Daniel Rintz: Carretera Austral

I was scrolling through our photo library the other day. Someone asked me to pick a single photo that summed up best what motorcycling is for me. My immediate reaction – that’s impossible! Josie and I have about 60,000 photos in our travel catalog. Perhaps 10,000 of those show motorcycles.


The photos were taken over the course of six years and on six different continents. The amount of photos and the divers circumstances under which each one was taken are a representation of how multi-faceted motorcycling can be. It would have to be a hell of a photo to convey at least some of the possible emotions a rider can experience on the open road.


However, there were a few places that I recalled made my heart beat considerably faster. I scrolled through a bunch of folders like “Australia”, “Northern India”, “Alaska”, “Rockies”, “Colombia”… It was a blast re-visiting all these memories. Finally, I found myself infatuated with the “Carretera Austral” section.


It’s a magical corner of the world, especially for motorcyclists. This road in southern Chile leads you through mind-bogglingly beautiful mountains with great vistas and along intricate layouts of rivers, lakes, and fjords. Unless you check your map, you can never tell which kind of body of water you’re driving along. The landscape constantly invites you to stop and take photos, but the road regularly reminds you to pay attention to the riding. The route is partly gravel and quite windy.


Even though I would never pick one favourite road in the world, I can say that the Carretera Austral is right up there with the rest of my most favourite ones. I would go back there in a heart beat.