I have long thought that having a map showing where I went, along with interesting data like miles ridden, number of break downs, countries visited, etc, would be really cool. In addition, others have asked me for this information as well. I have spent the last couple of days drawing my route and figuring out how to make a clean looking, informative, interesting graphic that shows the the true scope and depth of my trip. I tend to see the first 6 months or so, in which I drove from Wilson, WY to Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the first leg of my trip, and rather distinct from the second leg, which saw me drive from Barcelona all over Europe, roughly completing a counterclockwise loop of the continent. When I began, I was only thinking about central and South America, and to be honest, I wasn’t even that focused on Ushuia and Tierra Del Fuego, I just wanted to reach the boat in Panama that would take me to Colombia, and not get ahead of myself. Ushuia felt like an incredibly far flung, pie in the sky type of goal, so i opted to focus on baby steps, or at least goals more manageable than a panamerican epic. My first goal was to successfully complete a tour through Central America, and making the boat that would take me to Colombia. If I were to be succesful, Id take it from there.
When I got to Colombia I realized: 1) It’s nice to have goals to help give your trip guidance and a direction, and 2) At the pace I was going, I could manage to reach ushuia before winter set in down in the southern hemisphere. I got a range of answers regarding the latest you can drive your motorcycle to Ushuia, but the general consensus was that arriving anytime after late march is risky, since snowstorms and freezing temperatures can make a mess of your plans.
So fast forward 4 months, many component swaps and breakdowns later, and I’m in Ushuia. Even though I got there in the middle of March, it was still snowy and freezing. I was pretty over the Patagonian desolation, wind, rain, and cold, so I shot up to Buenos Aires in a matter of days, roughly 3,000 km.
At this point, I had no idea what to do. As I said earlier, I only ever tentatively planned on Ushuia when I came up with this idea to ride a motorcycle south. I sure as hell didn’t have any idea for what I would do after. In Buenos Aires I need to renew my passport, since I was out of pages. This meant I had at least 3 weeks to kill, and to be honest, that was fine with me. I was tired after 6 motnhs of relentless travel, and especially the previous month battling bike issues and the elements of Patagonia.
I knew I wanted to continue my travels and not return home. The question was, where to go? I toyed with the idea of Brazil, and even looked into getting a visa. I also wanted to explore more of Bolivia, since it is such a fascinating country that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time in. I thought it would be cool to maybe drive back up to Colombia, sell my bike there, and then fly home.
I’m not sure exactly when I got the idea to go to Europe. I’m pretty sure it came from another traveller, either someone returning home to Europe with their bike, or another non-european planning on continuing their travels over there. I think it was the other travellers who planned to keep going on another continent that inspired me. I had one Iranian friend who was planning on sending his motorcycle to Europe. We had met in Panama, and had been keeping in touch throughout our ride, and were actually in Ushuia at the same time. Another friend, and American, was sending his bike to South Africa and planned to ride up to Europe via the east coast. I didn’t have enough faith in my bike for Africa, plus i had never been to Europe, and the modern, progressive, historically rich land of my ancestors sounded pretty good after the Andes and the crazyness of South America.
Once I got my passport back I went to see a couple in BA that helps travelers ship their motorcycles all over the world. It was pretty much as easy as wiring some money to them and signing a couple papers. A few days later my motorcycle was on a plane to Barcelona. I met it there and was off on a new continent just like that. Shockingly easy.
So I spent April-Oct in Europe. I spent two weeks in Morocco, one week in Istanbul, and the rest of the time doing a big counterclockwise loop around the continent. I never anticipated I would find myself doing a european tour, but I look back on it fondly and don’t think I could have had a better time. I do think Europe is the best place to go for a motorcycle tour, because there is so much packed into a relatively small area. It was great to see how things changed from country to country, and how things stayed the same. And although the cities I visited were spectacular and gorgeous, Europe has no lack of beautiful nature, and not just the Alps. The roads are spectacular, and there is plenty of dirt and gravel if you know where to look.
Eventually summer came to an end, I had seen everything I wanted to see and I was ready to go home. I had no more goals for the trip. It would have been too much to go to Asia. I had already overstayed my visa in Europe by about three months. And I was ready to get home and start fresh. Next trip I would like to build up the perfect bike and assimilate all I have learned on this most recent trip.
So, I didn’t do a very good job taking notes regarding the details of my trip, i.e. where I went and where I stayed and my routes and all of that. I have spent some time tallying up certain things and getting the final breakdown of countries I visited and miles I drove and that sort of stuff. Here it is. If you have any questions regarding stuff I don’t cover here, let me know and I can figure it out. Some day it would be fun to have create a map with every route I took. What I have below is a rough approximation. Some parts are detailed, others are not.
- -38 Countries visited (counting Monaco. The US was the biggest, Monaco and Lichtenstein the smallest)
- 14 Countries in the Americas, 24 Countries in Europe
- Almost 1 year to the day. I think it was actually 360 days or something like that.
- 6 months and 7 days in the Americas, 5 months and 18 days roughly in Europe
- 36,000 miles
- 19,760 miles in the Americas, 16,240 in Europe
- 17 Ferries
- Most were in Norway and Chile, but also in Colombia, Panama, Bolivia, Spain and Morocco.
- 1 Plane
- 2 Tows (One in Norway, another in Mexico)
- 2 severed wires that resulted in breakdowns (one to the kickstand, the other to the from the starter to the coil)
- many cracks in the pannier frame requiring welds
- 1 cracked radiator
- 1 cracked crank case
- 1 cracked motorcycle frame
- Many lost or broken bolts
- 2 flat tires
- 3 sets of break pads
- 3 chains
- 3 sprocket sets
- 6 back tires (all Heidenou k60 scouts, except for one Metzler Sahara 3)
- 3 front tires (all Heidenou k60 scouts)
- 5 spark plugs
- 1 mirror
- 10 oil changes
- 5 oil filter changes
- 5 air filters
- Longest time in one country was Germany at close to two months. Behind that was Argentina at a about a month
- Shortest time in one country was Lichtenstein, at about 15 minutes, Next was Honduras at maybe 2 hours
This is all I can think of now. Enjoy!