Ride to Chile


From Oregon to Chile, a motorcycle adventure by Rick Ellis

How it Began

1962 - I started riding at the age of 5 in my dreams.

My dad's NSU in Costa Rica with my brother Kevin on the back.

1969 - As a thirteen year old while on a road trip with my family, waiting at a river crossing on a barge into Paraguay from Argentina, my dad met an American family who had driven down from the States and was touring all of Latin America. It jazzed me!

A few years later I found myself living in Panama where it was quite common to see people who had driven down from North America in cars, vans, campers or motorcycles as well as those who chose to see the world from a sailboat.

My Suzuki 500 in Panama with Kevin on the back.

All this since that first occasion lit the desire in my own heart to some day go beyond known borders.

In 1982 while living in Mendoza, Argentina, I bought a 1943 Willys Jeep when the Argentine peso was devalued and toyed with the idea of driving it back to the United States. Time and money didn't allow for it.

Laurel and I with our 1943 Willys Jeep in Mendoza, Argentina

Now at 60 I have the opportunity I've been dreaming about for so long to see the people and their respective countries that I've been flying over for so many years. I have chosen the KLR 650, a classic globe trotter. It's cheap, it's dependable and parts are readily available. 

Due to my 30 day travel window, I will be booking down the Pan Am (Pan American Highway) at 60 miles an hour.

60 @ 60 on the Pan Am

I invite you to come with me...maybe it's your dream too. My intention is to provide you with updates of the experience as they unfold. As I travel south, you'll be able to follow along by having a look at the DeLorme InReach map. If you want to do more than just follow me, you can help me reach my destination of Concepción, Chile by visiting the Lend a Hand page and help keep the tank gassed up or provide me with a good night's sleep.

News


Home Sweet Home

November 26, 2016: I arrived home a little after 3am on Friday morning. Friends from two different churches helped get my trusty partner home with me,...


Thanksgiving

November 24, 2016: Just 80 miles from home on the Pan American, my trusty partner stalled and wouldn't start again, just worn out from the 9750 miles behind...


Chile - Day 4

November 22, 2016: Uncharted territory is behind me now. From La Serena, where I spent the night, to our home in Concepción, all is known to me...


Chile - Day 3

November 21, 2016: I haven't ridden this far since I was 20! Arriving at dusk in La Serena after 538 miles through the desert, the land is...


Chile - Day 2

November 20, 2016: Lloyd and Ana Maria Marsh, AGWM colleagues who arrived in Chile while I was in the States, graciously hosted me last night. They live in a...


Phase 4 Begins

November 19, 2016: Last night I stayed in the port city of Ilo in southern Peru. Today I crossed the border in to my home...


Peru - Day 5

November 18, 2016: I woke up this morning to the sound of the waves lapping at the shore and this view. I then detoured...


Peru - Days 3 and 4

November 17, 2016: Making my way south along the coast of Peru, I traversed the mega city of Lima in bumper to bumper traffic on a freeway. I stopped at...


Peru - Days 1 and 2

November 15, 2016: Coming down from the lush green of the northern Andean mountains, I arrived in Piura, Peru to begin my trek through the deserts of...


Ecuador - Day 4

November 13, 2016: Back in Loja, a picturesque Andean city nestled in a valley at 7300 feet elevation, made even more beautiful by the people we came to...


Ecuador - Day 3

November 12, 2016: Ecuador is a beautiful country and although it was slightly further, I'm glad I rode down to the Amazon side of the country. It is a lush...


Ecuador - Day 2

November 11, 2016: Leaving Quito at 9350 feet elevation, I rode over an 11,574 pass on my way to Baños at 5955 ft., named for it's hot springs...


Colombia to Ecuador

November 10, 2016: As I made my way south from Pasto towards the border with Ecuador, the rugged mountains of Colombia gave way to rolling hills on the high...


Colombia

November 09, 2016: The three hundred and fifty miles today once again covered high mountain passes where I was literally riding through the clouds, other...


Colombia

November 08, 2016: Beloved and I were separated flying out of Panama City on different flights. We were reunited on Monday at noon at Bogotá's air freight...


Phase 3

November 07, 2016: This is the first time on the trip that I've been separated from my trusty partner. Remember how back in the day, we mailed letters by...


Central America - Panama

November 06, 2016: This is a four day weekend in Panama as they celebrate Independence Day. On Monday, I will be shipping the bike via air to Bogotá,...


Central America - Beautiful beaches of Costa Rica

November 03, 2016: I sense that there is a difference returning to a country where I’ve lived before, in this case Costa Rica, familiar sights and...


Central America - From Nicaragua to Costa Rica

November 02, 2016: Passing Lake Nicaragua with it's beautiful views of Concepción Volcano on an island and the wind turbines,I had to stop at a gas station...


Central America - Nicaragua

November 01, 2016: The bike did it again...came to a stop in front of an Assemblies of God church where I met the pastor and his 93 year old...


Central America - Honduras

October 31, 2016: I finally had my rear spare installed in Congo, El Salvador before heading to the Honduran border, spending the night at...


Central America - El Salvador

October 30, 2016: One of the highlights of my trip so far was being with Don and Terri Triplett in El Salvador. They are the directors of Castillo del Rey...


Central America - Guatemala

October 29, 2016: Closing in on the southern border of Mexico I was flagged down by a group of seeming officials, but found out they are self appointed...


Tropical Mexico

October 27, 2016: After traveling 3600 miles from Oregon, I finally arrived in the tropics this afternoon at the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. The...


Toltec Ruins

October 26, 2016: Nearing the outskirts of Mexico City, I stayed at Tula de Allende and visited some Toltec ruins dating from 1100 AD. Beautiful...


Retorno

October 25, 2016: While riding, about every mile, I kept seeing this sign "Retorno", which means Return or Go Back. I guess my mom must have paid somebody to...


Pushing through Mexico

October 24, 2016: Making up lost time, I rode 800 miles in two days from the border down to Zacatecas, a old colonial mining town in Central Mexico...


On the Road Again

October 22, 2016: After goodbyes to Laurel and my parents, Dick and Sharen Ellis, I rode out of Phoenix on my way to Las Cruces, New...


Stuck between Phases

October 18, 2016: I had originally planned to ride from Phoenix to Las Cruces, New Mexico tomorrow, but some unforeseen circumstances have delayed my...


Phase One - Canby to Phoenix - Completed

October 12, 2016: Laurel and I arrived at my parents' house at 5:00pm from Los Angeles where we visited Laurel's parents and brother and sister-in-law. On...


At Oakhurst near the entrance of Yosemite

October 09, 2016: Heading out of Yreka on a beautiful fall day, we drove over four hundred miles to Oakhurst, where Terry Cederblom, my old friend from...


The Journey Begins

October 07, 2016: Setting out at 4 o'clock, six hours later than planned. It's raining. Our house is packed up and clean, ready for the renters to move in...


Phases of the Trip

September 23, 2016: I will be leaving our home in Canby, Oregon the morning of Friday, October 7th, heading south towards Oakhurst,...