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Living and Leaping

Borders_are_a_big deal.  Crossing them is one of Bound South’s biggest thrills.  Between Anchorage and Ushuaia we’ve got fourteen international border crossings, each of them their own kind of victory, greeting, leave-taking.  Objectively, borders are probably the least romantic places we’ll visit on this journey southwards, full as they are of people who invariably want to be somewhere else.  Yet there is a romance in the way the stamps accumulate and the old roads move behind us with a new country ahead of us.  So it was that we crossed the border from Peru to Chile in the coastal Atacama desert, full of great hope and excitement for the final two countries of our long journey.

Yet this crossing in particular was tinged with a little bit of anxiety.  We treasure the privilege of bicycle travel while we can enjoy it; and for us, that privilege must end with our return home in May.  And so we looked at the 5000+ kilometers separating us from Ushuaia and figured out that we weren’t able to make it on our own.

We begrudgingly hopped a bus to central Chile and since then we’ve been riding like the wind.  I have always relished the consistent pace of bicycle travel, the way we can enjoy every mile and see the gradual progression of the landscape under our own power.  This time, the window of an overnight bus transformed the endless earthen tones of the Atacama desert into the Mediterranean green of pastoral Chile.  Now we ride through pine forests, ranch lands, dairy farms, and apple orchards.  It almost feels like we got here too quickly; the changing landscape is an uncomfortable reminder that the end in Ushuaia is so close.

We have no regrets.  No adventure is perfect.  Riding into Ushuaia in May and coming home will be close enough to perfect, as far as I am concerned.  If anything, our recent weeks have reminded us once again what a privilege it is to travel by bicycle, and to treasure this last chapter of our long journey from Alaska.

New favorite food recipe: Oatmeal, dulce de leche, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, granola, honey, powdered milk.

David disrespects his elders and their loss of a real hat.

Argentine-Chilean volcano serves as a border marker.

Granite cliffs herald the beginning of Patagonia

Just another passerby on a long and empty road.

Nathan trades his North America "bear-stick" for a new Patagonian bamboo model.

Brushing teeth on a frozen early morning.

Climbing some rough dirt near the border.

New volcano for a new country.

Argentina! Not the last time we'll see this sign.


Autumn blooms in Argentina.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. krista #

    That sky color is glorious. I am curious as to what that rectangular green object next to the granola is.

    April 11, 2012
  2. Aunt Sue #

    Awesome! Congratulations on reaching Argentina … keep on pedaling.

    April 11, 2012
  3. I was beginning to wonder how you would pull it off, but now you will reach Ushuaia, enjoy TDF for a bit and still hug your sister on her big night. There will be plenty of time to explore Central America, and the Atacama, in the years ahead.

    April 11, 2012
  4. Matt #

    Congratulations! I love the alamo (poplar) trees of Argentina! What a great picture! Mendoza is such a beautiful city! Felicitaciones!

    April 11, 2012
  5. Don Myrvik #

    I love the way you use words! And these pictures were wonderful — such good closeups!
    “Living and leaping” is a great expression. So is “we have no regrets. Adventure is not perfect.” It sounds like my day, too!
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us!
    God is with you!

    April 11, 2012
  6. Bette Berg #

    What a wonderful adventure you three have had! The pictures are fantastic and it’s been so interesting to follow your journey each day. You have been in our prayers every day and we are looking forward to seeing you soon. love Bette

    April 12, 2012
  7. How much of the journey have you done on bikes? When did you start? I came into reading your blog a couple of months ago and realized that I had no idea! It will start getting really cold down south very soon. I remember that the trekking season typically ends in Patagonia near El Calafate (Argentina) and Torres del Paine (Chile) in April. Yet your final destination is much further south! Hope you have warm clothes! Looking forward to more posts!

    April 12, 2012
  8. Wow!
    what a journey! I just found your blog and I will keep reading =)
    Two questions that cross my mind right now:
    1. Are your last name scandinavian?
    2. Where in Ecuador did you cycle? (I love that country, been there once)

    have a safe journey! keep warm in the high mountains =) and I will follow you from now =)

    Linda in Norway

    April 13, 2012
    • Glad you are enjoying the blog!

      1. Yep, our last names are Scandinavian, we’re proud of our Norwegian ancestry.
      2. We cycled through Ecuador, starting at the Colombian border at Tulcan, proceeding through some backroads to Otavalo, Tumbaco outside Quito, then Ambato, Cuenca, Loja, and Macará before moving onto Peru.

      Great hearing from you Linda!

      April 14, 2012
  9. magnumpihilo #

    Hang in there guys! I have enjoyed your posts and hope to celebrate the completion of your journey from afar. Aloha! -Devin’s dad

    April 14, 2012

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