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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaRider, Oct 20, 2018.
Great job! good report and excellent photos! Thanks for the trip!
Congrats SalsaRider on a job well done! Safe travels on your northward return to wherever Salsa is being shipped. She is being shipped home right? The love affair surely cannot be over?!
Crossing into Ecuador tomorrow, so going to look up your post on that.
Tierra del Fuego — THE END OF THE ROAD PHOTO OPS
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
7 February 2019
A few miles outside of Ushuaia, down a dirt road, you’ll find the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. Inside the park, with the Beagle Channel as a background, you’ll find the end of the road. Nothing more to drive on, clear to Antarctica.
My new friend, Mauricio, gave me a personal tour of the park, and the environs of Ushuaia. A fellow BMW “airhead” enthusiast, he led the way on his 1971 R60 bike, and I followed on Salsa.
Two large cruise ships filled the harbor, disgorging hoards of tourists from around the world. Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, they piled into busses, taxis, vans, an historic train, and small boats to also see the end of the road.
Although thankfully short, riding about the park was like being in a dust-filled wind tunnel; so thick at times that I could barely see my way.
Then, at the famous sign marking the end of the road, we waited for the crowd to subside, then — against park rules — I rode Salsa up to it and briefly parked for a photo opportunity. Several tourists also wanted their photos taken with us, once they learned of our long ride to get there.
Later, at another marker reading “USHUAIA” in large blocks, we waited again for the crowd to part. Then — against the rules — we rode up a small ramp and parked right in front of it. Mauricio snapped a photo, then a dozen different tourists rushed over so their friends could take their photos with us, too, once they learned where we were from.
Salsa was quite the popular lady today, despite being covered in thick dust! Some “end of the road” photo ops for the tourists; and also for me!
That’s a decision I’m struggling with now.
Also,TeeTwo, you’ll have to scroll way back to my 4 December post to learn about my border crossing experience from Colombia into Ecuador.
Congrats! No electrical fire is gonna stop this epic ride!
Tierra del Fuego — SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
Puerto Natales, Chile
12 February 2019.
Here, on the southern tip of South America, I’ve been treated to some real southern hospitality.
Roberto Runyard, my host, has offered me the kind of friendship and help I most needed at this point in my journey. I’ve been able to relax, get Salsa tuned-up, clean my clothes, and see some incredible sights. A very knowledgeable man, he has shared some of the history of this area with me, and has offered sage advice and support for my road ahead.
He took me to see Samuel — a highly-skilled motorcycle mechanic — who has been going over Salsa with great care. Had it not been for Roberto, I would have missed that opportunity.
Roberto knows his way around motorcycles, and the southern part of this continent. For years he served as a guide for people like me, wanting to explore South America on two wheels. He has also served as a test rider for Yamaha bikes, taking them from California through Central and South America.
We spent a full day exploring the Torres del Paine National Park, stopping often to snap photos or simply admire the rugged peaks, deep valleys, glistening lakes, and distant glaciers. Small herds of guanacos stood unperturbed by the tourists nearby snapping photos, so accustomed were they to their presence; and small flocks of rheas pecked about the bushes close to the road, too.
At Grey Lake we crunched along a gravel spit to get a better view of the Grey Glacier, a cold wind gusting at us as we hiked. Small icebergs, broken-off from the glacier, had ground to a stop against the gravel, just a few yards from the shoreline.
Near Puerto Natales, down a long dirt road lined with berry bushes, we saw the original estancia of Captain Hermann Ederhard, the 18th Century German explorer who discovered this part of Patagonia for the Europeans. Roberto is the man who translated the Captain’s log for Kirin, the Captain’s great granddaughter.
Fluent in both English and Spanish, Roberto now calls Chile and Puerto Natales his “home”. Even the constant wind doesn’t bother him.
“Just look at the views I have,” he said.
I’m just glad he was here, and let me treat his home as my home. Southern hospitality at its best, and just when I needed such a break from the road.
Muchas gracias, Roberto!!!
Awesome Monte!! "Willingness to stick it out, come hell or high water" Your words - delivered. Nicely done, hope to see you again.
Now we got to pull George @95Monster across the line!
Tierra del Fuego - MY LAST DANCE WITH SALSA
Puerto Natales, Chile
16 February 2019
A late post:
On Valentine’s Day Salsa and I visited the Perito Morena Glacier. It was to be our last dance together. I wept as we rode to the park, and the sky wept with us.
In Ushuaia my friend, Mauricio, had tapped me on the shoulder to ask if he could have the next dance with Salsa. A week later I told hm he could.
I felt numb as I walked down the metal path to see the glacier up close. Loud sporadic bursts filled the air, like gunshots, as the iceberg calved, and then splashes. Although still growing, it loses about two meters a day as the leading edge breaks off into the lake it’s flowing into. High above, from a viewing platform, I could see a few boats, filled with tourists, rocking gently as the waves from the icebergs rolled past them.
Our last dance together!!!
Hard for me to absorb, the idea of losing my dancing partner of 21 years. So many memories together. So many dances: all over the lower 48 states; through most of the National Parks; around Mexico and Canada’s Maritime Provinces; clear up to Alaska and back; and now, from Colombia clear to Tierra del Fuego, in South America.
I sobbed as we rode back to El Calafate. Salsa, as always, ran smoothly through the curves and twists in the park, instinctively following my eyes and leaning through them in perfect balance and control.
My dancing partner for so many years!!!
Then, on a straight stretch, I twisted on the throttle. 70, 80, 90, then 100 mph! She could have gone faster, but that was enough for me.
Salsa was ready and willing to keep on dancing, with me!!!
Late in the afternoon Mauricio arrived. The city of El Calafate would be celebrating it’s Day of Independence on Friday, the very next day. Everything would be closed until Monday. To make the sale official we needed the services of a notary.
With urgency we found one still open, at 6:30 pm. By 7:30 pm we had completed the deal. Salsa was now his, her next dancing partner.
We toasted the deal over a glass of wine, me with tears running down my face, sobbing. For almost 82 thousand miles Salsa and I had been dancing partners! I felt as if I had betrayed her!
I’m crying now as I write this.
I had my last dance with Salsa . . . on Valentine’s Day!!!
Bravo! Thank you for the wonderful RR!
Ride a honda africa twin, mine rides like my old r100, nose dives n all. Engine so for about the same. Some great prices to be had. Thanks for taking us long your great ride, our turn later this year.
Thanks yokesman, and good luck with your ride! Some final posts to follow, which might be helpful.
Great RR! Remember, Old relationships are to be treasured, while new ones are to be explored. I believe you have more exploring to do!
Ride safe, have fun, be cool.
Bittersweet - thanks for posting a heartfelt milestone/event.
Thanks Nirbhai. Hope to see you again soon, too!
All things must pass...there's another bike out there that needs a traveling companion...you just need to find it!