Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ushuaia! Tierra de Fuego- End of the World- Dream come true!

So after almost 3 weeks stranded in Rio Gallegos with engine issues I was finally off to the southernmost city in the world Ushuaia.

It had turned over to autumn during my time in Rio Gallegos so the weather had become extremely cold, and being so down south, and only going further I knew it would get worse.

I’m still very surprised about how my engine basically blew up. It is not like a Kawasaki engine to have such issues at such low mileage. I guess I got some bad luck as I’ve constantly been having issues with it this trip. 

My old Kawasaki KLR went 30,000 miles with absolutely no issues, but this newer model seems not to hold up to the same standard of the older one.

So off to Ushuaia I went freezing my boogers and ass off.

I stopped by the Laguna Azul again, but this time with my bike on the way out of Rio Gallegos. Again it was nice but the Quilotoa volcanic crater in Ecuador takes the cake on amazing-ness of crater lakes.

In order to get to Ushuaia and back I would have to cross the Argentinean and Chilean border a total of 4 times back and forth. So I’ll have plenty of border crossing time wasted.

Did my first crossing early in the morning and took a ferry to the island of Tierra del Fuego. It was free; it was at Puerto Delgado for all those other motorcycle riders. The other crossing at Puerto Natales costs up to $35 US.

Arriving at the ferry I met the cutest couple I’ve seen yet. They were on this Honda 650….both of them!

When I initially drove up I saw just the girl on the bike and asked the guy where his own bike was, he told me they were both on that Honda and I was amazed to say the least. There was no room for comfort, but I’m sure they provided some much needed body warmth to each other. I can’t imagine hugging someone for 12 hours a day and that’s how little room there was….that’s too much hugging… but I suppose having a nice girl doing the hugging, might be not hugging enough.

The couple was a German guy and a Russian girl. They were super nice and we hit if off great. We decided to ride all the way down to End of the World together. A nice memory I’m sure it will be.

They bought their bike in Peru and drove it all the way down. The young lady named Oxana(like Roxana) would fly back from Buenos Aires and the gentlemen would continue upward into the United States and Canada later on.

Of course I offered him a place to stay in my home, if he was will to cross Cd. Juarez of Mexico considered the most dangerous city in the world at the moment because of the drug cartel war going on. I figured if I could do it, so could he.

The boat ride took 45 minutes or so, with a nice café bar onboard with expensive Chilean hot dogs. I and my canned tuna were quite happy.

As we drove, we got to the next border crossing many hours later. My process took 25 minutes. The couple took around an hour or two. Apparently the Argentinean officials had never seen a Russian before around those parts, so it made things difficult. I’m sure having a Peruvian motorcycle with a Russian guy along with an America/Mexican tagging along didn’t help the strangeness of the situation for him.

We also met two guys on a bike, with this elaborate tank design made entirely out of scotch tape, it was strongly colorful and the guys were extremely overly “happy” if you know what I mean.

So we drove until sunset, when it was basically below zero already. All three of us had to constantly stop the whole way to warm up as with the wind-chill factor it was way below freezing. It was so cold my thermometer actually broke!

Beware of the freezing nights in Patagonia

We found a place to sleep, but they wanted $60US a night! So I worked out a deal with the lady of camping out in the garden shed for $5US along with the couple.

Being lazy on putting up the tent

Needless to say it was the coldest night I’ve ever had in my life. I couldn’t sleep because of how cold I was. 

My zero degree sleeping bag didn’t do good as it was well below zero, at least 15 to 20 below I estimate, as I no longer had a thermometer!

So a grand total of 1 hour of sleep and the sun was up.

It was so cold that at the place we were at, all the water pipes broke because of the frozen water. Our motorcycles were frozen as well, so we had to wait until the sun was up for a while for it to melt enough ice off the bikes for them to actually start up.

We had met some cool guys on bicycles that came down from the states. Took them almost 2 years to complete the journey from the USA to Ushuaia, and they were almost there. They even had a cool looking trailer. 

That would be quite neat for the motorcycle, but I don’t think it would survive the roads and places I’ve been.

So once well warmed up, we were back on the road freezing our asses off….again…well again, nobody said it would be easy right?

We finally hit some nice scenery; I was getting tired of horrible dirt roads with nothing to see.

Tierra del Fuego is quite a nice place to say the least.

By this point I was getting a sense of urgency to reach Ushuaia. 

This was it; this was my finally furthest most south destination of the trip, and my goal. 

silly tourists

The entire way down I was reminiscing on the amazing adventure it has been so far and how lucky I am to have completed such a journey and all the amazing memories and photographs I’ll have for the rest of my life.

The sign told me to take a I did

After the couple and I passed the most difficult part of the road, that was completely iced over, we were slipping and sliding the entire way, we finally reached Ushuaia!

Me no like ice on road

Victory! You can break my motorcycle, you can rob me, you can freeze me, you can try to drown me, you can thrown the worst nature has to offer, and I will get through it and make it! No fear! Go big or go home! Fight the power! Viva la Revolucion!

And I did, I made it, my dream is complete! Achieving my life goal at age 23. It’s a divine feeling, and a lonely one as well, as I was thinking….mmm…well I did it, I’m done….now what?

Needless to say I was in an amazing moment of euphoria, I thought of all the struggles, deterrents, dangerous, annoyances, struggles and suffering it took to get here…and all I could say to the couple was….man…it was totally worth it!

So we went into town to find a hostel, which we did.

We saw some other bikers at the place. Turns out one of them knew Lenny-the gentlemen I ran into countless times in various different countries. Small world yet again.

The couple and I cooked some food and went to bed.

The following morning I decided to visit the Tierra del Fuego national park, while the couple went to search for a new rear tire.

Needless to say, the park was an overpriced waste of time.

$20 US to get in, just last week they raised the price, lucky me!

The park was nothing impressive, it was ok.

I did however reach the need of the road, which was somewhat satisfying.

Lucky me had a tourist bus stop in the middle of my picture taking.

I was captain popular of course, and got a good picture out of the encounter along with a bunch of fans.

I proceeded along the park, took another few pictures and left. Disapointing it was

Took a total of less than 2 hours, and didn’t see anything special, waste of time like I said, but did reach end of the road, just another 2000 miles to Buenos Aires from there!

Your better off just taking these picture just outside the park, its the best thing you'll see

The rest of the day was a blur. 

Here's a map of the route

View South America Part 3 in a larger map

Tomorrow off to Buenos Aries and the beginning of the assent back up to civilization! Until then I will savor the sweet taste of victory!


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