The Road Ahead : December 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2012/JAN 2013 48 NEGOTIATING THE RUTTED tracks that often pass for roads in distant Patagonia, two-up on a motorcycle, definitely demands a sense of adventure. That's no problem for RACQ member Birgit Kehr and fiancé Alan Roach -- they have it in spades. Wikipedia tells us that Patagonia is a region located at the southern end of South America, territory shared by Argentina and Chile, boasting some of the most dramatic landscapes on Earth. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains to the south-west towards the Pacific Ocean, and from the east of the mountain range to the valleys, it follows the Colorado River south towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, it includes the territory of Valdivia, through Tierra del Fuego archipelago. In other words, this is a place tailor made to embark on a 'voyage of discovery' with like-minded 'free spirits', something Alan was already booked to do on an organised tour. When he asked Birgit to accompany him, she jumped at the chance. Of course, things weren't quite that simple. "Unfortunately, I didn't have the budget," Birgit said. "Alan offered to help me with the flight ... and I decided to offer my services (to the tour organisers) as a photographer/ videographer and public relations officer. (As it happened), they were looking to upgrade their website, and I was in." From Buenos Aires, the couple flew to Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world, on the coast of Isla Grande de Tierra Del Fuego (Land of fire). There, they chose their mount for the next couple of weeks and close to 4000 km -- a BMW 650 GS. "With its light weight and low seat height, the 650 is a great motorcycle to tour on and it has very easy-riding characteristics," Birgit said. "The fuel injection was necessary, as we were taking the bikes up to high altitude and the twin- cylinder engine gave us the power and reliability that we needed." Having faith in their mount was crucial, as conditions and the environment were set to test them. "We made our way to Puerto Natales, and the high winds were quite a challenge," Birgit said, " I had to seek refuge in the support vehicle, because it was too dangerous on the back of the bike." All the while, her camera got a serious workout, as the sight of vista after stunning vista appeared through their helmet visors. And the pick of the 'highlights reel'? "There were so many," she said. "The Torres del Paine National Park was definitely one, but the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate was just as spectacular. "Another had to be the Estancia la Angostura. The road to TRAVEL RIDING THROUGH PATAGONIA tour de force STORY BARRY GREEN | PHOTOS BIRGIT KEHR IMAGES: TAKING A SHORTCUT TO ESQUEL. VOLCAN VILLARRICA IN PUCON (FACING PAGE).