From Rio Gallegos I kept heading south. First I had to cross the border from Argentina into Chile. The crossing to Tierra del Fuego, as well as the northern part of Tierra del Fuego, is Chile. Then it switches back to Argentina.
The border crossing itself was the worst I have encountered on the trip. Everybody going to Tierra del Fuego OR to southern Chile (Puerto Natales, etc.) filters through here. The lines were almost two hours long, and they have about 3 immigration agents to handle everybody. Two of them are usually at lunch. The other is retarded.
After this I arrived at the ferry that would carry me to Tierra del Fuego. This was the famous Straights of Magellen. It’s only about a half hour ride, but given the winds was a bit bouncy.
After crossing, the first 30 km of road is pavement, then it turns to dirt. However, it is a good dirt road and I was enjoying it. Also, the excitement was building. Here I was – actually in Tierra del Fuego – after all this time. I finally came to a sign that really started the emotions going into full gear, telling me that I had arrived in the Argentinian province of Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.
My emotions at this point were really running high. I had been planning this trip for three years, had been riding for four and a half months through six countries, had ridden almost every kind of road imaginable (paved, dirt, sand, gravel, mud, rivers… you name it), had covered more than 18,000 km, had been through nice weather, rain, sandstorms, and thousands of kilometres of wind, and now I was almost there.
Parts of the road are very pretty, with pampas leading right down to the ocean, but the winds continued to be high.
After 125 km of dirt I reached San Sebastian, and the border crossing back into Argentina. This one was much easier, with little traffic. The road here also turns back to pavement… a real pleasure. The problem I was now facing was the light. The border delays had set me back a bit and I didn’t want to ride in the dark. But I kept going on.
I could see huge rain clouds in the distance, and it was beginning to get cold. I mean REALLY cold. I was, after all, getting near the bottom of the world. I stopped to put on rain gear and my electric jacket and gloves. I managed to avoid the rain, but it had left the roads wet and I was now riding directly into the sun, which was also reflecting off the road leaving me almost blind. I also hadn’t known that someone had thrown in a small mountain range before Ushuaia. I had been riding through thousands of miles of flat pampas, so I thought that sticking in a mountain range at the end was just downright inconsiderate.
The race at this point got to be with the light… I was losing it fast and there was nowhere to stop. Finally, around 10 oclock, just as it was getting dark, I reached Ushuaia.
Emotions peaked as I realized that I had reached my dream and my goal. I now have many biker friends who have also done this, and many who tried but didn’t make it all the way. But I had, and it felt awfully damn good.