Wednesday, 21 January 2009

the end of the world - Ushuaia - job done

That big ridiculous grin above, isnt relief, joy or an outlet of feelings of grand achievement. no, its a ridiculous grin of disbelief with some sort of half acknowledged joy. 10 miles outside my final destination, the end of the road, the end of the trip. the southern most city on earth, ushuaia, my bike completely shut down, with a choking slapping sound of a voice, " NO MORE MILES MAN !". 10 miles left out of 22000 miles. i slowed down to stop for a picture and she just died. its serious im sure. i pushed the bike up a hill surrounded by the incredible tierra del fuego landscape and then hoped to bump start the thing. it worked, i rode out those 10 last miles at 20mph with the engine straining at high revs and making horredous sounds of scraping metal, and the sound of all things inside loose. some might say, im lucky again to have broken down so close, i agree. also an added drama to a story (which i could do without)... the problem now is how to get myself out of argentina, legally with customs stamping the bike out. anyway, enough of all that. southern patagonia is spectacular.

el chalten (above) is a tiny argentine patagonian resort, tucked into the shadows of mount fitzroy. this valley is silent , except for the howling wind and the sound of tapping rain. from here, its south down to the torres del paine, national park on the chilean side of patagonia. this is an area contradicting the rest of northern patagonia. here is where the vast nothing,becomes the rugged jagged mountains , twsiting roads heading higher, turquoise lakes, something. dont get me wrong, i loved riding through nothing , except fields and big skies. but this is where a man can sit in awe for hours,grinning and imagining.

in the shadows of a hidden fitroy. argentina

trees grow at angles everywhere. the relentless wind makes sure of that.

el chalten

the ends of ruta 40. still not a twist in gravel insight. but shapes on the horizon.

entering torres del paine, chile

the famous torres peaks. atmospheric again. waking up to this with no one around is something i can never forget.

patagonian pumas are a ferocious foe. rarely seen by man. this puma i tamed after he knawed on my ear lobe for 10 minutes.

the modern day is everywhere down here, but the old days are also everywhere. it has a 100 year old feel to it inside and out.

gypsy siggs

guanaco adult. big brown eyes and jaws of a camel.

nearing tierra del fuego. the magellan strait became visible. the excitement was gaining on me here. i still cant get over the fact of making it this far. money and time , well with desire also, are all thats needed. anyone can do this. A storm came in as quick as it left on the strait, pulling the clouds into all sorts of original shapes to me. really did seem like the ends of the earth. its cold and the wind gets stronger. on one side of tierra del fuego , to the east - strange rays glowed from the horizon, as clear as day light. at first i thought, "oh it must be the sun", then i dimmly realised the sun was setting on the other side of the world. and the rays were running from thin on the landside to wide on the sky side. ?????

puerto natales, chile

this could be alaska

crossing to tierra del fuego was a small ferry. the whole area hasnt moved in years. small villages just sit there with no inhabitants left. all windows smashed. just the wind left. a lonesome atmosphere. beautiful.

tierra del fuego

ushuaia. its all finished. the only thing left is to find a way home.


tierra del fuego. heading south


1 comment:

shanepatrickwrites said...

nice work, simon. bummer about the bike blowing up but in lots of poetic ways, it's better.