We're heading back to South America, this November.
Since finishing the Two Pegs trip I've definitely had a sense of something missing. A need to hit the road again. We had plans for spending a large chunk of the winter in Spain and only taking time to come home if any work came up.
But with people asking me what I was going to do for my birthday this year, my birthday is in November (and I will be 50), we usually pick a city somewhere (warm) and hit it for a weekend with any friends who want to come along. I pondered for a while and realised that what I really wanted to do, more than anything else, was to ride a bike in far off foreign lands again. Warm far off places. Preferably for a long way and for a long time.
Jean agreed that since returning from the last trip, apart from a wander up the length of the Pennine Way and attempting to learn more Spanish, it had been a year of relentless hard work.
Ripping through South America last time had only given us a sense of how much more there was to see. I decided I wanted to get back to Peru and see places we had missed. Places like the Colca Canyon
Deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Jean made no attempt to dissuade me, in fact she agreed quickly but insisted we go to Bolivia as well.
We are both now working as independent contractors, with the aim of being able to take off and GO when we want. Funnily, permanent employers don't really care for this.....
I was already self employed, but Jean has ducked out of a steady NHS job and has needed to put a fair bit of effort getting herself established. So a lot of working and not much 'going' has been the order of the day.
A quick check on bike shipping costs (circa £1850 per bike, each way) ruled out two bikes. As we are only planning a 3 month trip, even flying one bike seemed a bit steep. I weighed up renting a bike instead of flying one out. That also looked expensive.
Then I started to look into buying a bike.
Peru - Seemed possible, but main selection was Chinese small CC imports. And reports on blogs showed issues with leaving the country (and returning).
Bolivia - Again possible, and there seemed to be more Japanese models available. But *severe* issues trying to get one out of the country.
Argentina - Lots of bikes, all makes, reasonable prices. But you need to own the bike for 12 months before taking it out of the country.
Chile - Easy to buy, lots of choice, easy to get one out of the country. Just expensive.
My search took me to a Chilean Forum with bike sales I came across one from a Juan Riviera. Could this be the same Juan who was so helpful last time round ? The same Juan (and his father Juan Snr) that led to this blog post
Yes, it was.
I never wanted to own a BMW, I've never ridden a BMW (more than a couple of miles).
But sometimes things are just meant to happen.
At least it was built by Aprilia :-) (Under license for BMW)
I now appear to own this beast.
The seat height passes the "Jean foot down test"
Juan is storing it until we get there, then we have to find somewhere to store it when we leave in January 2013. We will be returning, I still have the Carretera Austral to ride another time.
And there is still Paraguay, Uruguay and and all the other countries we failed to get to.
Once again we have a plan. Another loose plan, this one will start and finish in Santiago. Along the way we will try and do some train rides up/down and across the Andes.
I will be having another long bike ride.
It will also distract Jean from her latest scheme of walking the newly opened Welsh Coastal Path. Although this has already started.....only 830 more miles to go......
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