The problem of getting out of Coyhaique was finally solved by Fabiola (and she wanted rid of me, of course).
She rang Luis, who runs a dairy truck empty to Puerto Chacabuco and thence on the boat to Puerto Montt. So, having explained that I couldn´t actually ride the bike to the truck because of the snow and ice, She arranged for Patricio (who, you may remember, brought the wreck back from the border) to come with his pickup and two rather nice strong young men to take the bike and boxes to the big truck.
Patricio used to do motocross so understands all about tying bikes down. Anyway, we found Luis and his truck; and we have to get the bike in backwards from the bed of the pickup, a height difference of at least a couple of feet. But now we had four nice strong young men, and Patricio understood about the sumpguard so everything went OK.
Next we found that the only tie-down points were on the ceiling. Hmmm. Patricio to the rescue again. We used the straps to hang the bike from the ceiling. It was in gear, and the front tyre was on the floor with the suspension almost completely uncompressed. Kooked OK to me providing Luisdidn´t do too much over-enthusiastic cornering (doubtful, given the conditions).
Patricio refused to take any money as he was so impressed by the rebuild, having had an intimate relationship with the wreck. I took a couple of litres of decent pisco round to him in the evening.
Next job was to get a flight; easy enough, Sky, 40-odd quid.
Airport closed. There´s no ILS (VFR only), so if there´s fog or low cloud there are no flights in so no flights out, mainly because of the proximity of a) large chunks of Andes and b) the Argentinian border (actually the airport eastern perimiter fence).
But Francisco made me go anyway just in case, and he was right (but only just).
So here I am in Puerto Montt, and I´ve just had a text from Fabiola to say that Luis is arriving in a couple of hours, hurrah.
But don´t mention pecs right now. The physio (lifting pudding bottles) went fine, but they kept getting lighter. But I´d still rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy.
I nearly lost my Swiss Army knife at the airport because I completely forgot about putting it in my checked baggage. So I put it inside my helmet inside my little backpack. They spotted my ´waiter´s friend´ (which I´d also forgotten about) and confiscated that, but the knife survived. Phew.
The boat finally arrived at 7 last night. The port is very disorganised, and no-one knows anything. But eventually Luis came and collected me from the gate and took me into the bowels of the cargo ship where the bike was already standing on the deck.
Of course, it wouldn´t start. So I stood around being gassed by the trucks and looked forlorn, and eventually a couple of the crew helped me get the bike up the greasy wet steel ramps on to the dockside (I was getting in the way by then).
A couple of truckers waiting to board were hanging around, and they helped me try to bump start, but no dice. By this time the battery was down to starter relay clicking mode, so having indicated that I possessed a pair of jump leads they pushed the bike to one of the trucks and we connected it up. Still no go. Check for sparks. None, and plugs looking a bit second-hand anyway (they were OK in Coyhaique) so we cleaned the lead terminals where they go into the coil and put new plugs in and hey presto.
The one who insisted on doing the work asked if he could have a ride around the dock, so of course I said yes. He clearly rather enjoyed himself.
So I´m off northwards this morning. HURRAH.
Mario the Croatian driver was ever so pleased to see me and gave me a big hug. And the hotel have put me in one of the best rooms for the same price as before.
Ye gods, the difference 1300 miles north makes. I´ve been walking round in a T-shirt today, and the snowline is at around 5000 feet instead of sea-level. The bike´s going great, but I´ve had to do a few of those bedding-down tweaks you always need after the first few hundred miles. And I managed to get hold of a rivet gun and rivets to fix the VIN plate to the new frame. Shhh.
When you enter Chile you get 90 days (or thereabouts - sometimes it´s 3 months). Now, my time´s nearly up, so I´ve needed to extend both my immigration permit and the bike temporary import papers (Chile doesn´t recognise the carnet). So, this morning I went to the appropriate office and organised my Amplicación de Turismo, a surprisingly painless process apart from the $100 fee and the sudden lunge you have to make when your number comes up as the chap at the indicated window gives no more than 3 seconds before pressing the button again for the next number.
Next to Customs. No way, José. Or rather, all too mucho difficult even though the chaps at the border rather helpfully wrote an explanatory note on the existing papers about the accident. Bugger.
So tomorrow I head north. The problem is this:
a) All passes over the Andes north of here (except the one to La Paz) are over 10,000 feet (and one or two are as high as 15,000).
b) Only two are paved: the one to La Paz and the Cristo Redentor (to Mendoza in Argentina. In my present state I´m not going to attempt unpaved roads, especially in snow.
c) The Cristo Redentor, about 50 miles north of here, is closed due to heavy snow.
d) La Paz is not currently a recommended holiday destination, even by my standards (hey, Beirut, south Waziristan, you name it).
So it looks as though I´ll not be able to get to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay or Paraguay unless by some miracle the situation in Bolivia improves. And because I can´t cross to Argentina I have to ride hell-for-leather to Peru (and get there by next Thursday), which is over 2000km from here with plenty to see on the way. Ho hum. But if I ride fastish (and the PanAmericana is actually a very good road) I should get to see the really interesting things properly, like the Atacama Desert.
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
- Canada West: Aug 20-23, 2015
- USA California: Sep 24-27, 2015
- Aus Queensland: Sep 24-27, 2015
- USA North Carolina: Oct 8-11, 2015
- Aus Perth: Oct 9-11, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!