Day 8 riding and it was another long day on the bike but the scenery was beyond my expectations. Nine days in Patagonia and you might think you had seen the best there is by now, but the best was yet to come.
For me, it was another long day as I agreed to head out early with the media crew. I was up at 5:30 AM, four of us were to head out early, but only Tom and I heard our alarm clocks that morning. It made for an easy time with the media crew with only two bikes to shoot. We headed back into Torres del Paine Park, the same place we were at the day before. Two things were quite different on this morning though, one was the temperature, the other was the view. It was quite cold that morning, there was a lot of new snow visible in the mountains and the temperature had to have been around 0 C. The view on the other hand was spectacular. The clouds that hid the scenery from view the previous day were chased away and we were left with blue sky and white wispy clouds.
Tom and I took our time with the video crew and it was nice having a little extra time to soak in all that we were seeing.
Puerto Natales in the early morning sun.
The road to the park with Torres del Paine in the distance.
Never letting a photo op pass us by. Phil Bond is always ready to get the still shots while the video crew sets up.
One of the mirradors along the way
The main attraction off in the distance. We will be driving right alongside that mountain.
The flowers in bloom
Park Ranger at Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Sadly I forget his name, I am a bad reporter, but he is an awesome guy and expressed a lot of gratitude for the efforts of Rally for Rangers.
I though this would be a nice place to live.
The park pavilion.
Once we left the pavilion we meandered into the park and the scenery just got more dramatic with every turn. Once again I was yelling to myself inside my helmet.
This picture is of the Torres del Paine mountains from the back side. Hiking in this park is very popular with the basic hike through the park taking 6 days.
All these pictures were taken from the same spot behind the mountains.
After while, we stopped for lunch. Torres del Paine was now off in the distance. This field of scrub brush is in bloom along side a mountain lake.
Lunch time again and once again it was prepared by our fellow rider and chef Elias who is not shown in the picture.
This is as close as I ever got to a Guanaco with them running off. Actually I got quite a bit closer to them when riding, but those are not desirable close-encounters. I this one as you can see the mountains far off.
Leaving Chile and headed into Argentina. We stopped here for coffee and souvenirs.
Arriving at the Argentine border crossing. This is the road less traveled. Usually when going from Puerto Natales to El Calafate, you would not go through the park so we were feeling pretty remote. Approaching this customs office took one of riders by surprise. He was cruising along at top speed and suddenly realized that the road ended. It is a good thing he is a seasoned rider, he managed to get the little beast stopped without a whole lot of drama, just a lot of laughs.
Another hour or so on the bikes and we were now running out of gas so we stopped and filled them all up. Still a bit of a ride ahead.
While gassing up the bikes, Dylan started having some fun with the zoom lens on the video camera. It was good entertainment.
Lots of laughs.
After the fuel stop we took another dirt road that cuts across the terrain and chops about 100KM off the trip. This was one very rough road. It was also a very wide road and you could see for miles and miles so oncoming traffic was not a problem.
As per usual on the dirt roads, I liked to ride as fast as the bike could carry me and it seemed Kurt too had the need for some speed so he was riding on Roberto's rear tire for the most part and I would pull up beside the two of them on the left-side of the road and we would ride side by side. This road was really rough, the gravel that they made it from had larger the usual stones and you could feel them. They also give the bike a skittish feel, like you are riding on marbles. In this picture, the group stopped to reconnect. A bunch of us were a long way ahead and we stopped to wait. Steven did some ditch riding while we waited.
Pretty flat in this area.
A close look at the road and you can see that the gravel is a bit on the large size.
Orlin enjoying the rough road. This picture shows it well. This was about 75 KM of pounding.
Steven with his usual happy face.
Hamilton looking drained.
Roberto and Hamilton
Kurt squeezed every drop of power that the 200cc motor could muster.
Once we got back out the the pavement, the scenery began to change again. This was another roadside lookout and it was absolutely beautiful. We were on a hill looking off into the distance. The soft rolling hills went on forever and we could see the large lakes and mountains way off in the distance.
The dirt-bike rider in me just wanted to go ride in those hills and I don't think there would be anybody to complain if I did.
If I ever get down here again, this is the kind of terrain I would seek out to ride in, I think it would offer endless riding bliss. The only downside would be how remote this area is. If you broke down, you would be walking for days.