Wednesday, 28 November 2012

That's All Folks!

Today I rode the bike to the Airport, where it all started back in January, and saw her packed away for the flight back to Blighty. As I was changing out of my riding gear another BMW arrived and the guy shouted "I know you"!

It was Otto the mad Hungarian. He was on the same "off road" course as me in Wales a few years ago!!!!! What was the chance of that? He had just completed the Alaska - Ushuaia route. This was at the 2nd attempt as he broke his leg first time. We were both stunned that such a coincidence could occur.

"Funny old world Saint".

With the help of Sandra at Dakar motors and her assistants we both sailed through the system. The bikes were dismantled, shrink wrapped and whisked away to be loaded on the next available BA flight. It is amazing how compact you can make the bike by removing the front wheel, wing mirrors, windscreen, panniers etc. All helps to reduce the transport costs. Otto being Otto didn't bother with that so they just wrapped it as it was!
After all the bike has been through it is rather incongruous that they put a "Fragile" sticker on the wrapping.

I will be here a little longer but as this was about a bike tour of South America I will make this my last Blog (unless something really, really interesting happens).

I had no intention of doing a Blog, in fact I didn't even know what a Blog was, until Rosie set one up for me on the eve of my departure. It has been an experience trying to record the activities, I have tried not to gush at the good bits or over dramatise the bad bits and attempted to make it interesting. If nothing else, I am sure I will enjoy looking back over it when I am propped up in an old peoples home sucking soup through a straw. Amazingly, as of today there have been over 27,000 viewings with just about every country in the world taking a peek at some point.

For the anoraks a few statistics:

Countries visited 9. It should have been 10 but didn't have enough room in my passport for Paraguay. There is Surinam, Guyana and French Guiana but these were never really on my radar as they do not have a great reputation for safety or things to see and do. There are also visa requirements which is not very sporting for us English chaps.

Continents visited 2. I have now visited all 6 Continents. I am reliably informed the Arctic is not considered a continent but if anyone disagrees it may be a good excuse for another tour.

Distance Covered (by bike)  22,000 miles     35,000 kms
Average Speed                    50 mph             80 kph
Consumption                       51 mpg             19 kpl
So that makes it                  431 gallons       1,959 litres

Does anyone care............really?

5 Rear tyres
3 Front tyres
2 Headlight bulbs
1 Smashed headlight protector
1 Front Damper
3 Litres of oil (not including oil changes x 2)
A few dents and scratches

Boxer shorts - 3 (not looking too clever now, perhaps I ought to try washing them)

Ear plugs - several pairs I suggest you don't ask to borrow them.
Gloves Lost  - 1 The other is available to any one handed (right) bikers.

Tent & sleeping bag, unused - For sale, one careful owner!

Wilks told me he wanted to return from his tour with 6 memorable photo's. So like all good younger brothers I will take his advice, well almost. As I was away longer I think I get a few more than 6. In no particular order of preference or chronologically and certainly not on artistic merit or quality:

 This is in because it was a lucky picture on the Perito Moreno glacier (Arg) and it winds up Wilks.
Aleijo has spent more summers (30) on Antartica than anyone and it was a great privilege to have him as a guide whilst there.
 This one reminds me of the remoteness when in the high, arid Andes of Chile
I have plenty of shots of the bike but this one in Bolivia was where the quality of the bike got me through a long, tough day in a lonely part of the world.
I loved seeing the Volcanoes and this one in Pucon, Chile was kind enough to glow red at night and puff out smoke during the day.
 The black sand beaches of Pichilemu was just a very cool place to stay for a few days.
Fishing for sea trout in Patagonia. The fact that I didn't catch one matters not a jot, the place is just very special and this one shows our shadows drinking Mate in the late, late sunset.

This just makes me laugh. An enormous Condor really did just disappear behind the building as I pressed the shutter.
This one (taken by Wilks) is one of the very few pictures, in which I feature. It reminds me of how lucky I was to be doing this tour. If you have been somewhere more beautiful than this, please let me know as I would like to experience it.

It is funny to look back over the photographs I have chosen to find that Machu Pichu, Easter Is, Galapagos, Amazonas nor Iguacu make it into my top picks.That is not to say there are not great memories but interestingly, these are all from the earlier part of my tour. Perhaps it was still new, exciting and challenging in a way that the later part of the trip couldn't quite match. There again, perhaps my choices will change in time.

The pictures do not show any of the local people, largely because I didn't like to take their pictures out of courtesy. I can't express my surprise and delight at how nice people were on the whole tour. They were friendly, kind, interested, helpful and largely happy. What more can you ask?

Thank you to Mary-Ann, Thomas, Millie, Rosie & Kiwi for allowing me my free time without too much grief and for demonstrating their maturity and independence. Also a big "thank you" to Pam for keeping Mother up to date with daily deliveries, knowing Mother was reading kept the language within the bounds of decency.

Not a great picture of a beautiful spot but, when in Brazil over looking the Atlantic, I had a sense that this was the place to take the "last" picture of the bike. I had thought, at some point, a Nickname would have cropped up but it never did. So a big thank you to the "STAR OF THE SHOW"!

Thank you to everyone, especially those making comments that made me laugh, who read this nonsense and for coming along for the ride.
All the best


  1. Reading the last blog this morning made me feel really quite sad knowing that there will be no others.

    Great photos, especially the condor moment and the bike, what will I use for the computer "background" photos from now on? Great to read the stats list too, very interesting even when not wearing an anorak.

    Thank you very much for bringing so much enjoyment to all of us that have kept up to date with your trip of a lifetime, I think many if not all have been green with envy at the places you have visited and the great people you have met - I, and the girls in the office, will miss the blogs. Safe journey home and looking forward to hearing what you plan next.


  2. If this was a book, i would be able to add it to my very small list i have read front to back ... or back to front? Its been very entertaining to read, but i think it is going to sound even better hearing it from you over a big Christmas dinner!
    Its been an inspiring trip, learnt a lot ... mainly that i want to do a trip 1/4 as exciting one day :D
    Cant wait to see you home, hopefully they wont have to shrink wrap you for the trip!

  3. You're a star too... well done, you've come a long way from the days when I'd see you on your moped at Maltravers House! Well done Kev and many, many congratulations on "making it" without too many incidents... can't wait to say "Welcome home". xx

  4. Kevin,
    We have known each other for many years and have shared many experiences in that time. The experience of the last year has been right up there. You had the means, the ability and the ambition and went for it. More than that you decided to share it with us (thank you Rosie).
    My life has been enriched by the regular blog from the other side of the world and despite being a blob in the commuter machine I have been able to participate in your great adventure. For that I thank you.
    Being totally computer illiterate I would appreciate someone letting me know how I can save the blog so that I may savour it over the years to come.
    Come this Saturday I shall be at Twickenham for a curry and the match combined with various libations. I will raise a glass to you Kevin and your wonderful family. Those of us that have shared the blog feel part of that family by association.

    Wilks, Henry, Clara et al I propose three cheers for adventure and friendship and a Fursty Ferret all round.

  5. YABBA DABBA DO - yes indeed David, three cheers to our intrepid traveller. I'm glad to have been a fellow Anorak with Phil - but I suspect most are glad to have the stats!! Had to be done. Not sure we needed to know about the Boxers or earplugs tho'!, as for the best travelled, unused tent in the world -well enough said of that.
    I have enjoyed the ride and look forward to hearing more stories when we all meet up and mine will be a 'Pisco Sour'!

    Clara - Signing out X

  6. que haces delberto?
    ...just admiring your pics and wistfully thinking of patagonia. i was down there around the same time you amazing place truly.

    1. Hola
      It is a pity we didn't meet up for a drink at some point. Did you do a similar route or a blog?


  7. A post script. Any of you picking up a copy of the Emirates inflight magazine may notice the Perito Moreno glacier picture (above).
    I was contacted by their agent and it was published FULL PAGE!

    Ho could I say no as it was just another occasion to wind Wilks up about it - I have 6 copies and will make sure he gets one at Xmas for years to come!

    Cheers all