Monday, 2 January 2012

The trip in numbers

22 856: total kms (Sam)

408: average kms per riding day (Sam)

38.7: avg km/h overall speed (during the "riding day")

62.4: avg km/h moving speed

2430: kms of dirt road (est)

1347: number of speed bumps (est)

15: countries visited

62: days on the road (to Punta Arenas)

56: riding days

6: days of riding in the rain (only)

154: points scored by Sam's feet to win the belt

7: number of collective flat tires

2: future trips discussed, with intent

5: number of minutes it took Peter to pop the cork from the champagne at New Year's

3: number of bikes sold in Punta Arenas

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Day 62: Final destination (421 kms)

The final border crossing of the trip was ludicrous. We waited in a line of hundreds while a single Chilean immigration official stamped passports. Three and a half hours later we entered Chile, re-crossed the Magellan Straight and headed for Punta Arenas. We ate supper and watched the U de Chile soccer team play and win a big match. People poured out into the streets to celebrate.

As of this evening the riding is finished, and the trip feels complete. There is a feeling of satisfaction, and anticipation to return home. We'll have New Year's here and maybe poke around town a little, but the main focus will be ensuring the bikes are properly taken care of before we leave the continent.

What a trip!

Day 61: North, for once (278 kms)

I did a nice hike in the morning up to the top of one of the peaks in the Tierra del Fuego national park. It took much longer than I was expecting, about five hours. Having not eaten prior, I was famished after climbing down.

And then it was time to head north. This was the first backtracking in two months of riding. After passing through the Garibaldi pass for a second time we ran into a huge wind. Slowing to 75 kph it felt like standing still, at a 45 degree angle.

I was relieved to reach the town of Rio Grande until the traffic nearly swallowed us. A motorist deliberately backed up into Nathan and his bike. The police were involved but all turned out fine.

That evening we returned to the same campsite as two nights previous, on the beach just north of Rio Grande.

Day 60: Ushuaia (263 kms)

It's not a race but 60 days to Ushuaia seems pretty fast. Peter did it in a little more than 40, with four months off in the middle! Maybe we'll do a really fast and long ride sometime. For this trip,
I was pleased with the balance of hard riding, siteseeing and down time on this trip.

The town of Ushuaia is undeniably scenic and packed with tourists enjoying the end of the world or preparing to head to Antarctica.

I was able to walk around town and get some of the postcard shots and do the last of my Xmas shopping.

Our campsite was out in the busy national park just outside town. There was a mix of locals and travellers enjoying the beauty of the place: fishing, hiking, swimming, playing and eating. It also contains the symbolic end of the road, although there are certainly roads further south in Chile, just not easily reached.

Day 59: Boxing day, boxes and borders (373 kms)

This was the day we made it to Tierra del Fuego! Chile and Argentina share the island so we entered and then left Chile over the course of the afternoon. Leaving the town of Rio Gallegos the wind was picking up, after a day or so of relative calm. The windiest city in the world keeps the flag makers in the money.

Despite being in Chile for less than three hours, there were no shortcuts at the border. There is some integration between Chilean and Argentine borders, but it seems only to extend to shared accommodations for the officials.

After a brief ferry across the Straight of Magellan we arrived on TdF. The road turned to dirt and ran for the 110kms to the border. This would be, counting the return trip, the last dirt of the trip. It was a costly stretch for me; my newly purchased luggage box broke loose and disintegrated in impact
With the road. Some Germans in overland campers were close by and saw the incident. One kindly offered me rachet straps, but I had my own. The other muttered loudly enough for Peter to hear that I should learn a lesson for not buying German-made equipment; sadly Hepco-Becker is a German outfit, and one that will never see another penny of my cash.

Day 58: Navidad (0 kms)

Christmas day was a low key affair, but we had a tree. After a morning gift exchange in which Nathan received what I think of as the man's trifecta (pocket knife, pen, wallet) we spent the day hanging out, eating, sleeping, calling home and watching movies. It was Peter's first Christmas away from his childhood home, a place I know from experience is filled with warmth, love and good food. The thing is it is never gets easy being away from family and loved ones at this time of year.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Days 56 & 57: Perito Moreno Glacier (213 & 287 kms)

Visiting the Perito Moreno glacier was a highlight of the trip for me. It's the kind of tourist site that is heavily visited for completely understandable reasons. We spent a couple hours in the park following the pathways and then jumped the fence to bat a few rocks into the lake.

The town of Calafate was loaded with tourists, high season had begun. The place where we were staying even had a sign boldly explaining that its prices had risen for this reason. We still had a great dinner of asado, roasted lamb.

That night we camped near the outflow from Lake Argentina, Rio Santa Cruz. The drive into the town of Rio Gallegos, the self-proclaimed windiest town in the world was uneventful.