Along Ruta 3 – from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires

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We stayed a few days in Ushuaia and visited the Tierra del Fuego National Park. We would have loved to enter the park on board the mythic End of the World train, but unfortunately its ‘End of the World prices’ did not allow us. Instead we drove to the park in our motorbike and there we made several walks. Occasionally, when the sun decided to come out, we picked a lake and lied there pretending it was summer time. When the wind stopped we could almost delude ourselves.

It was in such a quiet moment that we spotted an Andean fox having a rest in the forest and looking at us as if warning us not to abuse of our luck. We left it alone and moved on, after all we still had a glacier to climb that day…

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Andean fox at the Tierra del Fuego National Park

There is a lift to the Martial glacier, but we chose to walk and climb it. This was the right choice as we shared the path with just another couple. We had the views all for ourselves and silence was not disturbed. On top of it we couldn’t decide what was more beautiful, the glacier or the view over Ushuaia and its port.

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view of Martial glacier and Ushuaia in the background

The drive from Ushuaia to Rio Gallegos along the Ruta 3 should have been uncomplicated, the road being tarred. Unfortunately the weather decided to be averse to it. We first had to face the Fuegian Andes, where the small pass of Garibaldi decided to slow us down with a display of snow. We were unprepared for snow and low temperatures and didn’t fully appreciate this part of the trip that offered nevertheless spectacular views. We were glad to drive out of the pass and longed for the steppe that would follow it. Unfortunately, in the first kilometres of steppe we had to struggle against strong winds that seemed to punch us from all directions…

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Somewhere along the long Ruta 3

We crossed a motorbiker and, as a ritual on these ghost roads, we stopped to greet each other. We can’t quite remember if it was due to the enthusiasm of seeing another driver suffering the same adversities or the rough weather itself, we forgot to switch off the lights of the bike during this short meeting. The fact is that after wishing each other a good journey and a warning for the snow ahead of him, our bike would’t start, the battery had let us down!

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We were literally petrified. How the hell would we get out of there? Alone on the Ruta 3 having as sole companion those rough freezing winds. We knew we couldn’t wait for help. We had to keep moving before freezing. We gave it a chance and started pushing the bike with all our strenght so that the bike would get some velocity to push start the engine. Unbelievably It worked! We were out of there!

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Sea lions at the Peninsula de Valdés

After lonely days riding the eternal ruta 3, we were glad to leave the bitter cold wind behind and finally arrive at the Peninsula de Valdés, a natural reserve and world heritage site. It is the habitat of many species, such a the endangered southern right whale, the Magellanic penguins, sea lions, elephant seals and orcas. We set camp there and the following days were all about contemplation. Hundreds of elephant seals and sea lions were lying on the beach enjoying the sun. Later we found a colony of small Magellanic penguins. Even though we saw hundreds of these penguins, they are an endangered species due to human activty. We were alarmed to learn that oil spills kill thousands of penguins every year all along the coast of Argentina…

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Magellanic penguins are an endangered species

After this quiet animal sanctuary we were ready for some action, we started heading towards Buenos Aires…

 

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