Day 30 Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande

 

Next to our last day of travel – short by comparison to others – only 378 kilometers. That having been said, we also have two borders to cross (Argentina into Chile and then Chile back into Argentina), a ferry across the Strait of Magellan and, our favorite, a Jogularity Test. The good news was the Test was canceled because of bad road conditions – since when did that matter?

We had one small matter to clear up before leaving Hotel Patagonia. Last evening, the manager of the hotel, Mr. Alec Quinn, had been kind enough to exchange some money for us just in case we had problems. He explained he could only give us the official exchange rate (5.05) as opposed to the open market rate which had gone over 8 to 1. Apparently, their IRS makes it very difficult for a hotel to perform this function and Alec had to phone the owner to get permission to accommodate the request. Alec returned, handed me Argentinean Pesos which I simple put in my pocket and thanked him for his efforts. Never thought to count or even look at the money until this morning when I discovered he had been kind enough to give us twice the amount due us. When we met in the morning to return the extra money, Alec joked that he had actually given us a great exchange rate – better than the open market. What a very nice man.

The land here is flat so one landscape picture will do for the entire morning.

 

Now on to the first border crossing, Argentina into Chile. This was particularly easy as both exit and entry checking was done at the same facility and we were in and out quickly.

 

This good looking guy was on break but ready to go back to work when called.

 

These are sniffer dogs and are trained to locate drugs or other contraband in vehicles crossing the border. After a thorough search of the car, I asked the officer if I could pat the dog. Typical Lab, we were best friends in a few seconds, ears scratched, pats and a tummy rub.

 

Oil is a big industry this far south in Argentina and these are walking beam pumps running the wells.

 

No idea what they were doing in this facility but they are not short on industry here.

 

Waiting for the ferry to cross the Strait of Magellan – yes it was very windy and the water quite rough.

 

This little fellow must have been the official greeter – he looked right at home.

 

They have their own lighthouse here on the Eastern (Atlantic Ocean) end of the Strait.

 

This marker had something to do with the Spanish Armada at this location back in 1898 – a quiz for all those fluent in Spanish.

 

While we waited, another local “pet” appeared – he was very good at begging. Like Lloyd said, “Why eat grass when cars hand out all sorts of delicious treats”.

 

The first of two ferries inbound to discharge passengers and vehicles. If it looks a little rough, it was.

 

Loading was simple – pull the boat right up to shore, drop the gate and drive right on.

 

The seas were a little disturbed – the picture doesn’t begin to fully describe what was happening …

 

Looking west out the Strait of Magellan – big water.

 

The bridge on this 250 foot ship with a 50 foot beam built in 2011 – quite a seaworthy craft.

 

I knew Lloyd had been trying to get rid of me ever since I screwed us up in the Jogularity “stuff” and thought he saw his chance – not so fast Lloyd, I have a good hold on the rail. Better luck next time.

 

The arrival point on the Tierra del Fuego side …

 

Perhaps a quick primmer on Tierra del Fuego would be helpful, Tierra del Fuego, Spanish for “Fireland” or “Land of Fire” is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of 48,100 km2 (18,572 sq mi), and a group of many islands including Cape Horn and Diego Ramírez Islands. While initially discovered by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition in 1520, it was not settled by people of European descent until the second half of the 19th century at the height of the sheep farming and gold rush booms. Today, petroleum extraction dominates economic activity in the north of Tierra del Fuego, while tourism, manufacturing and Antarctic logistics are important in the south.

 

This is not a great map to explain why one must go back and forth between Argentina and Chile but you can consult one that would be easier to read. Apparently, one of the Popes determine the borders which were in dispute at the time but it must have been after serving several communications as the lines make little sense.


 

Once again, a single photograph describes the entire landscape – we never saw a single tree and the wind certainly blows!

 

On to the next border – Chile back into Argentina. Yes, that is one of our companions up front where they usually are, Andreas Pohl and Robert Peil from Germany who drive a 1962 Mercedes 220 SE. The sign on the fender reads “I am Wilhelm” and comes complete with a blue flashing light and a siren – these guys are characters!

 

A nice welcoming …

 

That is the Atlantic Ocean back there on the horizon and the white lines are indeed waves breaking.

 

Our resting place for the evening – yes it is quite grand even though the town is far less so. This must be where the oil executives stay when visiting the area.

 

That’s it for today, last travel day tomorrow so we might just to have a little celebration tonight.

 

 

 

 

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5 Responses to Day 30 Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande

  1. Penny Dowen says:

    Good morning to you both So Sad to be so close to the end,I hope you had a little celebration in preparation for the final push to the finish line.You boys have certainly done it in style and allowed the rest of us to read and to dream!
    I look forward to reading your final blog and wish that it wasn’t coming to an end.
    Best wishes Penny UK

  2. Jim Hope says:

    Actually, Armada de Chile means: Chilean Navy and Faro is lighthouse. Therefore, my best guess is that this is:
    “Chilean Naval Lighthouse at Punta Delgada on the Primera Angostura Sound at the Strait of Magellan established in 1898…….

  3. Chad says:

    Congratulations on nearly completing another amazing journey. You have been missed. Be safe on your last day

  4. The “Land of Fire” seems a rather desolate spot. Many of us who follow you are wishing your trip ends in a grand tropical setting, replete with dancing girls and champagne. You have certainly earned it.

  5. Jorge Cifuentes says:

    It seems that the older cars have made it better than the newer ones; those Bentleys are incredible!

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