I'm sitting on a plane in Chicago bound for Lima on January 3, 2011. Two guys wearing moto gear board just before the door was closed. As luck would have it I had 2 empty seats next to me so I introduced myself and asked if they wanted to sit next to me. Patrice and Marc are French though Patrice is a US citizen and owns a bistro in Venice Beach California. They were flying to La Paz to pick up bikes and follow Dakar in North Chile. I explained that I was returning to Cusco to collect my bike and resume my trip south. We hit it off and spent the long flight swapping stories and laughing. I especially hit it off with Patrice who was like a brother from another mother to me. We both had this love of bikes and travel that seemed to connect us. I so wanted to ride with these guys I almost changed my trip plans to follow Dakar with them. But I had big riding plans in Bolivia that I had been looking forward to since I left home a year earlier. So we resolved to stay in touch and possibly rendezvous in Bolivia after the race. Patrice was dead a week later after a head on collision with a car in N. Chile. I share this story as a reminder to those folks who dream about flying down and chasing Dakar by motorbike. It's absolute pandemonium around the start, finish, bivouacs, and just about everywhere in between. And that's just the traffic and people factor, on top of this you can expect fuel shortages, lodging shortages, and even food shortages in some places. Keep your head on a swivel when you're down there and be prepared for inconveniences. It's all part of the experience.