5 Norte: thoughts from the road

Riding along my gaze fell on the fields, hills and mountains with their colours ranging across green, yellow, brown red and purple into the distance reminded me of the various colours that my foot, ankle and leg have turned during the last three weeks. I thought I should provide an update on my progress. We are now entering the green and yellow phases which indicate healing is progressing, sadly new red and patches are appearing too. The swelling has mostly subsided but not gone away entirely and the swelling around the ankle bone has hardly reduced at all. The ankle is still sore to walk any distance but is improving and my reduced physical strength is impacting on my confidence. I suspect a further month to go before I am fully healed. It has surprised me that I have needed pain killers for such a length of time as the leg can still wake me up at night.

We have found the last few days challenging in a number of ways. The primary reason is that we have been wrestling with whether we visit Bolivia or not? We have decided that we will not visit Bolivia this time, the poor road conditions including lots of sand, the guaranteed spills and my leg being the primary reasons. I have also found that my confidence on tough surfaces has been reduced since the accident. We know we will miss certain wonderful places and views, but we both realise that while we will take on challenges when they are placed in front of us, we do not choose to put ourselves in situations where we take increased risks, which hundreds of kilometres on dirt roads with soft sand would provide, especially with one of us already partly functioning! We have always said that we ride to travel rather travel to ride. We will spend more time exploring the Salar de Atacama region in Chile instead before heading to Peru.

25,000 kilometres and counting, we have passed another distance milestone. It may not seem far to all you Jetset frequent flyers, but for us each kilometre has been ridden by hand, some more easily than others! We estimate that the total trip will be in the order of 40,000 kilometres. This is a real guesstimate as I have done no research on the distance from here, Antofagasta to New York. We are now over 1,300 kilometres north of Santiago by road and still have over 1,000 kilometres to go before we reach the Peruvian border.

– Anthony

11 comments on “5 Norte: thoughts from the road

  1. 25 000 km do sound very impressive, Anthony, and believe you me, we are very conscious that you have achieved them on often pretty treacherous terrain! with you two all the way xxx


    • Its taken over seven months to get there. We have probably had more treacherous traffic than roads over time, but I do like the nice smooth winding asphalt surface like we had a couple of days ago. Blog entry to follow.


  2. Discretion is the better part of valour; we are glad to hear you are giving Bolivia a miss with its dodgy road surfaces. Good luck for the trip through Chile to Peru.


  3. Sound risk management to me and sorry to hear that your ankle is still so painful. I need to look at the route map to comprehend 25,000 kms. Amazing distance to hand ride xx


  4. Wow…you have travelled far with so many adventures. Sorry to hear that the ankle is slow to heal. I remember breaking my toe last time I was in Oz then, foolishly , getting on my bike some days later only to make it worse as I forgot about it and put my foot to the floor when breaking…ouch! Sounds a sensible decision to give unsurfaced roads a miss for now. Hope it isn’t too painful and you can carry on having fun. Leaving Oz for the UK today 😢. We will be back soon 😃 xx


    • It does need time to heal as you attested to. Any agitation just delays the healing process, says he who just walked 1.5km at over 7,000 feet above sea level! Have a safe trip home and we will catch up when we get back.


  5. It sounds to me that you’ve made exactly the right decision, minimising the risk by staying on good roads for the next couple of weeks is very sensible. You have had so many exciting times on this journey, you need to continue until the end as we all like reading your blog.

    Take care and I look forward to the blog reporting the ankle has turned white and can be declared as normal.


    • Risk management is helped by the memory of the crash. I remember this one unlike the last. We have heard that there is water in the salt flats and this would destroy the bikes we have heard. Now we are focussing on Atacama with four tours scheduled then north to Peru by early April. Lots more to see and do before we get to New York.


  6. Yes indeed : such wise decisions and, who knows?, that painful accident might have been a blessing in disguise. Happy – and painless – continuation north. xx


    • Will never know, but we are happy with our decision. There is so much to see and do you could spend a lifetime in the region and not see and do it all. We will keep enjoying everything we see and do.


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