Tierra del Fuego

weathered fishing boat on beach in Tierra del Fuego

weathered fishing boat on beach in Tierra del Fuego

biker along coast of Tierra del Fuego

biker along coast of Tierra del Fuego

sheep and estancia (ranch) along coast

sheep and estancia (ranch) along coast

Tierra del Fuego. Land of fire. A wild place in my imagination. We took the ferry from Punta Arenas across the Straits of Magellan to this wild place. It was a two hour trip on the slow moving boat. We bikers joined the cars and trucks up the middle metal gangway where we all parked our respected vehicles. There were about 15 motorized machines and 26 of us bikers joining all those travelers who were dropped off at the ferry and met by others on the far side. We all found warm comfortable quarters indoors as there was a strong cold wind happening on deck. Poznir was the name of the small town that greeted us on the far side – nothing to distinguish this place except the ferry. We had 90K’s to ride on an unpaved road to a bush camp just somewhere on the side of the road. Thankfully we were heading east away from the strong west wind – the road was one of the best gravel roads we have traveled here in South America. No corrugation, loose sand or rocks. We soon found the ocean inlet which we would parallel all day – Grassy slopes piled away from the water. No trees, just bushes, occasional sheep and a few guanacos to entertain us. The tailwind helped move us along. One could see the more mountainous land south across this inlet where on the southside lay our eventual destination, Ushuaia. But we need to follow the land here around to the east then south and back west to this final landing place for us bikers. The road wound around, up and down, over hills and down drops all the while keeping the water next to us. The terrain reminded me of some of the large fishing bays in northern Alaska – occasional temporary shacks with rugged fishing boats slid up on skids helped bring this thought to the front of my brain. We also passed remote Estancias (ranches) with corrals and sheep. It was a wonderful day of cycling. This place seems so unreal. Romantic in the imagination. The sea, the rolling terrain, the old weathered detritus of fishermen along with their rough heavy boats on deserted beaches. The K’s rolled by, I stopped for photos and conversations with fellow cyclists. We only have three more rides left in this long journey and the end doesn’t seem real either. Such a simple rhythm of life we have all fallen into for these last four plus months will come to an end – and replaced by what? None of really know what we each will retain of this lifestyle. I came around a corner in the road and there it was – the Bike Dreams flag signifying our camping area. Slid down a small finger of a trail toward the sea and the few tents already up ruffled in the wind. This is where I am for now. Today we followed the sea inlet east until we arrived at the Argentinian border. We passed several large estancias and a few flocks of sheep but basically the terrain was flat and uneventful. So was the border crossing with the exception of the music playing in the Argentinian side where we listened to the likes of U2 while they looked at our passports – they didn’t even look at Roberts truck probably because it was so windy they didn’t want to be outside. Off we all headed into Argentina again. As the inlet narrowed and ended we paralleled a large hill until it too ended and we headed south with Atlantic waters now on our left. It was very windy and the tailwind we had traveling east now became a strong side wind on our southern route. The total distance today was pretty big (158K) since we were combining two days into one. The camping place in San Sebastien is no longer available so we have a long day to reach a hotel in Rio Grande. Tired bikers today but a rest day tomorrow and hopes of lighter winds when we continue our journey on Saturday. Today was also the last of our gravel road travel for the trip – paved road for the last two cycling days into Ushuaia. The last day we have to travel west and it could be a tough day if these winds don’t subside. Terry left us in Punta Arenas. He took a bus to Ushuaia because he is flying home a couple of days early in order to attend his son’t graduation from medical school in Australia. I wish he could be riding into Ushuaia with the rest of us on his bike but priorities prevailed. He has been a great guy to have on this trip and has become a very good friend of mine. I hope we will get together again sometime in the not too distant future. He’ll have two days in Ushuaia to enjoy the attractions there. It is a beautiful small city surrounded by high snowy mountains and the ocean in front. Also an outdoor adventure headquarters as well as a departure point for those traveling to Antarctica. I look forward to seeing it myself. I will update again after we arrive in Ushuaia.

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