10 Days »
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We work one year, travel one year. Motorcycle traveling provides us with the 2 things that are the most important in our lives: freedom and adventure. We live each day like it is our last and make the most of every opportunity.
After one glorious week in BA- Big Apple, we are pushing on!! We really enjoyed staying with Brigette and discovering Buenos Aires. Pat did some maintenance stuff to the bike and Bin watched Evita video 3 times and is now singing `Dont cry for me Argentina` all the time.
BA is the second biggest town in South America with an incredibly good highway system. BA has the widest street in the world which carries 30 lanes of traffic!! The people are really friendly and in reasonably good spirits considering the economic conditions of the country.We will now head south towards Ushuia- the most southern point in South America for Xmas.
We have been overwhelmed by Argentinian generosity and hospitality. What a great country with great people. After leaving Buenos Aires we followed the coast towards Mar del Plata checking out the beaches, of course, the lovely little seaside villages and the houses!
At Mar del Plata we met Monno and family, thanks to Nevione and Don Crawford, and were treated to two magnificent Argentinian Asados- BBQs- Mumma mia, these BBQs put Aussie BBQs to shame!! We also finally got the shock fixed by Andy Garcia PH (156 820 045) in Mar del Plata and he really knew what he was doing!!
We then drove into the welcoming arms of Oscar and his wonderful family in Viedma. Oscar has been following the Horizons Unlimited website and spotted that we were heading in his general direction. He then emailed us and invited us to his home. On our way we stopped at the side of the road to talk to 2 German bicyclists. A fellow (Luis) stopped behind us and asked if we were on our way to the BBQ at Oscars. With shock on our face we said "How did you know?" He then said that Oscar had invited him as well to meet us- what a small, crazy world!
I now have many photos of Pat kissing other men as is the usual greeting in Argentina- thanks for the idea Bernie (Pats brother)!! Oscar and family and friends treated us to two magnificent BBQs and many "magic moments" and kept us up til 3am for 2 nights in a row!! Pat and Luis got talking and Pat talked Luis into joining us on the trip down to Ushuaia. Luis is a 26 year old Argentinian and is great fun to travel with, plus he speaks fluent Spanish of course!!
We then continued south along the coast to Puerto Madryn area and saw many whales, seals, penguins, lamas, foxes, rabbits- animals everywhere!! We caught up with John and Annette again and celebrated in the usual style!!
We are now in Comodoro Rivadavia with long 450km/day days ahead of us. Patagonia area is very dry and desert like and really flat and boring to drive through. We are beginning to experience the famous Patagonia strong winds up to 150km/hr!!
We are on target for Ushuaia for Xmas Day and have met many other bikers who are heading that way as well, should be a great party!! Merry Xmas to you all and hopefully all your dreams come true!
On our way to Ushuaia we diverted off highway 3 for a bit of a gravel run to El Calefate to see the famous Perito Moreno Glacier (well, famous in these parts anyway!!). It was amazing, one of the most spectacular sites we have seen, rivaling Iguassu Falls!! The Glacier moves 2 metres per day and calves off every 10 minutes into a large glacial lake. It sounds like a huge roaring animal and is mesmerising- Pat watched it for 4 whole hours and saw some amazingly large slabs fall off into the lake creating enormous waves!! We were lucky that day in that it was warm and sunny, with very little wind.
We then continued on good roads to Ushuaia- the most southern town in the world- or end of the World as they call it here!! It is in a spectacular setting with snow capped peaks behind, a sheltered strait in front and more snow capped peaks across the strait. We stayed in a great place on top of the hill called Apart Alem overlooking the city and the water and we watched the cruise ships arriving daily from Antarctica and the sun setting at 11pm and rising at 3am (we didnt see to many sunrises!!) There was no TOTAL darkness in between- amazing.
Xmas Eve we had a party in our apartment and invited everyone from the top floor to attend, it was an international party with guests from around the world. Xmas Day turned out to be sunny and beautiful. We met a group of 12 motorcyclists at the end of the world sign at the end of the route 3 in the National Park. We saw 12 other motorcyclists in Ushuaia that had no meeting place or time for the annual traditional motorcycle rondevou in Ushuaia.
We stayed in Ushuaia for 6 wonderful days partying with motorcyclists from around the world. We met lots more in the next few days on the road north to Puerto Natales.
In this portion of the trip we were rather lucky not to experience the hazardous 150 Km winds known to frequent the Patagonian region in summer.
We arrived in a lovely little village called Puerto Natales, got a group of 11 together and had a fantastic New Years Eve dinner and party. We all said our New Years Resolutions. Ours was that year 2002 has been the best year in our lives and we want them to keep getting better every year!!
Tonight, we are getting on the ferry for 4 days heading north towards Puerto Montte through the fiords and beneath the glaciers, heading towards some warmth!!
When we wrote last we were just about to board the Ferry in Puerto Natales, Chile. Wow, what a trip, it was definitely the way to go as there are no roads in Southern Chile and the only other option was the notorious Route 40- a rough gravel road in Argentina running along the top of the Andes.
Pat and Luis enjoyed the break from driving and Belinda enjoyed the break on her bum! We sat back like a couple of oldies on a cruise ship and read, ate, slept, OK- we did party a bit too and Belinda even excelled at Bingo, though always yelling "Bingo" too late!!! The cruise was expensive at $250 each, but we probably saved that much on maintenance on the bike, tires etc!!
We arrived 3 days later at Puerto Montte, Chile and went straight to the seafood market and had the best feed of mixed seafood soup and Chillean Salmon- Yummo!! The scenery around the Chillean Lake District was awesome with gorgeous, quaint, German-style lakeside villages everywhere. Currently Chile is way more expensive than Argentina, so we splurged for our last night in Chile and had a lovely lakeside cabin with cable TV!!
Next morning we drove through wonderful scenery, crossed the Andes and back into wonderful Argentina. January is a terrible time to travel in Argentina as everyone else is travelling and the Cheilleans are over here too, cause its so cheap! We had a lot of trouble finding accommodation and ended up in a backpackers on the top of a hill in Bariloche. It was 11pm when we finally arrived there after checking heaps of places to stay- all completo- (full). We were following a guy on a motorcycle up a dark, sandy road climbing the hill to the backpackers, when the inevitable happened- we fell- first fall in the trip! Luis came around the corner behind us and thought we were getting robbed! He jumped off his bike in pursuit of the robbers, only to find that there weren't any!! Pat, with a little help from Belinda, picked the fully loaded bike up, swore a bit and we continued unhurt to the "bloody backpackers" as Pat called it. cont...
Story by Belinda and Patrick Peck