Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Journey according to Ernie

 Ernest Hemingway:  “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

The stay in Valpariso has come to an end, as my riding time with Uli has come to an end as well.  He is now back in San Francisco, heading to Munich.  His Tiger will take a little longer to reach the shop and the mechanics who will make it look like new again.  Uli and I rode together for over a month, and we shared some wonderful sights and travelled down some crazy roads.  I appreciate that he was able to teach me some tricks with the Garmin, and hopefully these skills will help to keep my journey organized and not too far off track.

In Guatemala, I had roomed with a young man who was taking Spanish lessons in a school near to mine.  He was also a Catholic priest, and I was very appreciative of those evening chats and the walks around Antigua which we undertook. While my children were baptized in the Catholic faith, I have always felt that I was seriously lacking in an understanding the the faith, and the tenants which supported them.  I think that understanding and appreciating that Chris's practice was for the people and that somehow made a good connection for me, and I was better able to grasp the essence of the faith, removed from the edifices and golden alters that I was constantly running across in my travels.

 I recently informed him of Sith's passing, and Father Chris mentioned  this quotation by Hemmingway in his response to me.  It is somewhat comforting to know that Sith's personality and determination was recognized by a common friend, as it helps to deal with the sense of loss and separation which invariably happens when riding partners come and go.

Leaving Valpariso was bittersweet: I needed to get riding again, and yet, the familiarity of the same bed two nights in a row was also a draw.  We managed to get out of town by lunch time, and headed towards Santiago, the capital of Chile.

It was relatively easy to get out of town and get on the road to the capital of Chile, Santiago.  We arrived there in the afternoon, and made arrangements for a diagnostic check on both of our bikes, and Doron also managed to get both of his "new" tires changed over.  I am going to keep my Karoo for the dirt coming up.  I saw two of the three Kuwaiti bikes at the Santiago BMW shop, although I did not see the riders..

 Next door was a Tourtech shop, and I talked myself into buying a new pair of riding socks to replace the ones eaten by the sock monster at the last lavenderia...I sure like those over the calf socks and they are hard to find.
True to Tourtech standards, all of the bling in the shop was overpriced and branded in the BMW manner...
In true traveller fashion, while looking for the BMW shop, we found another bike shop where Doron had his tires changed over.  Look what he found in his Heideneau...


He had 25,000 km on his rear Heideneau, and 30,000 km on the front one.  I think that everyone will agree that these tires are certainly doing their job.  It is unfortunate that they are still difficult to find in South America, although I have heard that they are available in Brazil, which kind of narrows the search down a bit.

While the tires were being changed, I wandered around and tooks some pics of interesting bikes....


 I really like these TransAlps, and the dual headlight model is my favourite.  People tell me that they are bullet-proof...
 This pic is for Doug....
 And another for Doug....






Later on, Doron had to track down a credit card sent from home.  We ended up parking the bikes with the kindergarten bikes and we got a free bunk for the night at the local synagogue....



And Doron was able to participate in some prayers with the rabbi, and I attended a special dinner for a recently married bride and groom.


We managed to get an early start the next day, and in quick order we had left Santiago behind.  I will remember this city as the city of hammerhead cranes, as it seems everywhere I looked there was new construction going on.  We passed through a tunnel which transited the city, and must have been at least 7 kilometers long.  This was the easiest big city traffic that I have every encountered.

We made it to Curico by early afternoon, after travelling on a fantastic highway (number 5) south of Santiago.




I am glad to be back on the road after the rest in Valparaiso.  I have had a couple of very interesting days, between visiting a synagogue and dealing with the traffic in the capital, it is clear that another stage of the Journey begins.   I had a very interesting walk and conversation with a young Isreali man who has backpacked through much of the area that we are heading for, and I am anticipating a dramatic change in the landscape in the next few days.  It was also interesting to talk to a young man of 23 who was also a veteran of fighting in the Middle East.  I am afraid that there is still much to learn about this world.....