My workbench

My workbench

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

rt 3 to the End of the World

RT 3 is the road to the end of the world.  Alex, my current travel partner, and I picked up the road where we met in Bahia Blanca, and immediately began hitching south.  Rides ranged from single men driving a personal vehicle to long-haul truckers with their entire family crammed into the cab.  Our first destination was Puerto Madryn and the national park directly north, a beautiful peninsula with a mix of windy desert beaches and abundant wildlife.  A late evening hitching in found us camped at a gas station, though we had no trouble in the morning thumbing into the park.

Upon arrival, we wandered around the sole small town of Puerto Pyramides, eventually dropping our bags at a local gas station and preparing for an adventure.  It was a little after noon, and we headed back out the road to attempt to hitch the one long road encircling the peninsula.  Our luck held out, and with one short lift up to an intersection, a wonderful couple on holiday from  Buenos Aires stopped to pick us up, and drove us all around the park for the day.  While windy, we saw Elephant Seals, sea lions, Magellanic penguins, Guaranchos (sp?), sheep, foxes, and other small animals.  Alex had her heart set on Orcas, but none made an appearance.  We eventually hitched back to town, picked up our bags, and, with daylight fading, managed to hitch a ride to a nearby beach which was known for free camping.  We humped our gear behind a nearby dune and hunked down for the night.

The next day was overcast and windy, and we spend a bit of time mulling over what to do.  We decided to go for (what I thought was going to be) a short walk, out to the nearby point.  I walked barefoot, figuring that we would only be out a short while.  Naturally, we ended up walking a dozen or so kilometeres back into town.  There was a lot of sand, but plenty of rock, mud, and broken shells scattered about.  I
made it without incident, though swore i would not make that mistake again.  Once again purchasing food in town, we hitched back to our beach at sunset and cooked dinner in our little beachside camp.

Our final day in the park gave us quite the scare of a storm which never materialized.  Nonetheless, we hastened to break camp and hitch out, once again rejoining Rt 33 to the south.

The hitch south was fast, furious, and constant, with no real stopping for nearly 48 hours.  Cars, trucks, semi-trailers all seemed to stop, giving us lifts further down the road. We crossed the Chilean border, walking on to a ferry in Chile to get us down to the southernmost point.  We met a gentleman on the boat who offered us a lift all the way to Ushuia, some four hundred Km down the road.  Pavement gave way to dirt road, which his souped-up pickup handled with ease.  Near midnight we crossed back into Argentina, and by two AM we were in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, the end of the world.

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