Thursday, June 28, 2012

On the Go: El Calafate - Rio Gallegos - Ushuaia

Final stop - Ushuaia, Fin del Mundo - the end of the world. 2 days, 17 hrs, 880 km (541 mi). On the way, 2.5hr wait for gas, ferry crossing over the Magellan Strait, gravel roads, sunset in Tierra del Fuego, total of 4 border crossings Argentina - Chile - Argentina, fat snow flakes, icy bridge @ Punta Justicia, mind blowing, ultra violet rays over Tolhuin, the Garibaldi pass...finally, the sweetest reward as our eyes gazed on the christmas lights over Ushuaia @ midnight.

Still doing back flips folks! So, so amazed, humbled, grateful. We had no idea we could go so far.

Enjoy the photos.


ITN: Day 1 El Calafate - Rio Gallegos (RN 40 / RN 3). Day 2 Rio Gallegos - Ushuaia. RN 3 (Argentina) RN 257 and Y9 (Chile). Ferry @ Punta Delgada, 110 km gravel road to Rio Grande. Snow in mountain pass before Ushuaia. (phew!)

A sign leaving El Calafate on Ruta 40...

v for veni or vidi or...?!

Next day AM, leaving Rio Gallegos...the madness begins. Welcome to gas shortage! At the only Police controlled gas station (the first time I am happy to see an Exxon), we wait 2.5hrs to fill up. We also beg the pump man to fill a 20 L jerrycan as backup, plus our spare gas tank. Not wanting our missing bodies found like popsicles somewhere in Tierra del Fuego, we come prepared.

On the road, 1 hr later, first border crossing - bye bye Argentina (at least for a several hours)...

Hellooo Chile, we meet again!

nice to be back in Chile :)
if there was a beauty contest for guanacos - she'd win!

Ferry crossing @ Punta Delgada...

just beyond is tierra del fuego...the "land of fire"

Crossing the Strait of Magellan

20 mins later...

Gravel roads for another 110km

did i mention it was a little bumpy?

Freezing fingers off figuring how this jerrycan contraption works. We rig a plastic bottle as a funnel to pour the nuclear "green" gasoline into the tank. (C-man is sorta shouting right now that I'm pulling a paparazzi move - my bad).

after the last of the honey, temperatures begin to drop drastically 
even wombers is feelin a little chilly
wintry tierra del fuego magic

Final border crossing, out of Chile (bye bye), back into Argentina @ San Sebastian (howdy do), we see the first fat droplets of snow pouring down like rice on a wedding day.

Approaching Tolhuin, the night sky turns into deep shades of violet crimson. The name Tierra del Fuego refers to the ubiquitous beach fires Magellan saw the natives build as means of cooking and keeping warm, yet I wonder if this night phenomenan is truly the reason for its name...

under cloak of night, the violets burn red hot
finally ushuaia @ midnight - body is drained, but the soul's doin back flips

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