Much of the route is firmly at the planning change; by its very nature there needs to be a high degree of flexibility built into the itinerary and it’s certainly possible that events en route will dictate exactly where and when I go next.
The general plan is to start in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires; here I’ll be able to acclimatise to the new surroundings, perhaps try out a little Spanish, and give the bike a good checking over to ensure that everything is running smoothly and that I’ve got everything I’ll need. I might also be able to treat myself to a tango show or two whilst I’m in town before the real journey begins.
From there I’ll head South, following the gentle coastal road as it hugs the Atlantic, offering some relatively easy riding as I edge myself closer to Patagonia. From here I’ll eventually cross the border into Chile and revel in my first glimpse of Tierra del Fuego across the Strait of Magellan.
Here the landscape will become ever more scenic as I begin the journey up Chile’s fragmented coast. The roads – like the country itself – are hemmed in between the Andes and the Pacific, and as I get closer to Santiago the landscape will get steadily easier. North of the capital the land gets steadily more arid until I hit the world’s driest place, the Atacama Desert.
Assuming I survive it won’t be long before I reach the third country of the trip, Peru. Another gloriously mountainous country, by this point I should have got used to the gruelling but stunning roads. I’ll stop over in Lima to recuperate before continuing my way north to Ecuador and the Equator.
After celebrating a return to the northern hemisphere – perhaps with a tasty Almuerzo – I’ll continue on my way to Colombia and eventually the Caribbean coast. From here the Andes begin to peer out and I’ll swing East towards the Guiana Shield and the nations of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
By this point the landscape will have changed utterly, with some of the most challenging cycling coming with the tributaries of the Amazon. Brazil – and a return to the southern hemisphere – begins and ends at Macapá, and the way south will be made difficult by the world’s mightiest river. Boat will be the only way to cross.
Once I get to Belém the way will gradually get easier as I follow the Atlantic coast south via the cities of Recife, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro. Eventually I’ll hit the penultimate country of the journey, Uruguay.
From here it won’t be long until I hit the massive estuary of the River Plate. Once this is crossed I’ll be back where I started some 25,000km earlier – Buenos Aires, city of Fair Winds and the end of the ultimate Journey of a Lifetime.