Our epic motorcycle trip ended in April. We talked about staying on in Santiago. I would find a job and Jess would take Spanish classes until she acquired the language. She hesitated at first but the idea grew on her until she became enthusiastic about the new challenge. I put myself to scouring the local employment websites and contacting headhunters. At the same time, we began reading everything we could about the rules and regulations governing immigration and vehicle importation. What we discovered is that Chile instituted a law in 2012 that bans the importati44 % on of used motorcycles. This probably because, like us, many travelers finish their trip in the far south and some, unlike us, want to sell their bikes on the local market instead of shipping them home. New, our girls would cost almost double what we had paid for them less than a year before and, although they now had 30k+ kilometers on them, they would still likely fetch us what we had originally paid for them.
‘I think so too,’ I said and I remembered how I had left my last bike behind when my first big trip ended. It had been very hard to go cold turkey and I hadn’t been near so obsessed with motorcycling then.
I agonized over the decision for most of the night until the right and only course gradually emerged.
We shipped the girls home in a container along side a weathered up old Yamaha motorbike and an ancient VW van. We followed a few days later and before we knew it we were back in Los Angeles where we had started some eight months before.
Suddenly we were back and broke and without motorbikes (for a month anyway while they inched their way north on a freighter). There was a job to find, a wedding to plan, and immigration issues to sort so that my lovely Canadian bride could stay on legally in the country. It was no easy transition after such a long trip and moving back to America after several years living overseas. Both topics for another time.
Suffice it to say we got married, we applied for Jess’s residency, and I was contacted by a former boss who had an exciting new opportunity. So, we loaded the girls once more, boxed and shipped what we could not carry, and rode from Los Angeles to New Orleans in the blazing swelter of mid-August. It was a mere jaunt compared to the recently completed transcontinental journey, but our butts were plenty sore those first few days back in the saddle.
Then, suddenly, we had arrived. We were in New Orleans – starting a job, looking for an apartment, and learning to live in the developed world once again.