Through the Darién Gap with Helge Pedersen – Lessons from his first ride up the Pan-American Highway

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Adventure motorcycle legend Helge Pedersen recounts his journey and lessons learned on his first R80G/S adventure motorcycle ride from Ushuaia to Panama, through the treacherous Darién Gap. Not just “off-road” – in the Darién Gap there are NO roads or vehicle trails, just the Cuna indian foot paths. It took Helge 20 days to travel 80 miles, crossing the border from Colombia into Panama.

For more than ten years, Helge and Olga, Helge’s sturdy BMW motorcycle, traveled in vagabond style. Their journey took them across five continents and over 250,000 miles, more than ten times the actual distance around the world! Documented and told in the “10 Years on 2 Wheels” hardcover book:
Buy a signed copy directly from Helge with PayPal at or from Touratech USA

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#R80GS #SouthAmerica #PanAmericanHighway #PanAmericanHwy #LongWayUp #Darien #Gap #DarienGap #Colombia #Panama

if you are looking at going to South America on your motorcycle and you live in North America you have no excuse here’s how you do it go out your front door start your bike head south it’s as simple as that if you live in Europe do the same. and you can do the same in Africa and you are laughing at me and you’re saying oh yeah you’re privileged you have a lot of money this and that i tell you anybody can do it it’s all up in your head. welcome to MOTOTREK. i’m Helge Pedersen and in 1985 i traveled with this cargo ship all the way from Oslo to Buenos Aires came to Buenos Aires in the fall of 1985 and headed straight down to Ushuaia since my first trip to Latin America I’ve been back several times I’ve ridden central America down the Pan-American highway I’ve been in Ushuaia five times now it’s kind of funny to see the picture from the first to the last time but these times I’ve done it leading tours if you want to see patagonia sit down and it will all blow by you
i was sitting there on my bike and just hanging on for my life but i finally made it down to Ushuaia and everything changed mountains beautiful pine forests lakes and i happened to got the job and the reason i wore looking for a job was i want to learn some language i was very lucky because i got to work with Mario and Graciela and we were clearing a path off to Lago Fungano and we ended up staying there for two months it was tough it was summer January i mean we wake up to like an inch and inch and a half of snow in the morning but the biggest problem we had we worked our way up and we used up all the food we had i was so starved after that experience I’ve never been that starved in my life but what an experience it was usually for that reason is a very very special place and I’ve been back many times later and i love it so when you travel in Patagonia you have to go on a Ruta 40 and it’s in famous for its brutal gravel roads it was tough with the Patagonia wind and you are going in this deep rooted gravel and the worst is usually when you have a grader coming through because then it’s extra deep and you’re just dancing there and hanging on plus you’ve got the wind and then you meet the truck and it’s like usually i would then just stop and park myself and head on after in Patagonia you have to go and see mount Fitzroy came there parked my bike picked up my tent couldn’t see it couldn’t see it three days went by and i said okay enough is enough it was just caked in in fog so the following day i was going to take off and just forget about it was kind of disappointed really i looked forward to it look out my tent i couldn’t believe it it felt like i was right at the foothill and there is this majestic mountain just reaching for the heavens it’s just like a rocket when you travel the best currency you can have with you is time don’t let time press you out of a situation that could be a beautiful experience take your time