After only a few minutes but for what at the time seemed like hours, we reached the crest of the mountain. Snow continued to fall but still did not accumulate on the surface of the road. We were quite thankful that as we descended, the snow turned rain and the temperature turned from freezing to merely uncomfortably cold. But we did count our blessings as a motorcycle trip down a snow-covered twisting mountain road would have been foolish endeavor.
We continued down the mountain in rain and by the time we reached its base, we were ready for some fuel, a respite from the weather and a dry warm place. Onward we traveled in the rain on good paved road until we reached the crossroads town of Tolhuin. There at a four corners stop was a gas station and even a mini-mart of sorts. Bravo! Time for a break.
We quickly parked up the bikes, bought some fuel and headed directly to the mini-mart. Inside were all the accoutrements that you’d normally find in such a place. Maps, oil, a small assortment of dry groceries, trinkets for bored traveling children and soft drinks. As we marched around the place in our dripping rainsuits, Kim strolled over to the cooler to look for a Coke. Ultimately she did find it, but she also found a can of liquid refreshment the likes of which we’d never seen.
In a slim white and pink can decorated with a big pink heart, there it was. Our first sighting of can of; “Mr. Love”! Advertised as pheromone enhanced, it was supposedly an aphrodisiac drink. Wow, and to think, I wasted all that energy courting and being nice to Kim all these years. All this time, the answer was actually in a can near the tip of South America. The things you learn on a trip to the end of the world! Although we didn’t purchase any of the drink, it did make for a good picture and we snapped several as the amused (or not so amused) attendant watched.
By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.
We drank our drinks, dried off and warmed ourselves up in the free warmth of the mini-mart. But it was time to get moving and after about a 30 minute stop, we got back on the bikes and making our way towards the southernmost city in the world; Ushuaia. Luck was with us and the rain gods decided to have some pity on our souls and ceased unleashing their moist and chilly droplets onto us. As we rode on, pavement started to dry. Our spirits began to rise as the rain ceased; it was a perfect antithesis. For as the falling droplets diminished, our spirits rose to meet and eventually surpass the cold and misery that had been deposited on us. We were almost there; Ushuaia. And it was only a couple of hours ride away.
Before we knew it, the road was completely dry and took on a smooth flowing and curving demeanor. It wandered through forests and along streams that meandered beside the mountains which had guided the rushing water along its current path. Shots of sunlight occasionally burst from the clouds above, seeming like nature’s own camera, taking flash pictures of motorcyclists wending their way southward.
And then the realization hit me. We were almost there and nearing the end of our journey. This had been a wonderful trip. One that I will never forget. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to have made this ride, but the joys, challenges and excitement were nearing their conclusion.
So it was at this time that I had an experience that I had never had before. Simultaneously, I was overjoyed but also sad to be near the point of tears. Exultation ran through me as I knew that we had made this trip, enjoyed it, its sometimes challenges and all the people we had met to its fullest. But at the same time I was extremely sad. I felt as though I was experiencing a personal loss. The loss of the continuing journey and the loss of all the first time experiences we had encountered. It was a very strange emotion and not one that I’ll ever forget.
I suppose that many “travelers” experience this feeling at the end of their journey. But it was the first time for me and I can tell you that the feeling was as intense as many other firsts you will experience in your life. This feeling I would wager, is the kind of feeling that keeps “adventure motorcyclists” or any other kind of traveler, wanting more.
So as we rode the final few miles to Ushuia, it was very quiet on the comms between Kim and I. I think we were both experiencing the joy and sorrow of completing what was such a wonderful journey together. I would have it no other way, since for me sharing these experiences especially with someone you love, is something that can never be matched.
Emotions in check, I now sprinted on the twisty road towards Ushuaia. Before we knew it we were there. Approaching a stop sign at the end of the woods stood a 15 foot tall stone and wooden sign. At its side large letters proclaimed the location’s name. Hand carved in the wood and painted gold was the word “Ushuaia”. Additional boards jutted from the side of the masonry and rock exclaiming in hand carved letters “Bienvenidos A La Ciudad Mas Austral Del Mundo”; “Welcome to the Most Southerly City in the World”. We had made it.
It was time for some pictures and a celebration of sorts so we parked our bikes and set out to take some souvenir photos. Now I was elated. We had made it and enjoyed every minute. There we were standing in front of the evidence. There was nothing more than joy. No sorrow could be found, it was just pure joy. Pictures taken and hugs made, it was time to get to our hotel in the city. We had little time before we would fly home and we wanted to take the time to see what Ushuaia had to offer and of course, ride to the end of the furthest south road on the planet. We’ll take you there in the next chapter.
Ride 2 Adventure – Shrink the Planet One Ride At A Time