Saturday, 31 January 2015

The end of the world is nye!

The white van man had stopped and between us we managed to get Rhonda in to the back of his van. He spoke a little English and was happy to help a biker in distress. It helped that I offered to pay him.

We had strapped her down as best we could but it wasn't enough. The van was blowing all over the place and as the driver fought to keep her in a straight line, we heard an almighty crash and knew without looking that Rhonda had fallen.

We stopped and managed to get her back up again with the driver constantly apologising. It wasn't his fault but he clearly felt responsible. The right hand mirror was hanging off now  but no serious damage. I still felt I had got off lightly after the near miss with the truck so I was still smiling much to the drivers suprise!


We made it to the next town and I paid him what money I had in my purse for his time. Unfortunately

this was the last of my money and I was soon to discover that my cards would not work here. Another dilema! They were coming in droves lately! The road was testing me! Seeing what I was made of!

I managed to book in to a hotel and by the end of the night I had a solution to my money situation thanks to Western Union and a good friend who wired me some money to see me through to the Chilean border!

The wind died down and the next couple of days were uneventful. I just kept my head down and pushed on along the most uninteresting road in the world!

Next stop - Puerto San Julian

The Wind Guru told me that the gusts were going to be fairly harsh and the wind somewhere in the
mid range. After some debate I decided to go for it with the alternative to stay in Puerto San Julian for another day. This was a depressing thought as, although the hotel was nice, it was expensive and there was nothing else in this town. There was also nothing for 200 miles either side and I felt sorry for the young people living here. I grew up in a rural part of Wales where the nearest shop was a mile away if you took a short cut through the marshy fields. This place was way out of that league and I wondered what they did to entertain themselves with many long windy days ahead of them. Personally I could not stay another day.

Puerto San Julian
It was a good move to push on as the wind was not an issue at all. The sun shone and I made good time. On route I stopped for some coffee at the only service station and met up with a Columbian couple on a Super Tenere who spoke some English. I was happy to chat with them as we exchanged stickers and brief stories. The wife pointed at the dog on my sticker and I explained “My baby”. She laughed, pulled out her necklace, revealing a little plastic basset hound attached and said “MY baby!”.

They told me their cards had stopped working here too and had wanted to cry as they had no money and the bike had been broken. They were sorted now, as was I but it seems I was not the only one who had had problems on his road.

Meeting a Columbian couple
They were heading for Rio Galegos too but as they were on a big bike I decided not to ride with them and set off before them. Soon they overtook me and waved frantically as they passed.

Speaking with them had really put a smile on my face. Its amazing what a brief meeting and a quick chat can do.

Flamingos
From there the ride just got better. I dug out the go pro and managed to capture some Rheas, Alpacas and later on finally found some Flamingos who took off and gave me a wonderful display as I filmed.

On arriving in Galegos I decided to make the most of the day. I was feeling adventurous, the day till had a good 5 hours of light and so I pushed on to the Chillean Border. I quickly got through and wondered where I would end up that night. It didn’t matter. I had water, fuel, a tent and leftovers from lunch (a soggy chicken sandwich). I was good to go!

I made it to the port although I had no idea when the ferry was due or how often it left. As I arrived I
Made it to Chile
saw a boat leaving and I thought I must have missed it. Was it the last one? It turns out there was another and I was on it within 10 minutes.

The boat ride took about 20 minutes and soon I was on the road again and heading for….well I wasn’t really sure but I still had 2 hours of light left at least so I decided just to ride until last minute and then pitch my tent somewhere. It was going to be cold so there was no point in stopping too soon.

 I came across a small windswept town . There was fuel here so I nipped in. Thats when I spotted the hostel with about 15 BMW’s parked outside. I decided to see if they had any room for me and my little Honda.

Getting on the ferry
The bikers turned out to be from the UK. They were on a 2.5 week Globebusters tour of Patagonia and all knew who I was! It was lovely. They were surprised to see me this far as they had been following me through Ride Magazine which was a little behind. One of the guys was from Deganwy which is about 15 minutes from where I live in Wales. Who would have though it. Meeting people from home in the windswept baron land 230 miles from the end of the world!!!

The hostel owner was a lovely man and went to great lengths to make space for me. I said not to go to any trouble as I could pitch my tent on the grass outside. He said it was going to be really cold tonight and would not hear of it. He even changed the lock on one of the doors to accommodate me in the workers lodge (long story).

It was such a welcoming place to end up in and I was very glad to have pushed on!
Rhonda and some of the BMWs

After a good night sleep it was time to give one last push to Ushuaia. The city at the end of the World!

I hit the gravel for about 100 miles or so. It was more hard packed than the last stuff and so, aside from a couple of spots, it was no real bother once I got in to the swing of it. I made the border back in to Argentina in good time and then hit the tarmac again for a further 130 miles.

After the longest 2,500 miles of my life (from Buenos Aires), I made it to Ushuaia! The end of the world!

27,000 miles down and counting! Next a few days in Ushuaia and then its time for Rhonda and I to make some nautical miles over to Antarctica. The preparations begin!



5 comments:

  1. Wow! Eventful Steph, and how amazing to meet the British bikers. What an adventure, and to be continued in Antarctica, a dream come true. Wow again! x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing! Still following you along with half the world. John from Hereford

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome job, Steph - keep smiling!

    AG

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, may have been a long journey for you,went quick here. are you taking Rhonda with you to Antarctica ?. if so where are you heading for after. good luck.xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Steph, more great stuff from you as ever, can't believe that it was a year ago I was at the Ace Cafe waving you off. Have fun and ride safe Steve

    ReplyDelete