January 16, 2013 - Punta Arenas (Chile) was our next stop. It's main appeal is the tax-free zone, where Jan needed to buy a rear tire. Out of the three stores that sold motorcycle tires, he found only one that fit the bill. And even that one was a heavy knobby.
My main goal here was to collect as many dollars as I could from various bank accounts before we moved on to Argentina. Partially because we needed to pay the container in dollars, but also to have the option to change money on the black market in Argentina. The official rate is 4.85 pesos to the dollar, but the street rate is 5.6 or 5.7 in the south and 7.3 in Buenos Aires.
We ended up in Ushuaia quite late the next day but lucked out and found a place to crash quickly. The next day we made the obligatory stop at the end of the world, or at least as far south as you can take a vehicle.
Ushuaia surprised us in that it is actually quite a nice town. It has a sizeable harbor and an international airport. The surroundings are quite different from the ride towards it. It's surrounded by mountains and lakes.
Having made it to the bottom, we now faced seven days of emptiness to get to Buenos Aires to meet up with Brad and Sheena. From Ushuaia, we covered 3,305 kilometers in seven days to get there. Non-descript towns film-stripped past our visors and we stopped in a few to crash for the night. The only advantage of Route 3 is that it's paved, so we were finally done with gravel roads. After the fourth day of riding, we finally saw a tree instead of endless desert shrubbery. This place makes the emptiness of the Canadian prairies look like Disneyland.
We stopped by Dakar Motos in Buenos Aires and chatted with Javier and Sandra. Initially, we had planned to fly the bikes to Australia using their services and my new Visa card was mailed there. We talked for a few hours. They are good people in case you need some assistance in BA with your bike or are looking for shipment options.
The next day, we met Brad and Sheena and on the 26th we took residence in our digs for the next two weeks in Buenos Aires. It was a stunning apartment with all the trappings, marble staircase and picturesque elevator included.
Buenos Aires is the city of Tango. Immediately, upon arrival, this place felt like home and will be hard to leave.