(Ruta 40 - Calafate - Ushuaia)
Riding the Ruta 40 down South
[March 18, 2005] The luck is on my side, bright blue sky,
faszinating nature and friendly border staff, that´s
what I need for my final days of the trip. And with high spirits
I arrive and the famous-infamous Ruta 40 in Patagonia. It´s
wide dirtroad - ripio- with deep gravel, but good to ride
I even can fly with 65mph over the piste, but finally the
thoughts of safety win and I stay overnight in a nice Estancia
close to a Laguna. And then the thunderstorms hit us, brutal
rain and winds. I am not bothered at all while enjoying my
steak and a good wine. On the next morning the sky is clear,
but the winds are strong. And now the Ruta 40 shows me it´s
teeth, the gravel being heavy and wet, the tracks deep and
muddy. And the brutal winds from the right side, great! I
cannot go faster than 10 or 15mph. And I change the name of
the road from Ruta into Puta... Some of you will understand
this and me. Here´s nothing but some sheep, wind and
wind and more wind.
I have to wait some hours until the sun has dried the road
tracks. Then I finally can use the dry day and throttle up.
After 2 days I arrive in El Calafate, sadly a tourist town
only living from the tourism to the glaciers and the national
parks. Somehow sad once you think of the lonelyness and beauty
of the North.
The glacier really pays back, the scenery is once more stunning
and the sounds of the cracking ice is thrilling.
I relax for 2 more days in the town with all it´s luxury
and beef and wine. Not a bad life, but then again I am getting
nervous and am heading South.
The temperatures are now around Zero Celcius and the winds
now come from the left, for a change, but with the same brutal
With a small ferry I cross the Street of Magellan, a superb
feeling and great moment for me. I have finally arrived in
Tierra del Fuego, the end of the world...
For the final 300 miles the nature changes once more, now
again with trees, forests and mountains showing their white
caps of snow and ice. I don´t feel the cold anymore,
the adrenaline being on full push. And then the sun comes
out and joins me for the last 40 miles while I think of all
the parts of the journey, the preparation time, all the experiences
and the persons I was so lucky to meet and to make friends.
I pass one last mountain and arrive after 37600 km or 22000
miles finally in Ushuaia, my destination. I am superproud
and happy of what I have achieved, but also get a feeling
of sadness realizing the end of this trip.
After 2 days of celebration and relaxing I know start to
think more of the future. How and where to continue? I am
not sure, but I will head for Buenos Aires to study more and
intensive the language. It is a faszinating continent and
I will explore it more. When? No idea, but I could live here.
Hasta la proxima, Freunde,
Looking forward to meet you all again
Rasmus, now made it to his final destination Ushuaia
Leaving Ushuaia through the Pampa
to Buenos Aires
[May 1, 2005] The weather is rapidly getting worse, quite
normal for that time of year here in the South. The temperature
drops below 32 F at night, the days are full of rain and the
mountains around are covered with light snow. I have to go
north, if I want to avoid the brutal storms of autumn. And
so I leave Ushuaia after 4 days but am full of good sprits
and the warm feeling of the victory.
In Rio Grande I meet Patrick from Quebec, Canada. We both
decide to take another route to Torres del Paine, the mountain
park in Chile. But this time we will take the backroads...
I exchange the tires to pure motorcross tread, give the bike
a big service and off we go on dirtroads to the boarder. There
is no official crossing, but we manage to get our passports
stamped. Why are there no people crossing here? Well, the
river is deep, there is no bridge and the boarder guards cannot
remember having seen a motorbike here ever... Great, sounds
like Bolivia to me.
So we throttle up, cross the rivers and are in Chile. And
from there we pass through a deserted area of Tierra del Fuego
at the very end of the world to the Strait of Magellan crossing
over to Punta Arenas. The road to the Torres del Paine park
is paved and seems easy, but brutal winds over 40 mph from
the sides make driving and handling the bike an adventure.
Sometimes I cannot go faster that 20mph, unless I like to
Finally we arrive at the park and the mountains, the winds
ease and the landscape changes with rivers, lakes and trees.
And we get to see the magnificent Torres, the towers that
stand skyhigh in the area. Magnificient, but sad that wild
fires have destroyed a large part of the park.
After a night in the clear sky of Patagonia strong winds
wake us, a clear call to leave quickly. Only 2 hours later
it begins to snow, we speed up, cross the boarder again and
ride the ruta 40 northbound. Patrick wants to see the glaciers
Perito Moreno, I continue to Chalten and the mountains of
But just 20 miles out of Chalten my rear wheel bearings break.
Well, I force the KTM to Chalten and disessemble the wheel.
Luckily I can organize the standardparts until Good Friday.
Tranquillo, I enjoy the good weather and the mountain park,
another amazing area.
And then I continue the trip via the Ruta 40 and 39 heading
North, for almost 3 days I pass the deserted area in the Pampa,
no lakes, trees or green, just service stations every 200
Abandoned farms and dried-out lakes are the landscape until
I finally reach the Atlanic ocean. And from there on another
1200 miles is more or less the same picture, a nice Pampa
with lots of nothing...
Buenos Aires is a city full of live, great town with parties
and also showing the opposite. After the devaluation of the
Pesos many Argentinians have lost lots of money and live close
to poverty. One can see these signs everywhere, old cars are
running, the once so beautiful buildings of the 19th century
are run down and there is no money for the restoration. Only
the people do not show it, they go on and party and live that
but with the minimum available.
Argentinia, a proud and former rich country, but a nightmare
What summary to write?
Its hard to sum up, too intensive have been the experiences
of that year.
I always get asked, what where the strongest impressions?
The lonelyness in the deserts, the nature in the forests,
mountains, the colors on our planet and over all of that the
friendlyness of people in the poorest parts of America. They
did not have much but were open to share it all with me, the
Extranjero, the Stranger.
And that I do reflect all the days now, that we live such
a good life in Europe. We do not really have problems, we
have everything and even of that a great surplus...
Now its time to say good bye from my travel partners, you
readers of the newsletters and of a fazcinating trip.
I am planning my way home, deciding on my business future
and other trips. Yes, this faszination I will continue in
other countries. When and where I do not know today.
And then we will meet again,
Solong and thanks for joining me on my Panamericana.