16 Mar – Valparaiso, Chile
My odo shows we did just on 10,000 km – trouble free in my case. The DR was not the ideal bike for this ride; a more road oriented bike would have been better. It struck me that the new BMW 650 GS, a V Stom/TDM or a Transalp would have been ideal. But no matter, I have hauled the DR up through BC, Yukon and Alaska to Deadhorse and the Arctic Ocean and now it has taken me to Tierra del Fuego so it will do.
In general Patagonia is dry, barren and windy and is no great joy to ride, Ruta 40 has lost it's charm as a historic road, and we failed to complete the Carretera Austral in Chile but for all that I achieved my aim of riding through Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego and riding the famous Ruta 40.
I am no fan of Argentina; any first year macro economics student will tell you what's needed with their economy, and the state has an inherent mistrust of it citizens. The constant police checks are more sinister in intent than irritating. Their infrastructure is crumbling around them and they are knee deep in rubbish. But for all that the Argentinian people are delightful, friendly and helpful and seem to have a zest for life. Chile on the other hand I found to be simply organised and on to it. Their banking system is stable, their infrastructure is in good order and repair and their people do not appear to be at war with the state. Chileans seem to have a thing about dogs – there are hundreds of strays wandering the streets and they all seem to get together at dawn and have a bark-up. Do I need to mention the poop? Things are more expensive in Chile than they are in Argentina.
For the moment we are concentrating on cleaning the bikes in preparation for loading back into the container tomorrow and tonight we have a farewell dinner together before the group breaks up for the trip home.