Tierra del Fuego

All I want from life is to be in love, ride my bike and drink good coffee


Five days left: 2 cycling, a rest day, 2 cycling, Ushuaia, and then the rest of my life. Thinking of the end, not so much as I want it to end but to break the routine. To not get up and do the same thing every day maybe. No, that is not it. Maybe the idea of not necessarily “being on” all the time, facing the world. I guess maybe it is the desire for a routine which I understand. Tiring to every day translate multiple languages of which I speak only one, to wonder where and when lunch and dinner are (even though I know), every night in a new location. (Maybe that is why the tent is nice, once you go inside all is the same and in order). The trip is exciting yes, and wonderful to see new, different things and ways of doing things, but sometimes nice to have ones own routine.

Currently on the ferry crossing the Straights of Magellan to Tierra Del Fuego, a two hour trip. As per usual I have trouble sitting and sleeping as most of the 300 passengers are doing. It is the same ferry that took us to the penguins the other day so have seen much of ship, but seems always more to explore. I guess that is a difference between me and some others, I find this fascinating and the views always changing and interesting. Others see it just as a mode of transportation. I think of it as it’s own adventure. I think of how some did not want to go see penguins as they had seen penguins elsewhere or were going to see them later. Once in the arctic someone did not want go see a snowy owl nest as they had seen an owl before. People think differently, it is not right or wrong just not how I think. What is important to one may not be important to others. What I find most important is to respect the difference, and to understand that there are differences. If we were all the same whether in likes, dislikes, beliefs, looks, it would be incredibly boring.

Ok skipping ahead in the chronology I am writing this from the bush camp reached after the ferry ride. Hardy, and Joost were talking about the end and whether excited or not. Yes and no. Basically I believe they summed it up in that these past months are basically easy and a vacation. Sure we ride hard, but every day is eat, sleep, ride. As Joost said, compared to the regular work world or raising a family this is easy. Escapism.

Ok back to today’s ride. Off to the 5 k ride to ferry terminal and boarded the “Crux Australis”. This time loaded not only with 300 people but cars and trucks for the 2 1/2 hour ride to Porvenir. Met some interesting people traveling about. A couple from Poland who had flown to Columbia , bought a BMW motorbike and were now traveling to Ushuaia then on to Buenos Aires where they sell the bike and return home. Another fellow just coming back from climbing Mount Vincent in Antarctica. He is doing two of the seven summits every year. He goes to Mount Everest in March.

On arrival we rode off the ferry and were in Tierra del Fuego. All rushed ahead to lunch but Hardy and I stopped to take pictures in town center of us beneath the Christmas tree. Quick lunch and off we went.


Nice ride along the coast and once stopped to watch the dolphins near shore. Magellans dolphins I believe and I believe they were feeding. Then on east with a tailwind and my cockiness in last blog caught up with me when talking about no bike problems. Air departed my rear tire and I had a flat tire. Rob came by shortly after and asked what my biggest problem was as my bike was upside down and wheel off. I could not think of any problems so had him continue on. Finally found a hole in side wall wearing thin which the latex sealant does not help much. Put a tube in but it would not pump up. Removed the tube to find a centimeter cut in the new tube. Thus repaired that, replaced tube and on my way again.

And an awesome ride with a very gradual descent and headed east so a 50 kph tail wind. Flew along the smooth gravel ride for next 15 kilometer, guanacos and sheep watching me fly by and suddenly the bike dream flag appears. I was not ready to stop as having great fun cruising along at about 40 and it seemed early. Turns out the scheduled bush camp of 14 trees was really blowing hard so they had returned to find the only gully for a long ways. Could not see trucks or tents until nearly on top of them. They had nestled into this little gully and set up a great camp. I began repairs changing to new tire on rear throwing old out as I can see it getting worn when tire is off the bike. Rob tried to go for swim in ocean, but rough seas and rocky beach and cold water. Great dinner of curried rice with chicken and I was on service meaning delivering food and washing dishes after.

Great little orange orchid in amongst the grasses here. Only about 2 centimeters high.


Whatever day it is I do not know or care: it’s the one from bush camp to Rio Grande and a rest day tomorrow. Did 156 kilometer and windy

Awoke to the sound of crashing surf over the gully edge. Pacific Ocean water, although technically Straights of Magellan, but the is water coming in from Pacific. Rained I guess during the night and drizzled during this mornings ride but not bad. Full rain gear removing rain pants within 15 k. Tailwind and cruising along averaging 26 kph until lunch at about 62 kilometer just before Chile immigration. Accused Walter and Annalot of setting up in only windy area around, but riding one does not notice a tailwind.

Did see several heavy loaded bikers heading north to anchorage. And in this section they were going directly into wind. Rob said when checking this route in 2007 he did it going north and on this section he could only do 8kph and 80 for the day. That tells me something, as Rob is incredibly strong.

Immigration was easy, both of them, arriving just before the buses arrived. And Chile immigration near the beach of the Atlantic Ocean. Crossed a continent, maybe not at its widest but still pretty cool. Leaving the last dirt of trip and onto pavement the road turned to the southeast which meant cross and tail winds. One section going east for 5 k was perfectly flat and I coasted between 32 and 37 kph having a snack and water, not peddling a bit, just letting the wind push me. But when turned south the crosswind was again severe. Probably blowing about 50 kph today. Stopped once for photo of Gunter and as usual rushed ahead out of breath, braking hard, a gust hit me and I went down in a tangle of bike, me and the backpack I was trying to remove at same time. All ok and got the photo I hope.

IMG_1567.JPGMade it to town of Rio Grande which is an industrial town of about 50000. Average 27 kph for the day for 155 kilometers, even with crosswind the speed picked up for the 90 kilometer after lunch. We are staying in a hotel near middle of town. Good shower , but wifi cannot connect, but two outlet plugs in room allowing Buck and I to both charge something at same time. It is the little things in life.

And how cool is this; Pacific Ocean water waves last night and tonight on shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

2 thoughts on “Tierra del Fuego

  1. JR- I have followed you since day 1 and what a trip it has been from my arm chair. you be doin’ the dream dude!!!!!! happy holidays Karen and Roberto in AZ


    • Pretty amazing trip Karen. South America is great and as one would expect quite diverse. As noted this trip have been at altitude, sea level, heat, cold, snow, rain, sunshine, and did I mention the wind blows in Patagonia. Amazing scenery, mountains,canyons, deserts, jungles, flat, hilly, everything one could imagine. Two more days of cycling (crosswinds and headwinds) then hopefully we will reach Ushuaia. I am totally honored that these amazing people have let me tag along and taught me a huge amount. Merry Christmas


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