August 26, 2008 GMT
1. Introduction

Back in 1974 when we (my brother and me) had our first bikes (Kawasaki 100cc) and rode up and down our mountainous country, we started thinking about riding through South America.

We used to know about Peruvian-Chilean desert, Machu Picchu and other sites…..but no more. As not to many people at that time used to travel by road to distant southern countries, we speculated that Atacama, that appeared in the maps as a grand barrier, would be impossible for bikes,…… may be at night..….., but not more. And the dream began. When we had time, had no money, and vice versa. And we had time and money, any compromise prevented us of doing the trip. So, never the expectations were fulfilled.

I began seriously thinking about this trip early in 2006, willing to ride the Andes, the longest cordillera (mountain range) in the world, and the second in height. I made a tentative route and got read Horizons Unlimited travellers reports. I researched about interesting places, roads, weather, motorcycles, and gear. As a consequence, several routes were under consideration.

Destine is permitting to me going this year. Furthermore, in my 50’s, I can’t let my ability and skills get reduced under the necessary threshold for this off-road long riding. Ageing make the possibilities to shrink, up to finally trips are reduced to a typical travel agency brochure with plane itineraries and you, yes, also your self, making the lines behind others less white-haired, less deaf and less bent-down than you!

One important thing when reading about trips is going after them over a map, the most detailed, the better. You can localize names, weather conditions, described landscape, pictures, to get context in geography. You will better understand reports, and enjoy the odyssey beside the writer. And before traveling, if you further research about history, economy, geology, to name just a few, you will enjoy double your trip and learn a lot. In this way you travel through the country, not over it. That’s what I have tried to do.

I would like to tell you, esteemed reader, that I am going to write most for the beginners that for the experienced when describing or reporting places. I prefer to be skipped for those who already know about the topic, than appear too short of words and details to whom is novice in the matter.
Amigo: ahora puedes leer la historia completa en mi libro "La Suramérica que recorrí". Ve a Las fotos, míralas aquí.
Desde 1974 cuando mi hermano y yo tuvimos nuestras primeras motos (Kawasaki 100), empezamos a pensar en viajar por Suramérica. Sabíamos del desierto entre Perú y Chile, de Machu Picchu y otros sitios………, pero no más. Como en ese tiempo no mucha gente viajaba por carretera a los países del sur, especulamos que Atacama, que aparecía en los mapas como una gran barrera, sería imposible para motocicletas………, tal vez de noche……..., pero no más. Y el sueño empezó! Cuando había tiempo, no había plata, y viceversa; y cuando había tiempo y plata, algún compromiso impedía hacer el viaje. Por lo tanto, nunca se llenaron las expectativas.

A principios de 2006 empecé a pensar seriamente acerca de este viaje, aspirando rodar por los Andes, la cordillera más larga del mundo y segunda en altura. Hice una ruta tentativa y empecé a leer reportes en Horizons Unlimited. Investigué acerca de lugares interesantes, carreteras, tiempo, motocicletas y equipo. Como consecuencia, varias rutas estuvieron en consideración.

El destino me está permitiendo ir este año. Más aún, en mis 50s, no puedo dejar que la habilidad y condiciones se reduzcan por debajo del umbral necesario para este largo viaje por carreteras secundarias. Al envejecer las posibilidades se agotan hasta que finalmente los viajes se reducen a uno típico de agencia de viajes (perdón a mis amigos en este negocio) con itinerarios de avión y usted, sí, usted amigo o amiga, haciendo fila detrás de otros menos canositos, menos sorditos y menos encorvaditos que usted!

Una cosa importante al leer acerca de viajes es seguirlos en un mapa, entre más detallado mejor. Usted puede localizar nombres, condiciones ambientales, un paisaje descrito, fotografías y mucho más para establecer el contexto en geografía. Usted entenderá mejor los reportes y gozará de la odisea al lado del escritor. Y antes de viajar, si usted hace alguna averiguación acerca de historia, economía o geología, para nombrar sólo unas pocas disciplinas, usted se deleitará el doble con su viaje y aprenderá cantidades. De esta manera usted viajará a través del país que está visitando, no a él. Esto es lo que yo he tratado de hacer.

Posted by Santiago Lema at August 26, 2008 07:33 PM GMT

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