Arriving into Ushuaia was like reaching the end of the Earth. As the plane swept down to land carefully avoiding the mountain peaks around it, it was clear this was a land which was tough, cold and desolate. Ushuaia sits only 4000km away from Antartica, and is called the end of the world due to it being the most southern city on the planet. Ushuaia felt cold, everyone instantly putting on their expensive down jackets the moment they touched down. This is a land of adventure. This is Patagonia.
My first job upon arriving apart from locating my not so expensive down jacket was to assemble the bike, and to my horror my bike box arrived open and upside. My fears began to spread through my body, what has happened, are my pedals still in the box, or my saddle or my down jacket! Who would do this to me….Luckily it seems the box had just been opened by security since everything was there and thankfully all in good order. It took me maybe an hour to put the bike back together then with a massive smile on my face I pedaled into the mountains and into the town of Ushuaia.
In Ushuaia, I took two days to get everything in order and to prepare myself for the upcoming 25000km cycle! It was great to explore the city where I was able to bike & hike up to Glacier Martial which sits above Ushuaia and also cycle to and spend the night in the national park which also acts as the end point of the Pan-American highway, the famous road which connects the tip of Alaska to the tip of Argentina. After two days of exploration it was time to go, and cycle my first kilometer north and my first kilometer towards home. Mama I’m coming home!!
My first night was spent in a free campsite just 50km out of Ushuaia. Here I set my new tent up for the first time and it was just like starting out all over again since I did not know how to put the new fly sheet on. I remember having the same problem when Finola and I first arrived in France! Preparation is obviously over-rated! Here at the camp site I tried in vain to make a camp fire but due to all the wood around me being too wet I had to give up and will therefore have to gain back some macho points down the road somewhere.
The second day saw me climb over my first South America Pass called Paso Garibaldi, which made me laugh as I was on route to stay the night in the famous bakery in Tolhuin, the first town after Ushuaia. Tolhuin is famous in cycling circles due to the town’s bakery, which not only offers delicious cakes and biscuits but also also free accommodation, wifi and showers for passing cyclists of all kinds. There were 8 people staying there from all over the world and it was great to chat and share stories from our trips.
Out of the 8 people there I was the only one going North, meaning I set off alone the following day bound for the town of Rio Grande. The reason everything is heading
south as this area is famously windy with 40-60mph winds common place and they all blow from the north to the south meaning I had at least 1000km of headwinds to come. Time to claw back those macho points!
Unfortunatly after leaving Tolhuin I broke my Iphone once again. After having lunch I left my phone on top of my front pannier and the wind decided to pick it up and throw it screen first against a rock, so that is why there are not too pioctures to accompnaiy this first blog post. I have a new camera now and although not as good quality as the Iphone I will put lots of new photos up on the next blog.
Time for me to tackle the headwinds as I leave Argentina and head into Chile where the paved road ends and turns into 500km of gravel unpaved road (known as ripio). Wish me luck
Buy me a beer!! Thank you
This blog follows my cycle ride from Reading, Berkshire to Reading, Pennsylvania.