The sun is dipping toward the horizon for what will be my final South American sunset on this trip. After 254 days in seven different countries around the continent, this moment feels like saying farewell to a friend.
I set out at the beginning of February on a limping motorcycle, destination Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of the populated world some 2,200 miles away. My bike, heavily loaded on the rear luggage rack at a high center of gravity, rides with something less than stable grace.
Santiago is the capitol city of Chile and plunged me headfirst into a new world that seemed strangely familiar. Beside the rapid fire slang-ridden Spanish used here and the comical currency valuation, the city feels in a lot of ways like the United States.
Mar del Plata was the starting location for this year’s Dakar Rally, a massive cross-country race for cars, motorcycles, quads, and trucks. Incidentally, Mardel (as it is often referred to down here) is also one of the best locations in Argentina to celebrate New Year’s.
We ended up staying in Buenos Aires for 16 days, chalk-full of adventure and misadventure (most of which I don’t have space or inclination to share here, haha).
I pulled out of the driveway in Cochabamba, the sun rising over the city, only a vague idea of the road ahead. Destination: Buenos Aires, 2000 miles away through mountains, dirt highways, prairies, bugs, and border guards. I was lost within an hour, riding slowly through the deserted early-morning stone streets of Tiraque looking for someone to point me in the right direction.