Grape smugglers, don’t cry for us & the final countdown

By Emma

Looks like Falkor had a party.....

Looks like Falkor had a party…..

I am not much of a wine connoisseur but in Argentina you can buy a magical bottle of wine called a ‘damajuana’; it is 5 litres, so in my books, its marvellous! And it’s not just crummy cheap wine either, it’s really good! I guess there are so many vineyards it makes more sense to sell it in huge jugs. It sure makes sense to us! And at $8, I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t agree. Ah Argentina! No tears there.

Damajuana

Although she did start off a bit shady. Having crossed over the border from Bolivia with Brits Adam & Claire we set off on our 1st day riding Argentina and promptly broke a spoke. Getting used to this routine, they set off ahead of us and we planned to meet up on the road once the repair was complete. Alas, we had not checked the map together and so did not realize there was a cross-road, or in fact, that we had all cycled off in the wrong direction. There was much guessing of which route they had taken, and needless to say, we got it wrong and set off onto a bumpy sandy road for a 40km detour back to the main route. It wasn’t our favorite day. The next few days were spent guessing whether they were ahead or behind us as we asked every person we passed if they had seen 2 other cyclists; “conosco dos otra ciclistas en esta camino?”

Bremma & the Brits with Argentino cyclists Katerina, Belen & Chelo. Awesome awesome peeps!

Bremma & the Brits with Argentino cyclists Katerina, Belen & Chelo. Awesome awesome peeps!

Dude! 21,000km! We kinda got so into riding this day the precise moment escaped us so this shows 21,046km!

Dude! 21,000km! We kinda got so into riding this day the precise moment escaped us so this shows 21,046km!

We smashed out some huge days into some ridiculous head winds as we made a bee-line for Jujuy where we knew we could get internet to try to track them down. We were desperate to find them again in time for Brens birthday to eat the steaks we had all been dreaming of through Bolivia. But it turned out they had taken a different route entirely, riding some of the most difficult terrain of their journey. They had to carry their bikes across raging rivers and slog for hours through sand and mud. We were quite glad that we didn’t get Falkor on that road. It’s entirely possible that we would have just let the river sweep her away. Sometimes I dreamt of that.

But still, the two if us celebrated Brens birthday with THE best steak and wine at a very nice campsite just outside of the city.

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Argentina lived up to our very high expectations of excellent carne and vino. We have not and cannot get enough. It’s quite the welcome change from chicken & warm beer all through Peru & Bolivia. Connecting with the Pommes on email, we made a plan to meet in Cafayate and extend the celebrations there.

Sad story but this guy is actually dead. So rare to see an Armadillo, but this lil guy just wasn't fast enough for the cars. Amazingly intact though eh!

Sad story but this guy is actually dead. So rare to see an Armadillo, but this lil guy just wasn’t fast enough for the cars. Amazingly intact though eh!

We decided to get Falkor checked out by a bike mechanic in Jujuy and took 2 days off just to sleep and eat. I think it is called ‘recooperating’. We are always tired these days. Too exhausted to face the thought of spending 2 days-off fixing the bike himself again, we thought we would treat ourselves to ‘a bike service’ by an expert replacing the bearings in the rear hub, truing the wheel (again) and a service of the front suspension which is well and truly on death’s door.

With bike store owner 'Santiago; in Chile. He wanted to replace everything but we had to convince him it would last another 2000km to Chile

With bike store owner ‘Santiago’ in Jujuy. He wanted to replace everything but we had to convince him it would last another 2000km to Chile….he said he would pray for us.

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Literally just rolling out of the bike store, we discovered the front rack mount broken so sent the afternoon searching for a welder. Ah days off eh!

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All fixed again!

Argentina, our 16th country, was the perfect place to start to slow down and enjoy our last weeks riding in South America. On about the same latitude of Sydney, it’s a very familiar climate and we fall asleep at night with the Southern Cross in almost the right spot in the sky.

Argentinians enjoy a lifestyle that is very similar to us Aussies with an excellent BBQ and camping culture. Campsites are plentiful and generally well maintained. Sometimes, even free!

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The instant we rolled over that border, time took an instantaneous transformation. We can’t really explain it. Like an infectious chilling out vibe. We stayed up later, slept in longer and just began absorbing the lifestyle here. It’s funny how immediate the change was. With the sun-rise around 7am, riding started around 9am (instead of 7am) and with such long daylight hours, dinner got later as did our bed time. The heat of the southern hemisphere sprung upon us with the sun increasing her intensity from 1pm right up until she started to fade at 7pm. Honestly, 6pm sun is so hot it can melt your brain.

Hola flamingos!

Hola flamingos!

Hence, the invention of the daytime siesta. I am never going to tell you that a siesta is not an awesome plan, because of course it is. But when you want to stop riding around 2pm and relax with a cold drink and maybe an ice cream, its impossible because everything is closed from 1pm-7pm. And where should a cyclist take a siesta anyway? If you arrive in a town, the park is always a good spot but you can’t exactly lay on a bench for 6 hours waiting to be able to buy your next snack. Or indeed another spare tire.

Hola lovely!

Hola lovely llama!

So there were some tricky days when we had to ride our bums off just to make it to the next town before siesta started. Rushing to relax. A tricky concept to master.

Hot & stormy. Just a matter of time till we get drenched.

Hot & stormy. Just a matter of time till we get drenched.

Famous for their friendly hospitality, the Argentinians did not fail to indulge us with their kindness.

After a huge day of reoccurring punctures, the sun started to fade as we arrived at a lake we wanted to camp at. No sooner had we parked the bike when our campsite neighbor walked over to offer us his kettle of hot water, a bottle of ice water and a fresh fish he had just caught. We were gob smacked.

Check out this gorgeous fish we got for dinner!

Check out this gorgeous fish we got for dinner!

Punctures have been a reoccurring theme in Argentina. Our patches began failing, perhaps because the glue got old and the tubes over repaired, and on one particular day Bren patched 7 holes and changed the tubes 3 times. Sometimes a blow out, sometimes pinched by the rim, sometimes by a spoke, sometimes a patch failure. We had 4 tubes and by the end of this particular day, we were only able to successfully repair one. And it was touch and go as to how long it would last so we held our breath as we set off on another dirt road without any spares.

The day we 3 outta 4 tubes failed.

The day we 3 outta 4 tubes failed.

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Miraculously, this huge thorn only pierced the side of the tyre and missed the tube. Thank you bike gods!

Miraculously, this huge thorn only pierced the side of the tyre and missed the tube. Thank you bike gods!

Timing is always crappy for these types of set-backs. It’s crazy how prepared you can feel one minute, with the next revealing that your back up plan has completely vanished. To have come so far on our ever failing bike and have something as simple as a bloody tube let us down is just obscene.

But with our mantra of ‘never go back’, we decided to keep moving forward and just hope for the best.

This is how we feel about non-stop punctures.

This is how we feel about non-stop punctures.

Then this happened.....imagine our faces then!

Then this happened…..imagine our faces then!

With that one tube, we somehow managed to ride another 300km through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, en route to Cafayate. The Quebrada region of Salta was an absolute delight to ride through with lovely roads winding through this incredible canyon of dramatic landscapes. Simply stunning.

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Riding out of the canyon into the lush vineyard country of Ruta 40 (the wine route), we arrived in Cafayate with a huge sigh of relief. Ok the bike shop was closed because it was siesta o’clock when we rolled in, but at least there was a bike shop.

Hello vineyards!

Hello vineyards!

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Grapes Grapes Lovely Grapes!

Grapes Grapes Lovely Grapes!

Taking our time to soak up this little tourist town, we got some big beers and sat in the central park, discussing our best camping options for our week off & reunion with the Pommes. It was also Bremma’s 19th anniversary of togetherness and we were pretty stoked to be in a place where a real celebration could occur.

Happy 19th Anniversary!

Happy 19th Anniversary!

Just starting to relax, it was obviously the best time for that patch to fail again. If it could have lasted another 1km, seriously just 1km, we would have been safely at the camp-site and could have unloaded Falkor and waited in style until the bike shop opened. But no. On a dusty back street road, we sat lame desperately trying to patch our very last flogged tube. At least we were in a town yes. So we got some snacks, another cold beer and decided to wait 2 hours until the bike shop would open. Only it didn’t, as we discovered with alarm that it was a public holiday. Bugger.

Hot, dusty and really quite exhausted

Hot, dusty and really quite exhausted

Setting of on foot armed with my ridiculous optimism, I found another store that was able to sell me a new tube. Delighted at this turn of events I skipped back to Bren and presented him with certain salvation. Sadly this tube was of such poor quality that the valve fell apart upon trying to pump it up. Thwarted!

Check out the state of this note. Is it even legal tender in this condition?

Check out the state of this note. Is it even legal tender in this condition?

Our choices were to keep trying to put a patch over a patch over a patch (which Bren did continue to try for another 2 hours), accept defeat for the day and book into the closest hotel for the night or to load Falkor into a ute and get a 1km lift to the campsite. You simply can’t push a loaded touring bike any distance with a flat tire.

One of the many spectators to our gutter moment

One of the many spectators to our gutter moment

It was so frustrating to be so close to ‘our holiday’ and yet so immobile. Our heads in our hands as we literally sat in the gutter once again, a car pulled up beside us and wound down the window. I must tell you that we get A LOT of attention on Falkor. It’s always friendly but by the end of everyday, usually quite exhausting. So at this point we had been sat in the gutter for 3 hours with a mere puncture and were not really in the mood for the standard “hey nice bike, where are you from” etc conversation. Only the folks in this car were a couple of Argentinian holiday-makers who had passed us along the road on numerous occasions. We had chatted with them at several of our rest spots over the last few days and had photos with them every time. They were pretty surprised to find us on this back road with our long faces and sprang from the car to offer us their help.

Vilma and Daniel from Cordoba.

Explaining our dilemma, they swiftly discovered an unassuming toy store in town that could sell us a decent tube. Our gloom started to dissipate quickly then and before we knew it, they were giving us directions to ‘the best’ campsite in town and inviting us to camp with them so they could prepare us an Argentinian BBQ.

“Prometer al campamento con nosotros para que podamos hacer una gran barbacoa” – “You must promise to camp with us so we can make a huge BBQ”.

You have our word.

Vilma y Daniel. Saviours, angels and all round legends

Vilma y Daniel. Saviours, angels and all round legends

Visiting posh wineries of the region with our new mates

Visiting posh wineries of the region with our new mates

I just love it. Chance encounters like this changing absolutely everything. We spent 2 nights camping with our new friends, sharing much hilarity over our clumsy Spanish and getting used to Argentinian accents and words. It’s almost like a new language altogether. Wine helps.

Wine always helps.

Beer. Beer is good to help too!

Beer. Beer is good to help too!

Our Pommes arrived 2 days later, swiftly joined by Celeste y David (Argentinian cyclists we met along the way), and together we reveled in lazy days of red meat and damajuanas. The time passed too quickly.

Yay! Reunited with our Pommes Adam y Claire. BBQ party!

Yay! Reunited with our Pommes Adam y Claire. BBQ party!

The very lovely Celeste y David from Buenos Aires.We met at 2 different camp sites & they were shocked to hear of our many failing tires so gifted us their spare as they were at the end of their journey. Legends!

The very lovely Celeste y David from Buenos Aires.We met at 2 different camp sites & they were shocked to hear of our many failing tires so gifted us their spare as they were at the end of their journey. Legends!

Our camp site dog we named 'Lobo' (it means wolf in Spanish). She was the sweetest thing and followed us everywhere. We wanted to keep her.

Our camp site dog we named ‘Lobo’ (it means wolf in Spanish). She was the sweetest thing and followed us everywhere. We wanted to keep her.

She slept outside our tent. Even Bren developed a soft spot for her.

She slept outside our tent. Even Bren developed a soft spot for her. Argentino dogs; the friendliest in all of South America. No need for rocks. What a delight to make doggy pals again!

Imagining that the rest of our ride through Argentina would involve more of the same, it was hard to accept some incredibly long & hot days through vast deserted stretches, carrying 16litres of water to see us through incredibly isolated roads. At times it was like being back in the Baja, only more deserted.

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We planned on wild ca,ping but with no shade for over 90kms, we had to keep riding until we found a few houses. Knackered.

We planned on wild camping but with an abundance of thorns & absolutely no shade for over 90kms, we had to keep riding until we found a few houses. Knackered.

So our last 1000km was not the laid back scenario I had expected, and I struggled to keep my head in the game with a torn hamstring and tough riding conditions. My sleeping mat turned into a tubular disaster and resigned from service, leaving me with thin yoga matts that barely disguised the rocks we usually camped on. Our tent zippers carked it and all of our kit seemed to be giving up.

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Thoughts of home & reuniting with all of our family and friends started to slow time down and minutes of riding seemed to take hours. Lack of internet meant that connecting with anyone was impossible and homesickness became a real battle. I guess I had believed it would get easier the closer we got to Chile, but when the completion of a long-term project is close at hand, the last stages are inevitably going to supply some unexpected challenges.

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Rocky, sandy, shale roads in long-deserted stretches. So glad it was all uphill. We fell the most times of the entire journey here.

Bike touring is always like that, incessantly forcing you to be honest with yourself to acknowledge that the only boundaries you face are the ones you put in your own way. It’s exhausting, but one of the best things about the journey.

But we met this very silly dog who decided to follow us 40km through the blazing sun right into the desert. Dumb move. But she was a great companion and we shared what we could with her, even 'borrowing' some water from a shrine to help her out.

But we met this very silly dog who decided to follow us 40km through the blazing sun right into the desert. Dumb move. But she was a great companion and we shared what we could with her, even ‘borrowing’ some water from a shrine to help her out. I named her ‘Flakita’, ‘Small skinny one’.

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In total, she followed us for nearly 80km over 2 days. If our customs laws weren't so strict, we both agreed we would have kept her. What a mighty spirit.

In total, she followed us for nearly 80km over 2 long hot days. And without much reward. If Aussie customs laws weren’t so strict, we both agreed we would have kept her. What a mighty spirit.

The most peaceful and beautiful campsite of the journey....even with our random dog. No cars passed us for 24 hours.

The most peaceful and beautiful campsite of the journey….even with our random dog. No cars passed us for over 24 hours.

We did meet this guy though. OMG. THE biggest spider I have ever seen.

We did meet this guy though. OMG. THE biggest spider I have ever seen. And soo ridiculously fast. Truly terrifying. Bigger than my hand.

So I decided to give us a pep-talk about how we need to celebrate our last weeks on the road.

It’s been more than an epic journey and we are so very close to the end. A very weird feeling. We have been riding toward this goal for 20 months and to have it in our sights is completely overwhelming. Its been our life for almost 2 years!

It’s incredibly difficult to stay present and enjoy the moment when we are this close to the end. I hate to wish any time away but I must admit to sometimes wishing we could fast forward this last bit.

Tired, cold and riding into strong headwinds

Tired, cold and riding into strong headwinds

It’s been 12 years since we lived permanently in Australia and the pull to get back there has been growing in intensity. We know we can make it now, and my pep talk was about the need to celebrate right now and relinquish this long kept feeling of holding our breath and hoping for the best. Of course, we set off that morning and in the first 5km we broke a spoke which was swiftly followed-up by some intense cracking and grinding sounds emanating from the rear hub.

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I officially abandoned all sense of achievement right then and committed to postponing all excitement until we absolutely crossed the finish line and arrive with our hosts in Santiago. With Falkor, you just never know. And so it will be that up until the very last kilometre our brows will be furrowed with the stress of ‘will the bike make it?’

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Final days riding to the Chilean border. Stunning scenery

Final days riding up hill to the Chilean border. Stunning scenery

There was one last huge climb on the cards to an altitude of 3880m over roughly 80km. At the top of it you cross the Argentinian border into Chile. Climbing puts a lot of stress on the bike and we were really quite nervous about Falkor’s performance on this last push. The rear hub began to sound as if chunks were falling off the bike so our faith was paper-thin. Making the first 40km was much easier than anticipated so we set up camp for the night, expecting the steep to hit us the next day. But as if by magic, the following afternoon we suddenly arrived at the top – the tough stuff done. Falkor made it in one piece! In utter disbelief we sort of just stood there looking at each other. Really? This is the top? It’s all down hill from here?

Of course, the new brakes suddenly (thankfully at the top & not on the way down) started squealing randomly and on close inspection, the front pads were lower than you like for a 2600m decent

Of course, the new brakes suddenly (thankfully at the top & not on the way down) started squealing randomly and on close inspection, the front pads were lower than you like for a 2600m decent. Lets replace those shall we.

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Any scrap of shade is better than none at all. The sun moves fast in the sky and soon our ‘scrap’ had vanished

Tunnels are super scary to ride through. Lucky this was just a short one.

Tunnels are super scary to ride through. Lucky this was just a short one.

There is a 7km long tunnel that takes you through to the Chilean side, but its illegal to ride through. It’s so dangerous I would absolutely never want to ride it. We have taken on a few much shorter tunnels and its nothing short of terrifying; the darkness, the invisible pot holes, the chance of a puncture with no where to fix it, amplified sounds of speeding trucks and buses eager to pass you– no thanks. So we loaded Falkor into the back of the ute (a service provided by the police for cyclists) and sat with her all the way through the tunnel. The first time we shared a flat tray together without a major break down. There was a lot of grinning.

Spending our last Argentinia pesos before crossing the border. Enough for a beer? Perfect

Spending our last Argentinian  pesos before crossing the border. Enough for a beer? Perfect

Sweet spot eh!

Our last wild camping, on the other side of the tunnel kinds in Limbo between Argentina & Chile. Sweet spot eh!

Our last wild camping, on the other side of the tunnel kinds in Limbo between Argentina & Chile

Tucking into the last of our camp supplies, this was a weird soup/pasta/soy dish. Add some pepper & parmesan cheese and its awesome!

The border control into Chile was the most difficult of the entire trip and took over 2 hours. In Central America, Bren usually just stayed with the bike while I took both of our passports to immigration & dealt with all the paper work. They didn’t care that I presented both passports and there was never any problems. Chilean immigration however, was intense. They wanted to see receipts for the bike! My license? A visa for Falkor? I am not joking.

I almost burst into tears because they spoke so quickly and it was so confusing. I was pretty sure I understood what they wanted but I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have any of those things. I kept telling the officially mean woman “Soy solo ciclisa. Solo tengo una bici. No es una moto” – “I am just a cyclist. I only have a bike. It’s not a motorcycle”. I really thought we were gonna be stuck there for weeks until a wonderful man in a fluro jacket appeared from thin air to save the day. I don’t know where he came from or why he wanted to help us, but he swatted away the complicated paper work, scribbled on something and escorted me back to Brendon.

“Todo completo?” I asked him diabolically confused.

“Si. Bienvenido a Chile. Bien viaje”.

Oh Yeah Baby!

Oh Yeah Baby!

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Passing through immigration and rolling under the welcome sign. What a feeling!

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This guy was the one who had to check our final paper work and let us through immigration. Finally satisfied, he became suddenly chatty & mounted our stead for a quick thrill…side saddle

There was a huge amount of road works immediately after the border control, which meant that only one lane of traffic was open. It’s super steep with 18 switch backs so it meant that all the buses and trucks were very slow and we zoomed straight past them all to enjoy the entire gorgeous road all to ourselves. All 18 switchbacks. It was awesome!

Seriously, check it!

Seriously, check it out! All to ourselves!

And since arriving in Chile. We have moved from one relaxing place to the next. A few days off in Los Andes, a few more with wonderful hosts Jennifer & Ed at their home and winery in San Felipe, and now in a super luxurious hotel in Santiago (thanks brother Michael for spoiling us once again).

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Our hosts Jennifer & Ed (owners of Flaherty wines) with friends Margaux & Craig. Amazing people. Amazing wine.

Cases and cases of delicious hand made Flaherty wine

Cases and cases of delicious hand-made Flaherty wine

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Dinner by Jennifer at the stunning home. She is a gourmet chef. What better place to stay?

I think cycling is the least dangerous option of activities listed on this sign on the highway into Santiagho. You should see the road they advise cyclists to use - single lane, no shoulder terror. We thought we would try our luck on the 'no cycling' highway and enjoy a wide shoulder and much encouragement from all the motorists

I think cycling is the least dangerous option of activities listed on this sign on the highway into Santiago. You should see the road they advise cyclists to use – single lane, no shoulder terror. We thought we would try our luck on the ‘no cycling’ highway and enjoy a wide shoulder and much encouragement from all the motorists

Goober showing us that Santiago is just 100km away! Our location & Santiago are on the one screen!

Goober showing us that Santiago is just 100km away! Our location & Santiago are on the one screen!

OMG so close!

OMG so close!

Yep, we made it to Santiago. We can’t believe it either. AND we managed to ride all the way without further Falkor carnage. Unreal. Dreamlike. Inconceivable. But true. Woohooo!

Stoked! Chceking into our very fancy hotel (thanks Mick) we thought a cheeky glass of bubbles was in order. Cheers!

Stoked! Checking into our very fancy hotel (thanks Mick) we thought a cheeky glass of bubbles was in order. Cheers!

Two beds in our fancy room!

Two huge beds in our fancy room!

Currently, Goober’s odometer reads 21,827km. Today we head to our final destination in Santiago where we will meet Anita & David, our last hosts of the South American leg. There we will begin the final clean up, washing all the road grime from our panniers and preparing Falkor for flight.

Owls in the daytime. I never thought to could happen. Delighted they posed for us. What a treat!

Owls in the daytime. I never thought it could happen.  What a treat!

It’s more 11km. Our absolutely final kilometres of the South American leg. Might have to do a few laps of the city to clock that odometer up to 22,000km. I like round numbers.

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So when I say that we can’t believe how close we are to the end, we really truly can’t believe it and in fact probably won’t until we get on that plane. I think then and only then, will the real celebrating begin. I believe they serve free champagne in business class……..

South America; gracias por todo. Australia; see you soon mate!

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Riding in the shade of gumtrees! Looking forward to more of that!

Riding in the shade of gum trees! Looking forward to more of that!

There is a very (very) long list of amazing people who have contributed to the success of our journey in many different ways. We wish it could be possible to thank you all in person for everything you have done for us.

Thank you;

All of our Pozible supporters who before we left Japan, contributed so generously to help connect us with Falkor.

All those who listened to the plans of this mad tale for the years before we got going

Everyone for following & sharing our blog, facebook and twitter pages.

All of our hosts from WarmShowers, Couch Surfing, & to those we met through mutual friends for welcoming strangers into their homes

The mad people we randomly met who simply welcomed two dirty cyclists into their lives

All the friends we met along the way for sharing our journey with us

All the other touring cyclists we met for making us feel normal

Our incredible family and friends across the world for their unwavering support

The dozens of people who got involved in our postal shenanigans and helped connect us with vital bits.

Those crazy few who were able to travel the miles to meet us during our journey (and drag tonnes of our gear with them)

Every single person who took the time to find out more about World Bicycle Relief and for getting involved to help us with our fund-raising

Our official sponsors for their generous contributions

For all the messages we ever received. Your love kept us going.

To those who waved at us, tooted, gave us a thumbs up, shouted us a drink, shared their food, laughed & cried with us, encouraged us and believed in us

AND to all the people who feel even just a little bit inspired in their own lives. Inspiration is a wonderfully contagious thing. Spread it.

Truly Awesome site!

A truly Awesome site!

On 24th March, we will board the plane in Santiago and fly to Brisbane. We want to catch up with you all as we ride along the East Coast of Oz on our ‘cool down’ ride home to Melbourne. It’s about 2000km and will hope to finish in Melbourne on July 10th – exactly 2 years after we set off from Whistler.

So whether you want to get your riding club together to share a few kms, pack a picnic to share a road side snack sesh or throw your tent & kids in the car and come camp with us – we want to encourage all of it.

Aussie motorbikers from Melbourne! Ash & Klaus!

Aussie motorbikers from Melbourne! Ash & Klaus!

Awesome Foursome

Sharing the road with mates is the shizle!

 Bremma with Adam & Claire Meeting & MORE Pomme cyclists we on the road; Nic & Jon

Bremma with Adam & Claire Meeting & MORE Pomme cyclists we on the road; Nic & Jon

A surprise cyclist party in Upallta - with French cyclists Nick, Pomme Gary & Mike from Gibralta.

A surprise cyclist party in Upallata – with French cyclists Nick, Pomme Gary & Mike from Gibraltar.

Meeting Alvaro the Bici clown on our final 20kms into Santiago

Meeting Alvaro the Bici clown on our final 20kms into Santiago

Hey did you see our latest video from Bolivia!

Working on the Argentina vid now so stand by!

In the mean time, some more pics  of our final weeks on the road.

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3 spokes to fix at once. Yay.

3 spokes to fix at once. Yay.

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Always with the spoke repairs

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Woe! Huge daytime moon!

Woe! Huge daytime moon!

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While fixing this spoke, some little girls came up and gifted us a huge bag of grapes and peaches. Way to make a crap situation awesome!

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Cafayate wineries. Dead posh

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Dude! Brendon got a tick in his wrist! Quick anticlockwise turn and that sucker was outta there. Ergh!

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The sign says “dangerous’ and depicts a dude falling off the cliff. On the other side of the road are several shrines to the dead. We took it easy on this stretch.

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Not an awesome road for cyclists. No shoulder and impatient motorists.

Gary from UK

With Gary from the UK, hiding in the shade of this shrine an cooking up some pasta for lunch

Hawk on fence

Hawk on a fence. Such amazing birds

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Home-made cake! We’ll stop for that!

Spoke

Broken spoke – at least we made it to the shade for this repair

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Argentinian camera crew do a drive by filming then stop to interview us for a tourist documentary. So famous.

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Sweet campsite in a building being assembled provided protection from a huge downpour and hectic overnight winds.

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Camping at a deserted train station on our last days in Argentina

Roadside treasure party

We could see all this colourful stuff scattered across the road in the desert. When we stopped we discovered it was head bands and hair elastics do we had an impromptu ‘roadside treasure party!’

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Roadside shrines provide great shade and are very tranquil

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Oh man. It’s almost over

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9 responses to “Grape smugglers, don’t cry for us & the final countdown

  1. Well done Australoids. Can’t berlieve you mentalists actually did it. I finally made a donation. Sorry it was so late but we were skint last year with planning for our wedding. Moving to Thailand in August so you guys better come visit. That beard of Brendaloid’s needs a good burning!

    Catch you somewhere soon you mad austards!!

    J

  2. So proud of you two!!!! Cannot believe it was 14 months ago when we met you in Rosarito, Baja. Loved having you stay with us in our vacation home in Loreto! You two are amazing! So glad you have almost completed your journey. You give Mick and I a lot of inspiration. Hope we can meet up with you two in Australia one day. If you ever travel back to Southern California, you are always welcome here. We promise we won’t make you move furniture again. Great wine tasting in Temecula! Smiles, Debbie Streeter

  3. WELL DOOOOOONE you two. Enjoy the happiness and thrill of achievement! Our love, Jack, Maureen, Michale and Adrian Zajac, in Poland

  4. Oh my God you two are Amazing! Bren your adventurer spirit and work ethic to get this far is astounding, All those spokes, punctures, hills and camps. Emma your writing has had me choked up many times and close to a tear now that you have achieved so much, your positivity should be bottled and fired from cannons to make the world a better place. Bremma you are inspirational! Enjoy the ride home.
    Love Steve (Radelaide)

  5. Your journey is Amazing! We were honored to meet the two of you when you were in Sacramento, CA.

  6. Hi my friends,
    Waouh, some much emotions in this post. All these feelings we also had Ranger O and I almost 1 year ago. Life on a bike is so simple, so pure, so good !
    Tears are not for from my eyes.
    Congratulations, really. A big big journey and so much challenges on reparing Falkor everyday.
    I wish so much to see you again.

    Fred

  7. After meeting you guys in Cusco it’s awesome to hear you guys made it down to Santiago!!! Well done and enjoy the final leg back through Oz ^_^

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