Tierra Del Fuego

Day 70-72 – March 14-16

Ushuaia, Argentina

We spent three days hanging around Ushuaia taking side trips and preparing to ship our bikes back to the US—a lengthy process that involves assembling the customs papers for exportation and getting the packing materials.

We headed out of town to reach the farthest point south possible—the end of the road. On the way out of town, we passed the one golf course in the world that perhaps even Gary Oatey and Greg Foster have not played:

The cook at the golf course knows just what to do with golfers who pad their handicaps:

This would definitely be a challenging course as even in summer the winds never stop howling — if you don’t drive the ball hard enough, it’s likely to come back and hit you in the head.

We finally reached the end of the road, which was marked with a sign declaring that Alaska is 17,000 km away (but we certainly know that by road it seems to be a lot further than that. . .):

On this second stage of the trip we travelled 13,000 miles – the US Continental Divide ride was 3,100 miles and the third and final portion of the Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay trip will also be approximately 3,100 miles for a total of 19,200 miles.

I celebrated the end of the road by putting on my Santiago earthquake chandelier earring and lighting the anticipatory cigar that I have been carrying with me for 2.5months.
(photo by Vince Cummings)

The rest of Argentina appears to be here as well:

It takes Helge, forever filming, two hours to break through the crowd and get the shot he wants:

We drive to the other side of Ushuaia for another photo shoot:

(photo by Vince Cummings)
(photo by Vince Cummings)
The intense prevailing wind affects the growth of the trees by essentially blowing the foliage up the hill:

March 15
We began the day by searching for a place to wash the bikes. Due to hoof and mouth disease, the bikes will need to be spotless in order to pass inspection for re-entry into the US.

We dropped off the bikes looking positively dreadful . . .

. . .and a couple of hours and $17.00 later picked them up looking spotless.

Vince and I took a three-hour boat trip into the Beagle Channel to view coastal Ushuaia, which is nestled at the foot of the mountains.

We saw an island filled with cormorants having the same coloring and formal attire as penguins have: all white chests and black backs:

We also passed a rock covered with sea lions, with a bull lording over them all—it made us homesick, reminding us of Sunday mornings before the kids left for college…

. . . a time when we actually had some authority within the family. Sea Lion Rock had a familiar smell that I couldn’t immediately place, but then it hit me—it was, unmistakably, the odor wafting from the inside of one of the grandchildren’s hockey bags.

Later at dinner, I had a chance to lecture Che Guevara on motorcycles and the merits of capitalism:

During these three days, we had the chance to speak with locals about Argentina. They all mentioned the horrible corruption in the government—no one seems to have any respect for their system of government. It’s been approximately twenty years since the military junta ran the country, and none of the people we spoke with thought it had gone particularly well. The country’s capital is Buenos Aires, where the elected officials live. The prevailing opinion here was that the officials think of themselves as citizens of Buenos Aires rather than of their represented communities. None of the people we met actually knew their elected representative. It appears that there is so much inertia in the government bureaucracy here that it is difficult for a leader to emerge who can make the claim that he will streamline the bloated democracy and stamp out corruption. Let’s hope that a leader emerges who can restore confidence in government here with transparency, honesty, integrity and dynamic leadership. And hopefully that leader will be able to reform the government democratically and not follow the authoritarian path some other South American countries have pursued.

March 16
We spent the day shopping, helping Helge conduct the end-of-trip interviews for his DVD of the trip, and loading our bikes in the shipping container. The container operation is always a “hurry up and wait” situation – we were ready to go at 11:00 a.m., but the container didn’t arrive until after 4:00 p.m.

The inspector at the port checks every bag looking for anything that could endanger the vessel. Helge loaded the bikes with scientific precision—each is held tightly by straps fore and aft so that the suspension is compressed.

We were lucky to have the opportunity to pack our own bikes, which was possible because the container was in a bonded area. Even though all the bikes are insured, it would be a huge hassle if one of them fell over in transit.

Thanks for sharing our journey!
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  • Biker!
    Carlos Herrera - February 9, 2017, 8:47 am
    I just want you to congratulate you all for such an amazing trip you guys took.
    I live in California, and also, I'm a Chilean citizen .
    I would love to get in touch with you to learn from some of your riding experiences. I have a GSA and I'm very interested in make a huge trip like you guys did.
    Would be a placer to have a chance to chat with any of you.
    My email is : dymitri7@hotmail.com
    and my number is: 251-6899019
    I really wish you guys can call me, so I can have a chance to hear your stories and learn something from them..
    Looking forward to have any response from you!!
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