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Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

Day 126 – GOAL REACHED!!! (Ushuaia, Argentina)

06 Feb

We reached our trip’s destination today! At 18:45 local time, Vadim arrived to Ushuaia in Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire) – the most southern part of Argentina that is considered “The End of the World”. Gintaras came in an hour later due to rain that started during the last hour of our trip.  This is a significant day for both of us. 

 

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We started our adventure on October 4, 2010 and rode our motorcycles from Washington DC for 4 months and 2 days.  We crossed 13 countries on two continents covering 25,328 km (15,830 miles).  Our trip covered United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador (including Galapogos Islands), Peru, Chile (5 times), Argentina (5 times) and Antarctica. 

Many thoughts go through our minds and it is nearly impossible to put it all in one day’s blog.  We are happy and sad at the same time as our adventure ends today (we still have about 4-5 days of riding to Buenos Aires in order to ship our bikes back home).  There is an overwhelming feeling of disbelief of how many places we were able to visit during the 4-month period and all the friendships we acquired.  This was an adventure of a life-time as we were emerged in many different cultures, met many amazing people, and dealt with many life situations while constantly being on the road in foreign environments.  This trip toughened us as we rode in extreme heat and cold conditions, fog, heavy rains, flood zones, on gravel roads, on muddy roads, in sand, high in the mountains, deep in the canyons, in deserts, in large cities, small villages, and unpopulated areas.   

Vadim’s Thoughts About This Trip:

This trip was one of the best things I have done in my life.  I am very happy I did it!  Being on the road, in an open environment via traveling on motorcycle, for 4 months was a true physical and emotional test.  Gintaras and I had to endure many things and rely on each other.  I met many interesting travelers from different parts of the world and have become friends with them.  I learned many things from them and my life have become more interesting and richer as a result of all these experiences.  I advise everyone to try something like this in your life as you will discover new things for yourself that cannot be found via conventional travel to known destinations.  Before I went on this trip, one world traveler told me that this trip will change my life.  It certainly changed my life in a better direction!!!

Routes taken: 9, 255, 257, Y-79, Y-71, RN3

Miles ridden:  393 miles (629 km)

 
 

Day 120 – Continuous Strong Winds (Punta Arenas, Chile)

31 Jan

We left El Calafate at 8am and had to fight strong winds coming from the right side for 8 hours until we reached Punta Arenas.  At border with Chile, Vadim went through Rio Turbio point whereas Gintaras went through a different point a few miles further down the road.  Miraculously, we both reunited at the border point where Gintaras crossed. 

Upon arrival to Punta Arenas, Vadim went to the office of DAP airline to go through orientation for our trip to Antarctica tomorrow whereas Gintaras went to look for a hotel for us.  The Antarctica orientation took about 45 minutes and had some general logistics about the trip.

Routes taken: RN40, RP7, 9

Miles ridden:  365 miles (584 km)

 
 

Day 119 – Another Day in the Gravel (El Calafate, Argentina)

30 Jan

Thanks God nothing happened to us today.  We left our lodging at 8am so we could budget for any unforeseen delays on the road.  There were about 10 cars that passed in the first 3 hours of riding. 

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We saw many hares, guanacos (lama family), and rheas (ostrich looking birds).  

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Gintaras was going very slow after his accident yesterday.  The winds were very strong. Vadim was blown off the road into deep gravel and almost lost control of his bike but he managed to get out without falling.  We fought the wind all day and our necks hurt as a result.  This is not even a joke how strong the winds are and what it can do even to our heavy bikes.

Upon arrival to the hotel, Vadim asked the hotel owner where he could wash his bike.  Vadim’s bike was all covered in soft asphalt after he rode on fresh asphalt for 200 meters.  One of hotel owner’s friends cleaned his bike for 300 pesos (equivalent of $75), which is very expensive according to local standards.  But it was worth the price.  3 hours of washing Vadim’s bike with gasoline removed 3 kg (6 lbs) of asphalt.  Vadim personally washed his boots, lower portion of his pants and top bag with gas to remove the sticky asphalt grease that was getting everywhere.  The whole effort paid off as 90% of the asphalt was removed.  We hope another 10% will come off after a hot wash in Punta Arenas this week.

It is cold in Patagonia now.  We don’t think we quite expected this harsh climate. Vadim had to purchase a new jacket (which could be used under his motorcycle jacket when riding as well), a hat and a scarf from Columbia Sportswear.  These items were not cheap as they are imports but the quality and utility seems to be nice.

Routes taken: RN40, RP11

Miles ridden:  197 miles (315 km)

 
 

Day 118 – Emotionally and Physically Exhausted – Gintaras falling off the bike, Vadim Covered in Hot Asphalt (Estancia La Angostura, Argentina)

29 Jan

We crossed into Argentina around noon today and rode all day down Ruta 40, which is all gravel (in many case the rocks were almost the size of a fist). 

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It was extremely windy.  At times, we felt our helmets would be ripped off our heads by wind.  The gravel road was tough, especially if you ride on it for 3 days in a row. 

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Vadim tried to avoid the gravel on a short segment of Ruta 40 and got onto a new build asphalt road.  He ended up being covered in hot asphalt.  We hope his bike can be washed somehow after this incident.

Gintaras had an accident around 7:30pm after an exhausting day.  When going at approximately 40 kmh his bike lost control in a thick layer of gravel.  He hurt his back.  Vadim raced back to the scene of the accident and assisted Gintaras.  The bike was ok but the side case was damaged at the bottom but should be fixable.  We knew that our stamina for the day disappeared.  We turned off the road and continued for another 5 km off road and stopped at a local farm house for $100/night and $50 / dinner.  They can get away charging this price because there are no other options for 100 km radius. 

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The gas is scarce and one better fill up the gas tank for 300 km to be safe.  By getting some rest today, we hope to be more physically fit and emotionally ready to continue our journey.  We must be in Punta Arenas in two days to catch our plane to Antarctica. 

Routes taken: 265, RP43, RN40

Miles ridden:  310 miles (496 km)

 
 

Day 114 – End of Paved Road (Futaleufu, Chile)

25 Jan

We picked up our laundry at 9am and left the hotel around 10am.  The ride was beautiful – lakes, twisty roads, green trees, and beautiful mountains. 

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About 30 km before the Chilean border, the paved road turned into unpaved road.  This is the beginning of Caretera Austral – the stony road – that we will take all the way to Chile Chico (about 800km off road), border town in Argentina.  This is an interesting road and we look forward to spending 2-3 days riding through the most beautiful places we have ever seen.  We met a group of motorcyclist that were touring the world through a commercial tour company (each paid 100,000 euros).  They flew from Europe to Argentina and started their trip from Ushuaia and were on their way to Alaska.  They confirmed that the road to Ushuaia will be one of the most scenic ones.

 

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Routes taken: RN40, RN258, RN259

Miles ridden: 224 miles (358 km)