There really is something exceptional about seeing a new place for the first time from the seat of a bicycle.
On this trip (very much including the US portion so far) we have hiked in spectacular places (Palo Doro Canyon in Texas, the hills above Santa Fe, the French Valley in Torres del Paine, and Laguna Cerra Castillo), kayaked in a fjord, explored the streets of Santiago and Coyhaique – but nothing quite matches the experience one gets on a bike.
My first encounter with this type of travel came in 2003 when Joe Swayze and Tim Carey persuaded me to join them on a long distance bike trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam with an intrepid group of Nobles students (and then Sarah and David joined the same trip in 2006). It was there – among the endless “hellos!” from children along Highway 1, heart-stopping after heart-stopping vistas, small towns and villages that offered a snack, coffee, or a spontaneous conversation or interaction (often with a Polaroid camera) with local people that helped us realize the power of this form of travel.
Our week on the bike in Chile has met every expectation (including sore butts and tired legs). The scenery has taken us past glacier-fed lakes, stunning mountain peaks, a variety of small villages, and through pristine valleys. The weather has been varied – one day of hard rain and forty degrees, another of sunshine and seventy-five, and a few days where the notion that weather forecasts here are “simply a suggestion” have pushed us from multiple to single layers to raincoats all in the span of a few hours. As expected, our group is an active one with people eager to get on the road regardless of the forecast yet flexible to changing conditions. Our team of Chileans have been eager to help and support at every turn.
It’s hard to believe we’ll be back in the States in five days after almost five weeks here. Chile has exceeded all expectations and while we’re eager to be ‘home’ to see friends and family in the western US for the next two months, we’ll be sad to step away from this amazing adventure. We couldn’t be more grateful.
Here is what we are riding by:
Stay safe, everyone! ❤️