Thanks to the generosity and Trip Reporting of Mark Larson, we get to see the rest of what happened on Mark and Joe's self-guided Patagonia trip from earlier this year.
See below and notice again how motorcycle travelers are treated amongst the people of South America. From Ushuaia to Colombia and everywhere in between, we routinely find that the helpful nature of people in these countries and their attitudes toward motorcycle travelers keeps us all coming back for more. We know this is the case as we continue to get repeat customers!
"After a good dinner at the hosteria, and spending some quality time with the very funny owners, Joe and I headed down to Ushuaia, at the very tip of Tierra del Fuego. Two observations of note: (1) I had the impression that the trip to Ushuaia was mediocre compared to the rest of the trip and merely a check-the-box kind of thing. But both Joe and I were very pleasantly surprised. Anibal had told me about a much better road on the way to the border crossing at San Sebastien. It took us off the main, washboarded ripio where trucks and buses travel and onto a series of country roads through China Creek. The packed-dirt road was very fun to ride and the views of the rolling hills of the pampas of Tierra del Fuego were quite lovely (I've found that I really quite like the big-sky feel of the pampas, especially with large, puffy clouds overhead creating textures of light and shadow). (2) The fast, curvy run on the pavement over Garibaldi Pass is quite fun and the mountain views near Ushuaia better than I expected.
After our stay at the nice hosteria in Ushuaia, we headed out to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Our favorite stop was at Bahia Ensenada, where the southernmost post office in the Western Hemisphere is situated on a small pier. We hit it off with the postmaster and he took us to the end of the pier to watch him feed his "pollos" (hawks) and regaled us with gifts of small sampler bottles of Jameson whiskey -- with his picture on the back -- and various decals. After the obligatory visit to the famous sign in Lapataia, and a couple of small hikes, we headed back over Garibaldi Pass to Rio Grande.
Of note was our rock-star treatment in Rio Grande. During the entire trip, with very few exceptions, we had dealt with remarkably nice people who were willing to help out at every turn. And they all seem to be intrigued by motorcyclists (especially on big BMWs). But, in Rio Grande, it reached a new level. Joe inadvertently cut in front of a long line of cars waiting for gas. Rather than get upset, the locals took it completely in stride. And, then, the attendant opened up a new pump just for us and had us skip past several other cars. Royalty . . . .
Joe and I left Hosteria Posada de los Sauces under heavy clouds, drizzle and some modest, but cold, cross winds. It was our first inclement weather of the trip and came on the last day of the planned itinerary when we were merely backtracking to Punta Arenas. But, as luck would have it, the rain stopped and the sun broke through for our quick run through the China Creek series of roads. And the detour was just as enjoyable as the first time. We simply could not have been more fortunate in terms of weather during the entire trip. After a great lunch with our friends at Hosteria Tunkelen, we headed through the increasing winds, blowing out of the east at 30-50 kms/hour, to the ferry and Punta Arenas. After the ferry crossing, the wind was at our backs and we made good time to Gobernador Philipi. There, at about 4:30 pm, Joe and I again decided to split ways, with him returning to Punta Arenas and me making a final gambit to see Torres del Paine -- which I have always wanted to see but missed earlier because of the mechanical problems. It was a big risk, because I had a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time -- I had to be back in Punta Arenas by 1:00 pm the following day -- and the weather forecasts called for nothing but clouds and rain in the park for that evening and the following day. But who knows when I would have another opportunity like this? I raced up to Puerto Natales in the cold and drizzle and, amazingly, had the clouds break just as I arrived. After a quick consult with a tourist office, I decide to head into the park, without knowing exactly where I would spend the night or whether I would be able to see anything once I arrived. The bottom line is that the risk paid off. Not only was I able to see the famous cuernos in the late evening light, but I was able to find a nice place to stay in Rio Serrano (where the owners had mercy on me and offered to let me eat at their restaurant for free).
To top it off, I was rewarded with absolutely stunning views in the morning. I woke up just before dawn to find the whole area socked in by fog. But I decided to drive back in to the Lago Pehoe area anyway. And, as has been the case the whole trip, the weather gods looked down upon me favorably. As I approached Lago Pehoe, the fog dissipated and Torres del Paine revealed itself, encircled by a wreath of low-lying clouds. Absolutely breath-taking. After taking scores of photos, I arrived at the witching hour of 9:00 am and had to make a beeline for Punta Arenas. It was a phenomenal way to end a spectacular trip . . . ."
So in the end, Mark was able to see "The Horns" of Torres del Paine National Park afterall! What a whirlwind adventure, from perfect weather to inadvertent bike damage and last-minute opportunities to circle back and see this absolute highlight.
Please remember: Guided motorcycle tours aren't necessary to have an adventure like this one. In some ways, you could say that Mark had a more "complete" adventure by needing to work through a few problems he encountered along the way. So please don't prices you see on trips like the "Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia!" tour scare you away. If you'd rather save some money and 'go it alone,' Contact Us so we can help!