Day 155 Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande February 6
Our hotel room window was so close we just passed our luggage through.
One of antique pieces at the hotel
Our switch install from yesterday
Today turned out to be a pretty big day with about 350km, two border crossings and a ferry. The skies were mostly cloudy when we left the hotel but some sun was getting through to make it 17 degrees.
I almost shed some of my layers but am glad I did not because the wind is so cold. In no time we covered 70km and arrived at the border but discovered a very long line of people in the building.
It took about two hours to get through the line. This border, like many of the Argentina and Chile borders have a great system. Both the countries officials are under one roof and the stations are numbered so you know exactly which line to stand in first. It’s pretty efficient if they have enough staff to handle the volume.
We got back on the bikes in the rain and this time had no inspection of our luggage. The ferry that crosses the Magellan Straight is another 55km from the border. We rode past the long line of trucks and cars at the terminal. It appeared as though the officials didn’t like our move to the front and waved at us to move over to the side.
A ferry was loading at the time but they did not allow us to board and it set sail. A few minutes later another boat arrived and again they held us back. At the last minute we got the go ahead and rode on.
Before our engines were shut off the ferry closed it’s ramp and set off across the straight. It was so windy we thought the bikes would fall over so we stayed with them for the crossing.
We reached the other side really quickly and rode off onto the Island of Tierra del Fuego without being asked to pay a fare. We talked to other travelers that say this is normal. Perhaps we pay going the other way.
Because today’s ride was right about the distance of our fuel range we needed a top up. Research told me that there is fuel at Cerro Sombrero not far after the ferry. This turned out to be correct and we bought 5000 pesos of fuel each. This being Chile, the price was almost $2 per liter so we added about 5 liters per bike.
Next we followed the advice of wise people we met way back in Susques Argentina.
They said do not take the road that shows on maps as the major road. Go south directly from Cerro Sombrero on highway 79. It was really good gravel for the most part and they are paving a section of it.
A little muddy in places today. By the way my visor did not break or fall off. I removed it because of the wind. My neck is thanking me for that decision.
There is a crossroads about 80km south of Cerro Sombrerro where we turned east and headed for the border. This border had separate facilities so we checked out of Chile and 14km later checked back into Argentina. We discovered there is fuel at the border on the Argentina side so we filled up there and were swarmed by the occupants of a tour bus.
They were thrilled to find out how long we had travelled to get here and were full of questions.
This is oil country
Can you see it? It’s the Atlantic Ocean!
80km later we were in Rio Grande.