On 27 December 2009, Helge once again took to The Road, heading down the driveway from his home outside Seattle, Washington, USA - destination Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. As the crow flies, it's 8,000 miles/12,800 kilometers, from home in the Pacific Northwest, latitude 47° North, to The Land of Fire, latitude 54° South.
It's not unfamiliar territory. During his 10 Years on 2 Wheels sojourn, Helge explored the lands of South, Central and North America from 1985 to 1990. 20 years later, this time aboard a state-of-the-art BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle, Helge will retrace a portion of his previous journey, a pre-run or "recce" for the forthcoming GlobeRiders Alaska to Tierra del Fuego Adventure.
Visiting friends along the way, Helge will first make miles for Los Angeles, California. There, he will meet up with the rest of the pre-run team, a hardy trio of GlobeRiders "frequent fliers", clients that have taken previous tours with GlobeRiders. From California, the group will cross their first border into Baja, then make their first water crossing over the Golfo de California to Mainland Mexico. From Mexico, the group will journey through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica to Panama.
Two decades ago, Helge made one of the few documented overland transits through The Darien Gap, the 8,000 square kilometers of roadless swampland and forest separating Panama and Columbia. On this pre-run, the group will skirt The Gap by water or air, making landfall in Columbia. From there, the continuing southerly course will crisscross The Andes through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina to their final destination, La Ciudad más Austral del Mundo (They Southernmost City of the World), Ushuaia.
A pre-run is a working vacation in the truest sense; there's adventure to be had, but there are multiple jobs every mile of every day. Routes suitable for future clients have to be planned and scouted. Border crossing requirements and procedures have to be understood. Local guides and chase vehicle drivers have to be selected. Accommodations have to be "vetted" for suitability, with an eye to secure parking for the motorcycles. Waypoints and tracks have to be captured and edited, the basis of GPS navigation on future tours. On top of all of this, Helge will be shooting still digital photographs and High Definition video footage for a future movie and DVD.
With more miles to cover than there are hours in a day, Live!Journal Updates will be few and far between. The group has promised to publish photos and stories from The Road when they have a breather and internet connection, and we'll wrap them up in Live!Journal Chapters for you when they do.