Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chile Chico to Ushuaia

Ruta 40 Sur, see that smile, didn’t last long. I like dirt roads, Ill take one any day over asphalt, give me 619 kms of it, even better, like the Uyuni to San Pedro ride, I was the happiest guy around, however my opinion will do a complete U-turn if you throw 100kph cross winds into the mix. You see when enough trucks travel a gravel road then burms build up and leave you a safe path that is about 2 feet wide flanked either side by a 10 inch burm, on a light bike you cross that easy, on a heavy bike the front wheel tends to do its own thing. I did ok, Graham and Sue did fine, but Dave on the back heavy XT 660, 6 kms from the end he went down and did his knee in. We got to the nearest town by midday but only got the bike in at around 11 pm, together with the fact that I was feeling like S@#T so we spent an extra day in Gregoris then headed down on the next leg to El Calafate. Now for those monkeys out there that do Ruta 40 twice or on bicycles, seek help!!!

In El Calafate we went on a day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier, WOW, that really is something to see, every couple of seconds you hear the ice cracking and every 10 to 20 minutes you see ice breaking and falling into the lake.

After a couple of recovery days we then started the final leg to Ushuaia. Crossed the border twice, met up with Philippe and Obi on one of them. So good to see them again, last saw them in Banos, Ecuador, months ago.

Also bumped into Ingo and Cecelia at a gas station, they were on there way back up.

I didn’t expect Ushuaia to be much, but I was pleasantly surprised, quaint little town, damn expensive, but I made it all the way to the bottom and then in true Cockerell fashion, after taking the famous photos I was in a rush to get my bike out the way and tried to get my big bike though a small space and demolished my Port side pannier, what a bummer. 37,000 kms and no damage, nice one.

Trevelin to Chile Chico

After my day of dirtbiking with Jerry, he then invited all of us to his parents farm to cook a lamb that I asked him to buy, cooked traditionally as you can see, need I say more and the setting was fantastic. Well at around Midnight after a whole lot of alcohol, I remembered that I still had a stick of Dynamite in my tool bag that I bought in Potosi, Bolivia. Yea, 5 border crossings later and a bunch of booze we all hop in the back of 2 pickups and head of to a “safe” area. We find a mound of freshly sifted sand, some guys real hard days work, and proceed to blow it up. Fun was had by all!!

Now look at the pictute of the mountain range, see why its on its side.

From Trevelin we went back into Chile onto another dirt road, the Carratera Astral, we rode south all the way to Cohaique and then a ferry across to Chile Chico. Gravel is always difficult to ride on with these bikes, they go all over the place. We really rode through some spectacular scenery. After waking up in Cohaique, we were no more than 20 Kms out of town and I got a flat, I stuck a big slit in my sidewall on the gravel. So 3 plugs later I finally get the leak to stop and head off for the Ferry. The next morning a local guy in Chile Chico patched the tire and now it is as good as new.

Now we are back into Argentina again, these bloody border crossings, I cant keep track anymore. We have big smiles because we are about to start the famous Ruta 40. What the heck we were smiling about, I will never know!!!