The Pan American Highway
runs from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego close to Cape Horn. It runs more
or less uninterrupted, with one exception; The jungle between Panama and
Colombia known as the Darien Gap. Only two motorcycles have crossed this
stretch of tropical rain forest. We will not be the third.
The Norwegian mountains, on a cold
day on scenic roads, hour after hour alone, surrounded by fabulous
Our plan is to follow the highway but avoid it as often as possible,
meaning we will follow its western path down the continent but zigzag
our way on alternative routes, where feasible.
We were in doubt for a long time whether to buy a bike in the States
or bring our own with us. Economically it would be smarter to buy the
bike over there, but finally we decided to air freight our own bike over.
The main reason why was; traveling with Norwegian license plates will
hopefully make us welcome wherever we arrive, and it meant we could do
all the preparations on the bike at home, and not depend that much on
help from friends in the States. I have to add in here that I asked on
the Triumph Tiger mailing list if anyone would sell us their Tiger. The
response was very good, and particularly Steven Henry from the Michigan
area offered us his bike and volunteered to upgrade the bike for us in
advance and let me use his garage for the time I needed to prepare the
bike, not to mention stay in his house. We are grateful to him and others
who volunteered to help us.
We plan to stay about two to three months in USA and Canada, going northwestwards
to British Columbia, and end up in California, where we will do possible
upgrades on the bike before crossing the border into Mexico. Several people
have invited us to their homes and we will try the best we can to incorporate
them in our itinerary.
When entering Mexico, where we intend to stay longer than in any other
country along the road, we'll head down Baja California, before catching
a ferry to the mainland. A northern circle will probably bring us to Copper
Canyon, before setting the course southwards, touch the Pacific again,
then go east to the Yucatan Peninsula. We have estimated about two to
three months in the country, and the itinerary will probably change many
times along the road.
Now things start to get unpredictable. We will head further south towards
Panama. How far we go before flying to South America with the bike depends
on time spent and flying costs.
We might have to go to Venezuela to get a "Libreta de Paso",
since as far as we know, this is the only country in the region that issues
it. The document is needed to bring the bike into the different countries
without paying expensive import taxes. And then again, we might take our
chances without the Libreta. If we end up in Venezuela, we'll follow the
Andes into Colombia, and further south to Ecuador. We haven't decided
whether Colombia is to be considered safe yet, and both of us are a little
reluctant at present. But I know we will have an answer ready for our
selves some day while in Central America.
Further south we'll enter Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, all the
time following a western route that ends up in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego,
the southern most point on the continent that is accessible with a vehicle.
After Ushuaia, we'll head north again, and again depending on time and
money, we end up somewhere, some day, approximately one year after we
started. This 'somewhere' might very well be Buenos Aires, because of
it's strong connections to Spain, hopefully giving us an opportunity to
ship the bike to Madrid at a fair price.
As this short itinerary proves, our plans are vague. We intend to keep
them like that, simply because we are not fans of detailed day to day
plans that will be abandoned anyway. As the trip progress, we will read
about both the region we are in at the moment and the region we're going
to next, talk to travelers coming the opposite way, keep an eye on the
political situation, and maybe stay longer or shorter in certain areas.
The only thing certain, is that the itinerary will be locked after the
trip is over.
That's the fun part of travel, leave a little to chance and fate, and
maybe get more out of it all. Too much planning creates too much expectation
or anticipation, items you should be careful carrying along. They are
important, but at their best when balanced out. Also, having a detailed
day to day, or even week to week itinerary means we would have to keep
track of time, and this trip is, in certain ways, an escape from the tick-tack
of the clock,
And, I guess we're trying to be relaxed about it all - although to what
extent we have success in this is difficult to say, since my heart beats
faster just thinking about the trip. Anyway, it's going to be an interesting,
entertaining and exiting year, that's what's important to us.