Saturday, October 9, 2010

51. Yes Ushuaia at last!(03/23-27/08)

A quick 3 days of riding only paved roads got me to Ushuaia. I wanted to get there fast because the weather was getting very cold and riding in the snow was my greatest fear. The 3 days of riding were very painful because it rained the whole time and to my disappointment the majority of Patagonia looks like Nebraska.
Once you get to Tierra del Fuego you have to make 2 mandatory crossings into Chile in order to get to Ushuaia. If I had known this ahead of time I might have just skipped Chile! (Just joking) Chile was beautiful but everything was so damn expensive there. ($6 U.S. for gas, $1 for 12 ounce pop, $15-20 hostels).
(Tip: Make sure and stock up on groceries at the Carrefour in Rio Grande because the prices are much better there than the grocery stores in Ushuaia).

 It was not until Rio Grande that I got to the beautiful part of Patagonia which is full of forests and wildlife. This 100 mile stretch of road to get to Ushuaia is probably one of the most beautiful that I have seen. The land is truly unmolested besides the trails from ATV´s and dirtbikes every few miles. Until now I have not had any negative experiences with ATV riders.
The ATV riders I experienced in Patagonia were truly stupid. I think that maybe they were having some kind of event that day because they were everywhere a long the road. Instead of parking their trucks and cars away from the road they park them right next to the highway in long lines and than expected every passing vehicle to slow down to 20 kph.

I was surprised to see an oncoming ambulance with its lights on and a convoy of 10 trucks following it (driving on both sides of the road). I understand comraderie but this was just plain dumb. They were making the highway dangerous.

Ushuaia was a very beautiful city but unfortunately I did not get to see the city in all of its beauty for 2 days because it rained so much. My tent, sleeping bag, and boots all got soaked in the rain. The drive down to Ushuaia was a true test on my imune system but fortunately I never got sick.
                              (About 8 layers of clothing and you really look like you gained 50lbs)
 While in Ushuaia I visited a nice glacier with friends from Buenos Aires that I met the day before. We took a taxi to get to glacier that was on a mountain right next to the city. I was surprised to see another ¨Salcar¨ sticker on the window of the chairlift building. These stickers were from Salvador, the nice guy I stayed with in Nicaragua who made the same trip 2 years earlier. At first the weather was poor at the glacier and we thought about turning back but it is a good thing we did not because on the way down the snow stopped and the clouds went away leaving an amazing view of the city below.

 The day after my arrival to Ushuaia I made sure to try and call/email everyone who helped me out on my trip. It was really great to talk to the mechanic in Honduras who helped me fix my air filter. It was also nice to thank all the great couchsurfers I have stayed with. Unfortunately, I lost many phone numbers and emails and I just wanted to say thank you on here to anyone I did not personally thank. 

 I met a nice guy from Buenos Aires named Jota at the internet cafe and we hung out at his hostel for a couple of days. At the hostel I met a lot of people that Jota had made friends with and they were all really nice too. This hostel was amazing. It overlooks the water with a nice view of the mountains, has a great log cabin type construction on the inside, and his located right in the heart of downtown Ushuaia. The cost was $15 U.S. a night and it comes with a free breakfast. The staff was friendly and helpful even despite me not being a customer. The name of the hostel is Free Style Backpacker´s Hostel and here is a link to reviews of it.

 It was pretty hard to leave Ushuaia because I had made good friends and there was so much to do. Not wanting to be driving on ice and snow was what made me leave. To do the trip over again I would try to arrive in January or Febuary and spend a couple of weeks hiking there.

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