Monday, December 20, 2010

First week on the road

Right on the entrance to Ushuaia we met an Amaya and Eric (, who were finishing their 87,000th kilometer of riding through some 80 countries. They came from the opposite direction and gave us some useful tips.
After a sunny start, we had a lot of rain, and the first wild camping was very wet and muddy (and even a bit snowy) outside, but dry and happy inside the tent.
The second day started with a long climb to Garibaldi Passo, after which the scenery changed abruptly, and the snow disappeared. Taking photos there is a must and there are two road signs ordering you to do so.

We followed the advice of the couple we met on the way, and went to Panaderia La Union (the bakery) in Tolhuin, where we slept for free in a special room for cyclists (thanks Omar). We stayed there for a whole day in which we tasted the bakery´s wonderful variety. On our second night there it became quite crowded in the room when two other couples came to sleep there, French cyclists who came from Peru, and gave us professional mechanical advise and Brasilian motorcyclists. In general Tolhuin is a pleasant village, but two days there is more than enough.

Windy days

From the moment we left R3 road (the highway, and only way from Ushuaia), to make a small detour, we experienced extremely strong winds of about 50 km/h at max.. When our water ran off, we filled it straight from the lake (Lago Yehuin), which, according to the Croatian farmer from Ea. Rivadavia, has been healthy for him for the past 40 years he lived there. He also explained why there is a deserted hotel on the shore (the owner didn´t pay the local tax).

Later we encountered an Italian farmer who had some confusing recommendations of things we must see in Chile. We ate some gourmet dishes cooked on our new Israeli stove (multi-fuel), including a delicious snow peas paste.

After 3 exhausting days fighting against the wind, we had 5 kilometers of back wind (20 km/h without pedalling), while entering Rio Grande.

Rio Grande
Following the advice of a local woman, we went to Hostel Argentino, where they us to camp in their garden for 30 AR$ per person per night. We took advantage of their fully equipped kitchen, and cooked some good meals and ready meals for the way. After checking a few stores we came to the conclusion that this might be a good starting point for such a trip as you can find here good bicycles (Everest Outdoors) and a lot of professional camping gear, for reasonable prices. Until this point, all the internet places we tried were terribly old and slow, so you might consider bringing your own laptop here. According to other travelers we met, Rio Grande is the last chance to change money before Chile. Next, we plan to go to San Sebastian and there cross the border to Chile, and continue with a ferry to Punta Arenas.

For more photos of this post click here


                       Shoham & Amit
                     South America by Bicycle

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