Monday, December 17, 2012

San Sebastian, Argentina

We left Punta Arenas in the rain.  It was good to be on the move again.  Originally we planned to get gas in Povenir, the town on the other side of the Strait of Magellan, when we got off the ferry.  But we had enough time to fill up in Punta Arenas and avoid any possible lines on the other side. 

We got to the ferry around 8:00a, got our tickets with no problem and waited on the bikes in the rain for the instruction to load.  When the time came, they began loading trucks and cars first, finally signaling us to come.  They had left a little hole for us between a car and a truck.  Why they didn’t just have us come on before the truck behind us, I have no idea, but it made it a struggle with the long wheel base on the KTM to get mine into the hole.
Ferry Parking and work area.

The trip over took about two and a half hours and was smooth, but I understand it isn’t always like that.  Sometimes because of the roughness and the wind they cancel the ferry.  While I was getting the straps and ropes secured, I noticed that one of the bolts holding the rear sub-frame had come loose, very loose.  This meant we would have to stop when leaving the ferry to tighten it.  

But, I got the idea that may be I could tighten it while on the ferry.  So I proceeded stealthily out the door, down to the bike and began dismantling stuff to get to my tools.  Notice the strap over my seat; I had to work to get that off. 

While screwing around with my bike, the alarm went off.  That’s crazy because it wasn’t even set.  I just shut it off and went about my business.  Eventually after much cussing I finally got the bolt tightened and tools put away, avoiding the need to stop when we left the ferry.

While on the ferry we were surprised to run into several English speaking folks.  First, a doctor on a hiking trip from Portland Oregon and then these two.  He has been in Punta Arenas for a year; I believe working on moving a gasification plant from Chile to Louisiana. 

He was from Louisiana and she was from Mobile, Alabama.  It was amazing to hear a southern drawl this far away from home. 
L to R: Alabama and Louisiana :-)
Once off the ferry we found the road out of town.  It began as dirt but was a good and fast for about thirty kilometers.  But after hitting a few bumps leaving town my security alarm began going off again.  Finally, I just disconnected it and left it as is.  I have been having little gremlin electrical problems for some time now. 
Smooth and Fast
After this good stretch the road began to deteriorate, there was about ten kilometers of mud, lots of mud.  The tires would load up.  So much so between the front tire and fender that it would stop rolling.  I had to back the bike forward and back just to free the wheel. 

Below is a picture of Chuck coming down a hill.  It is deceptively muddy.  You can see the path I took.  I think my front tire loaded up, stopped rolling and put me into the ditch on my left.  You can see my path from about where Chuck is, that takes me down into the ditch and then back out again, with mud strung out on both sides.  It’s a wonder neither of us went down.  There were places where ascending that the bike would get sideways and there was some thought that maybe there was not enough traction to actually make it up the hill.
Mud may be fun for some, but not for me or Chuck
Eventually we made it through the mud and the trip from there on was pretty good gravel and no mud.  We traveled about a hundred thirty miles of gravel / mud roads, of which about six or seven was this muddy mess.  Had it all been mud like this, we would still be there now.
Mud caked up on the rear tire of my KTM.
Eventually we went through the Chilean border at San Sebastian, Chile then rode about four or five miles to San Sabastian, Argentina.  After quickly clearing migracion and aduna we found a little hotel / restaurant right off the main road that Peter and Rosemarie had told us about.  We checked in, gassed up next door at the filling station, hosed down then parked the bikes.  

We ordered a steak and papa fritas (french fies) and sat down with a beer.  Wine with dinner, another beer for Chuck and by this time the cook and the owner had come into the restaurant to watch TV and decided to join us for a drink.  The owner complimentarily provided a bottle of Champagne and we proceeded to toast the “end of the world … in Terra del Fuego!”  By the way, I’m not really as tall as the picture would indicate!  J
Owner, me and the cook
The sign at the entrance of the Hotel and Gas Station
We woke to rain and cold, but we had agreed that we would try to get to Ushuaia today. But it was still a little difficult to leave in such ugly weather.
Looking out our back window.
Tomorrow, USHUAIA!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, I welcome your comments, but please remember that my family is following this blog so keep your comments civil. Thank you. Joe