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The road ends in Ushuaia

Written on: Thursday January 24th, 2008

Hola, I have just updated this with two new blogs

(Click "Puerto Madryn south" above, for the first one)

...As we went further south the next city was Comodoro Rivadavia, the petroleum centre of Argentina, the petrol costs had been decreasing as we were going south and it was down to about 30cents per litre now. We picked up some food and left town. 50 miles outside town was the next petrol station, with our range of about 200 miles we though we need not bother stop here, you think we would learn! On we went, the town the next town was unfortunately without petrol but we had enough to reach the following town OK, but not to take the 50k side road to the Petrified forests that we had planned to visit, we were going to have to do what we had to do, head on 50ks past the turn, top up and BACKTRACK!! Oh how we hate to backtrack! I was about to describe the interesting way in which the Petrified forests were formed but seen as I never went to see them I'm not telling ; ) As it was getting dark we found another spot to pull in and camp. More campo soup that night, accompanied by the trips current favourite sambo a bit of Roquefort, tomato and mayonnaise rolls, fabulous! The next morning was very cold and cloudy. We decided to miss the petrified forests as backtracking to see them in the bad weather didn't seem worth it. This gave us a chance to continue all the way south to Rio Gallegos which is the last city before the Stupid Chilean border. Chile stretches across the bottom of Argentina and cuts off the bottom bit of Argentina from the rest, meaning we had to cross two borders within about 200 miles. Rio Gallegos was one of those random words that seemed to repeat itself over and over in my head as I drove along, oh and in an Australian accent. Once I mentioned this to Peadar he, much to my delight, reported the same problem. I wonder will it repeat itself over and over in your head? This town was a kip, ahhh... thats a bit unfair. OK, well not great spot anyway. Something Peadar had read on the Irish times website had said that the Ireland Italy Rugby match was on the next day and I was praying all day long that the Argentines would be showing it and looked forward to having some beers and cheering the lads on. After a while looking round town for a suitable venue we realised wed gotten it wrong and decided to leave town the next day. The first border took hours, I'm not sure exactly how long, but lets just say hours. Once freed we drove into Chile, our forth country so far and on to the first boat crossing with the bikes, a 20 minuter to the Island of Tierro del Fuego (Land of Fire). Once off the boat we continued across Chile and realised the 120k road to San Sebastian was Ripio(dirt or gravel roads). We thought it was going to be slow going and knew that the road could be in any state, a bit tired from our border crossing we just wanted to get close to the next border back into Argentina and set up camp. About 10ks in we realised that this was an absolutely fabulous road and we could travel at a great pace (Safely mam, Safely)... as you can see here http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZMMe1hPiZg0 . It was the best dirt road Id been on since the last youtube vid I made in Brazil and we just flew along. It was amazing fun! When we reached the other end we pulled in for our first Chilean beers, some really tasty Patagonian lamb and chatted about the road and watched whatever was on the the TV at the bar. We were going to look for a random out of the way place to free camp but we decided to enquire how much it would be to camp at this BarResturantHotel place, he said we could camp wherever for free. We said we would set up our tents and have another beer, exhausted we never made it back. Determined not to repeat the border crossing from yesterday I got up real early, packed quickly and left, telling Peadar I`d meet him at the first garage on the other side if he didn't see me in the queue. Another short stretch of great road to start the day and the border crossing was like a different world, no queues and over quick. Though before I left Peadar had caught up and came to tell me my bike was leaking water! Again I said Id see him at the next garage where Id be looking at my bikes water leak. As I was filling up petrol in the garage 500 meters from the border crossing, I saw Peadar speeding past at top speed, being musically spurred on by Supergrasss Richard III. I wasn't going to chase him, I had to look at the water leak first ... we had really needed to top up here and the next town was 70ks, I was sure he'd either turn back or be sitting by the side of the road without petrol waiting. The leak didn't seem too bad and once I had spent a good while constructing an overly elaborate and totally useless water loss measuring device, I went to set off, but the power went so I had to unload all the stuff for the second time to get my tools (Allen keys and such) and after sorting the wiring on my battery, off I went. I stopped to check the water a few times en route to the next town. I was surprised Peadar was not out of fuel by the side of the road and as it turned out he went onto reserve and got a new record of 30 MILES out of reserve, mostly through freewheeling... I asked at the garage and he had just left 10 minutes before me. There was another 200 or 300 ks to go and I imagined that with the photo stops Id be taking Id not see him till Ushuaia. A while later I saw the first forests Id seen in a few thousand ks and soon after the mighty Andean mountains rose from the hills that were beginning to surround me. Tierra del Fuego is at the very bottom of the Andeas that stretch most of the west coast of South America. It was such a dramatic change from the never ending straights Id been riding. The bike climbed right over the mountains and then descended the other side to the city of Ushuaia. Id made it. Now I just had to find Peadar. Checked email, no, nothing. Hmmm... I looked for camping places, emailed him to say Id stay at the first camping place on the way to the national park and when I arrived I was told he'd just arrived 5 minutes ago. Turns out he'd headed back to look for me at the garage 500 meters after the border, after checking all the garages in the second town we somehow missed each other. Then passed me out while I was taking photos? Well, we guessed that anyway as we were up at the campsite bar celebrating our arrival with some, ...you guessed it, Beers.. That turned out to be a late night when when we met up with two other Irish lads at the Dublin bar, one sound lad and the other atrociously drunk and borderline abusive. He soon faded. They have the greatest beer I have had so far in South America, Beagle beer. Later that night the ATM stole my bank card, the next morning a very hung over Stephen had to queue and wait for 2 hours while the they got it from the machine. We have spent the first week here pottering round the campsite, messing with things that needed fixing, walking and climbing near town and going to the Terrorifica film festival. We saw, "Invasion of the body snatchers" from the 50s (Class stuff, great movie), "The Lost boys" (meant to be a classic, but is really pure CRAP, funny tho) and Peadar went to see David Cronenberg's "The Brood" (weird 70s horror stuff, Peadar said twas good). We have noticed that the dogs of this town love to chase bikes. I mean, this sounds common, sure dogs chase cars and bikes, but here EVERY dog chases you. Not to bite, just to bark. and if you slow up they get confused. They are at the traffic lights quietly waiting and once you go they start going crazy.. Its lots of fun messin with their heads, speeding up and slowing down again ; ) Tonight we hit the town once again and then on Monday I think Peadar is heading to camp in the National Park and I'm going back to school! I start a one week Spanish course for four hours each day. I actully think that's more hours than Flood does, and claims hes a full time student, HA! Once I finish the course Ill leave here and meet Peadar somewhere UP the road as we head north.

 

From Mam and Dad on Jan 26th, 2008

SURPRISED YOU I got this off the main site before it went onto your page. keep it up the story gets better. Petrol about â?¬1.17 a litre here (Gorey)

From flood on Jan 28th, 2008

harsh comments about my college hours ste, well harsh!!!! slick pics. Bought tickets to see the national this morning , woo hoo. I got you one as well so book your flight back man!!

From Aine on Jan 31st, 2008

Gladiators are coming back-"on my 1st whistle", say ur dyin 2 come home now you've heard that!! We booked our holiday-for June!!!Lovin the pictures xxx

From Mam and Dad on Feb 1st, 2008

Great to talk to you for the last hour and it cost nothing God Bless (Not America) but SKYPE Dad