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Tour Panamericana






El Salvador



Costa Rica







(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 on.

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 force.

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 loose it...

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 Mc Fitzroy.
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 miles.(Pic 0735)

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 for vegetarians.

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.

Rasmus Reuter