Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Day 151: Puerto Natales to Cerro Sombrero, Chile

What a blast today! Literally! The famous winds of the ferocious fifties gave us a good smack today. We were up reasonably early for the hotel breakfast and I spent 15 minutes or so looking for the bag that my bike cover lives in. Unsuccessfully. It must have blown out during the night and then blown off down the street. Or up. Or something. The wind on the road was so fierce that I couldn't stop to take photos so I am a bit image light today.
We rode south on Ruta 9 to Morro Chico and then on down to the turn off to Ruta 255. The wind came in from the west so we were leaning hard into it with the neck muscles tensed and very now and again a little gust-induced foray to the other side of the road.

At one point we were waved over to the side of the road by the police to allow a house drive by - being trucked up the road. It was so windy that I got off Ebony and put her on the sidestand.

We stopped for coffee at a quirky little roadside cafe. It was great with great coffee as well.

Someone has an odd sense of humour.

We then turned east on 255 and for a glorious half hour or so rode with the gale right up our exhaust pipes. So to speak. We were enclosed in a cocoon of still air while riding at 110kph. I watched my engine temperature to make sure Ebony didn't overheat but she was fine. Allo Guthrie launched into the Motorcycle Song in my helmet speakers just as the quiet descended. It was kewl. But only too brief.
We turned right just before Punta Delgada and carried on to the ferry loading point. The sign on the intersection said "Tierra del Fuego." That was quite a moment.

It was pretty bleak. But there is the Strait of Magellan! Ferdinand Magellan, Thomas Cavendish, Francis Drake and now Ken Wilson with Ebony and Kiwi. What illustrious waters.

Here's a map:
While we waited, Ritchie arrived on a 1975 Honda CB500. He was something of a character.

So was his bike. It was pretty kewl really.

So was his front tyre.

Also these hard case guys. The one on the left wearing a New Zealand World Cup 2011 sweatshirt.

And the ferry.

Also this amazing sheep, obviously enthralled by the dog. I tried to get a better picture but the ferry was ready to load. Have a look at Diana's blog.

And on we went.

We were told to stay with our bikes to make sure they didn't fall over with the movement of the ferry. We didn't need to be told twice. It rather limited the view though. (Thanks Diana for the photo)

The ferry was hardly overloaded

And soon we were off

and ready to be welcomed to the province of Tierra del Fuego.

About 60kms or so then down to Cerro Sombrero with the wind punishing us again. We found a hostel and have pulled in for the night. It is quite nice too. We had lunch and refuelled and then for some reason that I can't explain, felt tired. And had a siesta. It must be contagious.
Tomorrow we hope to make Ushuaia. This will involve 120kms of gravel road so with this wind (predicted to increase!) we will be taking care. And may even stay here if it looks too bad. It will also include a border crossing. From Ushuaia we ride to Lapataia for the famous photo - the counter to this one. What a shame that Shirley will not be here to share it with me.

Today's ride: 355kms
Cumulative: 38,186kms
Tipovers: 5

Location:Cerro Sombrero, Chile

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