Monday, 3 October 2011

Countdown Blog 6

Blimey it’s October already, so less than 6 months to go before I hop a plane. Time is really flying, and Idris and I will also be taking to the sky soon as the X’s are gathering in number on the calendar. I’ve decided to spend a bit of time this month sharing some thoughts on the route – well as much as I can anyway. My overall approach will see me planning actual roads to be ridden around a week in advance as I progress north. That said, I do have some particular bits in mind, so here goes.

The start in Buenos Aires will see me motoring south on Ruta 3 after a few days getting sorted and visiting the city’s sights. That week long Atlantic route south will take me past some impressive marine sights and through the Welsh communities around the coastal side of the Chubut valley. Yep, there really are Welsh speakers outside of Wales, so would be rude for Idris and I not to pop by for tea and a chat. Though the chat in my case will have to be restricted to Spanish, which by far outstrips my Welsh!

I digress, but while I do that, I’m still heading south for Tierra del Fuego and, weather permitting, a short turnaround at Ushuaia, one of the most southerly of cities, before the on setting winter chases our tail north again. That will see me tackling the winds and wilderness of Patagonia’s Ruta 40 – with side tracks to visit the Torres del Paine national park, the Perrito Morreno glacier, and more Welsh at the Andes end of the Chubut valley.

Subject to surviving that, I’ll be heading wheel first into wine country, which will present a whole new set of challenges as I continue to weave in and out of Andean mountain trails (hic) with a distinct chance of me opting to run a stretch of the Carratera Austral in Chile. Fab – but we’ll see. Skipping many days riding, and we’re already into Bolivia and the outstanding Altaplano which is famous for, well, not standing out really - it being pretty flat and all that. Spectacular nevertheless – and should prove to be one of the highlights.  

Bolivia into Peru along with Lake Titicaca (yep, it is a real place) and on through Cuzco and down the most excellent, I am told, ruta 26 to Nazca (yep the desert place with all that ancient graffiti – and no, not those US car races!). Then it’s hot work north through Ecuador into Columbia, where I should be rewarded with lush greenery, great roads, and wonderful people.  

Then it’s Central America packed with diverse cultures and challenging accents (well at least for me!). Panama will quickly run into Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras – which is where the options return, depending on whether I am running in advance or behind my overall schedule. I’d like to spend time in Honduras before passing into Guatemala; but if the clock doesn't favour, there might be need for a quick run through El Salvador instead. Again, my reading on Guatemala has sparked interest, so it would be great if I could also cross this country into Belize, before heading into the Calakmul area of Mexico. If I have been particularly tardy in the southern land it will mean a straighter run to Mexico, missing out Belize, which would be a shame.  

So to Mexico, another big land with mucho to see, which will probably have me hovering around the Caribbean coast as I continue to peer upwards. Choices about crossing into the USA are numerous, so we’ll see how that goes, but I am minded to run from Arizona through to Montana avoiding the major conurbations and focussing on the many wondrous national parks (pretty much a guiding feature of the whole trip really).  

Then it’s Canada and big bear country – so call me a girl’s blouse, but I think I’ll avoid camping from here on! Which leaves Alaska, where I would dearly love to ride the Dalton Highway into the Arctic Circle, weather permitting, and where I would also like to visit a town at the edge of nowhere called McCarthy (it’s my surname you see) before calling it a day at Anchorage. But even that is not yet set in stone, as I have yet to get confirmation about the return transport for the bike from the Alaskan capital.  

Quite a trek I think you’ll agree, and I'll be passing through some of the friendliest countries in the world and seeing some of the most spectacular scenery. That said, I'll also be riding some of the world's most dangerous roads possibly in extreme weather conditions - so time to take a few deep gulps! Many people have completed this journey by motorbike; some have tried and failed... 

As I’ve said before, I'm doing this for my own reasons, but when times get tough (and I'm assured that they will by those who have both been and done) it would be good to know that my trails along the route have inspired some of you to help out those less fortunate. Your support will help me keep going, but more importantly, it will help many young people globally to realise their ambitions as they battle through their own life trials. Take time out now to click on the link at the top right of this blog and make a difference – go on, do it now before life gets in the way again as it so often does!


  1. Ay - will be passing through, weather permitting!