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Direction South: Adventure Patagonia (APA1802)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | Manuel Marabese / Christian Preining | North and South America

Day 19: Rio Grande - Punta Arenas THE END

After over 5000km today we are reaching our final destination: the town of Punta Arenas! It's not gonna be an easy walk, as today we have 430km ahead of us, plus the last border crossing and a ferry. Oh, and 75-80kmh of wind all day long!

Day 18: Ushuaia - Rio Grande

We have to backtrack the last few hundreds km to reach our ending point of the tour. However, there is still something on the highlight menu: the Estancia Harberton with its winding dirt road, windswept trees, the marine museum and the penguins colony on Isla Martillo. All in all a great experience and a good lunch as well in this very old farm..

Yes it's windy here sometimes

Day 17: Rest day Ushuaia

We reached the end of the road in direction south - or almost! There are still 20km of Ruta 3 into the Ushuaia Park, and this will be our short and relaxed ride for today...towards Fin del Mundo! 

Day 16: Cerro Sombrero - Ushuaia

That's the day! The journey across Chile and Argentina reaches its southernmost town at the end of Ruta 40 and Ruta 3: Ushuaia. The name is mytical for many travellers and once you see its "doors" you can really feel you made it!

Not much traffic.. We can pose in the middle of the road. Here with Reto, Frank and Hans.
Vast choice of sweets and empanadas at the panaderia La Union, founded by a man from Malaga. One of the speciality is churros, of course.
Paso Garibaldi with a scenic view over Lago Escondido
Finally we got here! The doors of Ushuaia!
Christian and Manuel happy that everyone made it safe all the way down south!

Day 15: Puerto Natales - Cerro Sombrero

Our long ride south keeps going and we ride towards Tierra del Fuego today. There are not many gas stations along the way, actually only two: the first one is still in construction and the second has no gas. What a day! After some diplomatic bargaining we manage to get a few liters of precious gasoline for each bike - just enough to get us to the ferry and across the Strait of Magellan.

Day 15: Puerto Natales rest day: Torres del Paine

We wake up with some wind from the previous night but not too strong to become an hazard - which can often happen in the park Torres del Paine. Quite a long 280km loop around the park permits us to visit every corner of this beautifully pristine landscape. In one of the last tours Christian had to abort the route because the wind was so strong that they could not even ride straight. Today we can feel very lucky!

Day 14: El Calafate - Puerto Natales

It's time to continue riding south and to cross another border. We go back to Chile today, reaching the important horbour town of Puerto Natales, from where a ferry goes all the way up to Puerto Montt connecting the rest of Chile. We will spend here two nights, allowing us to visit the park Torres del Paine.

Day 13: El Calafate rest day: Perito Moreno Glacier

Another rest day with something special: the ride goes towards the Perito Moreno, one of the most spectacular glacier of Patagonia. 70m thick, 5km wide and 30km long it's one of the few glaciers on end still expanding.

 

Day 12: El Chalten - El Calafate

Short transfer day with three hours of easy ride. We reach El Calafate for lunch and spend some days walking around this gateway town for the glaciers.

The sunrise light on Fitz Roy was stunning this morning
Although later on the sky was less... Colorful
Coffee and cake break in Estancia La Leonia, pretty much the only thing along the empty space between the two towns
And once again, sunny!
Such a lively town with plenty of cafés and craft work shops

Day 11: Estancia La Angostura - El Chalten

The ride today is not particularly long but the 100km to leave the arid desert of Estancia La Angostura and reach the paved section of the Ruta 40 are quite tough. We had to fight with some loose gravel, deep gravel, hardpack and keep our concentration high. Everyone eventually makes it, respect! From now on the tour will be easier, the though roads are done! 

All queuing up for some precious gas from Tomchi, the owner of the Estancia La Angostura
Everyone happy for making it safely! These 100km of deep gravel were not easy!
The gas station / food store / cafetería / mechanic / anything you need in Tres Lagos is a well known institution among travelers of the long Ruta 40
The mighty Fitz Roy and Cerro Torres backing up the small town of El Chalten
Early arrival in El Chalten, we can enjoy a sunny afternoon to explore a bit this young town and the very edge of Argentina in an area long disputed with Chile.
This place definitely has a special vibe
Happy birthday Mike!
Good night everyone..

Day 10: Puerto Bertrand - Estancia La Angostura

Today is THE day: 428km, 270km of which is gravel. The Paso Roballos on the border Chile-Argentina is a fantastic road that sees an average only 10 vehicles a day! 

First we ride through the newly created Parque Patagonia with hundreds (or thousands) of placid guanacos around. It's like riding in a safari, with a stop in a fabulous hacienda for a coffee. Later on the landscape becomes drier and the green pasture leave space to the steppa. Arriving at the border is quite an experience, and continuing along the gravel (sometimes quite difficult and deep) in the Argentinian side is a challenge.

Guanacos everywhere here
A coffee stop with the atmosphere of an old estancia in the middle of a safari
Paso Roballos is nothing less than spectacular
The distance is so long between the gas stations that today we have to use our spare gasoline in the extra gas tanks that our mechanic Victor was carrying in the van
Back in Argentina
A bit of smooth asphalt after so much dust and dirt
After a challenging ride on gravel we can finally refill the bikes and ourselves with a late lunch at 4pm
We are almost there.. Estancia La Angostura is only 4km away in this remote corner of Argentina. Imagine..the nearest "anything else" is about 100km (gravel) away from the farm. Heroic people living here.

Day 9: Rest day in Puerto Bertrand

We have covered quite a lot of road in the past days, so for today we can relax a bit and enjoy this unspoiled nature. We are in a lodge and the western end of the lake General Carrera, backed by green mountains. A few of us went for a ride towards Chile Chico - the border with Argentina - along the southern shore of the lake. Someone decided to leave the metal-run horses of the bikes in the parking and to ride a real "one horse" power natural transport. The afternoon goes on with some kayaking on the lake, with a walk in the huge area of the lodge or simply relaxing in the sun on the patio.

Tomorrow will be a long and challenging ride to Estancia La Angostura: 428km, 272 of that is gravel.

Lasse, Michael and Markus enjoying the ride along the lake
The Hacienda where we are staying for two nights is a huge property
Here the sky, the lake and the fields seems all oversatured - just incredible #nofilter
Time to go swimming?
Some of us decided to leave the metal horse-powered vehicles in the parking and to try the natural one-horse-four legs vehicles instead
Christian trying to do a wheelie with his horse... Where is the gas?
Single track... The horses seem very capable!
Mike feels at ease... Of course, he is a polo player!
Armen enjoys the gorgeous view over the lake
Time to go back to the hacienda!

Day 8: Coyhaique - Puerto Bertrand

What a day! The sky is deep blue, the wind is still and the sun slowly warm us up. We have a magnificient ride ahead. The first hour is paved, with big sweapers in the northern Patagonian landscape. We need to pass the "road closure" point in Villa Cerro Castillo before 10 o'clock - they are doing road works on the Carretera Austral.

After that point the entire day is on gravel. We stop for lunch in a very laid back "village": Puerto Rio Tranquillo - and tranquil it definitely is. We are not alone though: there is another group or motorcyclists and a couple 4x4 expedition vehicles. Everyone meets again and again on the way south, there aren't many roads!

 

Can a road be more picture perfect than this?
Some roadworks along the way
And then again wonderful photo opportunities
We met a young couple cycling from Ushuaia to United States.. Just crazy
Lunch time in Puerto Rio Tranquillo
This is the well hidden bay where we start a boat tour to the marmor caves
Arrived at destination
A well deserved beer after the long ride
Good night...

Day 7: Puyuhuapi - Coyhaique

The ride starts with a scenic ride along the Puyuhuapi fjord. Here they are working hard to stabilize the mountain and to make the road accessible as much as possible. From time to time they have to close it because of landslides. Part of it is very new, perfectly paved and in great condition. Later on the asphalt leaves space to the dirt, and we continue across Paso Queulat towards Villa Maniguales, where we will try to get some lunch.

The first part of the route is along the Puyuhuapi fjord... It resembles a bit Norway
18 hairpins on gravel ahead!
Everyone one made it flawlessly!
Marc admiring the gaucho skill in the rodeo, probably training for a show
Lunch time: a very simple family run cafe with some freshly made "empanadas fritas"
Gorgeous scenery in the Valle Emperador Guillermo. This is still the Carretera Austral but strangely the main road is actually another one in this area, leaving us without traffic on this dirt road. The last past had quite a few road construction going on, so the pavement is probably coming soon...

Day 6: Futaleufu - Puyuhuapi

The destination for today is Puyuhuapi, a fascinating little hamlet sitting at the end of the Puyuhuapi fjord. Although the name has origin from the local native american idiom, the founders were four German colons emigrated here in 1935. 

The ride today is not very long, allowing to discover the verdant Valle Mirta in the morning - a terrific mic of Norwegian landscape and rain-forest like vegetaion - and Puyuhuapi in the afternoon,

In Villa Santa Lucia a tragic event happened last year: a massive landslide destroyed most of the village. Trucks were rolling like balls and houses torn apart like papers.
Hans ready for some lunch in this cosy restaurant in La Junta
This region close to the Pacific has a very wet climate, permitting a all-year-round green vegetation. ow (late spring down here) the flowers are in full swing
At our arrival in the village we met a very interesting French family, all three on a long south American journey on a custom-built Yamaha Super Teneré sidecar.
A delicious dinner with fresh "merluza" (cod) in a restaurant overlooking the placid fjord.

Day 5: El Bolson - Futaleufu

After the terrible weather we had yesterday we totally deserve this blue sky and sunny day!

Plenty of lakes in this region, each of them unique
Visiting the old huts of the farm of Butch Cassidy & The Wild Gang: the famous American gangsters after fleeing US they took shleter in South American, where they bought land and started a new life.
The cafe is also a museum, showcasing many memorabilia from Butch Cassidy's time
Frank water crossing
In the middle of the Los Alerces park we have to turn around: the heavy rain of the previous days and made the road impassable down south
Quite a tasty lunch. Siesta anyone?
Michael and Marc on the gravel stretch in Argentina leading to the Chilean side over Futaleufu pass
At the Argentinian border we met one of the bus-trucks of Dragoman, a famous overland expedition bus company

Day 4: San Martin de los Andes - El Bolson

Today is a though day, raining most of the time and windy. That's the reson for having mostly indoor pictures.

Look. At. That. Cake. Absurdly big (and tasty).

Day 3: Pucon - San Martin de los Andes

 

Good morning sunshine!
Beautiful sunny day! We can clearly see the top of the volcano
Markus and Lasse happily posing in front of Villarica volcano
Many giant araucaria trees here: this plant has never decided if it wanted to be a cactus, a pine or a leave tree
A pretty Honda lady here, the only non-BMW of the group
All bikes lined up at the border, Argentina here we come!
After clearing custom in Chile now it's the Argentinian custom waiting for us. The whole process went pretty fast today, in about half an hour we were all on the other side.
Kelly ready to move to the next step in the border procedure
First encounter with the Argentinian Pampas. What an incredible difference compared to the green and mountainous Chile in the background!
Road block: watch our for donkeys. Many of them.
Christian in his favourite playground: sand&dirt

Day 2: Osorno - Pucon

It's time to start this long journey, over 5000km zigzaging between Chile and Argentina. The first destination in our trip is Osorno, a very lively tourist town surrounded by gigantic snowcapped volcanos.

Kelly (USA), Markus (from Germany but living in France), Armen (from Armenia but living in Canada), Mike (Canada), Hans and Michael (Austria), Reto (Switzerland), Lasse (from Norway but living in Switzerland), Jacques (France), Rick (Canada), Ghislain (Switzerland), Frank (Germany) and Mar (from Belgium but living in France): this is our travel team for the next three weeks!

 

Separating the luggage to take along and the empty suitcases that will be shipped to Punta Arenas, our final destination
A relaxing lunch spot on the lake in Lican Ray
Pucon main street, lots of interesting cafes and restaurants
In Chile and Argentina they really know how to prepare a good grilled steak

Day 1: Welcome to Chile

Osorno - Southern Chile -  is not the easiest place on Earth to reach. At least a triple-flight  with possibly an overnight in Santiago, as Osorno airport is served sporadically. Or you can choose to land in Puerto Montt and then take a couple of buses and a city taxi to reach the hotel. Otherwise you can of course catch a 110km cab ride directly from Puerto Montt airport. However, everyone happens to arrive on time for the welcome briefing. Simply amazing! Here the adventurous part starts even before jumping on the bike.

For the next 21 day Christian (Austria), Victor (Chile) and Manuel (Italy) will take care of a variegated group of brave motorcyclists coming from all over the globe, eager to reach "el fin del mundo", the end of the road in the southern hemisphere: Ushuaia. 

Southern Chile shows some traits of German influence, thanks to the settlers moving here from Europe at the end of 19th and the beginning of the 20th century
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Add a comment Rate this post
Julie Nagel
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 19:38

Hey Manuel---looks like a fantastic trip, except for the gravel. Wish Marty was tall enough to ride dual sport. We are doing South Africa next Fall. Happy Holidays! Julie and Marty
Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 11:17

Hey Manuel u Christian
Soviel Gravel.... Eine richtige Männer Party Ich denke ihr habt Fun
Südamerika ist einfach so cool
Ich geniesse die Bilder
Alles Gute und hoffentlich bis bald
Gaby

Manuel Marabese
Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 02:34

Hallo Gaby, ja einige Tage echt viel Schotter aber das Wetter war fast immer tip top
Dan McPherson
Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 02:28

Seems like there are no two-up riders?
Manuel Marabese
Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 02:32

Correct! Not on this tour and not many in general... I think you have been one of the very few doing Patagonia two-up!
Dan McPherson
Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 02:22

So fun to follow along. Some of the destinations have changed since our ride in 2012, which Karin G, from Edelweiss, was on. Of all the days, the long ride to Hosteria Angostura was most memorable for its wildlife, but also for three get-offs, one involving missing a bridge around a blind corner and sticking the bike in the mud in the river. (Technically not a crash then?) None were serious, but it's good to keep in mind that on a long day of mostly gravel, it's good to keep your wits about you. All the best & wish I were there!
Dan McPherson
Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 02:26

"Estancia La Angostura", correcting my message above.
Rudi Sperlich
Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 19:07

Wir verfolgen eure tollen Erlebnisse und wünschen weiterhin gutes Gelingen !
Gudrun
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 22:30

Lieber Manuel, danke für die Dokumantation dieser Reise, so kann ich wenigstens ein bisschen mit euch mitfahren.
Ich könnte heulen, weil ich ausgefallen bin
Schöne Reise weiterhin und Grüße an das Team
Gudrun
Manuel Marabese
Monday, November 26, 2018 at 20:29

Liebe Gudun,
schade, dass du nicht dabei bist. Wir werden ganz viele Bilder für den Blog machen, damit du ein bisschen die Tour folgen kannst.
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 18:09

Hey Manuel
Wünsche Dir ganz viel Spass und dass Du wieder gesund zurück kommst ! Werde den Block verfolgen und Erinnerungen wach rufen!
Ganz liebe Grüsse auch an Christian
Gaby
Manuel Marabese
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 20:59

Liebe Gaby danke dir! Liebe Grüße zurück
Dieter
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 17:38

Hi Manuel,

great pictures - wonderful landscape - have fun --

all the best
Dieter
Manuel Marabese
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 20:58

Thank you Dieter!!

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