Santiago de Chile, 4 February 2020
“Let’s go! Let’s gooo!”
This will be a good morning for us for the next two months. At 7 am we left Valparíso to arrive in Santiago de Chile, the first stop on our journey south.
We are finally on the road. And we are a team. Each bike has a number affixed to the front fairing and – the same number – to the panniers at the back. We proceed in the column following the numerical order, while the two vans change position depending on the situation. Sometimes both follow the bikes, sometimes one leads the way and one closes the queue or acts as a rubbish bin as they say in the jargon.
On a motorbike, you always have a companion who has your back and one who leads the way. And you, in turn, are the eyes of another. No one is left behind: you fuel according to the needs of the bike that has the smallest tank. If you notice something strange on another vehicle – for example, today we saw the side bags of one of us leaning unnaturally to the right – you tell the radio and whoever is closest takes a look to see if there is a problem or confirm that everything is OK. The radio on this trip is essential: one each to maintain contact, pass on information – for example how much the constant tolls on the South American carreteras cost – or simply to coordinate our movements.
We all help each other, but everyone is responsible for himself. In the morning, one gathers one’s belongings and loads them onto the vehicles, following a workflow that each motorcyclist has developed over the years and which corresponds to one’s needs. Observing this ritual allows you to get to know both the person and the bike a little better: some people prefer to have the pliers at hand because they know they will need them along the way, and others the road map, nostalgically on paper.
We are all gears in a mechanism that only works if we move with coordination and help each other. That is why, as someone once told me, ‘always carry a pair of socks with you, even for your travelling companion‘.
We at DooG Reporter have set up our ‘office on the road’ in the three places at the back of the ‘depot’ van, the one that carries suitcases, technical equipment, and crates of water,… The other is the workshop van where there is also the kitchen and galley, in addition to everything needed for minor repairs.
But I won’t reveal anything more about our accommodation because Gabriele will tell you about it in one of our next posts.