Indian Rock Art

Final Words on our America Trip


There are so many people to thank for helping us along the way:

  • Our family and friends for your support and encouragement, our friend Alex and family in Coatepec for giving us a real feel for Mexican life, and special mention to Chris's ma for not freaking out (too much) about the fact we were riding bikes
  • Our Cuyes (Adrienne, Marcus and Alex) and other bikers who provided support, help and friendship and appreciated our dirty and greasy clothes, grubby bikes, and the state of mind that goes with bike touring
  • All of the bike mechanics who helped us along the way: The guys from Waldron Arctic Cat (Issaquah, Washington) for selling us bikes (Chris still loves her first bike); Fred Hink (Arrowhead Motorsports, Moab, USA) for teaching us how to change tyres; Medellin Calle 10a motorbike shops for bike services, new seats, and new riding clothes (including Chris's new waterproof pants that were actually waterproof!); Diego Salvador (Quito, Ecuador) for route info and bike fixes; Motoservi (Sucre, Bolivia) for rebuilding a new shock for al that was better than the original; Roberto from Moto Tours Bolivia for road advice and making chris's bike run properly at altitude, and lastly Dakar motors, for a friendly welcome at the end of our trip.
  • The extra effort put in by some of the places we stayed: Our rentals in Mulege and Coatepec (Mexico), Josh at the Secret Garden (Tulum, Mexico) for being so nice to us when Al's dad was sick, Victor and Katia from Terassa de sol (Granada, Nicaragua) for getting the right antibiotics to Chris when she was sick and convincing us to cross into Costa Rica via La Mosquita, Aussie Cafe in Cartagena (Colombia) for the sweet taste of vegemite on toast, Paul at Casa Kiwi (Medellin, Colombia) for route advice and bike shop advice, the staff at Royal Ruiz (Ibarra, Ecuador), Casa Hebling (Quito, Ecuador)and the Voz Andes hospital for warmth and patience when we had the broken arm and busted up bike.
  • Our embassy in Chile, for getting us off the Peru-Bolivia border - forever grateful for that one and proud to be Kiwis
  • All the police who drank beer with us, gave us directions, and didn't try and get money from us (yes, still no bribes!)

The Best of the Best

For the last 5,000 km we have been thinking about some of the highlights and lowlights of the trip, keeping in mind we're not much into cities.

Best roads:

  • Moab area, anywhere and everywhere
  • Road across Baja (Mexico) through St Javier
  • Back road into Real de Cartoce (Mexico)
  • Macoa to Pasto (Colombia)
  • Chachapoyas to Cajamarca (Peru)
  • Uyuni (Bolivia) to San Pedro de Atacama (Chile)

Best attractions:

  • Yellowstone (USA) for wildlife
  • Uyuni region (Bolivia) for scenery
  • Tikal (Guatemala) and Macha Pichu (Peru) for ruins
  • Cartagena (Colombia) and Sucre (Bolivia) for colonial towns
  • Real de Cartorce (Mexico) for cutest little town
  • San Cristobel, Mexico for Mayan Chocolate and the artesinias

Low lights:

  • 1st month of rain every day
  • Californian drivers. Damn pushy. Central American drivers were crappy too.
  • Bad KFC that resulted in Al shitting on the side of the road in Fresno, USA, a city of >500,000
  • Camping with >45°C heat in Baja (Mexico)
  • Bacterial food poisoning, twice (Nicaragua)
  • Broken arm (Ecuador)
  • Border crossings: Costa Rica to Panama, Ecuador to Peru (La Balsa), Desaguadero (Peru to Bolivia)
  • Honduran drivers
  • Garbage in Panama

Yep, we'd go back (we may even move over):

  • Colombia, for the friendly people
  • Peru and Bolivia, for more dirt roads
  • Mexico, for the best food ever

No, we'll never be back because you drive so terribly and just have a generally yukky feel:

  • Honduras
  • Panama

Ecuador almost has a dishonourable mention on this list because of the sheer numbers of pushy rude people and bad bicyclists.

Follow up 2012

Sadly, events meant that we could not return and finish our trip. We managed to dump our bikes with a friend in Argentina that we made on the way down in Mexico. Maybe one day we will return, but it is unlikely that we will finish the trip on motorcycles. Al's unsure if he'll be able to return without facing custom issues with the two motorcycles "lost" in transit. And he believes that he is still technically an "overstayer" in Panama (he was never stamped out). Chris has flown through the USA since, so I figure the customs staff processed our visa cards even though they didn't want to!