Well it'll soon be 2013 and time for the journey North, we've met loads of nice and interesting people, most having come from the North so some great information and if I'm being honest too many choices of great places to go. We're getting the feeling now that a year isn't enough to see it all but its a year we've got so we have to cram as much as we can in. Getting twitchy now, and need to be heading on the bike again so tomorrow we hopefully head for Rio Grande. Party planned for tonight at the campsite, around 16 or so of us all chipping in with food, BBQ and salad with no doubt copious amounts of whisky! (I'll enjoy a wee tipple of the special stuff Campbell) but I'll get cooking whisky to have after! I Hope 2013 will be a great one for you all and that your dreams and aspirations come to pass.
After a day of Rain and cold yesterday the sun is back to say goodbye to 2012
And finally after many attempts and an hour hanging about the petrol station for good wifi Part 2 of all roads lead to the moon
So no biking today, a nice walk into town and took some photos to give you an idea of the place, two big cruise liners in today, the town centre is just like Pitlochry, Callander or any other town but with the signs in Spanish. We are on hold just now, waiting for the 1st so we can head North for no other reason than we have a wee party on the 31st to bring in the new year. Fiona has finally got a Mate bowl (pronounced maa te) the national obsession in Argentina, drunk through a metal straw (bombilla) , me I'm sticking to tea!
Vista of the city
Not sure what this is about
Cruise ships & Mountains reflected in the still waters (Christ I'm almost a poet!)
Abandoned I think, more steam MacPhail!!
Converting a graffiti'd wall to this masterpiece, impressive
Not sure this has planning permission?
Fi Going native with her Mate
Memorial to the guys in Los Malvinas, pictures around the place make you realise the futility of war!
Today we rode the last 20 Km's to the official end of the world, well the end of ruta 3 so the furthest you can go by motorcycle. Plenty interest from the other tourists and they didn't bat an eyelid when we brewed up a cup of tea, a cup of Village Coffee House blend tea from Gullane, Thanks Gavin, it was braw (and lasting well)
A nice day today with reasonable temperatures, the indiginous people from here the The Yaghan, also called Yagán, Yámana, Yamana, (could also be nicknamed Yamaha) were regarded as the most southern people in the world. They used to stroll about naked. Remember winter here can be -28 degrees celcius. Maybe's not!
The highlight of the day was lying across the railway tracks in front of the steam train so Fiona could get a photo, the lengths I go to to keep you all amused! Also hello to Andrea, a fellow Guzzi owner from Italia I met in the park!
I hope Santa brought you all you wanted for Christmas. We spent a great night with our new friends last night, much drink was taken, much hangover today!! Nothing changes, even though it doesn't "feel" like Christmas the party last night was great and made it feel a bit more seasonal. No biking today, some minor maintenance to be carried out this week on our holiday (I know its all a holiday!) Just thought I'd share last nights photos with you, sorry there's not more but the alcohol kicked in sooner than I thought!
George on the right (XT660) the German on the left Volka along with his wife had literally just finished the ride from Alaska an hour before , on pushbikes, no engine F**k that!
We set off from Rio Gallegos after a late night (2am) with Local traveller (and a mine of information) Emanuel (thanks for the help Emanuel) and fellow traveller fron Venuzuala, Ricardo and headed to the border with Chile.
Left to right Me, Ricardo & Emanuel
When we got there the queues were long, we met George and Anke along with Ollie who they'd picked up on the way. It took 2 1/2 hours to get through the joint customs post, the very helpful and nice guy in front explained most were heading to Punta Arenas which has got some tax free status to pick up cheap Xmas presents, bugger thought I'd miss anything to do with Christmas as well.
Luckily when we got the ferry we rode straight on the boat to take us across the straights of Magellan to Tierra Del Fuego ARG$70 each for the 40 minute crossing (around £10!!)
Just like the Corran ferry!
Fi getting to grips with the gravel
On to the comically named Cerro Sombrero to get ripped of 4 times the Argentinian price for petrol (No Chilean Pesos, Gringo price!)
Then the shit ripio to the border (back from Chile to Argentina) around 100 miles of gravel and constant serious potholes. More Queues but only just over an hour this time . A long day and then tarmac for the last stretch to the hostel Ruta 40 in Rio Grande run by "willie" We got a great welcome, really nice place and incredibly helpful guy who despite it being his birthday ran us to the restuarant and then back again, Then we joined his Birthday party, great night and past 2am when we turned in.
Ruta 40 Hostel , don't miss out on Willies hospitality when in Rio Grande contact on
Onwards the following day to Tolhuin when suddenly the landscape changed, hills and trees, just like Scotland.
Just like home
We all stopped at the camping Hain (3 Km from the village, Ripio of course) ran by Roberto who turned out to be a funny guy and always popping into the gang hut to do an impression or just to make sure we were Ok, at one point he pulled out a moothie and gave an impressive blues riff!
2 Nights there, talking, relaxing and being entertained by Roberto. Werner & Claudia joined us again and another German couple who had cycled form Alaska (in 19 months) and who were looking forward to getting home and not sitting on a pushbike for a long time!! The nights were cold but a great fire in the bothy made for a couple of really nice nights
Today (Christmas eve) we finally made it to Ushuaia, snow on the mountains and the last 60 miles the best roads of the almost 2500 so far.
2 Gringos near the end of the world!
Muchos Gringos at the end of the world
Hope you all have a great Christmas, I'm going to, Teachers whisky ARG$57 a bottle (about £8) that'll do for me, ho ho ho
The last few days we've been making our South, the main ever present factor has been the rain and constant wind, of course the wind and Patagonia go together and it makes motorcycling across this vast wilderness tiring. Normally long distances on straight roads give you time to contemplate the meaning of life but here I'm just contemplating how to keep the bike upright every time a truck comes the other way or when passing a truck. Yesterday we tried to go into Monte Leon national park to see penguins but it was closed due to the rain making the roads impassable. We tried to get into a hostel in the park and in doing so ended up riding through mud, not good, Metzler Tourances may be fine for the odd puddle in Tesco car park but not for Mud (or sand...or gravel) anyway we got turned away from the hostel (not sure exactly why) and we ended up riding back 25 miles to find a campsite. Luckily they had cabanas (Camping huts) so we at least got a heat up after our day of rain , wind and mud. The temperature has really dropped now, just like riding in Scotland really, heated jackets and grips on most of the time. Now we are in Rio Gallegos which is the stepping off point to head over the Chilean border and to get the ferry to Tierra Del Fuego. We'll be here for a couple of days (in a hotel....I know , we are wimps) before the run over to the most southern city in the world.
Thanks for all the comments, at least it lets me know I'm not just speaking to myself (although I do that sometimes!!)
Mud glorious mud!
Working late at the office
Penguins get a few days off from the boring tourists!
Patagonia, wide open desolate and straight roads, Rannoch moor x 100000
We left Trelew Sunday morning and got our first real taste of Patagonian wind (no not that kind!!) It made for a hard ride, passing trucks was a difficult operation threatening to blow us off the road, after a day of that I felt I had a neck like Mike Tyson, demanding and to be honest mostly deadly boring, Ruta 3 for the most part is as straight as an arrow for as far a your eyes can see. There are some hill around Commodora Rivadavia which provided shelter from the wind and some bends to enjoy, we cmped just South at the municipal site at Rada Tilly (nice but the hippies that were there must have had serious loose bowel issues and the bogs were rank!) We met couple from France, retired, now living in Brazil and doing their 6th trip to Ushuaia this year, now for the first time on trike, oh and they have been round the world twice on a small 2 person boat! I am an amatuer!!
Today was kinder to us but getting colder, another push South another few hundred miles nearer Antartica! Camping in the small but nice town of St Julian, good toilets!! No hippies!!
Just been joined by Frank who's teamed up with a fellow German and Wayne all heading South. The good pics and stories I have to keep for the book and the slideshow ha ha (joking) really all about getting the miles done at the moment, thousands of acres of grass and not much else to look at, openness and solitude, if you want it, find it here!
We ended up on another ripio road that turned to sand and rough camped on the beach on the nature reserve of Peninsula Valdez $ARG100 to get in (about £12). The road was pretty challenging but we made it in one piece, set up camp and had burgers fried up for the first time this trip, we were joined eventually by the German contingent also and enjoyed a yarn or two watching the sun go down and hopng to see the last of the Whales in the area (they are heading South now as well). An early start (6.30) to get out of the sandtrap before it was too hot and into Puerto Pirimedes to catch a boat trip to try and see the elusive whales , we did see one and her calf but unfortunatley they didn't jump out of the water so I could get a better shot (just as well as my feet were in the water sometimes as the boat rocked) Whale curiosity satisfied we set of for Trewlew a Welsh founded town around 100 miles away. We stopped halp way at on the outskirts of Puerto Madryn to re fuel and the pump jockey filled both bikes with Diesel despite me asking him to confirm it was "nafta" the word for petrol around these parts, the bikes wen't 10 metres and stopped!! I was trying to keep cool and a local guy in a van (Jorge) called his friends for help explaining they had BMW's and knew a mechanic, the manager took us round the back to a workshop meanwhile and work stopped as the guys tried to siphon the diesel out of the tanks (the old fashioned way, sucking the hose!!) Then Dario & Miguel appered on their BM 12 adventures to help, we're very grateful to them (thanks Dario for the translations) and they made it clear they would help if this "sooking the diesel oot" wasn't successful. After much faffing around and diluting of the remaining fuel with more petrol the bikes started, to say I was relieved would be an understatement. Thanks also to Alan Mackie for his re assurance the BM's would be fine on a diet of partial diesel (an expensive phone call)
Sandy road (again)
Its OK when you get here
Not the Moon
Our Diesel syphoners (filling the bike with nafta)
Thar she blows!!
Big Big Mammal
Barking mad, going through the lights carrying your dog ON the car!!
We got to Trewlew at 50 MPH and after the stresses of the day we treated ourselves to our first Hotel of the trip! Life on the road, always an adventure!