|On the road between Cafayate and Cachi in Argentina|
So, as a little ode to my star, some of my favourite memories.... (i have some sort of elton john like music playing in the background and am getting a tad emotional.. so bear with me!). Just to start off...
- the feeling of possibility and joy every time setting off on a new open road
- the beautiful soft, purring sound of the engine. no it wasn't a grunty harley, nor a plasticy clack clack... just ... beautiful.
- fitting in pedestrian bridges to get to great spots
- standing up, closing my eyes (nearly!) and just letting the front wheel find its way through the rocky ground in Southwest Bolivia
- hitting the asphalt upon reaching the Argentinean border at Paso San Francisco. Well a combination of getting myself there solo that high, and also having nice road to curve around.
- the conversations I've had with locals about travelling on bikes - as a woman, as a foreigner, as a person.
- finding my wheels on muddy roads in Northern Argentinean parks.
- always being patient with me when I fell so ungracefully from you.
- the comrades of other bikers you meet. You see one coming, you wave, you chat, you share stories, Or you roll into a hotel, see the bikes, start admiring, start talking, solve problems with the aid of some beers, make wonderful friends from all over.
- goodness. just all of it! (yes there are some gripes - but I've saved these for the 'about my bike' page
fare well oh lil one! and .. (cue music)...
April - May 2011: My first relationship with the bike from the back seat. 2 up with Diego. We rode from Mendoza to Santiago, then up to La Serena over 2 months. He taught me how to ride, how to maintain the bike, how to make a delicious pasta dish with a raw egg, and got me through the paperwork of transferring ownership.
April 2011: Just after the very first time I rode the bike in a campground near the border of Chile/Argentina on the way to Santiago. I fell off 3 times, was not able to conquer figure of 8s but started feeling the looooove.
April 2011: This was the afternoon I 'felt at one with my lil red bike'. Somehow the gravel, the BMX like experience just sold it for me. A day before I had been the passenger; the day after - I drove Diego and our luggage back into the capital of Chile, Santiago.
May 2011: Roadside fixing a flat. This was month 1 of 10 months, and the LAST FLAT I had. Got to love enduro tires. And my awesome bike that hardly ever broke down.
May 2011: In La Serena, Chile on the morning we set off SOLO. Complete with my dodgy helmet, jeans, hiking jacket and bicycle elbow and knee protection.
May 2011: 5 days later, we cross the 4786m paso to Argentina. Elated. And the bike? no problems at such a high altitude. Yes a little slower, but still got us up there.
May 2011: Some of our little overnight roadside hotels somewhere on Ruta 40, Argentina. No other bigger bike could have possibly fitted in here.
June 2011: Another advantage of my lil bike? it got me across pedestrian bridges and into a campgrounds alongside rivers where people like this old dude swung by on his way home for a chat. Near Cachi, Argentina.
May 2011: The poor thing did eat a fair bit of dust though. Near Tarija in Bolivia.
May 2011: Hmm Mud is not so easy to conquer. In the remote Parque Nacional Baritu in Northern Argentina.
June 2011: Oh yes. My lil bike headed out this 650 KLR, 1100GS BMW, and BMW boxer. They all had to sit behind me cause I was the littlest and ahem.. the slowest.
June 2011: The hardest terrain we did. In Southwest Bolivia. Sand, gravel, mud. Awesome:)
June 2011: Sometimes I abandoned the lil bike to climb up some metal at 4500m altitude. WIth full gear on. Southwest Bolivia
August 2011: Both me and the bike hanging out with friends in Sucre, Bolivia. This hostel was definitely a biker home away from home.
August 2011: Roadside breakfast soup from the market after a 5am start some 100kms down the road. Even on these cold mornings the bike always started.
August 2011: Both of us having fun exploring the Ruta del Che in Bolivia.
September 2011: Always a bit of TLC goes a long way. Adjusting my chain roadside in the sweltering heat of Bolivia,
September 2011: Lil red more hardworking cousin... loaded with family on mud roads in Bolivia.
November 2011: Coming out of hibernation in Alex's garage in Arequipa. Ready for what was to the last stretch of road.
November 2011: Coming into the final station... The rather desertic expanse of Arica, Chile.
February 2012: FInal clean at Frank's house in Arica.
February 2012: Ready to be passed on for the next adventure!
February 2012: The vultures ;) ... aka Philipe and Geoff having a peruse of the tools of lil red.
February 2012: Francisco laying claim to the bike in the Notaria in Arica.
February 2012: Last snuggle...
February 2012: Francisco ready to helmet up and ride off into the...
sadly... "the end" for my wonderful journey with lil red:)