Tierra del Fuego

March 24th, 2007 by David
Descending into Ushuaia

   I found biking across the island of Tierra del Fuego both more scenic and easier than I had expected, as strong tailwinds pushed me across wide plains and then mountainous forest. However, I found that my head was spinning most of the way, as I contemplated finishing the trip. For the past year and a half, I have said that I was headed to Ushuaia, Argentina’s most southern city, and, as I approached the city, I kept asking myself why it was that I was biking there.

   Indeed, my actual experience in Ushuaia was fairly unsuccessful. I tried to visit a school, but when I saw the teachers marching in the street demanding a pay increase, I learned that school was temporarily not in session. I tried to stay at the fire station in town (I have stayed at over 35 fire stations on this trip), but was turned down because so many travelers come to this city that the firefighters had to stop letting people stay with them. I found myself unable mentally to go to the media (although I did talk to a few people about global warming – all of whom confirmed that there is less snow in this area than decades past). I decided that this could not really be the end.

Route J, South America's southern most road.

   I looked on my map and found that there was a road that traveled a bit further south. ‘Route J’ curves southeast around Tierra del Fuego’s southern end, and it looked to me like the furthest south road in South America. Traveling two more days, I biked down this one lane dirt road to see where it led.

   At the end, I found a building overlooking the entrance to the Beagle Channel, where Cesar, Juan, and Eduardo were working for the Argentine coast guard monitored ships coming to and from Ushuaia. Cesar and I looked at the large nautical map on the wall, and confirmed that this was indeed as far south as I could bike.

Eduardo, Juan, and Cesar at the end of Route J, working for the Argentine Coast Guard
The furthest south point you can reach by bicycle.  Cabo Jorge Eduardo Lopez, overlooking the entrance to the Beagle Channel.

   They shared with me some lemonade and explained how they communicate with ships that come through the channel. I went ouside and took some pictures overlooking the water, and accepted that this was really the end of Ride for Climate The Americas. A pickup truck soon came by the building to drop off supplies, and, as it left, offered me a ride. It was only the third car I had seen on this stretch of road that day, so I accepted and left.

   I am now back in Ushuaia trying to find somewhere to take a shower (again not being very successful) before leaving in a few hours for Buenos Aires. It is still quite difficult to realize that I am here, and that this trip is truly over. I hope to write a few more thoughts on this trip, including final thoughts on global warming in Latin America, when I reach Buenos Aires in a few days.

One Response to “Tierra del Fuego”

  1. Una lástima las dificultades de Ushuaia, y veo que el final de la expedición fue algo impactante emocionalmente. Supongo que este tipo de aventuras siempre son así al final.
    Espero que hayas cumplido tus expectativas al respecto. Si esto que has hecho, resulta en algún libro, película o cualquier otro proyecto, no dejes deo contarnos, que a mi revista le interesa tu obra. De hecho, tal como te dije en Enero, haremos una brevísima reseña de tu sitio web en la edición de Abril.
    Un abrazo y mucha suerte.
    El sitio web nuestro está caído por algunos días.

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