Latin America - many decisions to make

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by crashmaster, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    689
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gracias for the update. I was watching the weather primarily in Isabel and Peten, where I spend a couple months each year. That is a lot different weather than en la capital, which I think tends to be dryer and cooler, with the altitude. Where I'm at in Isabel is about 1000 ft., and tropical.

    I learned over the years how quickly in Guatemala the altitude and conditions can change....like at the bottom of the hill to San Marcos, it's super hot, and up the mountain, through the clouds, to the town which is cold and everybody wearing sweaters, gloves, and I even saw some snowmobile suits, it reminded me of freezing my butt off in Boliva. :D

    Jan/Feb last year was the wettest I've experienced there in 9 years, strange, especially for that late in the rainy season....heavy rains, day after day.....but I still love it! :clap Saludos
  2. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    Interesting points. Colorado,for example, is a Third World location in part because of its kakistocracy, absurd legal practices, idiot legislature, miserable standard of health care, inability to build and maintain decent roads, tendency to substitute party schools for decent universities, and so on. As we travel internationally we find many areas that were previously known as Third World places imitating First World nations but unfortunately this is often done by taking on the worst features (e.g., bureaucracies) and avoiding the benefits (efficiency, productivity, cost-effectiveness, etc ). End of rant.. let's go riding.
  3. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    Wet ripio, if it's true ripio, is nicer than dry and dusty ripio. It's when it's more mud than ripio that things start getting challenging.

    The ripio on Ruta 40 in Argentina is quickly disappearing. Better ride what's left while it's still an adventure.
  4. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,897
    The best part of wet ripio is when the mud turns to a fine mist and coats your face with an opague layer of permanent scum. The best part of not being able to see through impermeable brownish redish mud is when you get to pass a semi going 40 mph which is too slow to stay on top and have any control, but too fast to not churn up an extra-thick layer of brownish redish mist. You get to lift your face shield and duck into the slip stream and actually taste the ripio. If it's cold (it's going to be cold) the wet ripio mist hits your face like icecold needles. Just when you're about to finish passing the truck, the driver, without ever seeing you even though you've been laying on the horn for the last five miles- the driver decides to swerve sharp LEFT and you get to test your ditch-riding skills. This is where you add gas and you come shooting out of the slip stream like a sling shot right up to the point where you re-enter the 70 mph wind. You brace for it because you know it's coming but its still a heck of a shock. If you're having a bad day, your face shield- that you had to raise in order to be able to see- if you're having a bad day, the 70mph wind will rip the shield from your helmet. You'll have to stop because it's your only face shield. For the next fifteen minutes you'll stomp around the patagonia or tierra del fuego desert. And then with half-frozen fingers you'll pry your face shield back onto your helmet. In another half an hour, you'll get to pass the same truck. Maybe for the second or third time. You will not look up into the cab to acknowledge the driver's homicidal grin.

    A year later you'll still be trying to scrub ceramic-ized ripio off your exhaust pipes. Maybe you'll say fuck it and accept the fact that you have a special, custom, ripio-ceramic coated exhaust.

    Like I said, I don't know how to wet ripio. You'd think I never left pavement. This isn't me after a couple of hundred km of Tierra del Fuego ripio. I wouldn't have any first-hand knowledge of the fact that the road- the only road- from where you get off the ferry until you get to Ushuaia- the road, if you can call it a road some times, is ripio. You get to ride it on the way down, and you get to ride it on the way back up.

    There is no fuel for quite a while. I can't remember how far, but it's probably around 200 miles? Maybe more? There's supposed to be fuel at the Argentine/Chile border, but that gas station might not be open. It wasn't open when I went by.

    You can't tell by the photo, but it was windy. Windy in Tierra del Fuego means a different thing than it means just about every where else. 50mph is a calm day. 70 mph is a windy day. 100+ mph is... maybe why people don't live there.

    [​IMG]
  5. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    I can tell by the foto, or at least if I am not mistaken, there are minefield warnings just behind you, and you are at the First Narrows ferry crossing point on the Tierra del Fuego side. I live about 250 km north of that point. I rode via that ferry crossing several times this year with moto groups I was guiding.
  6. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    Uh, not really. Actually there are several roads from the mainland to Tierra del Fuego to Ushuaia, and I haven't done them all yet.

    Did the first version in 1978 via the Melinka ferry from Tres Puentes (near Punta Arenas) to the port at Porvenir, then across to San Sebastián. A few years ago I did an article for Dual Sport News on the way from Porvenir down past the English Cemetery and the old gold dredge at Russfin to Pampa Guanaco and then fording the river at Bella Vista and then over to Ruta 3 near estancia Menendez and down to Ushuaia. Even if you cross at the First Narrows ferry there are several ways to get from Ushuaia across the island to that ferry. The group I guided for Motoaventura earlier this year went on a comparatively pleasant route from San Sebastián crossing to the First Narrows ferry. That's a secondary road unsuitable for semis and helps to avoid most of the trucks that you encountered. It is also a bit less windy.

    Next time you are down here I will have to show you the real maps so we can do some real riding !

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_O9vXD2rGNog/SVgPOYhNNJI/AAAAAAAAA5A/P04ectvmy-U/s1600-h/braun+fording.jpg
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_O9vXD2rGNog/SVgOYGCYHiI/AAAAAAAAA44/W2WzqFE61DE/s1600-h/21+dec+arg+side+rounding+morning.jpg

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/69622532@N00/3803239980/sizes/o/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/69622532@N00/3803252182/sizes/o/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/69622532@N00/421858516/sizes/o/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/69622532@N00/421858514/sizes/o/



  7. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    We must be dealing with a different Tierra del Fuego. There is fuel at Cerro Sombrero. At Porvenir. At San Sebestián. At Tolhuin. At Río Grande. And of course all over Ushuaia. If you go the most direct tourist routes from mainland to Ushuaia, as I suspect you may have, I don't think there is any stretch more than about 160 km or so between fuel.
  8. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,785
    Location:
    California


    1978! Wow! That's when I was there .... actually the first time was 1975 as a tourist, but then I was back in '76 as an employee of the State dept. stayed through '77. Back again in '78 and '79. I worked for USARP at Palmer, did a Winter over and one Summer season. 9 Drake crossings, lots of time in Twin Otters with BAS.

    Do you know a Welsh guy there .... Tom ...? Sorry, last name escapes me, classic Welsh name.... Long family history in the area, very well known family, huge land holders. His stories about his families' contribution to the region are quite amazing. A great history, going back to before Argentina annexed the territory. Tom worked for the US Antarctic program when the RV Hero was based in Ushuaia. Quite an amazing guy. Are you related to them by any chance?
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,566
    Location:
    Alaska
    VB, when I get to Argentina and Chile I am definately up for the road less traveled. I've been studying various maps, paper and GPS ConoSur and GeoRed along with google earth to try and find a more remote track than Ruta 40. From the high resolution satellite images there appears to be some great dirt riding alternatives.

    I would love to talk to you about these routes when I get to South America. :thumb

    I like to take the road less traveled, even on the big KTM.......

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
  10. bouldergeek

    bouldergeek Filthy, poor KLR dweeb

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,073
    Location:
    Palmer Station, Antarctica
    Wow, DL, you've had an interesting life. I really want to winter at Palmer, but the network engineer job is mostly Windows, and there are just some things I won't do for money.

    You may recall my many references to my winterover at Pole in 2008, which is paying for my current Latin American adventure. I would love to get a Palmer gig, and ship my bike to PA, to ride northward. Unfortunatesly, after speaking with some Program folks, it is a pretty remote chance in my case. Not to mention never having applied....
  11. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,897
    After twelve and a half thousand miles from home (12,500 miles), there was no fucking way I was going to risk anything I didn't have to risk. My goal was Ushuaia and I'd already done plenty of dumb things. I took the main road, I battled the semi's, and I made it. If I had had more time, and if it wasn't already the end of April, I might have been willing to try the other routes.

    As for fuel- the gas stations were not open. I got gas in Rio Gallegos, and again much later- well into Argentina after crossing into Chile and then back into Argentina. I do not know why the gas stations were not open. I do know that the egg salad sandwiches that I got for free because the were expired were actually very good. Sometimes you just have to live on the edge, you know? So what if the egg salad is expired.

    I also remember being so tired and hungry that even expired egg salad tasted like the best meal I'd ever had. It was about 9 or 10 PM and I had already decided to push on to Ushuaia. Maybe it was only 7 or 8 but I remember that it was already dark.

    If anyone has a chance to ride Tierra del Fuego in the dark, it's like magic. Crusing along the coast line with the ocean right next to you and the stars that don't look right. And it's so fucking dark, even with the stars. Eventually you leave the ocean and you climb over a small mountain range but the temperature drops even more and maybe if you're lucky there will be snow but none on the road. I kept stopping to double-check the traction, to double-check the lack-of-ice. It was raining and then sleeting and then snowing but the snow didn't stick. When you come around a corner and suddenly the road to your right isn't there, and you can feel an abyss- you're not very high, altitude-wise, but it's high enough, and everything to your right feels... quiet.

    The forecast was for snow, and it was already snowing. I had decided to try to make Ushuaia before it got snowed in. Snowed in for motorcycles, anyway.

    Jean Luc and I had been corresponding. Jean Luc was in the middle of an awesome ride report, but his ride was actually over. Almost nobody on advrider knew that he was actually home and recovering from a very nasty arm-break. He had been riding Ruta 40 when he hit a deep rut, one of those deep ruts covered and filled with soft gravel. He got the wobbles and before he could even think, he was busted and his trip was over. I kept his secret but I used his information. I had already had plenty of close calls. Hearing first-hand from Jean Luc about the dangers, and especially since this was his second bad-fall... there was just no way I was going to risk anything I didn't have to. It's easier to mend busted bones than to ride to Ushuaia. I chose the least-dangerous, and I would make the same decision again. Least-dangerous is relative. Ride to Ushuaia without a major crash or break down and you've already beaten the odds.

    I've posted this photo before. The roads on Tierra del Fuego on the way to Ushuaia are risky. It's what you'd expect in the Third World.

    [​IMG]

    But I really don't know what I'm talking about.
  12. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,785
    Location:
    California
    I've been supremely lucky! Funny about Windows! (I'm a mac die hard too)
    I salute your Antarctic service. Pole must be tough. We talked to them all the time on the radio. There is a lot to do at Palmer, you'd love it.
    Honestly, do whatever you can to get to Palmer. I got to visit Chilean, Russian, Polish and Argentine research stations aboard the Hero, and flew to two Brit stations on Otters. Rescued a Brit snowmobile expedition, aided some American film makers (marooned) and lots of sail boats that would show up broken down.

    During my time we were visited by Chilean and Argentine War ships, made some shady deals with the Chileans in exchange for garbage removal. If you Winter Over, you might get USARP to pay to ship your bike to PA. Palmer/Anver's Island area is just an amazing region. Part of my job was running a little fleet of Zodiacs (about six boats, 20 engines) They sent me to the factory Evinrude school were my motocross racing background served me very well. Also got minor training by retired SEALS with the Zodiacs and BAS crevasse rescue guys. My surfing back ground really helped with all this.

    But the US govt. has no desire to fix anything. The military attitude is Shit Can It and break out the new stuff. The amount of brand new clothing, shoes, uniforms and God knows what else that we BURNED at the Palmer dump was astounding. Consequently, most guys today can't fix shit. You would have seen this I'm sure in your experiences at McMurdo and Pole. It's no wonder the waste and corruption is so high.

    I hope you are having a great and safe trip! You are so lucky to be down there!

    Cheers!
  13. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,785
    Location:
    California
    I remember reading Jean-Luc's "Chasing Summer" thread ... one of the best Ride Reports ... ever ... on ADV, IMO. I knew he was home cause I ran into him at Zeitgeist in San Francisco :freaky Hell of a story. Still can't believe he had to abandon his KTM in Argentina :eek1

    I first met Jean-Luc years ago ('02 I believe) when he had his Vstrom. We did a 4 day Vstrom group ride up in the Sierra and out into Nevada. Some dirt roads, great twisty paved roads and camping. Good ride. Jean-Luc is a very good rider, but aggressive ... so if he's crashing then you've got to know it's tough, tricky going. I remember reading his account of his first crash in Peru'. I was really disheartened by this. But it could have been much worse. Fact is, he was riding too quick in those conditions and being solo at the time. (or was he?)

    Your Ruta 40 ride sounds HAIR BALL! I've only seen it from the air! :lol3
  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,897
    I don't know if Jean Luc was riding too fast, but I know he was with Boyscout, and I think a third rider. I was also getting updates from Boyscout, and it was he who ended up riding either into or out of Ushuaia through six inches of snow! I figured I could ride the snow as long as it wasn't ice underneath.

    When you're on Ruta 40, or any well-traveled ripio, you never know what to expect. Sometimes you have to get up to about 60mph just to have some stability. And then you come to a curve and you don't want to slow down because then you'll get deep into the ripio and who knows what kind of wobbles will grab you, but you can't slow down or you won't make the curve.

    Trucks are often very over-loaded, and if the ripio gets wet and soft, they put deep ruts. Later a grader, or even just traffic, fills in the ruts, but not with the same level of compression. So you'll be riding along and suddenly be in a rut, in a ditch of soft shite. If you're lucky you'll have enough speed to ride it out, or just get out of it, but holy shit those wobbles come on fast.

    It's a lot different when you're riding a fully loaded adventure touring bike. If you're on something light, then the back end might get a little squirlley, or the front end might shake a little. It's a different problem when you've got your whole life's gear with you- food, clothing, shelter, spare parts, tools, water, photo gear, and you've already ridden thousands of miles.

    At least I wasn't carrying spare tires too. I had changed tires a couple of thousand miles earlier and I had left my old ones behind. Next time, I'll be keeping my rear tire, no matter how worn out/bald it is. They only weigh about 15ish pounds.

    I didn't realize it until I got back to the states, but my front shock was almost done. It actually blew a seal about a month after I got home. And the rear shock was (and still is) pretty worn out. (So much for the longevity of Ohlins!). Before my next big ride, I'm getting HUGE springs put on the front and rear shocks.

    I think Jean Luc's crashes were statistically inevitable. Almost everyone crashes. Most of the crashes I've heard about were in Bolivia. Second is Guatemala. Ruta 40 is probably 3rd. After that, every city, every narrow road, every construction area- it's awful fun.
  15. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,566
    Location:
    Alaska
    Since I'm feeling kind of left out of my own thread....... :lol3

    So, would it be better to skip Ruta 40 in exchange for doing a route on more remote two-track and carry the extra gas required? From what I have seen in the the Chile/Argentina 4X4 GPS maps and hi-res sat images there are a few options available.

    Wide graded and occasionally rutted out dirt roads dont really do anything for me. I'd rather be out in the sticks on some burly jeep trail and take my chances there instead of on ripio with hidden ruts and semis...... Happily cruising along at 60 mph then suddenly being tossed off the bike from a big hidden rut does not sound like fun. I'd rather be in sustained technical terrain than on a graded road that can bite you in the ass.
  16. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,785
    Location:
    California
    Sorry to side track your thread! Lets get it back on track:deal But I must say, IMO, Bananaman's Ruta 40 report is spot on from everything I've seen and heard about that region. I've read dozens of reports on it and not many are positive.

    My choice would be to spend more time exploring the Andes and the passes around Bairloche. North and south of there, you will find a lot to explore. I lived in San Martin de los Andes, (just two months) working on an big Estancia owned by an American. An Austrian ski instructor there had a slash 7 converted to a GS ... this before the GS existed! I got to ride that bike around a bit in that area. Wow!

    I would fly down to Ushuaia from Bariloche and then get over to Punta Arenas and get on the boat that goes up the Straights of Magellan to Puerto Mont. I made this 5 day trip. Stops at Isla Chiloe'. (sp) A great trip through hundreds of miles of inland waterways, glaciers, mostly calm water, fantastic wildlife, Whales ... the works.

    Be sure to see Fitzroy if you can. I didn't climb there but saw it from a distance. Spectacular.

    See World Rider's thread for awesome locations throughout Argentina and Chile. He has done a great job of exploring Argentina in depth. Awesome pics. I visited an Argentine Air force pilot (met in Antarctica) in Mendoza, his family own a huge Estanzia there. Fantastic area not unlike California wine country ... but different and very beautiful. Two of these guys later visited us in the US. Sadly, one was shot down in the Falklands war.
  17. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    The US Antarctic and Army Cold Regions folks have interchange with the Chilean counterparts (I do some freelance work for the Chilean Antarctic Institute - unrelated to bikes). My place is not far from Puerto Natales in Chile and quite a few winter-over folks make their way to Natales -- including some who want to do some serious riding, perhaps to loosen up the cobwebs.

    Tell me more about your Welsh-named friend - he might be at one of the estancias on the island.
  18. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,897
    I say Don't Fly to Ushuaia. It's a fantastic ride.

    Even the bad ripio of Ruta 40 is absolutely beautiful.

    A few (hundred) posts ago you were discussing which bike to take- a 650 or a 950/990, right? The last 2000 miles of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego is one a few dozen reasons why I voted for the bigger bike.

    It's 2000 miles from BA to Ushuaia. South-to-really-South. It's about 10,000 miles from the US/Mexico border to BA.

    It's 1000 miles from New Orleans to Madison, Wisconsin.

    It's really far to Ushuaia. You get the feeling for how far you are from home when you ride and ride and ride and ride and ride... and you're still in Patagonia.

    You get a sense of accomplishment just for covering the distance. For getting really, really, really far from home.

    Ruta 40 alternatives- sure, you have tons of Baja experience. But two years on the road living off/out of your bike. Maybe you're a total glutton for technical riding. Surely there are some who can not get enough, day after day, year after year. But if I was you, I'd get to Ushuaia, and then explore on the way back north.

    Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego aren't as big as Alaska, but they feel as big as Alaska. How long is the Alcan? I know it's 500 miles from Fairbanks to Deadhorse. 500 miles of Haul Road challenges bikers. 500 miles of Haul Road is super easy compared to the 2000 miles from BA to Ushuaia.

    Taking extra fuel- if you plan ahead and do some zig-zagging, I think you should be ok if you have a 350 mile range. Often it's 150-200 miles between gas once you get south of Bahia Blanca. This is also where the winds start. If you have to ride straight into a 50-75 mph head wind, your fuel economy is going to suffer. Mine dropped to about 25 miles per gallon. This was going about 55-65 mph. I've heard that the big KTM gets even worse gas mileage, but maybe with your soft bags you'll be slipperier and your fuel economy won't suffer as badly.
  19. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,566
    Location:
    Alaska
    No way in hell I'm flying to Ushuaia. :rofl I fly enough for work, I'm kinda burned out on airplanes. I'm going to ride it.

    Yeah, well, the big KTM really, really likes to drink. :bash I can get 42 mpg on graded dirt/pavement driving like an old lady. Off road, 2nd and 3rd gear terrain, its more like 25-30 mpg.

    So, 350 miles of that type of terrain translates into almost 14 gal of fuel.:yikes
    Best case scenario, I can carry 10 gallons, or 250-300 miles off road range, best case. Factor in cold weather survival gear, tires and fuel strapped on the bike, and it becomes quite an expedition getting off the beaten path.

    That might not be enough. I will just have to scope things out when I get there and decide how to proceed.

    A few hundred posts ago? Holy crap, you're right. I need to get off this computer and get the hell out of Dodge. :D Soon enough, still dicking with getting the throttle bodies synced correctly and its driving me bananas. Memo to self, dont dick with the rear adjustment on the throttle bodies, it causes trouble. If all goes well, I hope to be crossing the border next week.:thumbup

    Every time I strip all the crap off the KTM to work on it, that DRZ looks better and better. :rofl
  20. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5COwner%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><link rel="Edit-Time-Data" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5COwner%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_editdata.mso"><!--[if !mso]> <style> v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} </style> <![endif]--><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="City"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="place"></o:smarttagtype><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->
    Sorry about going off topic there.... but with respect to reliable, continuous, all-weather north-south routes through southern Patagonia (we'll discuss Chubut and Sta Cruz provinces in Argentina) there are two options: Ruta 3 close to the Atlantic coast, and Ruta 40 on the interior, not far from the Chilean frontier. Actually Ruta 40 is not really all-weather in some sections. R40 washouts and mud make bike travel difficult occasionally. On the other hand, Ruta 3 can have worse summer wind, but not necessarily so. Last December I was headed south on R3 toward Río Gallegos into a wind coming out of Antartica, and got only about 200 km on a full KLR650 tank before going on reserve.

    Paving of R40 is going on so quickly that few websites are kept current. For some fairly well kept up info on R40 there is a Argie site
    http://www.turismo.gov.ar/esp/atra/ruta/cd/index.html For Spanish (well, Argie Spanish anyway) road condition updates there is a government site
    http://www.vialidad.gov.ar/

    If you zigzag southeast to south west then you have some more routes but that adds time and most of those alternatives aren't very interesting. If you should get hurt whilst single-tracking away from the "main" roads in the south, you are likely to become condors' fodder.

    Besides, for the few jeep- tracks that roughly (and briefly) parallel R3 and R40, most are on fenced private land, and chances are that you will not go far before coming to a locked gate. Estancia operators often discreetly carry centre-fire rifles and cutting fence is not recommended. Don't ask me how I know this.

    For scenic travel, perhaps the best routing to the south is to go R40 to Esquel (it's actually off R40 a bit) and then cross into Chile near Futaleufu. Then take the Carretera Austral past Coyhaique, around Lago Gral Carrera, to either Chile Chico (splendid scenery along the lake) or further south to Paso Roballo. Either way will get you back to R40 and Bajo Caracoles, where there is usually, but not always, fuel and water and a bite to eat. It's 300 some km to generally reliable fuel at Tres Lagos, and from there you can ride all pavement all the way to <st1:place w:st="on">Tierra del Fuego and Cerro Sombrero</st1:place>. If you don't run that full 300 some km you can detour east to Gobernador Gregores for fuel, good food, groceries, internet, good lodging, cappuccino, rubber tomahawks, etc.

    Regarding the "let's avoid the semis" idea: very few on R40 to the south of Esquel area since most big transport is via R3. When we run tours that cross the top of <st1:place w:st="on">Tierra del Fuego</st1:place> (Chilean side) we stay/fuel/eat at Cerro Sombrero. Have never had a problem getting fuel at Cerro Sombrero during normal hours but I hear that some people have found problems there. Avoid the “international route” that passes through Cullen (ask locally – esp the hotel at Cerro Sombrero) to avoid the big trucks and most other vehicles. Instead, take the secondary route that passes by Primavera and the China Creek turnoff and will take you to the crossing at Onaisin. If you have a good map you will see that this route runs more southernly than the international/ truck route which is to the east. There you will deal with a bit of traffic but won’t see the big semis until you get close to the frontier crossing at <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">San Sebastián</st1:place></st1:city>. Not knowing about this routing can cause you the sort of misery and risks that bananaman described. The scenery is nicer on the secondary as well, and there is usually less wind....Cheers.