November 21, 2012 GMT
Crossing the Andes

I went up into the Chilean Andes at the youthful age of 49, and came back down the other side into Argentina at the start of my next half century. Crossing the Andes was significant for us, back in 2011 we stayed on the Pacific side all the way down, with jaunts up onto the Altiplano, but never actually crossed them.

That is one itch scratched.

cossedandes.jpg
At the top of the pass, with snowy Aconcagua peeping in the background.

The final bit of the pass over to Argentina from Santiago has 29 hairpins, rising near to vertical from over 1500 metres at the end of the valley floor to 3100 metres. Jean had her eyes closed most of the way up as I pointed the bike at each apex and wrestled it round. It was a good job she didn't know I had my eyes shut as well.

The drop down the east side was spectacular but much more sedate, following the river with multi coloured, proper pointy mountains flanking either side.

On both sides of the Andes so far, we have spent much of our spare time on buying missions for extra things, like sockets needed for the nuts to remove the panniers. We had a farce getting the bike into a small hostel when they would not let us leave it outside. It was too wide to fit through the doors and we needed to remove a pannier. That was a bad time to find out we did not have the necessary 10mm socket.

A relation of the owner magically appeared with the correct sized socket. We then eased the bike through the ornate doors and past the antique brass handles.

South American men love to get their tools out.
toolsout.jpg

The bike is challenging the amount of tie clips we have brought along. So far the ignition is held on with one.

ignition.jpg

And the seat has been bodged open as the lock has broken.

seatlock.jpg
Observant people will note the judicious use of electrical tape on some dodgy wiring.

This is the new ignition and seat lock which we bought on Ebay at home and fitted when we got here.

Actually we think a suspension repair man in Santiago snapped a key in the seat lock and did not tell us.

We have now gone all local with spare fuel supplies, we have given up trying to find a proper petrol can and have resorted to buying what looks to us like a 1 gallon orange juice container. The Ferreteria owner insisted that 'this is what we use for petrol here'. I had another mispronunciation episode as I tried to buy a bidet for the petrol instead of a "bidon".

Armed with our orange juice can, sensibly nearly full to allow for heat expansion and packed neatly in to our top box, we ventured north into the sticks to a small town called San Agustin. The town is in an area famed for lack of petrol stations. And no one in our hostel in Mendoza could confirm or deny if there was one there or not.

sparecan.jpg

We don't know the capacity of the tank on the bike, it doesn't tell us in the bike manual, I really should look it up, but guessed we had enough to get there after the last possible fuel stop at the last big town, San Juan. With 120 kms on the clock, and 114kms to go as we turned off the main road we shrugged at each other and said "stuff it, lets just go for it".

We are operating on a wing and a prayer, but as we are both agnostic just the wing will have to do.

Posted by Bruce Porter at November 21, 2012 08:41 PM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

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!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"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!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

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).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

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

contest pic

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!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

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, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

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.

Susan and Grant Johnson 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

amazon

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.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

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 ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

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!