On the morning of April 25th I packed up my bike one last time, said goodbye to my wonderful hosts, and set off for my final stop… Bahia Lapataia.
The drive to the bay is only about 30 from the city of Ushuaia. I took my time and tried to soak it all in. Again, the fall colors were beautiful.
Ha… I didn’t really give this video much thought. I basically just arrived, parked the bike, sat my helmet on the ground with the camera on top and started recording.
Ruta 3 ends at this sign. From there it is a three-minute walk down a small footpath to the water’s edge.
I spent about 30 or 40 minutes hooting and hollering, walking around, and snapping photos. I couldn’t stay long, though. It was already almost noon and I was planning to make it back to Punta Arenas before midnight in order to sell the bike there in the morning.
I made it back to Ushuaia a little after noon, filled up on gas, and waited in line at the post office for almost an hour just to mail out a few post cards. By the time I finally left town it was almost 2pm and it had started to snow.
The ride back to Punta Arenas was long. After completing the border crossing, the sun set which left me in complete darkness as I took 2-3 hours to navigate the dirt track in a steady mix of rain and sleet. I reached the Strait of Magellan just in time to catch the 9:30pm ferry to the mainland. I must have looked pretty weary because the ship’s crew told me not to worry about paying the crossing fee… which was good because I didn’t have the cash anyway.
Once on the other side, the rain stopped and the pavement started. I was feeling good. I had reached my goal in the morning, and after a long battle of a day, it looked like I was going to make it to Punta Arenas with the bike in good enough shape to sell to my potential buyer.
And then I ran out of gas.
I had tried to keep a close eye on the tank. I knew it would be close, but I thought the ol’ burro could squeeze out the last few miles. After more than 12 hours on the bike… and about 30 kms outside of Punta Arenas, the bike died and I coasted to the shoulder. I left my lights on and waited for a car to pass. About five minutes had passed when I saw some lights off in the distance, the were coming my way. I positioned myself in the glow of my headlight and waved down the vehicle as it passed.
It was a taxi. The driver told me that there was a police station just 5 kms up the road. He had a tow cable in his trunk and after he had attached one end to his car, I held the other end in my hand as he sat off slowly down the road. I don’t know if he got impatient or just forgot I was being towed behind, but at one point I looked down and we were doing almost 25 mph! The bike became extremely unstable, and after nearly loosing control several times, I let go and coasted the remaining distance to the station.
The officer on duty informed me that they didn’t have any spare gas on hand but said I could keep my bike in the garage and come to retrieve it in the morning. The taxi driver offered to give me a lift into town. I took them both up on their respective offers, and around 1am I finally arrived at my host’s house in Punta Arenas. Lalo was still up, he had started to worry and was relieved to see me. After chatting for a bit, I went straight to bed. While it wasn’t the most glorious finish… I had made it!
Now… to sell the bike.