As you may recall, due to a little medical hiccup in January, we departed a couple of weeks late for Santiago. This still gave us enough time to reach New York for late July as planned. As we finally start to head north, we have spent an additional four weeks in Chile and Argentina having had a wonderful time, but are no closer to our destination of New York than we were last month at this time. Something has to give.
One of our concerns had been that we needed to have our motorbikes back in the UK to obtain our Carnet de Passage refund, a not insignificant amount, by August 2015. This has turned out not to be the case and we can send the documents back once we are clear of any countries that may wish to see them. While we would have loved to be back in Europe for late summer, this is just not practical anymore given the distances, roads, borders and places we want to visit.
Places we want to visit! Now that has become a problem, there are just so many. Where do you start and stop? As we found out in Easter Island, a small place, but easy to fill 5 days! We could have spent a couple of months in the Chilean lake district and Argentina’s Patagonia. We realise now that as we travelled across Asia, the visa limits of no more than 30 days forced us to focus on what was practical to see in that timeframe and then we had to leave. If we are to avoid riding into New York in a December snowstorm, we have to make some decisions about time allocation. When we set off on this journey around the world in June 2014, we both agreed that we did not want to travel indefinitely. We have found that we enjoy six months or so continuous travelling but that is about our limit. Endless travel is not our thing. Having spent the preceding nine months living in Europe we were glad to be home, abeit briefly for six weeks, in January 2015.
So we now need to make some timing decisions, of course subject to change as we travel but with the aim of now arriving in New York in September. We have also decided to focus on certain countries and regions namely, Northern Chile, Southern Bolivia, only the Nasca lines in Peru since we have spent a fair amount of time in Peru on a previous trip, Ecuador and Columbia.
Since my accident we have both been considering how much ripio, or gravel we wish to ride on. Hard packed is OK, but the softer stuff is an issue, I do not have full strength and mobility and another fall could curtail our trip permanently. We ride to enjoy, and as we do not enjoy corrugations and poor quality roads, should we even undertake them if we do not need to? Anne is prone to altitude sickness and considering we would be above 4000m continuously for a few days (up to 5000m) in Bolivia, we are not sure how she will go or if we will even attempt it. We still have about a week before we have to decide on whether we enter Bolivia briefly or cross it up to La Paz. I do not know at this stage, we will probably decide when we get closer and have the latest information on road conditions.
Central America and Mexico are more accessible from the USA should we wish to return in future so we will limit our time there. It may unfortunately mean we may now be unlikely to get to Mexico and Costa Rica in time to meet up with friends as we had hoped later this year, but until we get past Peru we will not know for certain. I know we will miss many amazing places, but we need to leave somewhere for you armchair followers to explore on your own.
On this revised basis, and assuming I can stay on my motorbike, we should arrive in the USA mid July which should give us enough time to catch up with friends en-route and still get to Sturgis for the 75th anniversary of this motorcycle rally in early August. So those of you motorcyclists that want the 75th anniversary t-shirt, how about riding some of the way with us? A thought for those who have not planned their next holiday or can slip a few days in on a business trip.
Now we have a totally new and unexpected target to aim for, we will see how it all unfolds in the next five months, your guess is probably as good as ours.