Leaving our little cabin in Ushuaia was a bit sad as we had spent almost two weeks there and our first Christmas away from home but it did feel good to be back on the bikes. Riding north through Tierra Del Fuego was fun as we climbed up into the mountains in the cool morning air. We got our last glimpse of the Beagle Channel where we had sailed just the day before and the devastation caused by the Canadian beavers. Seems our national symbol were imported to start a fur trade but it never happened and they have since been busy procreating and chopping down trees. Sounds Canadian, eh?
We retraced our route up the east coast in beautiful, sunny weather back through the winds of Patagonia to Comodoro Riviadavia where we had crossed over from the west a month before. The east coast is flat scrub land as far as the eye can see with only the occasional herd of guanacos to break the boredom. Condors made a brief appearance and we did meet some interesting people at the gas stops. One was a couple from Australia travelling on a GS and planning to be in the US in 2012! They are mining consultants who go home and work for a couple of weeks every three months and travel the rest of the time-nice work if you can get it. The other was a young Indian guy riding a KTM who had lived in the US for about five years and was going home to Mumbai to be married next month. But here's the best part-he had gone to school in Green Bay, Wisconsin home of the Reynens! We are constantly amazed at what a small world it really is.
After about 2,000 kms heading north, we saw trees! And then grass! And finally farms with cattle, horses and crops. This is the La Pampa. One crop was sunflowers and what a picture they made! A huge field of their smiling faces all looking in the same direction. A few wild ones were growing at the side of the road, looking like they had escaped the fields and were hitch-hiking out of there. Of course, along with all these signs of civilization came traffic. We are following Ruta 3 to Buenos Aires which is a well paved two lane road but with all the truck traffic moving slowly, cars are forced to pass. And pass they do at warp speed inches from our saddlebags. I still have trouble reconciling how such kind friendly people we meet in gas stations become death threats the minute they hit pavement.
Gas remains a problem and we fill up at every opportunity. Yesterday, we encountered long lines at a gas station waiting for a tanker to show up. Kind of reminds you of the shortages in the '70s. However there is no shortages of potatoes or “papas” in Espanol. Steve grew up on a potato farm and is our resident expert as we sample the 'fritas' (fries), 'pure' (mashed), 'crema' (with milk and butter) or my personal favourite 'mixto' (with mashed potatoes and squash). So with all this ballast, we expect to roll into the Big Apple, Buenos Aires tomorrow where we have rented a two bedroom apartment for two weeks. Tango anyone?