T – Well the weather forecast was pretty dismal for the next week or so. Snow, sleet and rain. Yuk!
We were up before dawn today to get an early start and get to the Argentina border to the east of us where we could then continue south for the last leg into Ushuaia.
We were greeted by snow and ice covering the bikes outside and a world covered in a blanket of cold white. Snow had come over night.
C – It was icy cold outside and we could hear sleet hitting the windows whilst we ate breakfast. After checking the forecasts, we figured there is no point hanging about waiting for a nice day. It just does not look like it is coming this way on Tierra del Fuego. The forecast all the way to Ushuaia is around 0 degrees with snow. Nothing for it but to get out there and get the miles done.
T – We gave the bikes a warm up and then slowly slipped and slid down the icy street and headed on out of town. Once we hit the dirt road that we would have to take for the next 100kms the slippery stuff eased of a bit and we were able to cruise along at 50km/hr.
There was a slight dusting of snow on the road and everything looked so so so pretty! While ahead of us dark clouds filled the sky from east to west with no break in the thundery looking mass at all. Looked a hell of a lot like we were going to get rained on very shortly.
C – The ride started out quite ok. A bit slow because of the surface, but we knew we could get through it in 2 hours and although it was really cold, it was not the coldest we have ridden in since Puerto Natales.
T – Except we didn’t get rained on. Not in the sense that we know anyway. Instead it started to snow. Fat white flakes drifted down around us. Then it got heavier and heavier and the wind soon picked up. Our bikes were being flung sideways across the dirt and soon our visibility dropped to nothing and our speed slowed to under 20 km/hr. It was crazy!
The temperature had plummeted and we were working hard to keep our bikes running as the moisture in the air made our poor bikes carbys freeze up inside and caused our bikes to stall out constantly.
We stopped on the side of the road. Our helmets were balls of ice and snow, our bikes were slowly building up several inches of snow on the tops and sides. Within 10 minutes there was an inch of snow on the road and the storm showed no signs of slowing down. If anything the snow was falling thicker and thicker.
C – I started to feel a little nervous, and a little bit stupid, for being out in this weather on a motorcycle. Visibility was getting so low that we could barely see the road surface at all and because it was so cold, our visors were constantly fogged up on the inside and layered in ice on the outside.
T – Now we aren’t from a place where we see snow. Ever. We could only assume this was a blizzard such as we have seen on TV. We could see maybe 10-15 mts before the world became a whiteout. Both of us started to feel a little nervous.
We sat and had a very short chat about what the hell we were doing and was it worth trying to push on to Ushuaia for this. For what really? So we could maybe make it there? So we could say we had done it? We have nothing to prove and that is not why we are doing this trip. Neither of us feel it is worth risking death in a climate we don’t understand for that.
So we decided this is as far south as we go. We made it from Adelaide to Alaska and then all the way down through the Americas to Tierra Del Fuego. With just a tad over 60 000kms in 15 months and 17 countries to date, numerous crashes one of which involved a car, one bike that caught fire, bent rims, broken spokes, busted mirrors, twisted handlebars, a surgery, 15 tyres, 4 chain and sprocket sets, 115 oil changes, and uncountable amazing interactions with incredible people, we certainly aren’t disappointed to end our southerly journey here and head back north. In fact there is some type of relief to be honest.
C – We both could’ve pushed on through the cold, no problems at all. But through thick snow, with the famous Patagonian winds constantly pushing us across the road? The risk of pushing on far outweigh the rewards of reaching Ushuaia. Our trip has never really been about a specific destination, and while this brings us closer to the end of our South American journey, it definitely is not the end of the Over Yonda adventure!
T – We turned back to the town of Porvenir and our hostal from last night where we were greeted by the owner. We decided to stay another night here and then head back over to mainland Chile and then head north into Argentina.
Our kind host informed us that had we made it the 100 kms along the dirt road to the border we would have had problems as that border crossing has just today been closed for the next two days due to bad weather. We could have potentially been stranded out there in a snow storm. We knew we had definitely made the right call when she told us that! On top of that the locals here are telling us its a bad idea to try to go further south on bikes. We listen to the locals. They know it better than us!
C – Thank goodness we turned back!
T – So the rest of the day will be spent making a new plan and trying to sort out our shipping from Buenos Aires back into North America. Do we fly into Canada and ride south, thus avoiding the chances of a Canadian winter hampering us, or do we ship into Miami?