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Riding A KLR 650 4600 Miles Through Southern South America

Robert Runyard used to be a test rider for Yamaha Motors (and Yamaha Parts Distributors) back in the 1970s.  In 1977 he borrowed an XS650 and rode it to Tierra del Fuego.   He decided back then that he really liked southern Patagonia and that one day he’d return and stay there.   He made good on that in 2008 when he quit his job as an engineer for Lockheed Martin, and started running tours on his small fleet of KLR650 bikes --  that just happened to include a bunch of hardware that Happy Trails sells.   Runyard’s  tours operated from Puerto Natales in Chile, to the end of the road in Tierra del Fuego, and up into the glacier parks in the Andes in Argentina.

These days Runyard works more as a translator for the Chilean Antarctic Institute than as a tour guide.  But in early 2017 he was wondering if he might be too old to do a good, long adventure ride. So he took a ten-year-old battery off the tenders, stuck it in a 2006 KLR, and set off for what turned out to be one month and 7500 kilometers of riding.  Had it not been for competing commitments, it just might have been for two months.

It started with a boat trip through the fjordlands, to reach the southern end of the Carretera Austral.

Then a ride through the Chacabuco valley to the frontier with Argentina

Up into the Andes again to cross back into Chile

Then from Chile back into Argentina…and repeat…

And then as the autumn rains set in around southern Chile, he took the Navimag ship home to Puerto Natales.

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