Day 236 – Buenos Aires, Argentina to Dolores, Uruguay

Day 236 – Buenos Aires, Argentina to Dolores, Uruguay      04/14/11      Mileage: 228

Valerii was heading the same direction this morning, so we agreed to ride together. He was heading for Paraguay…me for Uruguay. I chatted more with the lads from the UK and used the wifi for a bit, then packed the bike and Valerii and I hit the road.

Valerii and his white Honda Africa Twin….

L to R: John, Dave, Ian and the famous Javier…owner of Dakar Moto’s…

It was good to be rolling again for sure, though I think I needed a good break from the day to day grind of the road…and Buenos Aires was the perfect spot to do it. About 90 miles from Buenos Aires, we crested a small bridge and up ahead I could see a police checkpoint. No big deal, Valerii and I have each been through hundreds of them, and most of the time they just wave you through..or perhaps just a question or two. But this time the cop waved us to the side of the road and said one word…seguro…Spanish for insurance. He didn’t care about a license, import permit, passport….nothing. He wanted to see our insurance documents for one reason…because it’s mandatory in Argentina and he doesn’t think we have it…and he would be right. In fact few overland bikers do purchase it and he probably knows that. So, I’ve developed a bag of tricks for dealing with cops, now I just have to decide which trick to pull out of the bag to get out of this. Hmmm, I think I’ll play the document game with him. It goes like this…he asked you for something, in this case an insurance document. You in turn look puzzled as to what he’s actually looking for, but you want to seem helpful, so you start pulling out all manner of paperwork and official looking documents and just keep handing them over one by one….then two at a time until he’s got a mound of official paperwork and documentation 2 inches thick. As he hands one back you hand him another one…international vaccination record, international driving permit, tourist card….whatever…just keep handing over documents until he forgets what in the hell he actually asked you for in the first place. It’s also important to make sure he see’s your passport filled to the rim with stamps so he know’s that your an experienced traveler…and you must know what your doing. I point to all the flags on my side cases also…it builds the case that you actually know what you need more than he does. Eventually, as was the case this time too, they tire of the game, hand your stack of paperwork back and wave you on. Valerii was behind me and I can hear him playing a similar game. He handed the cop a bunch of paperwork with his insurance card from Ukraine, pointed to the 20+ countries on his fairing and said it’s valid everywhere…knowing full well it’s not valid outside of Ukraine…heck, maybe not even in Ukraine! Lol Anyway, he let Valerii pass also and we were on our way. Another 60 miles up the road we reached my turnoff for Uruguay.

Safe travels my friend…

We wished each other well on the rest of our journeys, and we parted ways. The border was blissfully simple as both the Argentina and Uruguay border posts are in one building. They even have the 4 desks you have to go to right next to each other and numbered 1,2,3,4….brilliant! Crossing a border in 4 easy steps…literally! So that done, it was on into Uruguay…country number 17.

Found this great little dirt road through the open country of central Uruguay…

It was starting to get dark so I found a good stealth campsite….that is…until they turned the lights on for some night practice on the soccer field…damn…didn’t see that when I pitched my tent in the dark! Oh well, I ain’t moving now…

Day 235 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 235 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/13/11      Mileage: Local miles

Javier at Dakar Moto’s had tracked down a set of tires for me, so after picking those up I was going to hit the road north. Helena and Gustavo have been such gracious hosts and their home is so nice and comfortable, it’s hard to leave for sure!

With digs like this, no wonder it was so hard to leave! 

But the KLR isn’t going to ride itself back to NJ, so I packed my things and headed for Dakar to pick up my tires.

As it turns out, they didn’t arrive until 6pm. There were also a few other bikers staying there that night, and we started to do what bikers do when they get together….drink beer and tell lies and tales from the road. Valerii is from the Ukraine and is on the South American leg of an around the world ride! There were also 3 other riders from the UK…John, Dave and Ian…that were there waiting for their bikes to be delivered after being held up in transit. Their plan is to head for Ushuaia, then ride up to New York…so it may work out that we get to ride some miles together, perhaps in the US! Worst case we’ll try and meet up when they arrive in NYC. So, it seems I wasn’t meant to leave Buenos Aires just yet…and I crashed at Dakar Moto’s for one last night…

Day 232 – 234 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 232 – 234 – Buenos Aires, Argentina       04/10-12/11        Mileage: 0

I spent the last few days running errands and trying to track down a new set of tires after hearing how expensive they are in Brazil. The odd thing is that many of the motorcycle tires sold in South America are made in Brazil, so you would think they would be cheap there…go figgure.

They had a KLR on the sales floor…but no tires in stock…  😦

Here is a rare sight in South America….a Buell XB12 Ulysses… gusta! The only other one I saw in all of South and Central America was Cort’s (the owner of Freedom Bike Rental) back in Quito, Ecuador…

I also took Helena and Gustavo’s son Alex for a ride on the back of my bike. He’s quite the little dare devil at the age of 5 and the harder I hit the throttle the more he liked it. In 15 or so years, it seems that maybe he’ll be globe trotting on his own adventure motorcycle. I also took a walk one afternoon to the river front near the house which was quite a nice little scene.

 A view down the river towards downtown Buenos Aires…

Other than that I just chilled and enjoyed Buenos Aires.

Day 231 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 231 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/09/11      Mileage: 0

I woke up at 1 in the afternoon with what I could swear was an axe buried in my head. I wasn’t motivated to do squat but I did at least sort through some pictures and did a bit of work on the blog. I also heard from Joachim and Kyosti, the father and son team from Denmark that I rode with back on the Carretera Austral in Chile. They had arrived in Buenos Aires a few days ago and have a flight back home in a 3 days. It just so happens that they were staying in…you guest it…San Telmo, so I rallied to meet them for a few beers that evening.

We ended up staying a bit later than I thought enjoying the live music in Dorrego Square and I misread the train schedule, so ended up missing the last train back to Martinez by 30 minutes. Crap! Oh well, so I went and parked myself in an all night cafe for a bite to eat and some coffee. Needless to say it was another late night getting home at 6am again…

Day 230 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 230 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/08/11      Mileage: 0

Helena told me to check out Puerto Madero, so after catching the train back downtown that was my first stop. It runs right along the old wharf that surely was a bustling port back in the day. The warehouses that run along the docks have been converted to trendy restaurants, upscale office space and even a college.


Hooters….flying the American flag of beer swilling buffalo wing eating goodness in the middle of Buenos Aires.

The old cranes were painted and now stand as towering relics of a bygone era. One has even been turned into an information booth.

After walking along the waterfront I walked the few blocks over to my new favorite bario…San Telmo. I parked myself in the square and took in the scene for a few hours.

A tango in the Plaza Dorrego…

Beto and Tracy had also arrived in town, so I made dinner plans with them in Polermo. I met them at an apartment of another rider they had met along their route. Felix is from Colombia but is now studying and living in Buenos Aires. After polishing off a bottle of Johnny Walker Red at his place, we went out for dinner.

As chance would have it we ended up right back in San Telmo where we had dinner, drinks and continued the makings of a mean hangover until 4am.

I first had to catch the train back to Martinez so I didn’t get back until 6am. Tomorrow, or actually, today is going to hurt…

Day 229 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 229 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/07/11      Mileage: 0

After a good night’s sleep at Gustavo and Helena’s, I went back downtown to pick up my Brazilian visa.

Helena and Gustavo’s house in Buenos Aires…

It wasn’t ready when I arrived and was told to come back in 2 hours….so I went and used the wifi in a nearby cafe.

Returning to the consulate my visa was ready and I was off to explore more of Buenos Aires. I wanted to check out the bario of San Telmo which is supposed to be the hip part of town, like the Village in NY. I spent the afternoon walking around and sitting in a cafe on Plaza Dorrego which was really enjoyable.

Plaza Dorrego in the heart of San Telmo…

After lingering to take in the scene, I hopped the train back to Martinez where Gustavo and Helena were hosting a small dinner party which they graciously invited me to.

L to R:  Helena, Gustavo and me….

It’s in situations like this that I realize how limited my wardrobe is, as the nicest things I had to wear were grease stained jeans, a quick dry Fox riding jersey and flip-flops. No one cared though as like Gustavo and Helena, their friends are gracious, fun and enjoyable to talk with.

….and one with the ladies! Too bad their all taken….

Thankfully they also all spoke excellent english and were spared the indignity of my clumsy and limited pigeon spanish. We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening of great conversation, good food, wine, and whiskey and cigars for the boys on the back patio before calling it a night.

That was certainly one of the most enjoyable days on the trip…thanks Helena and Gustavo!

Day 228 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 228 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/06/11       Mileage: Local miles

This morning it was back on the train downtown to the Brazilian Consulate to apply for a visa. Luckily there was only one person ahead of me in line and it only took 20 minutes. They said it would be ready tomorrow at noon which would be great, as I was told by others it would take at least a week…sometimes two! That done I was off to see more sights, this time heading for the upscale bario’s of Recoleta and Polermo. First up was Recoleta and it was nice just to walk the streets.

I found a nice sidewalk cafe for a small bite to eat and then walked across the plaza to tour the famous Cemetario de la Recoleta…the final resting place of anyone who was anyone in Argentina…ex presidents, generals, aristocrats and Eva Peron are all buried here.

But that alone is not what makes this cemetery famous, it’s also the mind boggling array of mausoleums and tombs in every conceivable architectural style that make it like a small city itself. Some look like miniature chapels or the stone edifice of an old bank, while others have monuments and sculptures.

The Duarte family mouseleum….Eva Peron’s maiden name….

Most are well kept and some have fallen into disrepair, but for sure there is a unique story behind each of them.

This one was glass on the front and sides…a close-up of the inside is below…

After making the rounds at the cemetery, I walked to the bario of Polermo taking in the scene along the way. I picked up a sandwich and had a relaxing picnic lunch in the botanical garden…a little oasis of tranquility in the bustling city.

After strolling around Polermo I started making my way back towards the train station, then back to Dakar Moto’s to finish up the work on the bike.

 I also relocated from Dakar to a friends of friends house who live in Martinez…a very nice suburb of Buenos Aires. It was short ride over to Gustavo and Helena’s house…and what a nice house it is! It was a significant upgrade from the “modest” accommodations at Dakar and they are very gracious and welcoming hosts. Photos coming soon…

Day 227 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 227 – Buenos Aires, Argentina       04/05/11       Mileage: 0

Gus was heading  into town as well so we hopped on the train and headed downtown. He steered me in the right direction and then went off to do his errands.

I first had to get some documents printed and scanned for my Brazil visa application, then went to the Brazilian Consulate. I arrived 15 minutes after they stopped taking foreign visa applications for the day, so I’ll have to come back tomorrow.

Of well, at least now I can head out to see some of the sights around town.

The memorial commemorating the Falkland Islands War with Britain…

This guy was selling nuts and was a real character…and a little nuts himself!

The consulate was on the north end of Avenida 9 de Julio…which is like Buenos Aires’s answer to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, a broad boulevard with nice cafes and shops.

In fact they call Buenos Aires the Paris of South America, and I’d have to say that was true…fashionable people, good coffee and croissants, and dog shit all over the sidewalks.

At the Obelisco, I hung a left and walked to the Plaza de Mayo and the famous Casa Rosada(the residence of the president)…the balcony from which Juan and Eva Peron gave so many impassioned speeches.

The Casa Rosada….

I sat in the plaza for a while to take it all in, then walked down to the trendy bario(neighborhood) of San Telmo where I found a nice cafe and did some people watching. I continued walking around San Telmo a bit more and then began to make my way back towards the train station.

Along the way I walked down Calle Florida, a pedestrian only street filled with shops, cafe’s and street performers…including a dance company showing off their tango skills.

And no city in the Western World would be complete without a Starbucks of course…

After catching the train back to Florida and Dakar Moto’s, I worked on the bike for a bit as well as the blog which was still back in Chile! Gus and I also hung out for a bit and drank a few beers before I called it a night. Tomorrow it’s back to the Brazilian Consulate to turn in my visa application and see more of Buenos Aires…

Day 226 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 226 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/04/11      Mileage: 0

Today was a rest day of sorts spent working on the blog, returning emails, and just walking around the local neighborhood running some errands. Tomorrow I’m going to head downtown see the sights and to stop by the Brazilian consulate to start my visa application…

Token picture: The KLR in the Dakar Moto stable with the other adventure bikes…

Day 225 – Tornquist to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 225 – Tornquist to Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/03/11      Mileage: 386

It was a nice morning in camp and I took the time to make coffee and chill for a bit before the final push into Buenos Aires.

I only had around 380 miles to go, so instead of taking the most direct route I got off on some side roads to explore a little of the countryside.

I found a great dirt road that weaved its way between some farms and open country which was a nice change from the last 1500 miles of fast straight highway.

Back on the pavement I passed the Moretti guys that I had first met in an Irish pub in Ushuaia. I bumped into them again at the Argentina border….and now again 1500 miles north on some random road outside of Buenos Aires…what are the odds.

The picture is crooked because I took it with my regular camera as I was wizzing by!

Here they are parked at the Argentina border post in Tierra del Fuego…some 1500 miles south of here…with there 4×4 delivery truck!

They work for a beer distributer in Italy, which sent them on an expedition to deliver beer to Ushuaia…how cool is that!  The beer distribution business must be lucrative in Italy! LOL  Soon after I hit the outskirts off Buenos Aires and thank god I had a GPS guiding me or else I would have never found Dakar Moto’s…a home for wayward overland bikers and their motorcycles. Being a Sunday there was nobody there…and it was only sheer luck that another rider, Gus, who was staying there wandered up and saw me sitting there on my bike and let me in. In addition to being a repair shop, Dakar Moto’s is also a small “hostel” that amounts to 2 bunk beds, a bathroom and a small kitchen in the back of the repair shop. Nothing fancy for sure, but who cares. The owners, Javier and his wife Sandra, also help with local info, logistics and they’ll store your bike as well if needed.

That night Gus and I had a few beers and swapped stories and lies from the road…

Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina

Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina      04/02/11      Mileage: 442

The morning air was noticeable warmer than it has been which is certainly due to my progress north. I broke camp and got back on the road and was also delighted that the wind was calm. Now I was able to whip up the pace and really make time on the arrow straight roads across the bland scenery.

Sleepy cat…

Half way through the day I was able to switch back to my summer riding gloves…which I like riding with much better and haven’t used in weeks. It was all business though getting north…hopping from YPF station to YPF station. I was still on the road at sunset which compelled me to stop for the first time today to take a picture.

There were also some small mountains off to the east which not only made for a good sunset picture…but also might offer a good stealth campsite. So I hung a right off the main road and headed up into the mountains.

 Sure enough I found a wooded picnic area that fit the bill and I even had a picnic table…luxury! Tomorrow, it’s on to Buenos Aires…and another one off the life-list…

Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina      04/01/11      Mileage: 352

The hotel let me put my bike in the lobby last night and while I had a good place out of the weather, I figured it’s also a good time to change my oil. So I went to work on the bike and the owner didn’t seem to mind and was asking me questions about the trip while I worked. That done I packed the bike and headed out of town. My rear tire was almost gone and I had to put the other that I’ve been carrying on. The owner of the hotel had told me about a good Honda dealer in the next town…so that’s where I was heading next. I found it easily but they literally closed the door in my face….? Damn siestas! They didn’t reopen until 3:30pm…3 hours from now…and I didn’t feel like waiting around that long. I went a few blocks back to tire repair shop and asked if they could swap the tire for me, which they could….sweet.

So I pulled the rear wheel off, and using the tire changing machine the mechanic had the tire swapped in 10 minutes. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me (even with Marshall’s help) over 90 minutes to swap the rear tire by hand back in Uyuni. So to me that is $7 well spent! Back on the gas the wind was not quite as strong as yesterday, but still gusting heavily in spots. Late in the afternoon the road turned more northeast which put the wind primarily at my back…making it much easier to ride. At sundown I started to look for a stealth campsite which I found 100 yards off the road by riding into the open range through a gap in the fence.

My stealth campsite near Puerto Madryn

Tomorrow it’s more of the same…and I hope the wind continues to get more manageable as I make my way north…

Day 222 – Rio Gallegos to Caleta Olivia, Argentina

Day 222 – Rio Gallegos to Caleta Olivia, Argentina      03/31/11      Mileage: 442

The wind…it blows…and by that I mean it sucks…big time. The famous westerly winds howl with a furry at the tip of South America…unimpeded on the east coast by nary a hill nor tree. The road of course runs north/south…making it the most unrelenting cross wind I have ever encountered and it’s hell to ride in. I spent the entire day wrestling the bike to keep it upright for hundreds of tiring miles. I didn’t even stop to take a picture…as the scenery was uninspiring and it would also just prolong the misery. YPF is the largest gas station chain in Argentina, and for me they have become a little oasis and refuge…someplace to fill my tank, my stomach and rest before venturing back into the gail force winds that have become my nemesis. In Caleta Olivia I called it quits and got a room for the night. Tomorrow I hope the winds are more favorable…

Token picture for today: Sunset over Caleta Olivia, Argentina

Day 221 – Torres del Paine, Chile to Rio Gallegos, Argentina

Day 221 – Torres del Paine, Chile to Rio Gallegos, Argentina     03/30/11      Mileage: 223

It rained hard all night and into the morning, but around 9am it let up to a light drizzle so I quickly broke camp and packed up the bike.

Even in the light drizzle I was cold and wet by the time I finished packing so I rolled over to the Hotel las Torres to warm up and dry off a bit before hitting the road. Again it started pouring though…and even the roof in the lounge where I was sitting sprung a leak.

Finally around 11:30 the rain stopped and I made a run for the Argentina border. The road was loose gravel and again the wind was hounding me…pushing my bike around at will.

I stopped at a little cafe in Cerro Castillo for a quick bite and to soak up some heat from the wood stove before crossing back into Argentina. The border crossing was fast and straightforward…which seems to be the case for all of the small border posts I’ve crossed….the bigger ones are almost always more trouble and slower.

This German Shepard was the Argentina border post’s mascot…he was adorable…

Back on the road I rolled into Esparanza for gas and to ask the locals about which route to take to the Argentina coast and Ruta 3…the shorter but all dirt road or the longer but paved road. They unanimously said the paved road back towards Rio Gallegos…which I had passed through on the way to Ushuaia. So that settled I rolled down the road and pulled into Rio Gallegos early enough to run some errands to the market and to the bank. I also had to get 3 quarts of oil so I can do an oil change first chance I get.

Do you think you could find anything in this auto parts store? Yeah, I couldn’t either!  LOL

Tomorrow it’s back on the throttle north up the notoriously windy Ruta 3…

Day 218 – Rio Grande, Argentina to Puerto Natales, Chile

Day 218 – Rio Grande, Argentina to Puerto Natales, Chile      03/27/11      Mileage: 348

It was below freezing overnight and there was a lot of frost on the bike cover this morning. Last night Collin and Derek rolled into the hostal unexpectedly after having suffered yet another flat! They had hoped to get much farther but had to hold up in Rio Grande because of all the time it took to fix the flats.

In addition to the 3 KLR’s, there were two local Argentinians on an Africa Twin and a KTM 990A at the hostal tha night…

Well, the upside is we got to chat more and we also road together this morning until parting ways.

It’s a KLR covention…above at the Argentina border and waiting for the ferry to cross the Straits of Magellan below…

They were heading due north for Rio Gallegos and I was turning west to Puerto Natales and the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. The wind was strong but manageable in the morning but got brutal in the afternoon. At least by then the road was paved so it was more frustrating than dangerous.

The strong westerly wind also severely cut into my mileage…and I ran both my main and reserve tanks dry 23 miles short of my planned fuel stop. Luckily I carry two extra gallons strapped to my passenger footpegs for just such an occasion. All gassed up I continued pushing ahead into the wind all the way to Puerto Natales where I got a room for the night. The hostal had a dodgy vibe, but the price was right at $10. Tomorrow it’s off to the Torres del Paine…which will be amazing to see if the weather cooperates…

Day 217 – Ushuaia to Rio Grande, Argentina

Day 217 – Ushuaia to Rio Grande, Argentina       03/26/11       Mileage:  138

Beto, Tracy and I were all a little slow out of the gate this morning after last nights festivities. We chatted over breakfast about possible routes north, swapped tales from the road south and talked about other adventures someday to be realized. But soon it was time for me to go as the road north beckons…and after packing the bike and saying adios to Beto and Tracy, a pointed the KLR out of town.

The weather was great and I could see so much more of the amazing scenery than I could on the ride in. My plan was to only ride as far as Rio Grande, so I wasn’t in any rush and a savored each mile.

I passed two other KLR’s on the side of the road so I stopped to say hi. Derek and Collin had shipped their bikes to Santiago, Chile, rode down to Ushuaia and their plan is to ride them home to Canada.

Collin was in the process of fixing his 11th flat in about 2,000 miles….crazy! They have a blog as well:  I have been extremely lucky in that department…and that’s all I’m going to say lest I jinx myself! Back on the throttle it was a windy last 100 miles into Rio Grande where I worked on the blog, grabbed some dinner and called it a night. Tomorrow it’s back into Chile to head for the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine…which should be spectacular if the weather cooperates….

Day 216 – Ushuaia, AR

Day 216 – Ushuaia, Argentina      03/25/11       Mileage: 0

Ushuaia is a long way to go for a photograph, but like life, it’s all about the journey and not where you end up. For me it’s been an amazing journey on many levels and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity. The end, when it comes, will be bittersweet I’m sure. So after spending the morning updating the blog and returning emails, I walked around downtown Ushuaia and it really is quite a nice little town…a nice mix of local and tourist oriented businesses.

The weather is also surprisingly warm for being this far south and given it’s location on the water. Late in the afternoon Beto and Tracy (the couple I met in Machu Picchu and again in El Calafate) arrived at the hostal on their KTM 990. It was great to catch up with them and we celebrated our arrival in Ushuaia that night in an Irish pub in town. We had as many laughs as we did beers and Beto also had a celebratory fox hat that he was saving for the occasion…too funny!

Tomorrow, it’s back on the road, but this time it’s the road north…the road home…

Day 215 – Rio Grande to Ushuaia, Argentina

Day 215 – Rio Grande to Ushuaia, Argentina     03/24/11     Mileage: 171

It was raining when I got up this morning, but I only had a little over 2 hours worth of riding to get down to Ushuaia…so I waited for a break in the rain and then got on the road. The scenery was nice for the first hour but was really good the last 40 or so miles up and over a small mountain pass.

They even have this sign that tells you where to take the picture…though…that is one funny looking camera!

I would have stopped for more pictures, but I had this need to just get there! Once over the pass, it was a nice roll down a picturesque valley until the sign for Ushuaia came into view.

And that was it…7 months and 3 days after setting out from New Jersey, I was finally here in Ushuaia, the self proclaimed “Southernmost City in the World.” I’ve seen many pictures of it before, but the town is in a spectacular setting on the Beagle Channel surrounded by mountains…and is much nicer in person than in pictures….not at all what I expected.

And while Ushuaia might be the last town on the road south, the road itself, Ruta 3, continues another 20 kilometers into the Parque Nacional del Tierra del Fuego to the very end of the road….and after dropping my bag at the hotel,  that was my next stop. Just on the other side of town the road turned to dirt before arriving at the entrance to park.

The scenery was again much better than I expected and remember from the pictures. The trees were turning in the autumn weather and there was snow on the high peaks…it was spectacular.

Then, around a bend in the road the famous sign that I have seen in so many other pictures came into view…the literal end of the road south.

In English: 
Land of Fire National Park
Lapataia Bay
Republic of Argentina
Here is the end of National Route No. 3
Buenos Aires: 1,913 miles
Alaska: 11, 090 miles

If my eyesight was as good as Sarah Palin I might be able to see Antarctica.  😉  I took the requisite pictures, smoked a big cigar that Johnny O gave me before the trip and lingered for a bit to reflect and take it all in. Well, that was it…nothing left to do but point my trusty KLR north and head for home…

It’s official…

It’s official, I reached Ushuaia, Argentina earlier today….post for today coming soon….


Day 214 – Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande, Argentina

Day 214 – Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande, Argentina      03/23/11      Mileage: 248

I worked on the blog over breakfast and then went out to the auto parts store to be there when they opened at 9. They had the bulb in stock and I also got more electrical tape for the short in the tail light wiring. Back at the hotel I spent the next hour putting humpty dumpty back together…then packed the bike and split. With the late start, it was doubtful that I’d make it to Ushuaia given that there are two border crossings (out of Argentina into Chile and back to Argentina) and a ferry in between. The first police checkpoint I was stopped and asked to go in the building with my passport. I’ve been through dozens of checkpoints and have always been either waved through or asked 1 or 2 questions and sent on my way…so I’m not sure why this guy had a burr in his ass. Anyway, it didn’t take too long but it set the tone for the day. At the Argentina side of the border the immigration officer went to take a shit for 20 minutes as soon as I walked up with my passport. fortunately it took 30 seconds to cancel my bike import permit..usually it’s the other way around. Anyway, once done it was on to the Chile side were I arrived just after a bus. Super…more waiting. All that done I was off to the ferry across the Straits of Magellan.

I arrived and was told the next ferry would be here in 20 minutes, and sure enough you could see it making it’s way here. When the blue ferry arrived, some trucks got off…then some trucks got on…then the ramp went up and it buggered off leaving me and 5 other cars waiting there wondering what just happened?

Nobody seemed to know why as there was still plenty of room. WTF? So we sat there for another hour and eventually another red ferry showed up, but after they let everyone off, the didn’t start boarding for almost 40 minutes for what looked like some inspection or something.

Once loaded we set sail across the straits to the island of Tierra del Fuego, which took about 20 minutes.

Strapped in for the short but choppy ride across the Straits of Magellan…

Back on dry land I hit the gas still hoping to make it to Ushuaia, but that hope evaporated at the next border as soon as I saw the line waiting at the Chile immigration. It took 45 minutes to get my exit stamp…something that usually takes 30 seconds(unless the officer goes to take a dump of course). So after exiting Chile and reentering Argentina, I stopped in Rio Grande to look for a room and some dinner. Tomorrow, it’s on to Ushuaia for sure!