South of the Border; From Patagonia to the Emerald Way!
South America is one of Bikers favourite places to explore, and for good reason! Motorcycle touring in South America offers incredible scenery around every corner, diverse local culture, and some of the best motorcycling routes on the planet. Did we also mention it’s really special place, the food is to die for, and the local hospitality is unparalleled! How do we know this, you think? If you know Armadillos then you definitely met Russel! Rusty, our workshop technician has been a biker his whole life and he is lucky enough to share this passion with wife, Adri. A wonderful lady from South America! Despite living in England for many years, her heart never left her home country of Venezuela! Over the past few months our wonderful bike couple decided to combine their love for family and love for two wheels in a adventure of a lifetime – South of the Border; From Patagonia to the Emerald Way!
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South of the Border; From Patagonia to the Emerald Way!

South of the Border; From Patagonia to the Emerald Way!

South America is one of Bikers favourite places to explore, and for good reason! Motorcycle touring in South America offers incredible scenery around every corner, diverse local culture, and some of the best motorcycling routes on the planet. Did we also mention it’s really special place, the food is to die for, and the local hospitality is unparalleled! How do we know this, you think?

If you know Armadillos then you definitely met Russel! Rusty, our workshop technician has been a biker his whole life and he is lucky enough to share this passion with wife, Adri. A wonderful lady from South America! Despite living in England for many years, her heart never left her home country of Venezuela!

Over the past few months our wonderful bike couple decided to combine their love for family and love for two wheels in a adventure of a lifetime – South of the Border; From Patagonia to the Emerald Way!

We love to see their adventures and you should see it too! Expect regular updates from Adri & Rusty on our social media and website but also give them a follow! Track their progress, see the wonderful views and learn about the expected and unexpected issues the Husband & Wife duo overcomes on a daily base 😉

https://www.instagram.com/southoftheborder.travels/

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South of the Border adventure started in November 2023 and here’s few things to know about their adventures so far directly from Adri and Russel.

What motorcycles are you riding on?

RUSTY: 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan 400cc 

ADRI: 2019 Honda CB1 TUF 125cc

Both bikes bought in Santiago, Chile and therefore with Chilean plates. 

How many and what countries have you visited?

Only two countries; Chile and Argentina. We’re doing ‘slow travel’ as we want to see as much as we can and connect with the people we come across! 

How many miles have you travelled so far?

Rusty: His Royal Enfield had nearly 29,000 km when we started. So far he’s at 34,009km.

Adri: Her Honda bike had just under 500km when we started. So far she has done 5,028km.

Did you run into any issues so far?

You can ask that again! 

Rusty’s bike didn’t even have the battery charged when we first saw it in the flesh. The tyres were flat, the top box lock didn’t work and the front tire was fitted the wrong way round! To add insult to injury, the bike itself was very dirty (didn’t look at all like the one we saw in the ad when we bought it online!). The worse part was that it needed a new steering bearing, and full service (forks, breaks and engine) and even an MOT! 

Not at all the standards of Armadillo Customs! 

But hey, Rusty’s a mechanic and good one so after going round Santiago sourcing parts and tools (and with the help of Bastian, a great local mobile mechanic who helped him); we got the bike ready 😃💪

*Bastian’s IG: Royalservice.motorcycles 

*Royal Enfield parts in Santiago’s IG: Enfieldparts.cl

What did you learn already about traveling long distance on motorcycle?

RUSTY: Make sure that the bike is well prepared before you start – it took us three weeks to have everything ready and that time was costly as Santiago is not a cheap place! Still, we enjoyed the extra time with Andrea, Adri’s niece, and her friends – they’re a cool gang! 

Also, you have to take a break now and then, especially when dealing with the elements nearly every day as we have: long gravel roads, strong winds, rain and cold! 

ADRI: That you can have an adventure on any size motorbike – it’s what you make of it! 😃

Enjoy every moment as you don’t know if you’ll be back to that place! 

Where are you spending your Christmas?

We were hoping to be in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, with Adri’s nephew Leo who lives there. 

However, there were warnings of a bad storm and heavy winds making its way through Buenos Aires (it caused power outages and general damage across the city and had already killed several people in the south of the Buenos Aires province). 

We decided to head towards the Andes Mountain range again, in the west of the country, and ride the Lake Route on that side. This is a beautiful area and we’re hoping to finally be able to camp since the weather is now getting warmer. Wherever we are, we know that it will be beautiful! 

Hopefully we’ll make it to Buenos Aires and be with Leo in time for New Year. 

Adri hasn’t seen her nephew for several years so a good opportunity for family time and for Rusty to meet more of his wife’s relatives! 🤣

Good Luck from all at Armadillo Customs!

2024 UPDATE:

WOW, and just like that we’re halfway through our trip already and what three months these have been…🏍️🏍️🏍️ In three months, we’ve been to Chile 🇨🇱 Argentina 🇦🇷 and Uruguay 🇺🇾 Tomorrow we’ll enter our fourth country: Bolivia 🇧🇴 We started in Santiago de Chile, where we gotthe bikes and then rode south through the absolutely beautiful CarreteraAustral (Ruta 7) 🏔️ 😍 Then we crossed over to Argentina where we rode through the legendary Ruta 40 (the equivalent of Route 66 in the USA), went all the way south to Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world), rode across Patagonia, the Lakes Region and across the Argentine Pampas on our way to Buenos Aires. 

We took a flight ✈️ and visited the amazing Iguazú Falls on the northeast of Argentina and on the border with Brazil and Paraguay. We also took our bikes on a boat ⛴️ and crossed Rio de la Plata into Uruguay where we visited a fellow biker whom we met on the road. He invited us over to his country and we thought, why not? 🤪 

Uruguay is beautiful and we rode through the southern part of the country: Colonia, Piriapolis, Punta Ballena, Punta del Este and Nueva Helvecia. Then we went back into Argentina to ride through the central and north western part of the country, riding at higher and higher altitudes every time. In fact, we crossed from Argentina into northern Chile through Paso de Jama at 4,200 m above sea level, climbing to 4,800 miles  once in Chile 🏔️  So far we have dealt with cold 🥶 extreme heat 🥵 very strong winds 💨 rough roads with stones and sand, narrow busy roads full of huge lorries 🚛 and both bikes have put up with the abuse! However, in this high altitude, Adri’s bike has suffered a bit. Her 125cc Honda CB1 has a carburettor which means that the lack of oxygen makes the engine run too rich – ouch!  At one point she was climbing very slowly in second and then first gear until her bike gave up! 😱 Once more Ace Bike Mechanic Rusty came to the rescue 💪 🛠️ He took the air filter out and adjusted the carburettor settings so Adri could carry on up and conquer the top – Yesss! 👏👏👏 By contrast, Rusty’s Royal Enfield Himalayan is fuel injected so the engine self-adjusts to the conditions. But we have to admit that the very thin air at such high altitude still affects his engine power to a certain degree – even affects us as well – so sometimes we have to take it easy and suck on our coca leaves! 🍃 So far Rusty has ridden 14.137 Km (8,785 miles) while Adri has done 11.563 km (7,185 miles). The difference in distance is because we sometimes ride two up on Rusty’s bike. 

To celebrate the halfway point of our trip, we have decided to name our bikes 🥰 Rusty’s bike is called Pocho and Adri’s bike is called Cholila, typical Andean names. We also have just given them their first proper wash since we started this trip – they certainly needed it! 🧽 Pocho and Cholila have been absolutely great in this adventure and we look forward to continuing enjoying our journey on them 🏍️🏍️ ☀️

 

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