To Camp or not to Camp?
This is my first post. Thank you Grant and Susan for the Hubb and all you have done for us overlanders. As two expats USA and Spain, we bought our Hondas (NX400 Falcon and XR250 Tornado) 0 kilometers in Buenos Aires. We had excellent hand crafted racks custom made for our soft luggage by "Pato," loaded our gear and after a practice run throughout Uruguay and a 1000 k maintenance back in BA, rode across Argentina and crossed into Chile at Paso de Jama. We had to remove air filters at 3,500 meters alt. and still lugged, but by using most of our back up gas, crossed the Andes. We made new friends of the two British Sharon and Stuart (she is wholesome as a french farm girl) riding two 650s in San Pedro de Atacama. We saw them again in Cuzco.
We rode to Tocopilla and up "1" to Iquique, over to "5" and crossed into Peru at Arica/Tacna. After a side trip to Arequipa, we continued up the coast to Lima, inland to Huancayo, down to Ayacucho and over hundreds of k of very mountainous dirt, gravel, rocky, rivered roads to Albancay. There are a few villages along the way, but when roads are blocked due to earthquakes, banditos, cocalero protests, narcotraficantes or police roadblocks. for us, it was always TO CAMP, not backtrack. Actually camping aforded us the opportunity to know the local people, police and many animals, and their customs. We camped, when possible near corraled or hobbled horses, as they always alerted us to prepare for intruders.
Although our 2 Hondas performed without any mechanical malfunctions whatsoever under incredibly stressful situations, especially riding up to the "thermals" along ruta 40 (Argentina) we did meet other overlanders who had broken bikes "camping" until parts or transport out arrived. So yes, it is TO CAMP, or at least be prepared to camp.
After running up to Cuzco, yes there is a classic bike bar right downtown, and around Lake Titicaca, through La Paz and Bolivia and back to Buenos Aires, we stored our bikes, returned to Arizona and then drove a Ford Explorer from arizona to Panama and back. Yes, it is TO CAMP throughout Central America too. Now we have returned to Buenos Aires, our Hondas, and a new life as expats, she with an acting career and me, well, me? I am just waiting to hear from you.