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Advice - trip from Bellingham, WA to Tierra del Fuego


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I'm beginning to think about taking a ride from Bellingham, WA to Tierra del Fuego and back next summer. Any advice would be appreciated.


I'm not a prize physical specimen -old and fat- and have an R1100RT with 50K miles on it. I don't really speak Spanish - un poco.


I'm looking for an interesting adventure; hopefully not too physical and not too dangerous. I don't have lots of money to spend. I've been going to Europe for a ride each summer, but that's getting too expensive for me with the declining value of the dollar - 10% so far since last summer. I'm guessing that a dollar will go a lot farther in Central and South America....


Thanks for any pointers,


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+1 on the euro. It gets worse every day. I may cx my next trip and head south myself. Best to do it in our winter/their summer. I'd think twice/20 times before heading thru central america. I'm gonna ship my bike down to BA if I do it.

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I'm afraid you are biting off a lot. I lived over 30 years in South America, so I have a feeling of what is involved. First off, you will have to ship the bike and yourself somewhere $$$$. There is NO road between Panama and Colombia, only swamp.

I would suggest to check out a good book. The best may be:


Think twice (or thrice) and then may be do it once.

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I'm not a prize physical specimen -old and fat- and have an R1100RT with 50K miles on it. I don't really speak Spanish - un poco.


I share the fat part with you. My general out-of-shape condition has been the one thing that has made it tough to enjoy this dirt bike of mine...wrestling the bike around would be better if I was a bit more flexible. Also, being more in shape from where you describe yourself now will strengthen your immune system and will allow you to fight the bugs common to the areas south of the border (and uncommon to Bellingham).


I know that you're wanting to go on the RT. Jokes about my RTGS aside, it is a capable bike for dirt roads but it is a heavy beast. Are you comfortable making roadside repairs yourself? Are you the type to take a manual and fix the RT in your garage or do you prefer to go to a dealer?


You may want to travel with another rider. Celebrations become more special and trials become surmountable. And you may want to advance your knowledge of Spanish. It can only help with your travels.


Hopefully others will chime in here. Good luck, have fun, take lots of photos and post a ride tale when you return. smile.gif

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I guess there's that group that rides around the world. I've seen reference to them here I think, or maybe on adventure riders. I didn't find them on a quick internet search. I think you need to find them and see how they do it. I believe they have an Alaska to somewhere in South America leg.

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That seems like a huge endeavor as a first really long trip.


What about a trip to Alaska ? Or a trip to Maine, then back across Canada? (they speak more English up there, I understand, even in Quebec).


Seems like a trip South would better be done on a ADV bike (GS, GSA, etc). Better equipped for those ugly "roads" you may have to ride.


I didn't know there were no roads from Panama to Brazil...


All that said, I'd sure like to take that trip......what an adventure!!!



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Bear in mind that summer here is winter in a lot of South America! You can't go to Tierra Del Fuego in their winter. I took a 5 week trip with Pancho Villa Tours in February 2001, rented a KLR650 from them and we rode down the coast of Chile from Santiago then wound our way through the bottom of the Andes to Ushauaia which is at the tip of TdF. Came back through Argentina and crossed the high Andes back to Santiago - fantastic area. Learning Spanish won't help much that far south, even our Mexican guide had trouble talking to the locals!

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Hi Tom,


You are planning my fantasy trip, only mine will likely be in about 4-5 years...


I say go for it, but heed the advice of those on this board who have done it before. Also check out AdvRider, the "other" forum, for some great links and stories.


You might want to consider brushing up on your Spanish before heading down. Even in Costa Rica, which has a pretty high literacy rate, and prides itself on it's English speaking citizens, it is difficult to find people who speak well. I found this out when my vacation there was unexpectedly lengthened grin.gifgrin.gifblush.gif last Christmas....


All that being said, what about a long ride or two up here before you go? You could do a four corners ride, or head up into the far north to get some long trip experience under your belt...then go for it!


Life is too short to just dream about your goals. Make them happen!


Steve in So Cal

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