The calm waves of the Strait of Megellan provided an easy ferry crossing, and we figured that with such good weather, there was no reason not to ride. So, each of our two wheels continued to chase the sun to the end of the earth, el fin de mundo. Riding 300-mile (500km) days were the norm… we mounted our bikes shortly after the sun rose, and continued until just after it set, using the last of its dusk to set up our wild camps. Excitement fueled our spirits across the gravel roads of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, knowing the end time was near, as was our goal of reaching as south as the road south goes.
On March 8, 2013, Deb and I, with smiles brighter than the sky, finally reached the orange sign with white letters that read: Ushuaia. We made it to this landmark, a shabby little port city, emphasized in greatness by motorcyclists and bicyclist alike, as the ultimate destination to end a journey.
As grey skies broke with dots of blue, and the light snow-flakes sprinkled on us while we rode through the last mountain pass were long dried, we parked our bikes at a hostel, agreeing it was too cold to camp. Besides we wanted to treat ourselves to a delicious (and expensive) dinner in town since a little bit of celebration was in order… we had reached the end of the world!
Our one full day in Ushuaia was spent playing tourist on a boat exploring the Beagle Channel. We wanted to see Penguins. Dreams of cruises to Antarctica prevailed, even as our faces froze with the cold winds on the catamaran, but realized that excursion would have to wait for another time.
Early the next morning, we headed to Tierra del Fuego National Park to visit the sign at the end of Ruta 3, where it really is the end of the road. It was not until I read the line – Alaska 17,848km – that I felt the completion of this accomplishment. I had ridden from tip to tip. Even though I took that distance over the course two journeys in two years, with miles accumulating far beyond that number, I have ridden all that way. Tears welled in my eyes, as they do now just recounting the occasion.
Deb and I, both originating on solo journeys, triumphing over individual trials and tribulations, had made it there on our own. Yet we also found an appreciation to have someone there to celebrate with. We jumped up and down in joy and gave each other a hug, so proud, that we did it!
: End of the Road:
From beginning to end: a tribute to those I met along the way and their photos at the sign at the end of the road.