Well in spite of Mother Nature's best efforts, we made it through the winds of Patagonia to the 'end of the world'! Since my last posting from El Calafate, we have been letting the weather dictate where and how far we travel. AccuWeather.com tells us when the winds will be down, so we can leave early and dash a couple of hundred kilometers before they start picking up in the afternoon. RuthAnn and I had been dreading the 85 miles of gravel, a ferry crossing over the Straits of Magellan, and two border crossings that lay in our path between Rio Gallegos and Ushuaia, but, as the 'esposos' keep telling us, its never as bad as we imagine it.
There is no paved road all the way to Ushuaia, and all along the route we had heard horror stories about the gravel stretch from other motorcyclists that had been beaten by wind, rain, and grading. We may be riding dirt bikes and look dirty, but we are not dirt riders! So we stayed in a beautiful estancia right where the pavement ended and made the trek on a lovely, dry, sunny day without incident. Then it was the ferry over the Straits, another rough, windy waterway. But the sun god smiled again, and we zipped up the ramp and sailed smoothly over to the other side. And as if we haven't had enough borders to cross, we had to go into Chile and then back into Argentina because of the way the 'frontera' is drawn. Oh well, it was a chance to warm up from the very brisk temperatures that we are now experiencing. By the way, that made border crossing number 15!
Upon arriving in Ushuaia, we headed the further 20 kms to Tierra Del Fuego National Park where Ruta 3 ends. This is considered the 'end of the world' and is marked by a monument where everyone heads for their photo op. We had traveled for 83 days and covered 19,929 kms! Several buses had preceded our arrival and their passengers greeted us like celebrities, taking our pictures and asking questions. Many of the wives appeared grateful considering that they were traveling with their couch-potatoes on a nice warm bus instead of being us!
So now we wait for the next leg of our journey – Antarctica! Our ship, the Polar Star, a Swedish icebreaker in its former life, sails December 29th. RuthAnn and I are planning for the worst and stocking up on Dramamine for the crossing but hope to be well enough to bring in the New Year kissing a penguin!
Merry Christmas everybody!