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Old 07-09-2014, 02:20 AM   #241
aka Mister Wisker
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Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Back in Canada
Oddometer: 84
Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina to a windy sheep station in Chile.

Mounting up in to woods outside porno Pedros

We set Jayne out front to lead the pack. She had come up to Porno Pedro's Place from down the coast a little, so she knew we were about to encounter a police check stop heading south. Jayne was also the only one with insurance out of all of us. While technically required, insurance is tough to purchase in Argentina, and Jayne was the only one who had done so. Fortunately putting the pretty girl up front to talk to the Latino police did the trick, and we were easily on our way with a smile and a wave.
Putting Jayne up front didn't always work wonders though. Didn't take long before reuniting had resulted in yet another crash.

Albeit not a bad crash, just a drop. That dickhead pulled out right in front of Jayne on the gravel, and in stopping urgently Cricket's front tire slid out. No harm done.

Met a couple other travelers, Elisa and Tom, at the gas station riding on Honda 125cc's. She was heading right up to Seattle. Tom not as far. Tough battling the winds on anything it turns out. More hours per day of battle at the slower speeds of the 125's.

125's for the win!
...but perhaps not for the wind.

Speaking of wind, a few days back I had given Joe his first EVER pair of earplugs to try out. Joe hadn't tried them since he started his trip up in California. He was well impressed:

Another full days ride comes to a close.

Elisa had recommended we stop at a campground on the beach near San Julian, but we missed the turn-off as it was getting dark. We asked at the YPF gas station, and while he was recommending somewhere, we realized the station itself held promise. Free wifi, bathrooms, a restaurant and a large vacant lot out back with some trees and trailers to block the wind. We were set!

Between the trailers, trees and motos, the wind didn't effect us all night. One sneaky, creepy cat got through though.

We had beers in the restaurant while we warmed up and chatted. Our server sensed out reluctance to buy anything from the moderately priced menu, so brought us over some free snacks! While munching, Jayne used the wifi to find out that our dad already had figured out our sleeping arrangements for the night. Incredulous at how he could possibly know this, Joe and Ian had Jayne ask dad what kind of beer we were drinking...

Dad said "Quilmes". He was right. Joe and Ian just shook their heads in disbelief.

In the morning we set our goal as "however far past the ferry we could get". We got as far as Mario's farm house.

Google maps hates mapping Argentina.

Along the way we stopped in Rio Gallegos for late lunch, knowing we likely wouldn't have a big dinner when camping that night. After eating we ran into AJ and his BMW in the street. Jayne and AJ chatted for a bit while Ian and I quickly tightened some hose clamps to fix a coolant leak on Maria. AJ gave us a rundown on the colder weather and wind we would encounter on the other side of the ferry. I was already wearing almost all my clothes to insulate from the cold. He also mentioned a couple times that it was a little "late in the season" for a push to Ushuaia, the city from which he himself had just travelled. We chuckled at this, took down his advice on a good hostel in Ushuaia called Momo's or something and set off. "Late in the season" as it was, we were just a two day ride from the bottom.

The border crossing was standard and easy. One small hiccup when it was noted Jayne's moto had been listed as a "station wagon" on her paperwork. While Jayne has enough gear to qualify, I reckon just not quite enough wheels. No trouble, through quickly, in an organize fashion, and onwards to the ferry. We love smooth borders.

The ferry was just sitting there waiting for us as we rolled up. We didn't even have to put our feet down before rolling aboard. So kind of them to wait! And then they didn't even ask us to pay! Still not sure if this is standard policy or not.

Didn't wait, didn't pay!

Phil feeling pretty chuffed with the fastest, and cheapest!, ferry wait of all time.

Ian looks longingly at the penguins.

Penguins frolicked and seals swam over towards where we had seen the penguins frolicking. A nice ferry ride by all accounts.
The winds weren't bad considering the horror stories we had read about on the forums. We were able to ride about an hour after disembarking the ferry before we started hunting for a place to camp with some wind shelter. Not many trees in these parts, in fact not much in the way of wind protection at all for camping. Eventually we saw a farm house with some large looking trees beside it. We stopped and Jayne and I walked up to ask if we could camp in the protection of their yard. Jayne decided to accompany me as she felt my bearded homeless look might be intimidating. Always looking out for me...

Mario answered the door. "might we set up camp in your yard please?". "POR FAVOR!!" Mario beamed back at us with a big smile. Next thing you know we're all inside drinking Mate from a cow's hoof. We'd found our place to stay the night: a sheep farm run by Mario and his family. It would prove to be the wisest stop we could have ever made. In the morning... in the morning we headed for the ultimate end of the Ultimate Ride: Ushuaia!

Mario with his Mate bag: the stitched pelt of a cow? Goat? whatever, it was neat.

If you aren't drinking your Mate from a hoof, you aren't drinking Mate.
Top to the bottom with a frisbee:
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:03 PM   #242
aka Mister Wisker
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Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Back in Canada
Oddometer: 84
The Ultimate Ride south. To the bottom. To Ushuaia!

Might be hard but it's sure not windy!

We spent the night at Mario's sheep farm in the garage. Concrete floor, but walls around and a roof over us and we didn't have to set up the tents. By 2am the wind had picked up. The wind continued to ramp up in strength all night. By daylight I was relieved to be inside, but grew concerned about the bikes blowing over. The tales are all true folks: the wind down in Tierra del Fuego can be ferocious! This windy day would be a special one, our Ultimate ride south on the Ultimateride. Destination: Ushuaia! But first: dunking sheep and eating meat.

View from the road to the farm house the night previous, four apocalyptic moto's.

Mario runs a sheep farm on a large parcel of land in Southern Chile. He spends part time at the farm and part time at his home in Punta Arenas several hours away. The farm house is right off the main gravel road (though pavement is under construction along side). Mario and his family watch the moto's roll by on the daily. In the summer he says there are upwards of 150 motos a DAY at the peak. Of course we're "late in the season", so notably fewer at the moment. After we had cruised up late the last evening and he invited us to stay, Mario then invited us to help with the sheep in the morning should we want to. Since I was already awake from the wind, I decided to take Mario up on his offer.

The Rams with the black heads are better "reproducers". No kidding.

For sheep and man, important to check your testicles for lumps monthly.

Tick bath time. Gotta dunk the sheep.

Dressed in all my layers to combat the wind, I took my turn dunking sheep too!

Why it's called a "piggy-back" I'll never know.

First was the scrotal exam, where the men lifted the sheep into a "sitting" position and checked "the boys". Problem with your testicles? You get a blue chalk stripe down your back. The good news is that a chalk stripe means you avoid the tick bath. The bad news... well it's all bad news for the chalk stripes after that really.

The tick bath was pretty neat to watch. The bath is a channel 3 meters deep that the sheep swim through to soak in anti-tick agent... Yes that's right: Sheep can swim! Such good swimmers that they can keep their heads well above water, thus not tick bathing their heads, so our job was to dunk them for total coverage. Without the tick bath the sheep can acquire so many ticks that they get sick (and ruin your wool sweater), so it's a necessary task. How do you get sheep to take a bath? With difficulty and magic. Literally. They use a trap door. It works every time. Except for the time I filmed it:

Tough work that sheep rearing. Glad I got to experience it. Aside from sheep there are few cow's in Tierra del Fuego, but in the past some folks raised Beavers! Mario taught us about the beavers of Tierra del Fuego. Notably, that there are some. Imported from Canada in the 40's to farm and sell pelts to the Russians until the 60's, the fur trade failed and the beavers were released. With no predators, the beavers thrived, estimates at over 100 000 in Patagonia now. When every wind block counts, having a pest cut down your trees can be a real pain.

The wind seemed to get stronger all morning. It was time for coffee. Then it was time to go. Sadly the wind got worse while we drank coffee, but today was still the day we'd ride to Ushuaia!

Thanks Mario! We plan to meet again in Punta Arenas in a few days.

Jayne flips crickets windshield to make it smaller while Ian acts Japanese. Jayne's windshield had been acting like more of a sail in this weather.

Regardless of the strength, the direction of the wind was quite fortunate. For the most part it blew from pretty well behind us. When we did take it from the side, we found ourselves on paved sections of road. A crosswind on the gravel might have been devastating. We did take note that we'd be riding into one heck of a headwind on the way back.

Crossed the border again into Argentina. We were all pretty low on gas but knowing it sold at almost half the price as in Chile, we had been waiting for the cheap Argentinian fuel.

About 0.70$/L CAD. The cheapest yet. Fuel oddly gets cheaper the further south you ride in Argentina.

In Rio Grande, Jayne got in touch with Ricardo and Fabiana, amigos from the facebook KLR groups. They met up with us to go for lunch, but then invited us over to eat at their house instead.

Ricardo man's the grill, to cook the stacks of meat they picked up just for us!

We must be in Argentina!

Smile if you have a beard and like meat!

An amazing spread of delicious food for lunch. We sat in the dining room talking bikes and weather. Ricardo doesn't even ride in Tierra del Fuego much, he trucks his BMW up to Comodoro Rividavia and rides from there to avoid the wind. It's just not pleasant. Great folks, we would have loved to stay longer but really wanted to take advantage of the blue skies, windy or not. Rain, and the resulting wet roads would be un-rideable in the crosswind. We promised to stop back in on our way back north.
From Rio Grande south the wind hit us side-on, but soon we found ourselves in some more treed terrain. This made for some exciting gusts, blowing you clear across the road. It became a game as to where to position yourself in the road. Jayne found it less fun than the boys.
Stopped in Tolhuin for gas and to check out the famous bakery. Ian ended up chatting to the owner who offered us a free place to stay there too. They have a set of bunk beds they often offer to cyclists. Alas, we all had our sights set on Ushuaia this day.

Setting sun, rising mountains

As the sun fell lower in the sky, the mountains began to rise up around us. With a lake to one side and snow capped peaks all around, it really felt like we were back up north in Alaska. The earth repeats itself. The air grew colder as we wound through what would have been a really fun road on a sunny day. The dim light, cold, and random wet patches had us crawling along, fearing that any wet patch might turn to ice. Fortunately none did. Around the last corner we rode, then through the tall wooden signs proclaiming "Ushuaia". I wonder if the people living near those signs grow weary of the scores of motorcyclists riding past blaring their horns all the time?

I found myself with mixed feelings all of a sudden. A year and a half on the road, so many places travelled, and in an instant it felt like it was over. Questions of "What comes next? " crept into mind before I'd even celebrated what had just come. The previous week was a blur. 700km days back to back to back, blasting through Argentina like it was going out of style. A portion of the trip I almost never got to make after crashing in Peru... These thoughts passed as quickly as they'd come, as we pulled up to our hostel for the night "Momo's". We honked, we high fived, we hugged. It felt great to have been able to catch up with Jayne and finish what we started together. Having good friends Ian and Joe along side just made it that much sweeter.

Upon our glorious arrival!

Just as described by "late-in-the-season" AJ, "Momo's" has no signs at all. Here we would meet Dan, whom Ian had actually ridden with briefly before. Dan Ford introduced us to his steed; a "650 Crosstour... by BMW". He said it like the voice over on a commercial. We liked Dan right away. He escorted us down to the shops for food and celebratory drinks.
We bought 24L of beer, some wine and some whiskey. That way we'd have plenty for tomorrow post tonight's celebration. Or not. Jayne drank the wine while Ian, Joe and I drank through 16L of Quilmes, then hit the club for some celebratory dancing.

Ian shows us his moves.

It was a fantastic night. We'd made it to the bottom!

Almost. The true "end of the road" lay 30km further, where there was a sign informing that you had indeed now reached the end of the road, at "the end of the world". This was our goal photo op for the day, a sign that our parents had gleefully taken a photo with and emailed it to us, gloating, many months before our arrival.

"We got there befooooore you!"

It snowed in the morning, so we delayed our ride to "the sign" until the afternoon, instead walking around town taking in the sights.

Banff? no, but it could be.

Jayne points out the unassuming Momo's hostel. Great cozy hostel to end in.

Penguin love!

Beaver shun! We don't tolerate invasive species around these parts.

Made it! but not the sign we're looking for...

Tired from the night before, and not enthused about suiting up to ride again, Joe declined the journey to "the sign". Dan joined Ian, Jayne and I as far as the park boundary since he had already been, and us three remaining amigos paid our 10$ and rode to the true end of the road. Photo party!

We made it!

So did Ian!

For Brianne and worms everywhere!

A fitting symbolic end for the troublesome pin that haunted my shoulder.

Perhaps it's still in the crack? You tell me.

Wait, which crack?

Great sense of sibling accomplishment. It's been a slice!

We would spend a few days relaxing in Ushuaia before heading back north. While this may be the literal "end of the road", Jayne and I still had a lot of riding left ahead of us. I planned to head up the famed Ruta 40, a road I had missed rushing south, while Jayne set sights on Buenos Aires. First, we had to battle back against the Tierra del Fuego winds.

We made it to the end of the road, but not yet to the end of the trip.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:19 AM   #243
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Joined: May 2011
Location: Rancho Cucamonger, CA
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awesome pics (well except for the nudie....) and you've got one hell of a sleeping bag vertical!
530EXCR and a bunch of 2 strokes that you dont want to read about. :)

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Old 07-14-2014, 09:51 PM   #244
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Couldn't have met a better group at the end of the world than you, Jayne, Phil, and Joe. The food and alcohol expenses more than quadrupled those few days but so did the laughs. Cheers buddy!
Those who dare, risk defeat. Those who don't, ensure it.
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:24 AM   #245
aka Mister Wisker
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Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Back in Canada
Oddometer: 84
Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
awesome pics (well except for the nudie....) and you've got one hell of a sleeping bag vertical!
I've been working up to that jumping photo for the whole trip

Sorry to hear my struggle to balance onto of jugs in the cold didn't impress you as much
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:26 AM   #246
aka Mister Wisker
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Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Back in Canada
Oddometer: 84
Originally Posted by advFord View Post
Couldn't have met a better group at the end of the world than you, Jayne, Phil, and Joe. The food and alcohol expenses more than quadrupled those few days but so did the laughs. Cheers buddy!
Twas a blast Lobo! Look forward to meeting up again sooner than later friend.
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