After Tierra del Fuego we did not save the best for last. We have a cargo freighter to catch in Montevideo, Uruguay that will plod us all the way to Europe. So, the quick way from Ushuaia is Ruta 3. Endless, boring, and flat, the ride north was eat, sleep, ride, and repeat for ten days. Finally we reached Uruguay, exhausted and sun-bleached, but happy in the fact we would make our departure with a few days to spare. The ship had other ideas and decided to make a few unscheduled stops in West Africa. Suddenly we found ourselves with two weeks to kill in Uruguay. It was a blessing in disguise. Friendly, laidback, and summer time to boot we camped our way slowly through this small country and found many amazing places that would surely have been missed if we had actually planned an itinerary for our time here. Sometimes the best plan is no plan at all.
Our boat has finally arrived in port and we leave for Europe this evening. S&M Boiler Works is going radio silent for the next month or so, no internet on the ship. The excitement of starting the next leg of our journey has eased the sting of leaving our beloved South America. But, without a doubt, we will be back someday.
On our journey from Tierra del Fuego to Uruguay we followed the “non-fabled” Ruta 3. Between the very long days and the dull scenery comprised of thousands of miles of pampas (grass covered prairie) we found little treasures along the way to break up the monotony. As you can see, Shannon is nearly invisible in her NASA space suit as she sneaks up on a sea lion colony we spotted just off the highway.
Naptime for women and children while the males bellow and pose. Atlantic Coast, Ruta 3, Argentina.
Heading north the weather slowly changed along with the latitude and we found ourselves back into hot days and warm nights. Finally broke out the shorts and flip flops that have been buried for the last couple of months.
Free camping on a wild beach is pretty high on our list of kick-ass things to do. It was very peaceful here so we stayed for two nights and had the entire place to ourselves. Parque Valdez, Argentina.
Grass fed, free range beef is cheap and plentiful in Patagonia. I am finally able to grill like a boss after weeks of practice. The tiny grill we have been hauling since Seattle has earned its keep and has become our recent favored piece of kit.
Penguins are smelly. Parque Valdez, Argentina.
We rode out to this wind swept bay in hopes of seeing whales with their calves. No luck with the whales but the penguins were a nice consolation prize. Parque Valdez, Argentina
Parque Valdez, Argentina.
On the Rio Parana, in the far north of Argentina, the vegetation turned tropical and the river ran muddy. This river is the second longest in South America. La Paz, Argentina.
Rural Uruguay is kind of like having a road trip in Iowa: flat, agricultural, and friendly people everywhere wondering what in the hell brought foreign tourists on motorbikes here of all places. We loved it! And finding hidden gems like this made the detour to Western Uruguay worth the effort. Salto, Uruguay.
The storm raged all night. Seeing what came down around our camp was a little unnerving. San Nicanor, Uruguay.
Natural thermal springs are captured in pools at San Nicanor. Living like kings for the price of camping. San Nicanor Estancia, Salto, Uruguay.
Fisherman on the Rio de la Plata. I have no idea what kind they were but these fellows had caught some monster fish that they kept alive in onion sacks submerged in the river. Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay.
Colorful wall in the historic downtown area. Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay.
Quirky Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay.
What Uruguay lacks in natural wonders it more than makes up for with its people: warm, curious, and friendly. This trait was magnified tenfold by the local bikers we met. In camp we met this couple from Montevideo out for a long weekend on their motorcycle.
As a gesture of friendship and goodwill this member of the “sharks” M/C gave me his colors as a parting gift. It is my plan to take a photograph of his vest in every country we visit and email these back to the club in Uruguay.
Our ship to Europe is running behind schedule so we are basically killing time until we get the call. Summertime on the Atlantic Coast is definitely a splendid way to twiddle our thumbs.
We had a problem with our tent and the manufacturer sent us a replacement part in Panama. The box got held up in customs and we were unable to take delivery before catching our boat to Colombia. After changing hands a couple of times, Mick and Chris took possession and have been hauling our box for the last 7 months. We finally met up with them at a campground in Uruguay. And, guess what? The manufacturer sent the wrong part.
This is the creepiest sign we have ever seen on a butcher shop. Montevideo, Uruguay.
The Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo specializes in grilled meat of every variety. This scene was repeated dozens of times throughout this bustling arena dedicated to hard core carnivores.
Lunch at Mercado del Puerto, Montevideo, Uruguay.
While buying a new rear tire for Shannon we discovered the vintage motorcycle collection in the back room of the shop. Willi Motos, Montevideo, Uruguay.
And our parting shot of South America is a screen shot of the boat we are taking to Europe. As I write this caption we are packing the bikes and will soon head to the port and board the “Grande Nigeria”. The trip to Europe will take up to 4 weeks with stops in Brazil and West Africa.