It seems like it was months ago that we left Ushuaia, and began this very long journey. In reality, it’s been only eight days of riding, and so much has happened in those eight days. If you’ve kept up with our blog, you know about all the momentous events of this past week.
Today we reached a major milestone, crossing the 2,000 mile mark of our adventure. This evening, as we drove into the beautiful city of Santiago, Chile, we crossed the 2,200 mile mark. That means we’re 22% of the way home!
Today was our first encounter with the “Policia”. We were sure they were stopping us for speeding, but it turned out they just wanted to check out papers. I think they were, like everyone else, just curious and wanted to get a closer look at the Harley Davidson’s. They were very nice and cordial and sent us on our way.
The 425 mile ride from Temuco to Chile’s capital city took us from rain and cool temperatures to bright sunshine and 90 degree heat, by the time we’d arrived in Santiago. The road was a fast four-lane expressway the entire way, with lots of traffic. What a contrast from the gravel roads of Argentina.
At times traffic came to a stand still due to road construction. Sitting in the glaring 90 degree heat on a motorcycle with leather on your body is not a great thing to do. So we took advantage of he shoulder and passed everyone. No one seemed to mind. In fact most that saw us coming up the shoulder would wave or honk. People seem to know we are not from around these parts.
The most difficult part of the trip is the Toll Booths. It seems like we pass one every 15 minutes or so. We finally got our system down. Dave pays the toll for all three and we each go through the gate one at a time. Efficiency is important when you are tyring to make the miles.
We’ve stayed in touch with Team B in Bariloche, and hear that Doug is continuing to recover well. His wife, Margaret, arrives tomorrow, while Brad is flying back to Kansas City today. We miss our “Tres Amigos,” but will push ahead until we cross the finish line.
We ask ourselves several times a day why in the world we’re doing this. At one of our fuel stops today, an elderly Chilean couple asked me about our trip. They couldn’t believe we were driving our bikes such a long distance. “We’re raising money for some great causes,” I told them. They were rather incredulous, and quickly responded with “Aren’t there easier ways to raise money?” I responded, “yes, I suppose there are, but why take the easy way?”
Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”