Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tierra del Fuego

After assembling the bikes in Ushuaia and having some good chats with other cyclists at the same campsite, it was time to start this crazy bike ride.

Starting at the "End of the World" seems a strange place to begin but we were really excited.
Excitement can soon turn to despair...

Once fixed, we headed into the first challenge of trip, crossing the Fuegian mountains. The scenery was wonderful and the sun was also shining. However, a second punture forced us to camp just below the first major mountain pass.

We slept through heavy rain and woke up to snow - and a dog in the tent. Reality really hit us. After such bad luck on the first day we were picked up by a random guy driving a really old battered car. We managed to get all the gear and bikes into it before driving off into the snow and through to a gas station. On the way certain parts of the car fell off, luckily all were found.

The next day we had more punctures, it seems the tubes we are using are not cut out for heavy loads. We end up on the back of another truck taking us to Rio Grande where we wait 5 hours to have the bikes sorted out.

From Rio Grande the road to the border was fairly flat but cycling was almost impossible due to strong head winds. However we still managed a respectable 35 miles.

There is nothing to see in the picture because everything has blown in to the sea.
The border crossing at San Sebastian was the most bizzare frontier we´ve encountered. Having slept on a waiting room floor with two French cyclists and two German mountaineers we went through the formalities before heading for Chile. It took us nearly 3 hours to cross the 10 miles of No Mans Land, once again due to the wind. Gemma was nearly blown into a river and possibly all the way to Namibia. Once in Chile it was not possible to continue. After camping for the night we managed to arrange a lift on a bus returning to Punta Arenas. This saved us the likelyhood of 5 - 10 days of camping in nothing with nothing amongst nothing. Why did people ever want to come and live here?

The wind promises to stay with us (or against us!) for another few weeks. Maybe we should have bought this bike in Ushuaia!

We plan to spend the next couple of days relaxing in Punta Arenas. We will finally go to meet Edwina our beloved little penguin on Thursday, so tomorrow we are going shopping for fish.

Love Gem and Ian x


David Thornber said...

Wow, what a start to your amazing adventure. I loved the photos and the video. I hope you manage to find some puncture free inner-tubes but if not, please give us a shout. We can always DHL some out to you. Take care of yourselves and have tons of funs along the way.

Love & Best Wishes
David & your Mum

Anonymous said...

Say Hi! to Edwina from all of us, and I hope you get some pictures of her!! Good Luck guys, have fun (your bikes look really heavy). love Allyson Matt Stella and Felix. xx

Kylie & Tim said...

Hi guys
Sounds like you guys have not had the best of luck so far. Love your post and we have also found the wind to be impossable. We made it to Rio Grande (hitched the last 40kms) and bused it to Punta Arena. Now waiting for less wind. Anyway hope your luck improves and we may cross paths at some point.
Tim and Kylie