Category Archives: Argentina

Futrono to San Carlos de Bariloche, Friday, 25 January 2013, Day 206

Great morning run light and scenery perfect 🙂

I had breakfast at the hotel home made bread from a wood oven it cannot get much nicer than that. I hit the road and the scenery and the light are fantastic so very pleasant riding I am heading for the border so that means another stint on route 5 which is a toll road and have been shelling out quite regularly for it when the GPS is telling me to turn of the motorway and do a U turn come back on the motorway and then turn off there! Strange but I  follow the instructions blindly but that means paying the toll again so I am expecting a bit of a debate however my GPS says it’s the next turn off not the first one and as I sail pass I realise it is being its usual accurate self and I have missed the turning so I have to go a couple of km before I am able to do a U turn and come of at another exit 500 meters before the one I had just come of about 2 minutes ago. Try explaining this to the booth attendant that I had just paid a couple of minutes ago but she is having nothing of it even after I show her my receipt as well so I am well pissed of in having to pay again and by my now there is a bit of a queue building up behind me and they start honking there horns so I turn round and tell them all to f**k of as I am well pissed off now booth attendant does not care she is not letting me through. I eventually cough up the money and give her a gob full in Spanish and English to vent my frustration but she just shuts the window and jeers at me holding up the money jobs worth bitch. So it looks like Philly has some serious pent up aggression in him today I wonder what the cause of that is?

Why so grumpy with scenery like this !!!

So I am back on the right road again and I am looking for a car museum I had read about which I find and spend an hour or so chilling out at the Auto Museum Moncopulli, which has huge collection of Studebaker’s which are one of my favourite old timers. So a bit more chilled out now but I get in another ruck at a petrol station with some arrogant prick in a big car who wants to know which pump I am queuing for and I politely tell him whichever one comes free first as I was here first and that is how a queue system works he not happy with this response but  I do not give a fig as he not getting ahead of me. What really makes my days is he pulls in after me once the pump is free and is told that there no diesel at this pump and he would have to go to another one. Later he try’s to lecture me about cars having there petrol tanks on one side and I tell him to go f**k himself like I care so for some reason today I seem to be looking for a fight aggressive little bastard that I am and I have been so chilled for so long and its been a while since I had a Philly rant and I am determined not to have one.

 

      

      

      

Old Cars got to love them!

Today I am heading into Argentina so you could say the tag line of Alaska to Chile or is that Argentina has been fulfilled but I am still miles away from my goal that being getting from the top of the Americas to the bottom of the Americas so that could explain some of my grumpiness and frustration.

So I head to the border and much to my delight I bump into Alex and Andrea waiting in the queue to exit Chile I had a vague idea that they were crossing today and was half expecting and sort of agreed to meet them but I was very fortunate that we hit the border at the same time. It is good to see some friendly faces.

I know these people I do wish they would stop following me everywhere 😉

It is a standard border crossing so that’s

  • Export Daisy
  • Export Me
  • Import Me
  • Import Daisy

  

First through no mans land

Very simple except for huge queues at immigration on the Argentinean side so it took the standard hour and half to cross but a lot simpler than some of the crossing I had done.

  

Nice drive in a yet another new country and we are heading to the famous San Carlos de Bariloche A & A have a couch surfer place tonight so we grab some dinner together and we do a quick catch up and arrange that we will travel south together for a while and then I head of into a very touristy town in the high season trying to find somewhere cheap to sleep. First place full they could not even be bothered to open or answer the door so it was not looking good so I try and find another one but I cannot locate it but I spot a Hostelling International place so I try that but expensive even with my discount card and some negotiations still steep the problem is its late I have no point of reference for prices in Argentina so I except the offer so I have a bed and there is secure parking when we can clear the entrance of illegally parked cars in front of the garage doors.

I go for a walk around town I am not to impressed it is full of shops selling chocolate  and is very Germanic but has very little charm. A pleasant walk to a nice church with some great wood carvings all the standard Jesus stories but the woodwork and carvings are very interesting and different so ignoring the subject matter great pieces of work.

I head back to the Hostel and work on this and finally crash at about 12pm it has been a long day and I am meeting A & A and heading south tomorrow. Getting closer day by day.

I have got my own personal photographer back Yeah more photos from Andrea on Smugmug 🙂

San Carlos de Bariloche to Gobernator Costa, Saturday, 26 January 2013, Day 207

Tough life on the road you just need to lie down every now and again 🙂

I am riding with Alex and Andrea again which is nice but first I had to find them as they where couch surfing some where in Bariloche and I had arranged to go there and pick them up at about 9am. So I had my free breakfast, which always seems to take longer than planned and I got the bike out of the car park and pulled up the address on my GPS that Andrea had put into it yesterday. I got lost and was directed down some seriously steep dirt roads (Coffee still had not kicked in so that is all I needed) and then eventually I found the road they where staying on but I did not have the house number. You put the house number in when you put the address in the GPS and Garmin and Mr GPS are supposed to get you to the right end and correct side of the street that matches the number problem number one is with the maps I have in my GPS they are never even remotely close so normally on the wrong side of the street and miles away from the number you want to be at especially if it is a long street. Problem number 2 it tells you that you have arrived at the address but it never reveals the number, which of course you cannot remember, so in short yet another shortcoming of my GPS or is it that the  operator is an idiot and does not how to operate it you decide. So I am on the right street but I have no idea which house so the only thing to do is ride up and down and hopefully I will spot Alex’s bike. I do one length of the street no joy a lady stops me and ask’s me what I am doing and or what I am looking for I try to explain but it is  very strange that I do not know the house owners name and or the house number so she is rather suspicious of this strange hairy bloke on a bike with foreign plates riding up and down her street. I do another pass and Alex comes running out of a garden that I had driven by pass twice already so I had not spotted his bike but he had noticed me riding up and down so I had found the Romanian duo so its time to hit the road.

Nice hot day scenery interesting and all in all a nice day we are paranoid about petrol and there not been any so  we are stopping whenever we see a petrol station as we never no when the next one will be and if it will have any petrol so this slows progress slightly but it will slower if we run out.

ever changing scenery

where are we?

      

We have a great late lunch as we plan to do some wild camping tonight and when we arrive at our final petrol fill up in the small town of Gobernator Costa we find out there is a Municipal Campsite so we opt for that as it is supposed to be free its not but it is cheap as chips EUR1.50 so we set up camp out of the wind which has been blowing consistently all day. Its a nice spot and a pleasant evening before an early night back in the tent

Back under Canvas

Gobernator Costa to Pico Truncado, Sunday, 27 January 2013, Day 208

Dammed wind on Ruta 40!

Today both Alex and me are feeling very brave and we have decided rather then head over to Route 3, which is a Tarmac to the bottom of Argentina we are going off road on the infamous Route 40. I am not sure why we are feeling so brave and as you know my off road abilities are crap and Alex has Andrea on the back of his bike making off roading a tad more difficult but yet we had persuaded each other that we should not be wuzzes and had to the hit the dirt. We packed up breakfast at the petrol station and then to Rio Mayo where Route 40 turns from tarmac to dirt and is dirt for 30km and then new tarmac till Perito Moreno then loads more dirt to Tres Lagos but we still had an opt out clause at Perito Moreno to still head across to Route 3 if we did not like our little off road dirt experience.

  

      

We filled up both the bikes and ourselves in Rio Mayo huge piece’s of breaded meat with cheese ham and eggs on it for a late lunch as again we are planning on doing some wild camping tonight.

 

So we are stuffed to the gills as we gingerly make our way onto the dirt road and to help us with this endeavour the wind is really strong and gusting pushing us all over the place which is all you do not need when you trying to find the smoothest part of the dirt road so progress is slow. There is a choice between a dirt track and another dirt track that sort of being prepared for tarmacking and we swopped between the two finding out that the grass was always greener on the one that we were not on.

Choice crap dirt road on the right or crap dirt road on the left Alex takes this seriously so he and Andrea took a closer look no photos of this!

I was already regretting my decision and my rush of bravado to do off road stint as we crawled through the dust counting the kilometres off one by one until we reached tarmac again. On one of the cross overs from one dirt track to another there was the dreaded soft sand on hill which I skirted around but in my mirrors I watched Alex and Andrea hit the dirt and they where down. I pull up park the bike so that it will not get blown over by the wind and run back to help the guys up to there feet. Everyone is ok bike is ok adrenalin is pumping but all is well. The first thing Alex asks me if is did I take any pictures and to be honest as I was running to help them I did think about this being the  perfect photo opportunity but my caring Phill kicked in first and I helped them first and made sure all was alright before pulling the camera out after knowing that they where fine and it was only a low speed off I now wish that I had pulled the camera out earlier 🙂

  

So I was not happy on the dirt and I am guessing that A & A where not that thrilled with miles and miles of dirt so when we hit tarmac the decision was relatively easy to make we are hitting Route 3 down to Fitzroy as it has already taken us nearly 2 hours to do 33km so at that speed we would be in Ushuaia in 2014 so its longer distance by tarmac but this is definitely quicker for us.

Happy to be back on Tarmac

We stop on the Tarmac part of Route 40 to take some fun pictures with the wind and the signs. I had been teasing A & A when they where looking to buy a Route 40 sticker for there bike that they do not deserve it until they had completed the full length of it including the dirt parts as well however after today and as they had seen Route 40 from extremely close up I said that they had earned it 🙂 and they could buy and add the sticker to there collection.

Windy!

So the original plan was to head to Perito Moreno and camp there but as we were now heading to Route 3, which was about 200km we decided as we were back on our beloved tarmac that we would try and take a large chunk out of this bit tonight and we headed of for Las Heras where my GPS was telling there was a municipal camp site and fuel.

We got there at about 8.30pm and filled up and we then went to find the campsite which compared with last nights it was a hole and there were gangs of youths that had been drinking all day hanging around which was most off putting so we soon decided that we were heading to the next town even though it was getting late and the next place was nearly 80km away.

So off we headed on the right looking back there was one of the most glorious sunsets I had seen for while the light was amazing and in front of us was the moon a new full moon coming up over the horizon so I did not know whether to look forward or backwards as we where passing through an oil field with nodding donkeys all over the place and it was beautiful and I really did not care on reaching the next place by nightfall as I was enjoying the light so much. I was trying to take photos whilst driving which was not working for me as I kept getting my gloves in the way I eventually decided to pull over to get a shot of the moon over one of the nodding donkeys from a stationery position which sort of worked then in hot pursuit of A & A which involved over taking a police car we had stopped earlier to ask about camping possibilities and they had said there was a Municipal campsite in Pico Truncado. They where doing 90km and they had a sticker on the back saying 110km so a sailed past at 109km waving politely and when they where out of sight I nailed it to catch up with A&A.

Got to Pico Truncado just as the Sun had gone down still a gorgeous pink light show and there was an interesting sculpture of a dinosaur made of old oil drilling equipment that was dying to be photographed.

Interesting Sculpture but better still the light

Whilst we discussing what to do next another a biker pulled up and walked over to chat with us his front tyre had just blown and he was busy calling folks. Alex had an electrical pump so we tried that but his blown front tyre was not staying up. It turned out the chap name was Daniel and he had a car repair shop a couple of km away and if we liked we could sleep there the night. Wow cheers mate so we follow his mechanic who had turned up to help with the puncture and find ourselves in a huge hanger / workshop in the middle of no where and this is going to be home for the night. The office for A & A and the supply room for Philly and it even had a hot shower on the premises. So after chatting to Daniel and looking at his bike we found the reason for the puncture was that he had hit something really hard and dented and broken his wheel explaining why it was no longer holding air so he was lucky to stay upright but it shows how fragile perhaps V-strom rims are on Argentinean roads that both me and Alex had a quick look and check of ours after seeing the damage on Daniels. After offering us dinner we politely declined we where left on our own in this huge workshop talk about trusting and generous spirit this bloke has for letting total strangers sleep in his workshop.

Home for the night

It was quite late by now but I was buzzing at it had been a long eventual day so we had a cup of tea and sat in the office just chilling for while before pulling out the sleeping bags and mats. Earlier Alex was trying to figure out where he was going to put his tent up and I explained that there was no need as we sleeping in the office and store room I blame this brain freeze on the fall and the long day we had had today but it made me giggle.

Chilling after a long day in an office in a workshop in the middle of nowhere.

We finally hit the sack amongst the car spare parts and oil cans what a strange but great day.

Strange dreams about Police cars or was it a dream!

      

Pico Truncado to Puerto Santa Cruz,Monday, 28 January 2013, Day 209

Leaving our workshop home Mucho Gracias Daniel!

waiting for A & A

Up early as we did not wish to be an intrusion to Daniel and his team when they came to work on Monday morning and we did not want to be in there way.

Daniel had brought us breakfast so media lunas (Croissants) and other nice stuff from the bakery and teas so how thoughtful is that.

We finally managed to leave so Daniel thanks mate you are a star a scholar and a gentleman and we thank you for your generosity.

We are trying to get as far South as possible today but first Alex wants to spend some time on the Internet getting his blog up dated so at the first petrol station with Wi-Fi he starts working on this. We are heading to a nice campsite we had heard about on an Island in the middle of a river in Cmde. Luis Piedra Buana and as I did not fancy working for hours on my blog with a dodgy Internet I decided to press-on on my own as I fancied chilling out in an idyllic campsite rather than at a petrol station so said I would meet the guys later in the day. So I headed to Puerto San Julian for a late lunch I managed to find me a roast chicken dinner as most of the town was shut. Lots of memorials around for the Falklands/ Las Malvinas war and while I had been in Argentina I have seen a lot of references to Las Malvinas being Argentinean so when I am asked where I am from sometimes I am reluctant to tell folks that I am British and if I do I always qualify it by saying that I have lived in the Netherlands for the last 30 years I am not sure if it is a problem me being British but I certainly do not what any hassle due to my nationality so I am bit cautious with the English bit. Whilst I was in a petrol station signing the credit card in the office there was a telly on and it said Maxima Queen of the Netherlands. This is what I read in the subtitles seemingly Queen Beatrix has abdicated or will abdicate and the Argentinians have a Queen in Maxima and its on all the news now and papers here so I am using this a deflection from my Englishness telling folk that I live next door to the Queen, well sort of next door to her horses (My flat is next to the Royal Stables) as it is very topical here at the moment. I will not get started on my views on Royalty and Kings and Queens here only to say up the republic 🙂

Lots of Malvinas/Falklands signs around.

I head to the campsite rendezvous spot and it is quite nice and is out of the wind being on a river which tend to be lower than the surrounding land around it so this gets you out the wind which is nice as its has been consistent blowing for the last couple of days it is  not that strong but I am expecting it to get worse as I go further south.

So go in and ask about the camping the first bombshell is that it is  very expensive for camping considering we paid very little on the Municipal sites so go and sit on a nice lawn in the sun and wait for A & A to turn up and working on my blog off line this time.

  

 

Stop running away Phillys needs a photo for his blog!

They turn up an hour or so later and I have been enjoying relaxing in the sun but its getting late and we have no where to stay yet so it is on to plan B 30km to Puerto Santa Cruz as there is a Municipal site there which we find and its excellent clean loos hot water a great location also out of the wind and to top it all off its free!

We set up camp head down to the seafront as Alex has a craving for some fish and we find a nice little restaurant on the seafront which has Wi-Fi so we take over all the available plugs as our computers need charging and we enjoy a good meal and then it is back to the tent for another good night sleep. Believe it or not I am actually enjoying the camping, which surprises me as usually I normally find it a pain in the arse but so far I am enjoying it and preferring it to hostels and hotels. Could it be the location, could it be the fact that its warm and dry so no packing up wet tents could it be the company I do not know but I am liking and enjoying it and getting some good nights of sleep in as well which is an added bonus.

Full Moon 🙂

Puerto Santa Cruz to El Calafate, Tuesday, 29 January 2013, Day 210

Daisy 🙂

We are supposed to be heading South but today we are going to do a U turn and head North West why the diversion well there is a must see glacier called Perito Moreno that is on my shiny object distraction list so hence the change in direction. As we want to stick to tarmac this is a bit of a detour to Rio Gallegos and there we do a quick calculation and decide we can make it to the next petrol station so we do not go the 20km into town to fill up. When we get to the next gas station at Las Horquetas we are running on fumes and you guessed it there is no fuel available fortunately I have about 7 litres in 2 old plastic oil cans strapped to the back of Daisy (you where wondering what those where were you not) and Alex has 4 litres strapped to his so finally time to bring out the reserves its 60km to the next station so no reason yet for concern even with the horrendous fuel consumption I am getting at the moment due to the strong winds it can make a difference of about 7km to the litre when you are riding into the wind so that gives you some idea of the strength of the wind and this has been  constant all day.

They do have food so we fill up on empanadas and hit the road again it’s a lot cooler and the wind is up so warm weather gear has been pulled out wearing the lining in my jacket for the first time since Canada and the warm winter gloves are on.

Wind warning signs slight tilt to the right it will get stronger!

Next station has fuel so next stop El Calafate we are debating on staying in town or pushing on 80km as we had heard there was a campsite near the glacier.

Poser!

We pull into El Calafate at about 5pm and fill up again there and there is bit of a queue so while I was signing the credit card slip Andrea thought she would be helpful and move Daisy away from the pumps so that the next car could start filling up but I am guessing Daisy is heavier than she looks and before you knew it Daisy was on her side with a very embarrassed Andrea struggling to pick her up oops a daisy. I had to laugh as I ran across to help her to get Daisy up right good entertainment for everyone at the pump Andrea was mortified at what she had just done. After a quick inspection of Daisy it looked like the radiator cover had a crack in it. Oh well you do not travel over 50,000km without picking up some battle scars no one was hurt and Andrea was shocked and embarrassed so I can milk this one for a while 🙂

Alex was also having bike trouble for some reason his chain was suddenly slack even though he had adjusted the chain this morning and it was making an awful crunching sound when pulling away so after checking the obvious which was fine we decided to hole up in town so first some food and then to find a campsite and set up camp and then we looked at Alex Bike. We had checked the obvious and where now working on the not so obvious so I said perhaps he had lost a couple of teeth of the front sprocket and that could explain the sudden slack as the back end so when he took the side cover off I was right the front sprocket was starting to disintegrate a couple of teeth very worn down and others hooked it looked completely knackered not at all like a sprocket that only had 18,000km on it should be able to do double that and the fact that this happened all in one day this is normally a slow process not a one day process so I think he had a duff sprocket but the problem now was how to get another one In Argentina not so easy so he hit the internet to contact our new friend Daniel to see if he had any ideas.

Pleasant evening as the campsite it had a kitchen where everyone congregated working on this and my photos and chatting to the folks there.

Late night and back in my tent for a good night sleep.

Camping and liking it at the moment !!

El Calafate, Wednesday, 30 January 2013, Day 211

Perito Moreno Glacier Cool 🙂

Alex had sent out a couple of E-mails last night about the sprocket issue but as yet had no responses Andrea made us breakfast and we decided we would go and visit the Glacier me and Andrea on Daisy and Alex would hitch hike the 80km and we would figure out what to do when we got back based on any responses on the leads that Alex had posted. First we check out the buses to the glacier but far to expensive and there is not one for a couple of hours so we walk to the road to see how the hitch hiking will work and within about 10 minutes he has lift and is gone so me and Andrea head back to the campsite via the supermarket as I needed my daily fix of Gatorade (my latest addiction) and we both needed our biscuit supply’s topping up.

Full bike kit today as it was cold and I expect to be colder still at the glacier I am not sure if Daisy will mind having someone on the back especially when that somebody ceremoniously dropped her in the middle of a busy petrol station scaring her radiator cover yesterday. Its has been a while since I had someone on the back as well and it was going to be interesting factoring in the wind as well. Turned out okay Andrea is an excellent passenger she should be considering the number of miles she done on her trip and we were soon whizzing our way to the Glacier. Nice ride and we met Alex at the entrance to the car park and he had been waiting there for a while so I blamed Andrea she blamed me and we offered him biscuits and all was well.

John R another one for you what is it ?

Got to love nature!

      

      

      

We walked to the glacier from the car park and this was a great way to be slowly introduced to the glacier we had already seen it from a distance on the way in and it was great but as we got closer it got better and every now and again you would hear a huge crashing noise as bits broke of and fell into the lake cool. There is about 4km of viewing platforms around the glacier and we probably covered most of it just walking and enjoying the sights, which was gorgeous. A very nice day well worth the big detour from our main goal of Ushuaia we were tired so got Alex a lift back and me and Andrea then walked all the way back to the Car park and I was well knackered when we got back to the bike and the biscuit supply.

Panorama Wow!

      

It was a nice ride back trying to stay awake was difficult at one point I turned around to say something to Andrea and she was sound asleep 🙂 so either she has total trust in my riding abilities or like me she is totally cream crackered.

Back to the campsite Andrea cooked for us again pasta this time which was nice I am tired of eating out all of the time no news on the sprocket front but we figured that they could still ride with the current one even though it’s a mess so they where heading back Rio Gallegos and as I had done that route before and I will be coming back through there so I am heading for Puerto Natales I will ride with them for the first 100km to La Esperanza and make sure they are all right and I will meet up with the later  in Ushuaia. Alex is pretty sure that I am not needed as we did think about shuffling with the luggage me taking Andrea him taking my tent bag to reduce the load but we decided to go for it as its only 360km to Rio Gallegos and he thinks he can get it fixed there. I have driven for miles with knackered old chains and sprockets on old bikes in the past as I was never one for good chain maintenance so I was not to concerned about this one it may sound awful but they could keep on moving for a while.

Another pleasant evening in the kitchen and later by the tents and then to bed another late night under canvas, which I am still enjoying!

El Calafate to Puerto Natales, Thursday, 31 January 2013, Day 212

Minors memorial for me Dad!

Day began with left overs for breakfast which is always nice and I was going to ride with A & A to La Esperanza where they would turn left in search of sprockets and chain and I would turn right because I did not want to do the same road again and we would meet up in Ushuaia or before.

It was very windy even in the sheltered campsite so I was a bit concerned how it would be on the open road but as we headed to La Esperanza it was not as bad as I expected but that was mainly due to the fact that we had the wind in our backs for most of the way. When I turned right I was heading straight into the wind and had it on right in my side, which made life for Daisy and me considerably more difficult so fighting with the wind for the rest of the day. Another border crossing the problem today was I could not find the road and my good friend the GPS was playing up as I was only about 30km away but when suddenly it was 130km away Homer Simpson Doh!

Very few photos taken during the day as I was to scared to stop just in case we got blown over by the wind and could not get back upright again!

Yet another Border crossing !

I finally find the road, which is not a road but a dirt track, and I find my way to the border. I am the only one there so get out of Argentina easily and another 14km of dirt road very windy and a bit of rain just to try and finish me of completely and I am trying to find somewhere where Daisy will not get blown over and I am going through Chilean customs. No one there either so chatting with the customs guys who are telling me that the winds have been gusting up to 100km an hour and idiot boy was out in that will he ever learn. You may have noticed that not many pictures have been taken today that is because my official photographer has gone of the other direction and that I was to shit scared to stop just in case Daisy and I got blown over in the middle of nowhere on me own and that I would not be able to get her upright due to the wind. So I was not surprised to hear about the strength of the wind, as the evidence of this was in me underpants! As I been kacking myself for most of the afternoon. So back in Chile again a short run to Puerto Natales and to the Hostel I had the name of and i checked in and did my usual wander around the town or today I was blown around town as the wind was still quite strong then to a short presentation on the national park of Torres del Paine which looked great but I had a date with the bottom of the world so no time for distractions as I am getting closer and closer to my goal.

Gorgeous wind related sculptures very appropriate!

I went for a nice Pizza where there was one long table that you joined and I was sitting and chatting to a nice German couple who had been traveling for 2 years and doing South America by bicycle and had also been defeated by the wind today. I like this set up as it is sometime difficult to talk to folks strangers whilst on the road especially for a shy bloke like me 🙂

Back to the Hostel and the never-ending chore of updating this blog and it is like the wind relentless!

Cerro Sombrero to Rio Grande, Sunday, 3 February 2013, Day 215

Phillys under arrest by the Argentinean Police and very relieved by that fact 🙂

Dirt roads bring them on after a good night sleep I am ready for anything well that’s what I thought and as you can see by the title of this post I failed to make it Ushuaia 😦

I had breakfast and then I tried to find the final short bit of tarmac south but I got lost but I was helped by a nice policeman who led me to the right road. 15km then a sign saying Fin Pavimento so its dirt roads for me for  the next couple of hours 😦

End of tarmac dirt for a while oh great joy!

Weather is dull and overcast wind is getting stronger but it is on my back so that is okay and the scenery is interesting. As for the road this is a mix of washboard corrugated iron surface which shakes Daisy and me to death and or rocky stony gravel which is a bit better as there is route left by car and lorry tyres that is a bit smoother. But then I hit a place where they are working on the road and they have had the huge road smoothers out and I hate it when they do this as in my view this makes the terrain harder and less manageable for motorbikes and the nice smooth track left by larger vehicle’s is gone so slow going. Then the universe thought lets really take the piss out of Philly and Daisy and there was a perfect concrete road running parallel to the crappy dirt track but it was not yet open and or not easily accessible. I was chatting to a bloke on the ferry and he told me some bikers where killed on this trying to get on the new road and every couple of km there where sections missing so I decided not to risk sneaking onto the new road. The dirt track had turned to soft sand and it had been raining heavily all night so this was the most difficult part so its down to a snails pace for this section.

Dirt roads mine and Daisy’s favourite NOT!

Finally I hit the Chilean border and by now the wind was getting stronger so had to try and find somewhere out of the wind to park Daisy or she would be blown over while I went and did the Border formalities.

Daisy sheltering from the wind at the border

Quick and simple and then 15km to the Argentinian side of more dirt roads also simple only problem was the wind was getting stronger and scarier.

So final push to Ushuaia back on tarmac road again heading to Rio Grande where I need a cashpoint and some petrol. Both are easily found the problem is the wind it is getting stronger and stronger and more and more unmanageable. Driving through town I keep getting hammered by strong gust of wind and I am having difficult in keeping Daisy upright whilst filling up with Petrol.

So I thought as long as I kept moving I was fine and out of town the wind would be more manageable and I determined to get to Ushuaia today. What a total arse I am!!! Gingerly I made my way out of town jumping the traffic lights as I did not want to stop just in case I got blown over and then at one stage I was blown over 2 lanes of traffic and I was no longer in control. I get out of town and I am struggling to keep Daisy in her lane and I am physically trying to pull her into the right lane using her weight my weight and all my muscle power that I process but I am failing miserably and I keep moving uncontrollably into the oncoming traffic and that’s when the penny dropped that I was no longer in control and shouldn’t be out there. DICKHEAD!!

So what do I do I was scared shitless fighting a losing battle and getting tired and more scared as I inched forward I did not dare to stop I did not dare to turn round as I would be on my arse in a blink of an eye all I could do was look for some shelter but as I had left town and was now in open country so there was no obvious place to stop. Heeeeeelp!

In the distance there was a police control post and two policeman so I managed to get there and stop there with these two guys making sure that Daisy and I did not fall over so it was taking 3 of us to keep Daisy upright due to the wind. One of the coppers says “I advice that you do not go any further as it dangerous”. Really officer! I had concluded that as well just recently and I was totally done in scared shitless and exhausted and it took 3 of us to manhandle Daisy out of the wind and returned to their little hut.

So this is where I met Alejandro and Harnen my two favourite policemen in the whole world and pretty high on the list of my favourite people at that moment they had rescued Daisy and me from the clutches of the wind which was going to seriously damage both of us if I was to continue.

It was about 3pm and the guys told me that the wind should drop at about 8pm that evening so I settled in for a long wait as I was going nowhere just happy to be alive Daisy was parked behind Alejandro car with a big metal bar holding her upright.

Sheltered behind Alejandro car and huge stick to stop her blowing over and she still moving which you can not see in the picture!

      

So I spent of the day chatting with my new friends drinking Mate first hot and later cold with orange juice learning the whole ritual about Mate which is local drink and custom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_(beverage) and it is quite sociable.

The guys should have been checking the vehicles as they past but due to the wind they where having an easy day as it was pretty impossible to stand out in the wind and any documentation shown would be blown to Antarctica before you knew it.

So just chatting in Spanish Alejandro chatty Harnen very quite loads of questions about how much living in Europe cost, as Alejandro was only a policeman as a temporary measure and was studying mathematics and was going to be high school teacher once he had completed his studies so was fascinated by economics and numbers. Unfortunately Philly has no idea what anything cost or the price of milk so I was not much help but did my best in telling him in my bad Spanish about living in Europe.

We had a visit from the Desk Sergeant so I met him as well and then back to the Mate and the chatting.

During the day more Bikers came through and each time they would be advised about not travelling further because of the wind and it was amazing how many people ignored this advise and kept on going the arrogance or the ignorance amazed me. Others joined us in the hut so in the end there where 6 bikes.

Just to give you an idea how strong the wind was 2 Chilean bikers where stopped and given the advice and while talking a gust of wind picked one of them up and his bike and blew them completely over. They listened to the advice given 🙂

So very gezellig in the hut and before I knew it was 8pm and I been there 5 hours but the wind still showed no signs of abating. There was change of shift at 10pm so said goodbye and thank you to my new friends and hello to the next shift of police who where much more serious. At about 10.30pm me and 2 Columbian brothers Julian and Daniel Ruiz decide the wind has dropped enough for riding back to Rio Grande to try and find somewhere to sleep for the night its dark the wind is still gusting but you can ride and control your bike sort off!

First place closed second place bloody expensive and then we find Ruta 40 B & B and Willy which is reasonable so we have shelter for the night it 11.30pm Daniel has managed to get some Roast Chicken for dinner and we are safe and sound enjoying a meal together.

Late night as still buzzing from the day I had just had I did not make Ushuaia but I was just happy to be in one piece and I will try and will complete my goal tomorrow as the wind should have dropped by then (Oh god I hope so as I am so close!)

Rio Grande to Ushuaia, Monday, 4 February 2013, Day 216

Made It!!!

Star date February 4 2013 captains log after 216 long days wandering the Americas Star ship Daisy and her Captain Philly of Phillysbigtrip.wordpress.com have finally completed there mission of Alaska to Chile or is that Argentina so they boldly went from the Top of the World to the Bottom of the world with a few Zigzags thrown in for just for a laugh or due to the Captains woeful navigating skills.

Extra Extra read all about it

Cor Blimey Guv I think they gone and done it who would have thought! What they gonna do next!

Tune into next weeks instalment at phillysbigtrip.wordpress.com when he gets round to updating it lazy bugger or if you got any suggestion on how the two of the are going to get home well answers on a postcard to yes its that blog again phillysbigtrip.wordpress.com

Message above posted on Facebook so it looks like Philly and Daisy made it 🙂

So lets recap I have just ridden my bike 52,213km I started on the 5th June in Halifax Nova Scotia so had to cover 11,500km before I even hit the start line at the Arctic Circle so a few km to get the tyres warmed up. It is 17,848km from the Artic Circle at the top of the world to Ushuaia at the Bottom. As we all know my navigating skills are pretty mediocre and that I am easily distracted so I did 40,600km and I could go on and on with loads of stats and numbers but I am not sure you all would find them as fascinating as me 🙂 So one final stat I have been on the road for 216 day and it took me 183 days so no speed limits or records broken and no animals where harmed in the making of this blog (well there was that squashed snake in the Mississippi and all the road kill on the side of the roads)

So what was the final day like I had a nice breakfast and Alex and Andrea popped by but did not stay long as they wanted to get to Ushuaia before the wind got up like yesterday again so plan to meet them at the Campsite in Ushuaia. (They just wanted to be first to Ushuaia is my theory :-))  The Ruiz brothers and me hit the road at about 10am after a leisurely breakfast and the mandatory photo shoot for willy for his Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bed-Breakfast-RUTA-40/300645910050700?fref=ts

Ruiz Brothers and Willy outside Ruta 40 B & B

      

The wind had dropped considerably still blowing (it never ceases) but is manageable so we are off. The Columbians are running at a much faster pace than me and disappear off into the distance I am determined to enjoy every minute of this last 210km so I set of at a more sedate pace and stop every now and again because I can and takes some photos. Nice run and soon I am back in the mountains I stop for some petrol but they are topping up the pumps so it will take 45 minutes I have enough to get me to Ushuaia so I press on and then after some nice twisty mountain roads I am there.

Nearly there!

So how am I feeling about getting here especially after yesterday failure? Well to be honest I have no idea yes I am chuffed to bits as for me it’s a completion of one my life long ambitions and I just slam dunked it!  It was bloody hard at times extremely scary at others but on the plus side bloody awesome most of the time (lets forget about all those times I was whingeing about being to hot to cold to whatever) But what now how am I going to top this one. So with joy and elation comes yet other feelings of what next as I have been totally focussed on this goal for the past 7 months (longer in you count the endless years dreaming about this trip) to reaching this point and I have ignored everything else telling myself that I will deal and handle them once I reached Ushuaia and now I am here I am going to have to start making some tough decisions and I have no idea where to begin its like a huge void has just opened and I have no idea on how to get to the other side. So my day of elation that I been working on for so long marred by the reality of real life and that bloody awful question what is it that am I going to do when I grow up!

So today I am not to keen on camping so find a hostel and then go and try to find A & A at the campsite to see how they are feeling about reaching the most Southern town in the world.

I was a bit confused as I thought Chile was at the bottom of South America but when folks started telling me Ushuaia was in Argentina I was even more confused but looking at the maps I was right it is Chile at the bottom for some reason the bottom of South America has been carved up and each been given a chunk so Argentina and Ushuaia is the most Southern Town Punta Arenas the most Southern City and Puerto Williams in Chile as well is the most Southern Post office so my original plan and tag line of Alaska to Chile was sort of right.

A & A were not there so I head back to the hostel and veg out as well as working on this and enjoying the great views from the top floor common room across the harbour bay and mountains it looks like a great place maybe should venture out!

View from the Hostel not bad but should really go out 🙂

Eventually I go for a walk nice town nice feel to it I am looking for somewhere to eat but nothing takes my fancy so I head to the supermarket and Philly will be cooking tonight and let me tell what I cooked was absolutely disgusting I brought what I thought was chicken cordon bleu which I thought I could just pop in the microwave and hey presto dinner. Nope these are not for the microwave so I end up doing them in the frying pan and they are breaded ham and cheese no chicken so as I said disgusting but cheap!

Sociable place so chatting with folks a late night at the bottom of the world I hit the sack planning to do a lot of sleeping for the next couple of days, as I am totally exhausted.

Ushuaia, Tuesday, 5 February 2013 to Wednesday, 6 February 2013,Day 217 to Day 218

Shall I just get on one of these and keep heading South?

As I left the last post I said I was exhausted physically mentally and every other type of exhaustion you can think of I think I had been running on my reserves for quite a while just trying to get to this point and now was a chance to stop and have a rest. I could have done this earlier but I was and I am still concerned about the weather and winter coming so hence the strict hard push south. So the short-term plan was to do as little as possible for a couple of days and it started with a lie in and a leisurely breakfast. Alex turned up while I was eating brekkie and I arranged to join them for there breakfast / lunch. They had been looking into trips to Antarctica, which sort of wetted my appetite everyone I had asked for suggestions from about what to do next was along the lines of turn round and head north and go up the other side of South America but as we all know I always ignore good suggestions and like going against the flow so jumping on a boat to Antarctica seemed to me like a good rebellious act. A & A had a few leads and that afternoon I checked out a few leads and a few of the travel agents looking for that elusive cheap deal to Antartica leaving within a couple of days.

Maybe this bus is going to Den Haag!

  

I was also had some domestic thing to do such as laundry and Daisy needed looking at as her chain was making some horrendous crunching noises I thought this was due to all of the dirt roads we been on and there may be some rocks jammed and rubbing but it turned out chain was just slack as hell and needed some adjustment I think I adjusted it recently but maybe I did not so took out the slack cleared some debris out from around the front sprocket in the hope that this would stop the horrible crunching noises I was hearing. (Paranoia setting in!). I was unable to take of the sprocket cover off as one of the Allen key bolts was slipping and rounding I need an impact driver but could see the front sprocket and it looked fine (I was worried the same thing that had happened with Alex may be happening with mine)

The plan was to do a test ride up to see A & A at the campsite and crack a bottle of champagne that we did not drink on news years eve either that they had been carrying but it was late and raining so I decided against this went for some dinner (there is no way I deserve my cooking twice in a row) and I met a Swiss guy who I had met in Puerto Natales and a Japanese/German/Canadian girl so  I joined them for dinner and then back to the hostel for another sociable evening.

A & A had found that elusive deal to Antarctica and where leaving on Thursday Phillys is still looking I have a few leads but they all mean hanging around for a week or two which I am not sure I fancy and it is still not that cheap so I am not sure I want to afford it as its an awful lot of money and I have spent a small fortune already and still need to get home so I am having my doubts about me going to Antarctica.

They knew I was coming and my dislike of dirt roads that they did me this stripe especially for me ( The road not the billboard!!)

Day 2 in Ushuaia still in my very lazy mood I was supposed to get up early to go into the Tierra del Fuego national park to take the mandatory end of the road pictures as it was free to get in if you got there before the gate attendants showed up for work at 8am but both today and yesterday I had two late nights and was enjoying having a lay in and being lazy for a change so that is what I am doing so that is a lots of procrastination and I will go tomorrow mañana I have been in Latin America to long!

 

Anyone going to Antarctica do not take up much room? View from hostel!

Meet up with A & A for late lunch and arrange to meet them that evening to say goodbye in their posh hotel, which is part of their Antarctica package I am a little bit jealous as yet that elusive deal to the Antartica had not turned up yet for Philly.

Saying Bye Bye to Alex and Andrea they are of to Antarctica I am heading North

  

I went for a walk and then back working on this as I was determined to have this damned blog up to date before I left Ushuaia (NB he failed!) and I spent a pleasant final evening with A & A (Hopefully I will meet them down the road as they are great low level maintenance travel partners :-)) and later another sociable evening at the hostel and yet another late night yapping.