25 February 2011

Leaving Ushuaia

The problem with Ushuaia is leaving. Ruta 3 is the only road in and out and if you have come by bicycle you will need to ride at least 300 kilometers back the way you came. To leave Tierra del Fuego from Rio Grande is at least another 200 kilometers, much of it across ripio through Chile. The fall weather has come suddenly and with it very uncertain winds and rain across the island. To go north and west will mean riding directly into a powerful wind.

I want to go to Mendoza but a flight there from Ushuaia would cost more than $700. The cheapest way to get north is through Punta Arenas. It is a large and active shipping port and I will first try to find a cargo boat to take me up the Chilean coast to Valparaiso, Chile. Should that not work out there are flights for under $200 from Punta Arenas to Santiago. From Santiago I will cycle over the Andes, back into Argentina and down into Mendoza. I will miss the vendimia--the wine festival--but it is still warm in the north and in Mendoza it does not rain. But I must first get to Punta Arenas. I leave tomorrow.


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