In my first installment of 'Giving Thanks to a Community', I would like to introduce you to my friends Daniel and Paula Palazzolo and their amazing tour company, Moto Patagonia.
I met Daniel in 2010, though I knew of him for years prior as we have friends in common. It was during the lead-up to his inaugural ATL to the Arctic charity motorcycle ride to Deadhorse, Alaska that I finally had the opportunity to talk with him. His event, ATL to the Arctic, was created to raise funds for The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. We discussed his route to Alaska, specifically the Dalton Highway, as I had covered the same ground (by truck, not bike) with a friend in the mid-nineties. Our mutual interest in four wheel drive vehicles (and later motorcycles, he found the very first bike I owned ) and film screenings kept the friendship going.
At the time, Daniel (or Zolo, as some on the forums know him) was co-owner of Decatur Garage and he turned his highly-skilled wrench on every motorized (and at times, non-motorized) vehicle imaginable. Rolls-Royce to Porsche, Toyota to Ford, from modifying four wheel drives to building race cars to prepping motorcycles, if it had wheels he probably worked on it. He even repaired the frame on my ancient Fantic Broncco kart that prepared as a rather foolish downhill gravity racer. He is a very talented mechanic, fabricator and tinkerer as well as a great friend, offroad zen master and world traveler.
After returning from Alaska, Daniel meets (and later marries) a wonderful Chilean woman named Paula. You may have read an early story of their travels in the blog back in 2012, Traversing the Atacama Desert in a rented Toyota Hilux 4x4. They remained in Atlanta for a number of years before moving to Paula's homeland, Chile, in 2015.
Today, Daniel and Paula are leveraging their years of international travel and on-the-ground knowledge to offer an unparalleled travel experience in southern Chile. Moto Patagonia offers single and multi-day guided tours, as well as self-guided motorcycle rentals, for the adventurous among us. Headquartered in stunning Puerto Varas, they are a short drive away from the Puerto Montt Airport (Note: the quick flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt is quite inexpensive). My fiancée, Audrey, and I recently visited Daniel and Paula at their home. We spent a few days touring the area together and I can say, without hyperbole, that they live in one of the most beautiful, friendly and inspiring parts of the world I've had the good fortune to visit. Don't take my word for it, go and see for yourself...