An ending (ascent)

Finality is unavoidable. And this chapter of my life is about to come to a close. I’ve struggled a lot the past few weeks searching for that last ounce of motivation. I almost convinced myself to stay put in Punta Arenas and count down the days until my flight. But, something kept gnawing at me to push through a few more cold days. To reach Ushuaia.

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Going Lateral (ish) – Palena to Coyhaique via Argentina and 4×4 track (Lago Verda – La Tapera)

Our second episode of escaping the Austral begins from Villa Santa Lucia. The kind of town which makes you wonder if anyone actually lives there. Unfortunately for us riders hunting out dirt roads, the Austral is being paved piece by piece. A huge step in the right direction for an interconnected Chile, but not much fun if a fatbike is the only arrow you’ve got in your quiver. Most people seem to duck out of Chile and head into Argentina to seek refuge from the rain, but oddly enough we’d enjoyed seemingly endless hot and sunny days while following the Austral. We directed ourselves towards Chile’s relaxed neighbor for other reasons. A dirt section through pampa setting us up perfectly to ride a small part of the Sendero de Chile from Lago Verde to La Tapera. Continue reading

Entering the Austral

The past few weeks have marked an entirely different pace for us. My folks came for a lovely visit which provided us some downtime from riding. There comes a point in any tour where one forgets to appreciate the incredible experience they are living, and I think it’s safe to say that Gina and I were very much in that position. However, It’s amazing what a week off the bike can do!

The Carreterra Austral is iconic route for South American cycle-tourists. Usually marking the beginning or end point for some very epic adventures. In our situation, a realization hits us. We’re on the home stretch and that’s pretty scary for two . We’re lined up to hit Ushuaia in early winter, but neither Gina or I are in any great rush to try and make up the time. We’ve decided to use the Austral as a sort of “home base”, branching off whenever something more interesting comes along. Continue reading

Colours of desolation (summary of our time in Northern Argentina)

It was rather unpopulated in the puna/north of Argentina. We enjoyed the feeling of being alone in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but nature and it’s forces around us. Continue reading

Backroads and dog bites (Sicuani to Azangaro)

Having taken the highway from Checacupe to Sicuani made us yearn for dirt again. Unfortunately Dan’s over adventurous food exploration landed him with food poisoning and made him unable to continue. After a rest day he still didn’t feel much better so we decided that I would ride the dirt section to Azangaro solo. Unsure as to whether the route fully existed due to some dodgy satellite imagery, I was in for an adventure. Continue reading

Bikepacking Ausangate (Wowsengate?)

Foul weather was upon us when we departed Tinke. The GPS was taunting us. Ausangate was only a few kilometres away, but the stormy sky prevented even our imagination from forming a view. Slowly we made our way up the foothills passing small communities filled with welcoming smiles. The rain and hail were relentless, and the cold environment summoned up memories of the Ecuadorian paramo. Nevertheless, we pushed forth.
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Mission dog (Pampas to Yungay)

The day we wanted to leave Pampas, Coby (the dog who had followed us around 20k into Pampas the day before) was nowhere to be found. We were upset as we had been looking forward to having a companion. The whole town tried to help us find him. Then, a man came by with a puppy and said we could have her. First I thought it was a joke, but he was serious. Continue reading

Mugged at gunpoint (Huamachuco to Pelegatos)

Over the course of seven months that we’ve been cycling we we had a few minor problems, such as food poisoning, little accidents, Chikungunya, and shipping woes. Nothing, however, was as hard to digest as what happened to us on Saturday May 23rd.

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The Road To Compromise (Celendin to Huamachuco and Inca Trail)

With our tires wearing thin and our bikes in need of some TLC we decided to mix a series of dirt roads with paved highways in order to make it to Huaraz in a timely manner. Still on the heels of rainy season we were getting pretty fed up of the constant muddy wet roads and the difficulties of camping in this weather. From Celedin we rode the highway south and took an easily missed left turn just past the township Pampa del Torro, carrying on to Huanico were we spent a lovely evening with some locals, camped up in a garage. Rain was a prominent feature on this ride and the following day, to San Marcos, we were treated to the same conditions. From there we b-lined it to Cajabamba, keen to make some distance. In the next city, Huamachuco, we met Marko who works at the tourist office in town and invited us to camp on his property and have a dinner with him prepared by his wife. We got chatting and he informed us of a small stretch of Inca Trail that starts off at nearby laguna Cushuro.

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