Tag Archives: Cerro Sombrero

Punta Arenas to Cerro Sombrero, Saturday, 2 February 2013, Day 214

Another victim of the Wind!

So todays mission was to source a new power cable for my computer so I pack the bike and head to the Zona Franca. It is dull and overcast and threatening to rain and it is not that warm but it is only about 7km to the tax free zone. I fail miserably on getting a cable and the people I am dealing with are all miserable and unhelpful but I do get a lead (no pun intended) of an electrical shop back in town so I head back there and in town the people were friendly and helpful they did not have a cable but they pointed me in the direction of someone who maybe able to help so off I went to the next shop again nice bloke does not have one but he will ring a friend and he maybe able to help you. Friend says come on over and he can see what he can do so I had been going from pillar to post and was not that optimistic but it turned out friend had a half an old apple cable and it was the half we needed so after doing some final checks on the old one he asks me can we cut the old cable and splice in the new 2nd hand adaptor I say in for a penny in for a pound in Spanish of course and we cut the old cable and splice in the new old connector shrink wrap it all and hey presto its fixed and that will be 30USD. A bit expensive but a new one would have cost me 80USD so I am happy to pay the man and happier still I had power for my PC as I realise how important it is to me on this trip.

So it’s about 1pm so the next question is should I stay in Punta Arenas another night or should I head to Tierra del Fuego I am not sure if it was wise as I had no idea how long it was to get there and if I would be able to find any affordable accommodation when I needed it but I thought bugger I am nearly there so I must keep moving South.

Hit the road and it was cold damp overcast and the wind was getting up but other than that nice ride only difficult when you stopped so very few photos.

Half way there I passed Alex and Andrea who was heading to Punta Arenas for a new tyre so we pulled over for a quick chat but not for long as it was just to difficult due to the wind I will see them in a couple of days in Ushuaia.

Huge queue for the ferry but I drive straight to the front of this as allegedly that is what we motorcyclist are allowed to do and I parked in front of huge truck out the wind so that Daisy would not get blown over as it was still blowing a gale. A bit of a wait for the ferry and I had to stay with Daisy for the whole trip as well as it was a bit rough and she was not tied down so I was worried she may topple over.

Jumped the queue sheltering from the wind

Ferry to Tierra del Fuego finally!

In the final stretch now it’s about 5pm ish there is 30km left of tarmac before the road turns to dirt for the next 130km and there is a small town where I am hoping there is fuel and somewhere to stay.

Fuel no problem and I see a sign for a hostel down a dirt road so I follow this and there I meet Jose working on his car outside a wooden building that looks like workers quarters and that is the hostel and it is workers quarters with communal bathroom and rest area and its empty and cheap so lucky me has landed on my feet I have a room to myself well practically the whole hostel to myself with a dodgy heater which will probably asphyxiate me during the night but at least I will die warm.

Guessing that this little place is linked to oil industry!

So after settling in I go for an explore of this one horse town which is a service town I think for the local oil development in the area and it is deserted but it has a certain charm. I am looking for food I find a supermarket but no café or restaurant but I have been told there is one. I walk into a works Mess Restaurant but it is not open for the public but they give me directions to a café which I still cannot find even though a nice chap took me practically to the door so ask again at the Supermarket and the nice lady takes me to a door which is the entrance to the café you could not tell this from the outside. It is the local social club and it is deserted except for a young girl watching a Harry Potter film in Spanish. They are open and I have a great feed and use up the last of my Chilean money and have just enough left for my room and my breakfast in the morning.

Back to the hostel when I realise I have left my glasses at the café so it is back out into town again and then sitting in the common area working this on my own as the place is deserted. Later went out and had chat with Jose who was still working on his car I saw an otter and I must say my Spanish is getting a little better day by day but I only have the vocabulary for a simple dialog but its much better than when I first started.

Hit the sack in my toasty room ready for the final push over 130km of dirt road and then 280km tarmac to Ushuaia I will be there tomorrow night finally Goal achieved  🙂

View from room not bad!

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 Cerro Sombrero, Friday, 8 February 2013, Day 220

Bye Bye dirt roads and next to go the bloody wind but will be with me for a while me thinks!

Plan to day was a big mileage day 2 borders crossings and a ferry crossing and head to the free campsite at Puerto Santa Cruz so that is the plan.

Here is the reality did not really get away as early as I liked a leisurely as we know Phillys likes his leisurely breakfast I packed the bike I was a bit concerned about the chain as is making some horrible noises when pulling away there is a tight spot and then it goes slack so I am not sure how to adjust it so I am hoping today will stretch it out a bit more evenly and then I might go for the over tightening it if necessary for a short while to see if I get the tightness out if not slack running and try and to find a new chain ASAP.

Bye Willy of Ruta 40 B & B

Bye Doris she is heading South I am heading North

I got lost leaving town no idea how I do it but this is a reoccurring theme this time I cannot blame the GPS as I ignored it thinking I knew the way out and I ended up in some dead end housing estate being chased by all the local dogs not a nice way to start the day. I followed the GPS this time even though it took me round the houses in my view I finally got me on the right road 70km of tarmac and then back on the dirt for 130km oh my heart fills with joy or is that fear. Wind is not to bad but it’s a bit damp. I am thinking about taking a different route back more dirt but different dirt but in the end stick with the road I had done as I knew it was manageable except for the soft sand bits in the middle.

Never ending dirt roads!

I hit the Argentinian border at the same time as two large busses so queues at immigration take a while and then its on to the dirt 14km no mans land to the Chilean side of the border and its decided to rain. I am not sure if this is an advantage as I can see the cars tracks or the smoother part of the road clearer but as its wet it’s a bit muddier so slippery. Chilean formalities done the name on my temporary import papers is Phillip and Dean as my surname I have told them every time to change this to Beckwith in the system but falling on deaf ears and they say it not important try telling that to some jobs worth copper looking for some extra spending money next time I get stopped.

Cold wet bikers not a pretty sight 🙂

So it is wet so I settle in for 130km of dirt roads doing between 40km and 50km an hour so progress steady as she goes. Just before I hit the tricky bit I see a couple bikers at the side of the road so pull over for a chat in fact this is just a delaying tactic, as I really have no appetite for the sandy bit. I finally hit the road again and the tricky bit is not that tricky at all they must have flattened it or worked on the soft sand bit and before I knew it save for an accident where a car had a puncture and rolled over nobody hurt just shocked I was 15km away from Cerro Sombrero on hard road again and it was about 3.30pm.

I did some calculations and I was still a ferry and a border crossing short and 420km away from my original plan but who cares I am staying here at that nice hostel I stayed in last time and having the same dinner at the same place as last time. So via the fuel station I was checked in said hello to Jose and the friendly dog who lived outside and decided to have an afternoon nap as I cannot remember the last time I had one of these and I certainly needed it after todays off road excursions.

Cute dog and friendly as well!

Later I went for dinner a good feed again and back to the Hostel which was a bit fuller this time as its during the week so full of oil workers so not on my own some this time so first day of heading up north worked out well and it is time for bed again.

Nice Evening for a stroll

Cerro Sombrero to Puerto Santa Cruz, Saturday, 9 February 2013, Day 221

Leaving Tierra del Fuego heading North

First thing I did was fettle with Daisy chain as it was seriously slack except for that tight spot so I am not sure what to do run it tight or slack as its well buggered either way but do not want to loose a chain for doing the wrong thing so I sort of adjusted and it was still making horrible noises that I will have to live with till I can source a new chain probably in Buenos Aires so that’s about 2,500km away so I will have to keep an eye on this. Tyres a pretty finished as well so Daisy is dirty and in desperate need of some TLC which may be a long time coming.

I had breakfast and then hit the road tarmac oh what bliss 40km to the ferry and road straight to the front of the queue again where there was 4 Germans on BMW rentals so I chatted with them while waiting for the ferry. Not long wait and we where soon boarded. This time found out you had to pay in a little office, which I had missed last time, as I had to stay with Daisy and I could have done the same this time as no one was checking whether or not you paid but my conscience got the better of me and I did get a free trip on the way out here. Another short run wind getting up but on my back and side so not much bother to the border which was a combined one this time so exit Chile enter Argentina exit Daisy Aduana Chile enter Argentina Daisy Aduana not much queues in the way of queues so I was through quite quick Phillip spelt with 1 l should be 2 ll they claim it is not important lets see when I try and ship the bike out of here but I cannot be bothered to make to much of a fuss as I have pointed it out they say its fine so done deal.

Put my head down and headed for Puerto Santa Cruz and the free camping. Wind was strong but in the right direction so not to much bother with it today.

What do you mean you cannot read my numberplate its as clear as mud 🙂

Got to the campsite and it was rather busy this time and bugger it was no longer free blokes at the gate collecting money. Oh well it is a holiday weekend I guess we where lucky last time. Same spot and then I head to the beachfront with the plan of using the Wi-Fi and eating as the same restaurant as we ate at last time. There was a mini festival going on so I decided to wander around that first and when I eventually tried the restaurant but it was closed so plan B BBQ sausage sandwich at one of the stalls and an ice cream so that is dinner sorted walked around the few stalls at the festival and watch a few turns on the stage and did the tour of the town (2 streets) and then headed back to the tent to work on this.

Twirly dresses again 🙂 Bloke at the front likes it to.


Always someone who wants to spoil the fun evening officer 🙂

Buenos Aires (and Tigre), Sunday, 17 February 2013 to Thursday, 21 February, Day 229 to Day 233

Buenos Aires = Tango

So that’s 6 nights in a row at the same place a new kind of record for me I only do this if I staying with someone I know and or I am studying and this was neither except I was waiting for new tyres and with a public holiday and a weekend thrown into the mix and the real reason was that I needed a bleeding rest and some time to figure out what I am going to next. So priority number one was rest and lots of it, in which I was successful, next was trying to come up with a route for the next part of the journey and third how and when am I going to get me and Daisy home both of them still blanks loads of ideas and options I just need to commit to one and I have sort of already but I will hold out on telling you my decision until I am certain that the option I am going for but I think my mind is made up.

Local train and station I will be using this for a couple days.

So what have I been up to, well on Sunday did a trip into town on the train and walked for miles around the old harbour and the San Telmo area it was a bit dull and overcast but a nice walk.

Old Harbour Buenos Aires

My kind of Tank!

Tango on the streets of Buenos Aires

Monday was a lazy day just hanging around the workshop working on the computer trying to figure out the answers to the question posed above as well as catching up with my rest. Successful on the last one still not sure about the others!

Tuesday another trip into Buenos Aires walking around weather not so good but it is dry but it pissed down later so I got well and truly soaked

Evita Peron still very popular here


Balcony where she used to give her speeches from


Wednesday was a public holiday so I decided to get the train to a place called Tigre that is just outside Buenos Aires this is an area based around canals and boats. So two train out there a tourist boat trip whilst there and 2 other trains back. A pleasant day and an interesting place folks living in a nice place next to the water but I bet its a mossies hell most of the year so may look idyllic but being eaten alive in the process.

Tigre Canals

Thursday my new tyres arrived so hung around the shop again getting the rest of my rest caught up with and changing my route out of here for the umpteen time as I still no real idea of when I am going home!

Dakarmotos as I said great workshop and shipping agent run by Javier and Sandra with 2 bunk beds and a kitchen and small garden for camping. So all week it’s been pretty busy with different folks coming and going and very good evenings had just sitting at the table outside in the garden just yakking about travel motorcycles and anything else that came up.

So the cast this week was Markus, Michael, Ende, Dwight, Chantal, Jean, Pavel and girlfriend and many others popping by during the day so it is a very lively place.

And the residents of Dakarmotos Javier, Sandra, Julian, Negrita the cat and the new uninvited guest the little kitten who no one know where she came from and Javier who wants her out ASAP as he does not likes cats but the problem is she is very shy and no one has been able  to get near her and there are loads of places for her to hide in this place and she is sneaking out to eat the other cats food when no one is watching it will be interesting to see how this one pans out 🙂

Some are starting there trip others are finishing and shipping out using the great service that Sandra provides and from what I saw of the process this could be the way I am leaning to as well but when is the next obvious question.

So a very relaxing and enjoyable week I did not do much but that is exactly what I needed. Am I motivated for the next part of me trip I am not sure as part of me has had enough and just wants to go home but I know I would regret it if I pulled the plug now so I am now aiming at a return date of middle of April but watch this space as this could all change.

Why because they are yellow!

On a totally unrelated topic that I forgot to mention in a previous blog, whilst riding on the dirt roads from Rio Grande or maybe I did I cannot remember, I saw a man walking down the middle of the road which I thought was strange at the time  as why not along the side? I had to manoeuvre from one dirt rut to another and I did not want to stop in the middle of no where and as I was making progress in the dirt I did not want to upset any rhythm I may have had. As I passed I noticed he was pushing something in front of him that only had one wheel and as I looked closer it was a monocycle! He was trying to ride a monocycle on the dirt roads it is amazing what you see and the strangest things and you forget about them until someone else happens to mentions it.