When I woke up on the morning of February 27th in Rio Gallegos, Argentina I had the original plan of taking 2 days to do the 600 kilometers to Ushuaia. For me, 600 kilometers is not far, but I also had to exit Argentina, enter Chile, take a ferry across the Straights of Magallanes, ride approximately 150 kilometer of gravel roads in questionable condition, exit Chile, reenter Argentina cross the Garibaldi Mountain Pass until I would finally be in Ushuaia. So why rush, the goal was to arrive and not die doing it.
The border crossing into Chile was busy but uneventful and before I knew it I was on the ferry crossing the Straights of Magallanes. The boat was right there when I arrived as if it was wait just for me. Next came the gravel road ad it looked like it had been graded within the last few days, how perfect. Several Lamas, fox and the occasional Rhea kept crossing in front of me but luckily far enough off that I did not have to slow down and was actually able to get a couple of photos. Exit Chile, enter Argentina and I was back on the pavement and getting fuel. With a full tank of gas I knew I could make it to Ushuaia without stopping, it was still early so daylight was not an issue either. The closer I got the more excited I became, the end of the road, Ushuaia, months of riding and the final goal was only a few hundred kilometers away.
I stopped at the sign pointing to Rio Grande, the city I planned on stopping at for the night , it was still early only 3pm, I could make it to Ushuaia before nightfall. It was also my daughter’s birthday and I could send her a birthday greeting from the most southern city in the world if I just pushed on. So I rode on. It was cold and I was riding fast, getting colder with every kilometer. As I rounded a corner in the road there was an obligatory police check point and I was motioned to stop. Officer in Spanish “you are riding too fast”, Me in English – I don’t speak Spanish, Officer in Spanish “where are you going”, me in Spanish “Ushuaia! I have been riding for over 7 months from Canada”, Officer in Spanish “you do speak Spanish!!! go on but slow down”. I guess 180 km/hr was a bit fast, and I slowed down to something more reasonable for the mountain pass.
And then it appeared, the city of Ushuaia! Photos were taken, a birthday wish was sent and much beer was consumed. I spent the following day (Feb 28th) taking it all in, I rode a total of 59,218 kilometers across the Americas and it was a bit overwhelming. The 29th was spent exploring Ushuaia and answering the question “what’s next”. Answer – ride North, it’s not like it is possible to go any further south.