Archive for March, 2012

Los Reyes

Posted on March 31, 2012 by 12 Comments

The landowner next door was wrong about us getting into the Pinguineria for free that evening. He’d allowed us to use his land and wind shelter to camp, and said the dueno of the land next door was gone for the season and had closed up, and that we could just climb over the fence to view the King Penguins who had migrated to Tierra del Fuego.

Unfortunately, the night guard didn’t agree with that recommendation. But, he was willing to let us in for half price. The cost went directly into his pocket, but he led us very close to the penguins (much closer than the marked path for visitors).

These 3-foot tuxedoed beauties normally live in Antarctica, but this flock has inhabited this isolated beach for a few years now. It was something really magical to see. It was perfect penguin-weather, but us humans were forced to leave a little quicker than we’d wanted.

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Filed Under: Chile

And the gang grows…

Posted on March 30, 2012 by 1 Comment

A few towns back, Paul and Camille had run into some cyclists they had originally met back in Panama. When we were in Punta Arenas, they sent him an urgent email requesting help and wanting to know if he was still traveling with the VW’s. Natch, we extended an offer to help out.

Thank you, Jason, for you email.

Trying to reply right away. The thing is, I don’t know if Paul told you, but I am 8 weeks pregnant and cycling does not seem to cooperate with me anymore. From this point we decided to split with Zilvinas till Ushuaia. Zilvinas wants to finish the trip cycling and i was going to take a bus to Ushuaia. And then i remembered your fun company, so I thought maybe you still have some room for me and my loaded bike? Please, let us know if you are on line, otherwise we will try to come tonight and talk to you at the port.


Zilvinas and Diana are a Lithuanian couple (via Chicago) who have been cycling for 18 months. They’re on an multi-part trip around the world, but for Diana, this part ends in Tierra del Fuego.

We met up for the first time the next morning on the ferry to Porvenir. Diana walked her bike off the ferry and we started loading up. Her bike went on top of Red Beard under some brand new bungee (pulpo!) and tarp, and the rest inside. Zilvinas and Diana hugged and said their goodbyes, and now we’re at 4.5 passengers for the bus ride to Ushuaia.

After a quick run around Porvenir for groceries, we took off to go look for more penguins. We drove a few hours and ended up camping on the ocean, near a sheep-herders refugio. It was windy and cold, but we had good company and the dirty shack kept us all warm.

Falling Apart on the Way

Posted on March 30, 2012 by 2 Comments

All of those little day to day problems keep adding up. We will limp to the tip of the continent with duct tape and baling wire. At least we found tires and a car wash.

It might finally be time to fix that cracked windshield too… the trick will be to find one down here.


Filed Under: Chile

I like to shop at the duty free shop

Posted on March 29, 2012 by 1 Comment

We are VERY happy to report we made it to Punta Arenas without anyone blowing a tire. Camille’s stuff is now in Fern, and she’s riding bitch behind Paul.

We went straight to the Zona Franca to find most things closed for siesta, but we hung out and went to the market while we waited until they opened up at 4. Jason and Simon were on tire duty, and came back with 4 new Chinese-made Nankang tires in the bus. We’re not proud of them, but it seemed to be the best option with still very expensive and limited choices.

Jason and Bode set out to have them put on and balanced while the rest of us went to the mall-like center for shopping. We had high hopes we’d find everything we ever wanted nicely displayed and very cheap. But, things aren’t much (if any) cheaper, and it’s largely a collection of the usual weird shops that sell completely unrelated items (underwear and cameras, for example).

Jason returned from the tire adventure and we set out to find a place to stay for everyone, but everything was full. It turns out that the river flooded recently and the entire south side of town is under water or mud, and those residents have taken all the rooms in the north. We ended up in the ferry parking lot next to some sort of PT boat for 2 nights of boondocking with Simon and MC, while Paul and Camille found a room outside of town.

The first night was very windy and cold, so we just heated leftovers and the 4 of us ate in Red Beard. The next day we reserved our ferry ride to Tierra del Fuego and we all tried to run errands around town. There is a penguin colony on the other side of the peninsula, but they migrated early. so, no penguins this time. Bode and I went back to the mall and went duty-free ice skating.


Filed Under: Chile

I love it when a plan comes together

Posted on March 28, 2012 by 5 Comments

The next day, Simon and MC came to the rescue. We took their spare and crossed our fingers that neither of us would have a flat for the 3 hours of pavement to Punta Arenas.

Camille was able to confirm that the Shooting Star was dead and it wasn’t worth trying to repair (and to sell or ship back to the US in 2 months). She was able to quickly find a very excited buyer, and was happy that it was going to a local gal.

Simon was able to find some new shocks that were close (we’re not the only ones to break them all the time), and modified them for his bus. Things were coming together… we even had a poker night and Wii party.

We met our new VW friend Christhian, who was able to find a part Simon needed and give us some advice on where to buy some other things. He and his family hosted an asado for all 7 of us. I’ve never seen so much meat on one grill! Smoked salmon, pork, chicken, beef. All delicious, but everyone seemed to be most excited about the salmon. Paul and Simon are determined to catch and smoke their own.

Thanks for hosting us, Christhian!



Filed Under: Chile

382 Miles to Ushuaia

Posted on March 27, 2012 by 8 Comments

Simon wanted to do some fishing, so we split up for the day. We followed Paul and Camille (on their motorcycles) to Puerto Natales to find some shelter and we were out of food.

The road was rough, but indescribably beautiful. I think I saw four different rainbows that day. There was some road work along the way and the usual guy that controls the 1 way traffic. But, in 1 particular area, on a blinded down hill, there was noone there stopping us. We noticed that there was some seriously torn up road, but we didn’t have time to stop. So we plowed on, and passed up a steamroller coming the other way (followed by some cars moving very slowly). The driver looked a bit surprised to see us driving on the other side, but we didn’t really have a choice. Paul and Camille were way ahead, but we noticed that they were able to get off the road and into the grass.  We finally got through, and hit pavement about 1 km later. Then onto Puerto Natales, first stop the gas station.

That’s where Camille mentioned we had a low tire. WHAT?  That’s pretty bad news, as we’d had a blow out last week and we had no spare. We’d had a chance to buy tires back in El Calafate, but since we were with Simon and MC, we weighed the chances of having another. In 2 1/2 years, that was our 1 and only blow out (we had 1 slow leak which we repaired in Peru). The reason we were waiting, was that the next town, Punta Arenas, is a tax-free zone and we could get tires cheaper there. And tires are really expensive here in Chile. Well, that was a bad choice.

The tire was ruined– a hole form a rock and a ruined sidewall, but it would hold air for 5 minutes. We sent Paul and Camille to find us cabanas close by while we filled up the tire.

More bad news. They returned to tell us that Camille had blown her engine. A pack of dogs started chasing her and she revved up, heard a pop and oil was everywhere. Her bike, Shooting Star, was an awesome Kawasaki (250!) that drove from Idaho, to Puerto Natales, Chile….La Ultima Esparanza. Only 382 miles to Ushuaia.

RIP Shooting Star.




Filed Under: Chile

We were hacked.

Posted on March 27, 2012 by 2 Comments

Many thanks to the folks who let us know. Sorry if it caused any problems for anyone. It looks like someone gained access to our admin panel, and made one small change to the index.php script in our theme.  Apparently, it generated different types of pop-ups for different people. One of them re-directed people to a Brazilian-based penis enlargement site. Funny, but not exactly what we were going for.

Still not sure how it happened, but I’ve restored the original code, wiped out all the passwords, keys, etc and it should all be back to normal. Now, we can actually work on a new post…



Filed Under: Chile

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