Wednesday, March 19

Fin del Mundo and of our voyage as well

Since our last post we've made it back home. Nothing went quite as
we'd planned in doing so but thats perfect. Par for the course that is
this trip I suppose. The plan after reaching the end of the world was
to ride as fast as we could the 3000+ miles from Ushuaia to Buenos
Aires so that Luke and Mike could ship their bikes back home and I
could ride into Uruguay, sell my bike (illegally) then ferry back from
Montevideo to Buenos Aires and meet up with the boys before flying
This was less than ideal for several reasons. We would be rushed in
Ushuaia, little time in Buenos Aires, and have to endure a very long
very windy and reportedly much less scenic route north over the course
of a week.
What did happen? We took somewhat of a gamble with a guy we met via
ADVrider and left all 3 of the bikes in Ushuaia with him. He's working
on filling a sea container with bikes to ship to Los Angeles once
full, something like 2 months from now he suspects. We bought airfare
from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires and thus were able to spend the last 8
days leisurely exploring Buenos Aires and the Tigre river delta to the
north. An awesome opportunity to do the city 'proper' as Mike would
say. By foot, bicycle, subway, train, boat and plane, we left no stone
unturned. Really a fantastic place and I cannot wait to return.
Being home for approx a week has been surreal. Hearing English
everyday has been fantastic, even startling at first when hearing the
announcement in English that we would be landing in PHX on my flight
from Miami. Its alarmingly easy to fall back into routine here in the
US. I immediately began doing yardwork and seeing friends and today is
my first day at 'work' all year. Sounds weird to say, not that bike
travel isnt work, but starting to actually make some money isnt a bad
idea either.
The challenge will be to not allow the routine to blind me. To not let
the lessons learned and the experiences had to fade. Keep them fresh,
aware that the world is actually not that big of a place, and that
these adventures and more are only a motorcycle ride away; hell, even
a plane ride away if one was in a time crunch. We are all still
collecting our thoughts on what has happened, glad we journaled as
much as we did, but still wish we did more as almost everything is
worth reliving already.
As Mike said, the magnitude of this trip is just starting to sink in.
I am back in Phoenix, Luke in Portland, and Mike to the UK after
spending an additional week in Brazil after Luke and I left. Our
bikes? Well they are still soaking up glory at the bottom of the
world, hopefully we see them by June.

Sunday, March 2

Penguins and the End of the World

Tierra del Fuego is a fascinating place, it really has an end of the world feel. Pretty barren for the most part, finding camping in a remote are was not difficult at all.
We were fortunate enough to get a hot tip on a colony of rare King Penguins whose numbers are rebounding. The colony had 45 a couple years ago and is up to 65 now. Amazing creatures, and really quite large too. We watched them for some time as they communicated by a fascinating song that requires them to take in an massive gulp of air and violently force it out with their necks stretched and heads pointing straight up. Amazing.
The next morning we rode into Argentina via a river crossing border, into Rio Grande on the Atlantic coast. We were soaking wet and got a room to dry our gear by a fire. Took off the following morning and arrived in Ushuaia the afternoon of the 28th. We entertained the idea of a boat to the Falklands (mike claims they drink tea and drive on the left), to Cape Horn and even Antarctica but due to extreme cost/unavailable boats we are content here.
Somewhat sad to have reached the end of the motorcycle portion of this trip, but hey, it's not the end of the world. Oh wait, yes it is.

Friday, February 28


We are off to Ushuaia this morning, but had to stop by the chocolate shop em route and met Corina, who hooked us up with some fresh samples. Absolutely amazing. And it's her birthday today, happy birthday Corina!

Monday, February 24

Glaciers and peaks. Penguins next.

My eyes have never before seen the amazing natural wonders that they have in the past week. After leaving Mt. fitz Roy we went south to Perito Moreno, arguably the most famous glacier there is. I've seen glaciers before. They are nestled up in cold snowy mountain peaks where they make sense. Not this one. It comes down from the southern Patagonian ice field, thru the mountains where I thought glaciers belonged, down thru a lake (which it often dams up) and smashes into a peninsula. 5 kilometers wide at the viewable end and 14 kilometers back up to the ice field where it's born. See the ship in the pic for scale. So blue. So big. The sounds coming from it as it cracked and fell (it moves 2 meters per day forward) are like a rolling thunder. If I sat there for a week my jaw would still be dropped in awe. Makes no sense, but it's real.
From there we went back into Chile to see and hike Torres del Paine NP. Amazing area. You can really see the range that it's connected to as you approach it. Only the desert on the dry side of the Andes, then suddenly a crazed snowy amusement park of mountainy goodness riddled with make believe peaks and valley, epic and wild as a child's drawing of the wildest mountains. We camped on a lake viewing the park the night before we went in. See pic. We spent 2 days hiking the W trail in the park, up a gorgeous valley with peaks and glaciers. Again, as we hiked, we were often interrupted by the sound of rolling thunder that is the mountains and glaciers and rocks singing their song. Although we did get rained on, we kept our spirits high and after arriving back to were we had stashed the bikes, treated ourselves to a fine breakfast this morning as a reward for hiking 26 mountain kilometers yesterday.
Today we are southbound. On a quest for penguins. Puerto Notales is where we are fueling now, and we are being told that Punta Arenas has got spades of them. That will be our destination for tonight.
Enjoy the pics. The roads are so windy that we actually ran into a team riding a sailboat down Ruta 40 the other day. Had to get a pic of that.

Wednesday, February 19

Life goals accomplished

We began to turn west slightly and rolled up on the most spectacular
range we have ever seen. We knew that the legendary Fitz Roy peaks
were here near, and then: BAM! The weather permitted a clear view of
its steep fingers reaching 3400 meters high above the snow. We all
had been dreaming of this place for several years. Josh using this
very image for the background of his phone back in 2010, I read blogs
and saved photos of this place back in 2006. It had been a long time
Hiking these hills was rewarding with massive and thundering glacial
ice fields strewn about its base. It was no doubt we had arrived;
seeing climbers lugging around their gear after having prepped here in
Chalten Argentina for 1, 2, 3 months or more.
Now we head out to visit the next big goal of seeing first hand, the
incomprehensibly large Perito Moreno Glacier. At this point we're just
80km away! We've heard of its size, taller than large buildings, wider
than a city, and snaking its way down the mountains for miles. I can't
wait to hear and see the sights and sounds of massive ice booming with
thunder as the ice breaks and then slams into the water. This should
be good!

Back in Argentina

So much has happened. We crossed back over from Chile into Argentina after learning that there is no way to get from Villa O'Higgins (bottom of Careterra Austral) over to our destination in Argentina of El Chalten and Fitz Roy. One the way we saw probably 300 Llama esque creatures called Guanacos that can leap. Pretty cool. Emus too. Wild. We camped the first night at a dried up lake, well, mostly dried up as we found out after Luke got a little too close to the low spot and got his bike stuck hard. Made for a great photo, but frustrating. The next day in Argentina had frustrations as well as I made a dumb move by riding on a super new patch of paved road. So new in fact it wasn't open yet. The wind and sketchy gravel caused me to take the risk, and I was rewarded by going down after electing to go through some uber goopy tar. Covered everything. Seemingly impossible to clean. I've actually thrown out my pants and gloves this morning after failed attempts to clean.
Some amazing riding and even better views. El Chalten and Fitz Roy have been amazing and a goal of mine for some time. We did a great hike near the base of this epic range yesterday, and today we are off to the world famous glacier Perito Moreno. Enjoy these pics, more to come!

Tuesday, February 18

Naturally Carved Marble Cathedral

Negotiated our way into a sweet deal on a hilariously fun tour of
Chile's outstanding Marble Caves. Teetering above radiant, crystal
clear, turquoise water we piloted the boat through it's columns. Our
tour guide was a rad Chilean jokester who shrewdly ran a hodge podge
campground out of his yard, kitchen, and personal bathroom.
Pictures cannot do justice to the brilliant marble and precarious time
etched dreamscape. Try to note the way the morning light glimmers off
the smooth ceiling of the etched stone.
Having quite successfully charmed Boris, we all got a chance to drive.
Worth every penny, I'll remember this for a long time.