Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 11: Puerto Natales – Cerro Sombrero

We left early as usual... Well 10:00 was quite early for us. Our target today was to finally put feet on Tierra del Fuego and sleep on the first village there: Cerro Sombrero.

As soon as we started, we realized that it wasn't going to be just a normal 400km ride. Aeolus was with us, and decided to throw a bit of spice and new challenge to our driving skills with a strong lateral wind. Okay, we know we have been saying that for a few days now, but this time was really, really strong. Several times we thought that the bike would simply swift away.

150km later we deviated from the main paved road and took a gravel road. It was a very good idea since it gave us a good respite from the strong wind and also more time to enjoy the landscape.

We zipped through Rio Verde where the Pacific divides into several bays.

The wind was still strong and the temperature had dropped considerably. During our pauses, nobody wanted to remove anything: we walked with our helmets on, feeling like astronauts floating in the air!

Nature was with us, as it has always been the case when riding gravel roads. Check this family of black-headed swans (brought to you thanks to Co-Pilot, who spotted them, and Junior Pilot, who took the pic).

Going back to the asphalt, we did a "quick" detour of 100km to Punta Arenas where we had to pick up a new tire kit.

At the gas station, after filling the tank, Miji was pushing the bike but tired like he was, he forgot to put back the side-stand. When the bike started to lean more than usual, he had no force to fight and the bike landed softly on the ground. Yes my dears, even Senior Pilots get tired in this adventure.

We took advantage to also have lunch there; we would need all our forces to fight the wind on the remaining 150kms.

We arrived just in time at Punta Delgada to take the ferry. It was the first time we put our bikes on a boat. The boat trip was short but there were big waves and we were worried that our bikes would fall, luckily nothing happened... just our heart-rates went up with every wave.

The boat arrived 20 minutes later to Tierra del Fuego, and there we were, ready to put our bikes' tires into the mythic island... there was like a strange, magical feeling... we were just happy to have made it so far! Youhuuuuuu!

Arrived to our destination, at the gas station in Cerro Sombrero, we asked some local workers where would be the best place to eat. They started explaining how to reach a restaurant close by. When Mijail asked how good the restaurant was, they answered: "Tampoco pida tanto! Esto es Cerro Sombrero!" (Stop asking that much! this is Cerro Sombrero!) We all laughed but he was right, Cerro Sombrero is just a few houses in the middle of nowhere.

We unpacked our bags in a barraca, and had the pleasure to share it with 60 local construction workers (probably road-construction). The ambiance was so special, that the hotel owner gave Isabel a separate bathroom key to have a bathroom to her own... unfortunately the key wouldn't lock the door, but the workers were nice guys who just liked to watch loud TV and smoke in the hallway.
On the way to dinner, Miji set eyes on two bikes fully equipped with the newest technology: GoPro Hero3, Spot, Zumos, Touratec everywhere. We met the owners: Julian and Daniel, two very sympathetic brothers coming all the way from Bogota, Colombia. It was a pleasure to discuss with them. They had a lot of experience and quite some crazy stories.They were already on their way back, coming from the south and had been fighting the strong wind just like us. They stopped earlier than planed to get a rest from the wind.
We also met Doris, a brave lady traveling by motorcycle alone!!! Like us, she was heading towards Ushuaia but had planned to drive up to Alaska after it! She will be on the road for at least one year.

Wind is supposed to be gentler tomorrow, let's see!

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