Potosi to Sucre - Bolivia

Potosi to Sucre - Bolivia

May 16, 2015

Bolivia is a landlocked country bordered by 5 countries - Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Brazil - with diverse topography and climate from mountains and deserts to rainforest. Up until we reached Potosi we had only experienced a very isolated and desert region at the southern tip of Bolivia. Potosi was our first city stop and a big surprise to us, dispelling all the backward expectations we had for this beautiful country.Potosi sits at an elevation of 4000 m on the side of a mountain. It was well after dark when we arrived, a riding situation we like to avoid as much as possible for safety and comfort reasons. It gets bitterly cold when the sun goes down at these elevations and Janell doesn't like to ride with her tinted visor raised because the chill eats at her face. When its very cold and dark, she rides close behind Stuart, slightly to one side, to utilise the light his headlight casts and both pray that no goats, llamas, alpaca's etc. wander on to the road because it woul...

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Altiplano Southwest Circuit - Bolivia

Altiplano Southwest Circuit - Bolivia

May 08, 2015

We entered Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, on 01 May 2015. At this entrance to Bolivia there's no town, no shops and not even a sealed road. There is only a small brick hut that services as the migration or border control office. So we spent a few nights in San Pedro, a big tourist town with all the essentials, to stock up on supplies for the road ahead and for Janell, to squeeze in as many hot showers as she could to build up 'cleanliness credit'.  San Pedro sits at around 2600 m elevation and its almost a straight road up the mountain to an elevation of 4800 m to the turn off to Bolivia. There was a mountain bike race running out of San Pedro the day we left and we passed many competitors battling the challenging ascent and cold conditions as we cruised up pass them. Interestingly we noticed our motorbikes gasping for air a little with the quick ascent.The advice we were given by other motorists about Bolivia was not to exceed 80km/h, not to pass the migration until all ...

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Concepcion, Chile

Concepcion, Chile

March 26, 2015

Concepcion is the second largest city in Chile, situated on the coast about five hours south of Santiago. Concepcion gets a blog of its own because the most incredible thing happened on our arrival in this big city and we had so much fun the three nights we stayed.   The Pack Track had a late departure from Malalcahuello on Monday, 23 March 2015. It was 300km to our next destination, Concepcion, so we decided to have a lazy last morning at our friends place. The ride was quick, we were on good roads, so we stopped along the way and arrived in Concepcion at 5pm. We rode directly to the main Plaza to find wifi and look for accomodation online.   The motorbikes were parked in a designated motorbike parking area beside a restaurant in the Plaza. We had not even removed out helmets when we were swamped by high school students asking questions and wanting photos. We tried to tell them we weren't famous but they didn't care. The crowd grew and three gentlemen who had been sitting at ...

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Visiting Friends in Lago Puelo to Malalcahuello - Chile & Argentina

Visiting Friends in Lago Puelo to Malalcahuello - Chile & Argentina

March 23, 2015

We were back in Argentina and back on sealed roads in Trevelin. Its a pretty town with strong ties to Wales, just like Gaiman directly to the east on the coast of Argentina where we had stayed a few months earlier. We found a nice campsite for the one night we stayed in Trevelin before riding 190km to Lago Puelo where our friends Lucas and Florencia were visiting family.Travelling along Ruta 40 on the west side of Argentina is completely different to Ruta 3 on the east coast.  Ruta 3 is flat as flat can be, with towns about 4 hours riding apart in the Patagonia region with nothing in between, not even trees. Conversely, Ruta 40 hugs the famous mountain range of the Andes along the western side of Argentina so it has beautiful twisting roads with forests, rivers and simply inspirational riding scenery.It was a cold day when we left Trevelin with clouds threatening to rain on us. Nowdays we often throw our wet weather riding clothes on top  of everything we are wearing anyway to stop ...

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Navimag Ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt - Chile

Navimag Ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt - Chile

March 13, 2015

Southern Chile consists of a narrow mainland interspersed with many islands. Therefore it makes sense that there are lots of ferry's connecting islands and mainland in southern Chile. The Pack Track had been on a few of these ferry's but all had been relatively short, lasting a few hours at most. Navimag is a company that contracts ferry routes in southern Chile including a 3 night voyage from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt. To ride this distance, depending on the route you take, can be around 1800 km with a mixture of good and bad roads. Its actually a really popular section of riding for motorcyclists travelling the west side of South America to Ushuaia because its relatively untouched still with stunning scenery and challenging gravel roads. There are a few reasons we decided to take the ferry over riding this section of Chile. Most importantly, our motorbikes still hadn't been serviced and we didn't want to push our luck so it saved us a lot of kilometres. Probably the second c...

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Heading North - Punta Arenas to El Calafate

Heading North - Punta Arenas to El Calafate

February 28, 2015

Punta Arenas is one of the largest cities in Patagonia. It was historically established as a strategic military stronghold over the surrounding waters. The port grew in size and eventually a free zone was established; this can mean a few things but to us it meant tax free shopping. We needed to service the motorbikes and hoped we could get the parts and materials we needed in the free zone at a reasonable price.Michelle and Brian were already settled in to Hospedaje Independencia when we arrived. It was really cheap accommodation by Chile standards, made even cheaper for us because we camped in the yard along with a bunch of other campers. Brian was well under way servicing his and Michelle's motorbikes so was able to give us some tips on where to go shopping. We bought 6L of oil plus some other bits and pieces however we just couldn't bring ourselves to do the work. It was so cold there, even in the middle of the day, and we just aren't that tough so decided to put it off until war...

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Fin del Mundo - Ushuaia, Argentina

Fin del Mundo - Ushuaia, Argentina

February 20, 2015

After the dramas of finding accommodation in Ushuaia, we were finally free to relax. Its pretty exciting being at the 'end of the world' and it marks a certain achievement or milestone on the journey. However, we weren’t without drama. We’d lost one of our sleeping bags in Venezuela (it fell off the bike when it wasn't put away properly) and until now we had been getting by with just the one sleeping bag because the climate had been warm to hot. Now we were camping at the end of the world amongst snow capped mountains with all three of us huddling under a single sleeping bag. When we left Australia to embark on this adventure we put a lot of time into researching camping gear, especially our sleeping bags. We decided upon an Australian design by Sea To Summit. The XtII (Xt2) is 95% Goose Down, weighs 1.2 kg and squashes down to a really small size which is perfect for the limited space on a motorbike. The other important factor is that we bought a left and a right bag so they zippe...

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Sex On The Road - Valentines Day Special

Sex On The Road - Valentines Day Special

February 14, 2015 1 Comment

Stuart’s vision blurred and dimmed, the room began to spin, he gasped for air in an attempt to fill his lungs with as much oxygen as possible given the elevation. His body had gone into autopilot, thrusting again and again in an animalistic fashion. Stuart finally climaxed and immediately after his body weakened and we both collapse on the bed. Earlier that day we had woken up at 800m (2,700ft) of elevation, we’d ended the day at 4200m (nearly 14,000ft) and it was our first experience at any substantial height. Lesson learnt; when you reach elevation for the first time, keep your sexual activity tame. So what about our sex life? We decided to write about this taboo topic because we believe its important and that many people will have a very real interest. When travelling, sex is easily forgotten or ignored, there is so much excitement all the time, why add more right? Whether you’re travelling as a couple, solo or in a group, sex is going to be on the mind at some point, prob...

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Ruta 3 Journey to Ushuaia - Argentina

Ruta 3 Journey to Ushuaia - Argentina

February 02, 2015

We departed Puerto Deseado on a near perfect day, very much by design, light winds as predicted by windguru.com, a cool temperature for riding and no rain clouds. Our plan would be to make it to Rio Gallegos but we weren’t in any great rush. Passing through the province of Santa Cruz we decided to pull in to a town called Puerto San Julian and see what we could find in the way of accommodation. We easily found camping on the waterfront and met another adventure riding couple traveling north having just been to Ushuaia. Mike and Claudia invited us over to have a drink so after dinner we joined them. Mike had been on the road for nearly 8 months while Claudia had only just joined him for the last section. Its always interesting to hear peoples stories if they're willing to share so Mike told us how back in Germany he is a paramedic in who works hard for 3-4 years then takes a sabbatical which equates to around 6 months leave.  He's fortunate to be able to have this arrangement with hi...

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Penguins & Sea Lions - Puerto Deseado, Argentina

Penguins & Sea Lions - Puerto Deseado, Argentina

January 29, 2015

Puerto Deseado is a little coastal town located 125km off the main highway south, Ruta 3, on the east coast of Argentina. It has a latitude of 47 degrees South so gets quite cold and of coarse windy like most of Argentina. The town itself is situated on the north bank of the Ria Deseado at the mouth of the river. The rivers name is interesting in Spanish in that its called a “Ria” and not a “Rio”, in other words, it is a female river. To be completely accurate its not even a river but a tidal estuary taking the form of a river. Long ago it once was a river with water flowing down from the Andes on the other side of the continent but this flow has long since ceased. Now the riverbed is below sea level and the inlet ebbs and floods with the tides quite dramatically; around 6m we were told at certain times of the year.While the geography of Ria Deseado is extremely interesting, the reason we visited the town of Puerto Deseado was to see the marine life. Abundant but seasonal penguin an...

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Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina

Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina

January 26, 2015

After our 3 nights camping in Gaiman, we were up early and ready for a big ride to Comodoro Rivadavia. We had a contact in Comodoro, through our friend Pablo from Buenos Aires, and had advised them that we would be arriving that day. We decided to take a short cut from Gaiman to Ruta 3, the national highway down the east coast of Argentina. This shortcut was about 60kms long and probably saved us the same distance again. Unfortunately the road was slow going, it had been a long time since we’d been on gravel and this section was throwing us in the deep end. The road had little traffic and therefore little maintenance to match, but we were able to travel comfortably at 60-70kms/hr for the most part. So a little over an hour later we were relieved to find paved road again.The famous Patagonian winds had started by this section of Ruta 3 although they would get worse as we headed south. We had full tanks as we left Gaiman, confidant we’d make it to Comodoro without the need to stop. We...

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Welsh Patagonia - Gaiman, Argentina

Welsh Patagonia - Gaiman, Argentina

January 21, 2015

Nearly 150 years ago a ship load of immigrants from Wales landed in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Their intention was to set up a welsh community with no English influence. In fact they ended up establishing a number of these communities but today, the most notable is a place called Gaiman where there is still a strong welsh culture and the language is commonly spoken. Stuarts boss in Australia, Dave, was of proud Welsh decent. So when Stu talked about his upcoming world-wide adventure, Dave mentioned the Welsh history in Argentina so The Pack Track starred the towns of Trelew, Gaiman and Trevelin on Google maps so we'd remember when we eventually reached Argentina.Janell was a little confused about where exactly we were going to see dragons and drink tea, probably because she hadn't been listening to Stu when he was describing the Welsh history of the area. Trelew was the first town encountered as its situated on the main highway Ruta 3. Trelew sounded really Welsh to Janell who insis...

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