We made it to Ushuaia! After riding (and pushing) our bicycles 24.267 km through North, Central and South America we reached this windy, and cold city at the end of the American continent. And it felt good!
After being stuck in Villa O`Higgins for four days (too windy for the ferry to run) we finally got the thumbs up from the boat captain that it was time to leave. Early morning, out to the port, and we see for the first time why the captain was so worried about the wind. The regular ferry that holds 60 passengers and looks like a small cruise ship is broken, and our ferry was basically a canoe.
The famous “Carretera Austral” or “Southern Highway” – is a sometimes paved and sometimes bad dirt- and gravel road that stretches between Puerto Montt and the tiny town of Villa O’Higgins in Chile. It requires several ferry crossings on its 1.240 km’s and is extremely popular for all kinds of adventure and overland travellers ranging from cyclists and motorcyclists to 4 wheel drive rental trucks to massive off-road trucks in which people drive around the world with. So basically you can find any kind of vehicle from any country on this road...
A massive landslide killed 16 people, burried half a town and closed the only road heading South. So we took to the water.
After what felt like 3 months of non-stop desert and pampa riding, we couldn’t handle the disappointment that the Argentinian pampas (very dry, dusty, hot empty landscapes) caused us. So after two more weeks of kill-me-now boring, stinking hot pampa (Nyle’s smelly feet were at an all time high, despite the foot deodorant) with sand blasting headwinds we boarded an overnight bus from San Juan to Neuquen (we still don’t know how to pronounce that name). And it was heavenly...
We made it! Our final country of the trip, Argentina was always the goal, the dream of crystal clear rivers, sky high mountains and cooler temps. It turns out our vision of Argentina hasn’t quite come true as the vast majority of the country is covered in sand and small bushes struggling to survive until the next rain season... Maybe we should do more planning, maybe we should watch less YouTube, maybe I should eat less cake, maybe.
Taking this route through the remote and harsh high desert in South Western Bolivia might have not been one of our most glorious decisions. It was not type one fun (fun while you do it), not sure if it will ever qualify as type two fun (fun when it is over) or if it will stay type three fun (never fun). But humans have this amazing ability to ignore the facts and just see what they want to see.
All kinds of great things have happened in the last month; delicious pizza in Hauraz, 30 hour bus ride across Peru, made it to Bolivia, got caught in a massive lightening storm in the mountains, finally replaced cooking oil for real chain lube, all great things. PLUS, Bolivia is flat! And that is all kinds of awesome.
That was a long haul. I thought we would never make it to our next “rest stop”. The mountains of Peru are seemingly endless, it goes up one side, down to the river valley on the other side and then you already see the endless s-curves snaking their way up the other side of the steep valley. And so it went on and on for almost two weeks. If we made 40 km’s a day it was quite an achievement.
SPOT and I have been friends for quite a while, he’s helped keep my family’s worries to a minimum wherever I’ve ventured and given me a safety blanket along the way. It was no question that SPOT would come with us on this trip, and so he’s lived in my handlebar bag for the past 14 months, dutifully sending out a little GPS message each night to our families back home. But SPOT isn’t so young anymore and he doesn’t always have the strength needed to send a tiny piece of code into outer space. And last week I forgot SPOT outside, he’ll never be the same again.