Coming home was never in the books, but I’m sure glad it happened. It got to the point where I realized that this trip needed more planning than we had originally given it. On previous adventures timing played a much less integral role and I always had the luxury of being lazy with regards to deciding how to proceed with the trip.
In C.A and S.A, language is a huge roadblock because my Spanish just isn’t good enough to have an in depth conversation about good cycling routes. Also, info is hard to find with regards to where small roads exist, where they lead to, or whether they are purely myth. Until now, route planning consisted of basic maps downloaded to our ipad, however many of the small dirt roads aren’t mapped out very well on the Open Street Maps which cycle tourists and adventurers love.
Gina and I have started planning with Google earth, and so far it’s been a tremendous resource. You can see just about everything from superhighways to hiking trails, and look at photos uploaded by various people. We have approximately 20,000 km to map out so it’s a really slow process, but in the end having a solid dirt trail mapped out will give us the ability to explore some more remote regions and ride the trail less ridden. We are certainly keeping an open mind with regards to where we can ride and if we meet other cyclists we can always detour, but we hope that the plan helps us to avoid many of the major roads we were forced to take in C.A.
We’ve also purchased a Garmin Oregon 650 to help us navigate, and we are able to save our Google Earth tracks into Garmin Basecamp and export them to the GPS.
I would also like to thank Pikes on Bikes (pikesonbikes.com) as it was through them that I became inspired to start looking for my own routes. They have a wonderful website, http://www.andesbybike.com, which is a great resource for touring offroad in South America.