Saturday, February 21, 2015

Goodbye Tierra del Fuego
19 Feb. Colin's BMW is having trouble starting and we suspect the battery. An overnight charge does little to resolve the problem so large sums of money later we are fitting a new Yuasa and by lunch time we are off on the road back over the Andes towards Rio Grande. We had intended to ride out to Estancia Harberton, a place we briefly visited on our boat trip, but our late start put paid to that. The ride to Rio Grande was cold and unpleasant and we were thankful to reach our hostel. But get this, the room we got was so hot and airless it was almost impossible to sleep. We were joined at the hostel by an American couple who were, like everyone we have met so far, on the last leg of their six month grand tour from the US to lands end in Argentina. We had supper with them and let them regale us with tales of their ride.
We were gone before they appeared next morning because we had 160 km of gravel ahead of us in order to make Porvenir and the 2 pm ferry to Punta Arenas. This time the border crossings were done in record time but again the ride was very cold and the strong wind did not add to our enjoyment. For all that there were moments when we rode next to the sea and past a foreshore with the occasional fishing shack and upturned boat which relieved the monotony of the otherwise featureless landscape. This place is pretty God forsaken in summer so I cannot imagine what it is like in the winter.
We got to the ferry in time and had a rolly-polly ride in a flat bottomed barge across the 20 mile gap that separates the two Chilean towns. We will spend two nights here where I hope to meet up with a couple of Chileans I met back in 2013.
We have met some interesting fellow travelers. In Ushuaia there were two couples, one Swiss, the other US, who had been on the road for in one case 21 months and the other 18 months. On our way north we bumped into a couple of American 20-something girls who had ridden Suzuki DRZ 400's all the way down from the US. They in turn had collected a rag-tag bunch of riders from miscellaneous nations that were riding with them to Ushuaia and the end of their respective rides. So far we have met no one going north on the start of their tour.
The ferry at Porvenir

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