40.590,0 km from Anchorage up to the Arctic Circle down to Ushuaia – it took us 298 days. We started in Anchorage on the 19th May 2018 and arrived yesterday (12th March2019) in Ushuaia. What a trip this was (and still is!). We met incredible people, saw stunning places and are looking forward to continue for a little bit more. From now on the direction will be north…
So far we made it down to Patagonia but it seems our unlucky days are not over just yet. At our fourth day in Argentina George and we were staring up into the sky to watch the fascinating condors. Just the evening before we said we did not see any Condors yet and now there were nine circling above us. We had a chilly wind and Kerstin put her hands in the pockets. AUTSCH! A bee was looking for shelter in there. Kerstin is allergic against bees and the hand swallowed to a balloon within minutes.
That seemed to be somehow the beginning of our streak of bad luck. Later that day we pitched our tent and a tent pole broke and cut the pole-tunnel. MAN! We spent the evening sewing it with dental floss. By the way that´s the best sewing thread for everything; it is strong, elastic and loadable.
For the next day we planned to cross over to Chile via the `Paso Agua Negra´ – a beautiful twisty road which becomes dirt and climbs up to 4780m. The views are breathtaking and we all enjoyed the ride. The only issue was that Kerstin´s bike didn´t had enough power at a certain altitude; sometimes you could walk next to the bike and even in the first gear the Transalp did not want to take any speed anymore. The wind was coming from the back, so the engine went hot pretty fast too. We had to make some breaks to let it cool down and George went ahead.
Shortly after the border he was waiting for us. But not just like usual… NO he had a flat front tire. We had a bottle `fix a flat´ which we put in and pumped it up. The tire had more than one hole and we had to stop every here and then to pump it up. FUXXING HELL It looked like he rode over a cactus..!!! Shortly before the customs check in Chile we stopped once more to pump it up and we recognized that George’s tent and towel which were strapped on the back of his bike were gone. Holy Shit! (And remember: you should never travel without a towel – Douglas Adams `The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy´ What is going on??? We checked the pictures we took and it was clear he lost it a while ago. There was quite a lot of traffic and even the gasoline we had left would not be enough to go back… So we continued. Sascha noticed that his “new” clutch is not working well again (never was actually) and it was clear that we will need to work on that for sure… DOCUMOTO the garage in Lima was not only ripping us off while charging us double than agreed they did a very bad job as well!!! DAMN IT!
At customs they confiscated Georges honey and we could keep ours…? When we finally made it to the plaza in Vicuña to get Chilean Pesos at the ATM George´s ten month old BMW did not want to start anymore. The computer said NOTHING anymore! WHAT TO SAY??? That was the third time we had this problem. All the other times we could make it start while holding a hairdryer on the key-less (not-)go box, disconnecting the battery, holding the emergency key close to any possible part of the bike, making an rain dance, jumping up and down around the bike and everything else you can possible imagine… BMW Lima made an software update and said the problem should be solved – clear now that didn’t help at all. First we had to find a room because it turned dark. We were cruising around to find a place close by while George was waiting for us and then we pushed his bike 1km through the darkness. Looking back these last 24hours while having a beer we decided that we had so much bad luck at once that this should be sufficient for the rest of our trip and cheered at each other. Suddenly the earth was starting to shake and it sounded like a heavy loaded train was coming and rolling under our feed – everything started to shake and all the people were running out of the houses. This was definitely the strongest and longest earthquake we ever experienced. It was 6.8 on the scale and the epicenter was only 65km away. Luckily nothing else happened and we did not camp somewhere up on the pass (sometimes is goo to loose something! Or EVERTHING happens for a reason). Maybe this is why George lost his tent?
The next morning we organized a hairdryer for Georges BMW and hey(!) It started again. Meanwhile we were all convinced BMW should deliver a 12V hairdryer with every motorcycle!!! We tried to fix his tubeless front tire additional with plugs but very soon it was clear we have to stop several times First every 50 then every 20 and in the end every 10 km on the way to Valparaíso. On the highway some nice biker from Serena stopped on the opposite lane and gave us another bottle `fix a flat´. After 250km we stopped to fill up gasoline and guess what: George’s bike did not start anymore, haha!!! OH GOSH… :[ We tried everything and Kerstin asked everywhere for a hairdryer but this time we were unlucky and it was clear we have to truck the BMW to Valparaíso. Of course it was Sunday and not so easy to find one. It took about 3 hours until it arrived and we all started to drive the last 250km with the sun going down. Usually we do not drive at night but what to do? Around midnight we arrived at the `Villa Kunterbunt´ and Martina and Enzo welcomed us warmly and served us with wine and food. We made it! Finally…. Man what a day that was…..
The next morning George drove his bike to the BMW dealer at Viña del Mar, Valparaíso (we once more started it with the hairdryer) and we tried to find new clutch plates for Sascha’s AT. It was hopeless to find any here in Chile. So we did research the next two days on an solution. A friend of a friend was flying the next week from Switzerland to Santiago de Chile and we could order a new clutch to him – great! Thank you Adrian and Lukas once more!!! So it was clear we had to stay a couple of days longer and the next day we wanted to do some sightseeing. We went to shop around the corner to buy some stuff for dinner and breakfast and Kerstin did a wrong step and went immediately on her knees. Her ankle became like a tennis ball in minutes. The next morning Martina organized an appointment with a sport doctor and after the x-ray it was clear there is a little bone fracture. Luckily no surgery was required. He prescribed cooling, resting and putting it up for 4 to 6 weeks only. SHIT! We told him about the journey and in the end he said if Kerstin is really carefully she might be able to ride the bike wearing the MC boots to stabilize. And for walking she got something like a sock with bandage and stabilizers. Anyhow we had to wait for the clutch so the first 10 days she could rest for sure. At the Villa Kunterbunt we met great people, had delicious asados (BBQ), amusing evenings and we made the best out of it.
George did not receive ANY news from his (German) bike manufacturer. He asked for a quote for putting on new tires, doing the regular service and finding the error (which actually should be covered by his warranty). They were not answering his emails and when calling them they were putting him off twice while saying they will reply his email within the next hour – what they never did! So on Friday he took a taxi and went there while we were at the hospital. AND THEY HAD NOT DONE ANYTHING, NADA!!! BUT they asked for 350 Dollar for the diagnostic and quoted the new tires including mounting for “ONLY” 950 Dollar. George refused paying the diagnostic. He did not ask for that and IF they did it to find the error it should be under warranty anyhow. He asked to get the bike out to have the tires changed somewhere else but they didn’t want to hand it out without paying the diagnostic… Angry and close to explode he left. What a disaster! A real Nightmare. As well the (German) bike manufacturer cooperate and the affiliate where he bought the bike in California weren’t not really helpful or not replying other than “Have you read the Manual?” ??? A depressing and hopeless situation… Long story short: after some public “chats” (Facebook, Instagram, and a “famous” ADV Forum) the (German) bike manufacturer seemed to be willing to do something and clarified the diagnostic will be not charged and the service will be done. And they will work on the solution… At the moment (10.02.2019) George´s bike is still at the shop and waiting for parts, over three weeks now… He got now a bike from them so he could get out of Valparaiso for some days…
When the clutch for Sascha arrived we went to Santiago to pick it up and got a new tent and a towel for George. Stephen from the Sambor´s ADV-Factory Team (a Motor-Tour-Operator) was a great help (THANK YOU!!!) building the new clutch in and it was great to see Sambor again who we met at the IZI-Meeting in Poland in 2011.
The clutch was working well now and Kerstin’s foot is not that swollen anymore; we were ready to move again. After more than 2 month riding together with George we had to say good bye. But we hope he will get back his bike soon and we are pretty sure we meet again somewhere on the road direction south. We were heading south-east to cross once more over to Argentina at the `Paso Pehuenche´. This pass is fully paved so we could rest Kerstin’s foot a little bit more. Beside all this incidents we really enjoy riding here. The landscapes are breathtaking, the lakes and rivers are crystal clear and the weather so far is great. We do adore camping again and being in this great corner of the earth. While we were searching for gasoline in a small village after crossing the pass we run into Jason. Together we started to ride the famous `routa 40´ direction south. It became gravel immediately and soon deep gravel with corrugations. BAD! The road gave us and the bikes a good shaking, we could nearly hear all the screws loosing and falling out. Jason engine mount broke and we striped it tight. Kerstin’s indicator broke and was burned while hanging in front of the exhaust and Sascha’s jerry-can-holder broke… anything else? We were all happy when we had asphalt again and found a camping at sunset. We would have preferred to stop earlier and camp somewhere in the wide open but we did not have enough water with us. Further south we crossed back into Chile via `Paso Pino Hachado´. The landscape changed suddenly and we drove through forests of araucaria trees. It is an evergreen tree growing to 1–1.5 m in diameter and 30–40 m in height. And commonly it is called the monkey puzzle tree, monkey tail tree because of the shape of the branches. Riding for 60km south along the border we found a beautiful camp spot under these trees overlooking an ice cold deep blue lake.
Currently we are at the `Pucón MotoCamp´. Jason can fix his engine mounts (meanwhile both are broken) here and hopefully and Sascha can to fix the fork of the transalp in the workshop of Christian which he kindly offered to use. We were ready to leave already yesterday but when we drove out Kerstin recognized something in the front is not well.
So, hopefully we can leave tomorrow… At least Kerstin could rest her foot once again, we were able to catch up on the blog a little bit and we met awesome people again. Patagonia is wild and soon we will reach the certainly windy area. We know already there will be some really shitty roads which we cannot avoid. We don’t know what else will happen?!
ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE!