Enderby’s Dan van Dalfsen and Krista Harris (with the North Okanagan’s favourite newspaper) grin at the end of their motorcycle trip from home to the “fin del mundo

Enderby’s Dan van Dalfsen and Krista Harris (with the North Okanagan’s favourite newspaper) grin at the end of their motorcycle trip from home to the “fin del mundo

Couple rides out their dream

Enderby’s Dan van Dalfsen and Krista Harris go from the Arctic Circle to the end of South America

First, he had the idea. Then, he learned to ride a motorcycle. And then he found the perfect partner for the trip.

Enderby’s Dan van Dalfsen and Krista Harris have fond memories of a motorcycle excursion on their matching Suzuki V-Strom bikes that took them from the top of North America in Inuvik to the “fin del mundo” (end of the world) in South America.

“It was in the mid-80s, I read a story in a Shuswap newspaper about a couple from Tappen who drove their pickup and camper to South America, and I wanted to do the same thing,” said van Dalfsen, 61. “Except I thought a cool way to do it would be on a bike.”

It was a love of motorcycles that brought the semi-retired pair together, both having learned to ride bikes just a few short years ago. They were talking about motorcycles when van Dalfsen asked for Harris’ phone number.

He shared with her his idea, they went to a conference on such trips in Nakusp, organized by Horizons Unlimited, returned home and spent, said Harris, “10 to 15 minutes planning their excursion.”

“We left Enderby on Oct. 6 and arrived at the “fin del mundo” in Ushuala (Argentina) on Dec. 30,” said Harris, 56.

“We traveled through 14 countries and covered 25,000 kilometres.”

Throughout the trip, the couple were greeted by friendly people who treated the pair like celebrities.

“People wanted to sit on the bikes and have their photos taken,” said van Dalfsen.

Added Harris: “We ran into a tour group of Americans heading to Antarctica. We told them what we were doing and they were so excited, they wanted to have their pictures taken with us.”

In Colombia, said Harris, bikes are big as far as transportation mode, but nowhere near as big as the Suzukis.

“They were phoning their friends to come down and see our bikes and they’d ask to have their pictures taken,” laughed Harris.

The couple encountered some tropical rain storms, including the edge of hurricane Patricia, but the hardest work was battling the winds in Argentina where they had winds of 60km/h with gusts of 80km/h.

“That kind of wind is capable of blowing a bike over and when I stopped it did just that,” said Harris. “We also had a little slush in El Calfate (Argentina) but that just made the glacier (the massive Perito Moreno Glacier) prettier.”

They also had to dodge llamas and alpacas who would jump out from the side of the road in front of their bikes, similar to deers jumping out in front of vehicles in Canada.

A bonus part of the trip for van Dalfsen: it was cherry season in Chile.

“I got to experience two cherry seasons in 2015,” he laughed.

The only time the pair felt uncomfortable was at the many border crossings, where it was common to see men with guns standing by.

“It was an awesome trip through a wonderful part of the world,” said Harris. “We are very grateful to have had the chance to do it.”