But first … the story of the final ride to Ushuaia.
We get up very early. The ferry to Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego goes at 9am. You have to be at the ferry terminal an hour before. There are also some people from the hostel. A Frenchman who is on the road with his bicycle since about 2 1/2 years and a few backpackers, going to Isla Magdalena, to see the penguins. Steve and Judy arrive with their Harley. We want to ride with them to the Argentinian border.
The crossing to Tierra del Fuego takes around 2 1/2 hours. The island is divided, a part belongs to Chile, the other one to Argentina. The first 150km are gravel road in a very good condition, but very dusty. We were heading east, we had tailwind and made good progress.
If you travel in a group, you constantly look in the rear mirror, if you lost your buddies.
Andi and I had the lead. After about 120km we lost Steve and Judy. We stopped and waited for one or two minutes. The two did not show up. Andi got off the bike and I returned. The Harley stood on the roadside. Steve was working on it. He did not know what the problem was. I watched him for a while and then went to pick up Andi, who was waiting on the roadside about 1 1/2 km back.
Steve had no good news. He took of the cover of the engine. The earth was soaked with the black engine oil.
While Steve tried to identify the problem, I notice that one of my front shock absorbers leaked and lost oil. The sealing is broken. In comparison to Steve’s problem, quite small.
A chain in the engine of the Harley was broken. An on-site repair is not possible. He needs a truck.
Well, the Argentinian border is about 30 km away. I go there and ask if I can get help. A police officer tells me, that there is an Estancia with a mechanic 15 km back on the road.
I drive back, stop at the Estancia and explained the problem. Arturo, the mechanic, took his tool box and got into his car. I said: No, we do not need a mechanic, we need a tow truck. Arturo called a friend and told me he will be there in about an hour. I’m going back to Steve, Judy and Andi.
We were waiting. The wind blowed hard, the sun beated down from the sky. Wrapped up in our motorcycle clothing, face masks and scarfs we were sitting on the roadside … sometimes chatting, sometimes silently lost in thought. The traffic is dense. The passing cars, busses and trucks were covering us in dust. Even after 1 1/2 hours no pickup truck showed up.
I went again to the Estancia, Arturo again called his buddy, who promised to come this time. I was waiting there.
I asked if the wind blows here all year round. Arturo says: Yes, but at the moment it is not that strong. Oh? Not that strong?
After about an hour the pickup truck appeared. Back at Judy, Steve and Andi we loaded the Harley, with the help of other motorcyclists, that came along and had the luxury of a supporting car, on the pickup truck. Steve and Judy had to return to Porvenir. I was told at the border that they will not be allowed to cross to Argentina with the broken bike. Andi and I continued to Argentina.
At 7pm we crossed the border. We had 300km to go. As we had a reservation in a hostel in Ushuaia, we decided to take the effort and to do all the way. The speed was higher than usual. We fought against the sunset, the wind and the cold. Luckily, it will not get dark until half past ten at the moment. Tired and cold we arrived in Ushuaia with the last daylight. The photo finish has to wait until tomorrow.
Today we drive the last few kilometers to the “end of the world”, which is marked by the end of the road “Ruta 3” in National Park Tierra del Fuego. Big photo session. Some of the tourists ask from where we are and how long we are on the road. A few take pictures of the “crazy” motorcyclists .. with us, of us, with the motorcycle. It’s almost as if you had won a race.
The rest of the day we spent walking around in Ushuaia.
Patagonia is a really beautiful spot on earth. The nature is just breathtaking. We wish we could stay longer. Unfortunately, we have to go back to Punta Arenas. But I’ll definitely be back .
As of today, we are heading north.
Rio Grande, which is located right in the middle on the way between Porvenir and Ushuaia, has little flair. We stop only for gas, drive all the way back and stay in Porvenir, a small town across from Punta Arenas. Our ferry is leaving the other day.
In the hostel we meet Pablo, his father and a brother. They are merchants, and sell mainly dried fruits, dates, nuts, pistachios, … . Some of the goods come from Chile, some from different parts of the world. They drive with their pickup truck through southern Chile, in order to sell them. We spent a funny evening with them.
Unfortunately, we also received some bad news. Andis motorcycle is delayed for another two days and will arrive on 23.12. in the evening in Punta Arenas. It is not sure if we can get the bike out of the customs before Christmas. We hope for a little “Christmas miracle”.
20.12. – 21.12.
Back in Punta Arenas.
The next three days we have to wait, because it’s weekend, there was no responses from the carrier or from the local authorities. The whole thing is a bit tedious. Punta Arenas is quite nice, but but Ushuaia would have been a better place to wait.
There is a BMW mechanic in Punta Arenas. I went there on Saturday morning to get my sealing fixed, but it was closed as well.
What happened next and whether we got Andis motorcycle and how we spent Christmas, I will tell you in the next post.
I wish everyone a Happy Holidays.
Thank you for reading, Jürgen.
Five months On and Off the Road leaves visible traces on the material. In the album are a few photos of the current state.