres

Thursday 28th October: Explored the area around San Fernando today and went to the beautiful Valle Colchagua and Sierras de Bellavista. Also had the first serious rain of the whole trip today! More to come further south, I reckon… 60 miles / 96 kilometres

Friday 29th October: San Fernando to Iloca along the coast via Pichilemu, the number one surf spot in Chile. The steep hills and the recent rain made the trails quite – mmm, “interesting”… However, I managed to stay upright and treated myself to a nice room with sea view and fresh local fish in the evening. 154 miles / 245 kilometres

Saturday 30th October: Iloca to Concepción passing through Constitución, which was hit by the earthquake and shortly afterwards by the Tsunami very hard – and it still shows. Carried on along the Pacific coast visiting more beaches and surf resorts (Curanipe, Buchupureo, Pullay, Cobquecura). 211 miles / 339 kilometres

Sunday 31st October: Concepción to Contulmo as close to the Pacific as possible – great views and dirt tracks along the coast. Tried to find accommodation in Cañete but learnt that Chile is closed on Sundays… It was getting late and I carried on along Lake Lanalhue to Contulmo where I finally found a lovely little hotel in an absolutely stunning countryside. It looks a bit like Bavaria or Austria around here and only the occasional palm tree reminds me of where I actually am… 😉 158 miles / 254 kilometres

Monday 1st November: Contulmo to Villarrica in the heart of the Lake District, beautifully set by a lake and a volcano of the same name. The latter is one of the most active in South America and to be honest, it felt very weird and slightly menacing riding towards a smoking volcano… 179 miles / 289 kilometres

Tuesday 2nd November: Villarrica to Pucón for breakfast, then to the Salto de Bellavista and the Ojos de Carbugua. Turned around and carried on to Licán Ray, Panguípulli, Los Lagos and via a horribly corrugated camino to Valdivia. 172 miles / 277 kilometres

Wednesday 3rd November: Bike maintenance and sight-seeing day in Valdivia. Also went to the coastal village of Niebla where it rained, of course (niebla means fog in Spanish…), and visited the ‘Cerveceria Kunstmann’, a famous brewery in Chile founded by a German family from Saxony in 1874, making very good beer strictly abiding by the German ‘Reinheitsgebot’ (purity law) which allows only four ingredients in a cerveza: water, barley, hops and yeast. Then had my bike serviced by the excellent crew at ESR Motos (Avenida Ramón Picarte 2371, if you happen to be in the area). 53 miles / 85 kilometres

Thurday 4th November: Valdivia to Puerto Montt with a few detours via the forest and some dirt tracks to Osorno and the Southern Lakes. Fantastic views over said lakes and the three volcanoes that dominate the horizon of the region. Now in a lovely little hostel with sea view in Puerto Montt, the gateway to the Isla de Chiloé and the great wilderness of Patagonia and the Carretera Austral. 176 miles / 283 kilometres

Friday 5th November: Day off for bike and rider in Puerto Montt – sight-seeing, another haircut, sorting out memory card problems (I had caught ten (10!) viruses in the various internet cafés in Chile and couldn’t see my photos anymore – catastrophe!), repairing and sorting out equipment and investigating ferry connections to the Carretera Austral. Several kilometres on foot in the pouring rain…

Saturday 6th November: Puerto Montt to Castro, the capital of the Isla Grande de Chiloé. Only 108 miles / 174 kilometres, as it was still raining today and I was pretty soaked when I arrived. Fascinating, that there can be so much water in the sky…

Sunday 7th November: Yippie, it stopped raining today – how beautiful is Chiloé when you can actually see it! Went from Castro via Chonchi to Quellón to the end of the Panamericana and then back to Ancud in the north of the island. Absolutely stunning scenery and lovely people. 192 miles / 309 kilometres

Monday 8th November: Ancud back to Osorno up north in order to enter the Carretera Austral via the backdoor, i.e. through the Argentinean Lake District, San Carlos de Bariloche and Esquel. Fitted a new front tyre and brake pads today at Moto Aventura Chile ( to be perfectly prepared for the great wilderness. 145 miles /  233 kilometres

Tuesday 9th November: Lots of things to do before leaving Chile and therefore late start from Osorno. Ruta 215 along the Lago Puyehue to the border with


Tuesday 9th November: Nice chatty border crossing, then entering the Nahuel Huapi National Park and cruising on the Ruta 231 and finally the famous Ruta 40 to San Carlos de Bariloche. Great weather with toasty temperatures and fabulous blue sky. 162 miles / 261 kilometres. Oh, and I have passed the estimated total of 10,000 miles today…

Wednesday 10th November: Still had a few things to sort out before heading for the wilderness, so stayed another day in Bariloche – above all to sample the excellent chocolates that are produced locally following either Swiss, Belgian, or German tradition. Feeling slightly sick now…

Thursday 11th November: Followed the Ruta 40 from Bariloche to the Welsh colony of Trevelin where the language is still spoken and the most common surname is Evans. Stayed in a little cottage named ‘Ty Gwyn’ (White House), enjoyed a Welsh tea and spoke to the locals about their ancestry – a fascinating history lesson. 162 miles / 260 kilometres

Friday 12th November: From Trevelin to the ‘Nant-y-Fall‘ waterfalls on the way to


Friday 12th November: Nice and chatty border crossing, then via the Ruta 17 and absolutely stunning countryside to the Ruta 7, the Carretera Austral where supplies, accommodation, SPOT coverage and internet connection are scarce. Found a Residencial in La Junta. So far I’m lucky with the weather… 196 miles / 316 kilometers

Achtung: I have now entered a SPOT-less area and am not sure when I will be able to send a message again. Here is a link to the SPOT coverage map:

Saturday 13th November: Another beautiful day – and I thought as soon as I hit the Carretera Austral the temperatures would drop below zero and it would be pouring down with rain all day… La Junta to Coyhaique on ripio (gravel track / Schotterstraße) for the first 104 kilometres, then after an ‘interesting’ mountain pass over the Cordillera Queulat, I was pleasantly surprised by the Chilean road engineering skills and silky smooth tarmac almost all the way to my destination (there is another 25 km ripio stretch in between). I have to admit that my need for dirt tracks was satisfied for the day and so I could enjoy the fantastic views and the stunning beauty of Patagonia even more. When I retire I will buy a little cottage here and breed sheep – Possu, take note and start saving now… 😉 182 miles / 293 kilometres

Sunday 14th November: Sight-seeing and sorting-out-stuff day in Coyhaique. My packing and sewing skills are improving…

Monday 15th November: Coyhaique to Bahia Murta on Lago General Carrera. The countryside is so beautiful that I can’t stop as often as I would like to in order to take photos. Around every corner the landscape is just stunning. Apart from that, the Carretera Austral demands a lot of concentration – but the Chileans are working on paving it all the way; so if you want ‘the real thing’ you better get here quick… 125 miles / 201 kilometres

Tuesday 16th November: Bahia Murta to Puerto Bertrand on the Ruta 7, then I left the Carretera Austral and headed east to Chile Chico at the border to Argentina where the Lago General Carrera is called Lago Buenos Aires. 145 miles / 234 kilometres, which took me over eight hours – not only due to the quite technical road but also to countless photo stops. Will I ever get the galleries up-to-date?

Wednesday 17th November: Chile Chico to the border two kilometres away – painless crossing into


Wednesday 17th November: Los Antiguos to Perito Moreno where I joined the Ruta 40 again, which – to my surprise was paved for the next 95 kilometres. Smooth, sweeping bends, great fun. Then it was ripio again until Bajo Caracoles, my destination for the night. From there I went to visit the Cueva de las Manos, a cave with rock-paintings more than 9,000 years old, since 1999 a world heritage site. Absolutely stunning. 186 miles / 299 kilometres

Thursday 18th November: The hardest day so far physically: from Bajo Caracoles to Tres Lagos on the Ruta 40. The Patagonian winds are so strong that I was almost blown off the road several times. Deep gravel, sand and stones added to the fun… Just about managed to stay upright but there were quite a few close calls. Absolutely knackered in the evening. Now I understand why the Ruta 40 is so famous – a real test for woman and machine… 214 miles / 344 kilometres

Friday 19th November: Sort of a rest day – Tres Lagos to El Chaltén on a paved stretch of the Ruta 40 and then on the Ruta 23. Needed my daily dose of ripio though and carried on through the beautiful valley of the Río de las Vueltas to the Lago del Desierto. Saw the Glacier Viedma, the biggest in Argentina, and the Cerro Fitz Roy (in the photo below; I now have my own pictures but it will take a while until I can catch up with the galleries – internet is scarce around here and veeerrryyy slooow). 131 miles / 211 kilometres

Saturday 20th November: Stayed another night in El Chaltén, the national capital of trekking, and spent the day – guess what? Great walks and views that would be absolutely fantastic if the weather was nice. Today it was snowing (!) a lot though, so it was just fantastic… Several kilometres trail walking.

Cerro Fitzroy

Sunday 21st November: El Chaltén to El Calafate – lots of wind still but paved all the way, which was just lovely. Arrived so early at my destination that I still had time to visit the Glacier Perito Moreno in the afternoon – absolutely stunning. And the twisty road from the park entrance to the glacier is not bad either… 235 miles / 378 kilometres

Monday 22nd November: El Calafate to Río Turbio. Wind and weather were so bad that I left the original Ruta 40 and took the soft-boiled-egg option via La Esperanza (which is all tarmac). Still, so knackered in the evening that I didn’t leave my room anymore – just had a few biscuits before falling asleep. The Patagonian winds are killing me… 207 miles / 334 kilometres

Tuesday 23rd November: Río Turbio to Cancha Carrera and the border with


Tuesday 23rd November: Very pleasant border crossing at Cerro Castillo, then on to the Torres del Paine National Park where I stayed at the picturesque Lago Pehoe with great views of the mountains. I couldn’t imagine that it can still get more beautiful in the south but it can – just wait for the photos. 87 miles / 140 kilometres

Wednesday 24th November: The winds were so strong during the night that no one could sleep on the campsite out of fear that their tent would be blown away. In the morning the gusts still had an average speed of 100 kph. I went to explore the park a bit further regardless, at times down to first gear and just managing to keep the bike upright. However, the beauty of this land is worth every effort. On the way to Puerto Natales lies the Cueva de Milodón, a huge cave where remains of giant ground sloths and human activity from 12,000 years ago were found – very impressive. 83 miles / 134 kilometres

Thursday 25th November: Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas, a rest day: paved all the way and the wind from behind! 167 miles / 269 kilometres

Friday 26th November: Took the ferry from Punta Arenas to Tierra del Fuego this morning. Although I didn’t have time to go down to Ushuaia this time (…), I thought I would at least ride a bit of TdF while I am that close. Ripio and side winds from Porvenir to Bahia Azul, where another ferry sails back to the mainland. Then I had to leave Chile for good…


Friday 26th November: Visited the Laguna Azul and joined the Ruta 3 at long last which I won’t leave until Buenos Aires – apart from looking at the occasional penguin, whale or petrified tree. Staying in Río Gallegos tonight. 189 miles / 304 kilometres

Saturday 27th November: Río Gallegos to Puerto San Julian on the Ruta 3. Pitched tent on the excellent municipal campsite and was invited to dinner by a lovely Uruguayan couple on their way to Ushuaia – on a Harley. 235 miles / 377 kilometres

Sunday 28th November: Puerto San Julian to Caleta Olivia. Happened to arrive just in time to join the end of a week-long fiesta to celebrate the town’s 109th birthday. 221 miles / 355 kilometres

Monday 29th November: Caleta Olivia to Camarones on the Atlantic Coast. Started in horrible weather conditions (pouring rain and strong winds) and ended up seeing the sunset in a most idyllic place on another excellent municipal campsite – where I finally cooked the spaghetti I had been carrying with me since Buenos Aires. They almost made it full circle… Oh, and I’m in SPOT range again – hooray! 214 miles / 344 kilometres

Tuesday 30th November: Went to the Pingüinera Cabo Dos Bahias this morning to look at the Magellan Penguin colony. Just managed to resist the temptation to put one of the cute little chicks into my panniers (if I only had a tank bag…). Then rejoined the Ruta 3 and headed to Trelew, another Welsh colony in Patagonia. 200 miles / 322 kilometres

Wednesday 1st December: Bike maintenance, laundry and sight-seeing day in Trelew and Gaiman. Had the DRZ serviced by the great team at Aventura Motos and finally changed the spark plug which I had completely forgotten about for almost 22,000 kilometres, ahem… Went to the even more Welsh town of Gaiman where I followed the traces of the first pioneers and savoured a traditional Afternoon Tea. Due to taking a wrong turning on the way back I even got my daily dose of ripio today… Back in Trelew the excellent palaeontologic museum MEF (Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio) waited to be visited – highly recommended when you are in the area. 28 miles / 45 kilometres; several more on foot.

Thursday 2nd December: Trelew to Puerto Pirámides on the Península Valdés. Stopped briefly in Puerto Madryn and was interviewed by a Patagonian radio station! (I’m famous now – several people approached me afterwards: are you the one? :-)) 104 miles / 167 kilometres

Friday 3rd December: Due to strong winds the port was closed in the morning and as the forecast looked bad, I went for a sight-seeing tour of the peninsula. Wrong decision: around lunchtime the winds calmed down and the boats were able to leave the harbour – boo hoo, I missed my chance to watch the southern right whales at close range… To top it all, the engine of my trusty DRZ suddenly died for the first time in more than 13,000 miles / 21, 500 kilometres. Before I had time to carry out any diagnostics two park rangers appeared, just heaved the DRZ onto their pick-up truck and fixed it at the research station. It was only a stuck carb float but another great opportunity to meet nice people and experience the humbling helpfulness of the Argentinians. I will definitely come back one day – and not only for the whale watching… 121 miles / 194 kilometres

Saturday 4th December: Had to make some progress today and went from Puerto Pirámides to Viedma in one go. Still had some time left for sight-seeing in Las Grutas, San Antonio Oeste, Viedma, the capital of the Río Negro province and Carmes de Patagones on the other side of the river. 331 miles / 533 kilometres, several more on foot and 800 metres in a tiny little ferry-boat that carries pedestrians from Viedma to Carmen de Patagones over the Río Negro.

Sunday 5th December: Viedma to Monte Hermoso – thought with all the snow in Europe I’d rather spend a few days on the beach and stock up on sunshine, sea and surf… 😀 Photographic evidence (especially for Possu) of my bathing-in-the-Atlantic-session on the last pages of the Argentina gallery. 267 miles / 430 kilometres

Monday 6th December: Monte Hermoso to Otamendi on the Ruta 11. Originally I had planned to stay in another beach resort, Necochea, but then I met Jorge and Facundo on the road who were on their way back from Ushuaia on Yamaha 125’s! They invited me to a proper Argentinean Asado (BBQ) and to spend the night with them (and another six men – all younger than me; better not tell Possu…). 242 miles / 389 kilometres

Tuesday 7th December: Otamendi to Villa Gesell – the last day on the Atlantic coast before returning to Buenos Aires. Picturesque village with beautiful beaches, great waves, lovely hotel, delicious ice cream; highly recommended. 99 miles / 160 kilometres

Wednesday 8th December: Villa Gesell to Buenos Aires along the coast. The wind still hasn’t realised that WE ARE NOT IN PATAGONIA ANYMORE and is still blowing strong – mainly from the wrong direction… Warm welcome from John and Francesca and lovely meal at their place. 252 miles / 405 kilometres

Thursday 9th December: Sight-seeing and prepping-the-bike-and-the-luggage-for-the-flight-back-home day in Buenos Aires. Several kilometres on foot.

Friday 10th December: Downtown Buenos Aires to Ezeiza, the international airport. Very pleasant export procedure, got special attention from all officials (it really paid off to travel as a woman on her own with a little motorbike through South America… ;-)); everything was dealt with in a helpful and efficient way and the bike is now securely cocoon-ed waiting to be flown to Frankfurt, then to Heathrow and delivered to James Cargo, where Possu and I will pick it up next week. Thank you, Lufthansa! The evening I spent with John and Francesca again and was treated to another delicious dinner at their casa. 20 miles / 32 kilometres

And that’s the Motorcycle Diaries part over. I covered 14,616 miles / 23,517 in total, didn’t experience any problems apart from a broken speedo cable and a stuck floater and can only say – well done, DRZ!

Now the holiday can begin: time to stretch my legs and explore the fascinating city of Buenos Aires, buy Christmas presents for the loved ones at home and start to digest the amazing experiences I was so privileged to make during the last four months. Ride report to follow…


Tuesday 14th December: Go to Ezeiza International Airport and board the plane to Madrid, Spain.

Wednesday 15th December: Arrive at London-Gatwick, back in the UK.

The End…

Posted 24 July 2010 by Pumpy

4 responses to “The Route

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  1. Not long now Pumpy, all the best and ride safe. Chubbythumper
  2. Hola Pumpy,

    You’re doing a great job, looking forward to having you home again soon!

    Lots of love


  3. felicitaciones manuela ¡¡¡ gracias por compartir el reportaje en radio lu 17 radio golfo nuevo de puerto madryn chubut
    mucha suerte en tu viaje y a seguir rodando por el mundo
    lo mejor besos¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

  4. Hi Ela, lovely photos and a very well written descriptive piece about your visit to the falls, I look forward to reading about the rest of your adventures. Love Derek

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