Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Tale of Woe and Ho,Ho,Ho

We sat around Puerto Natales for four days waiting for it to quit raining, so we could go to Torres del Paine NP, but it just wouldn't clear up.  On the fifth day we tried to leave but my battery was almost dead and  the bike ran erratically for about a mile or so then died on the road.  Back to the hostal for another night while I got the battery charged at a local auto parts store.
              If it wasn't for rain, there wouldn't be any rainbows.   Back on the road again we made it to Punta Arenas where we had to stop for the night in order to catch the ferry over the Straits of Magellin( in the background below)  We had to stay two nights because there is no ferry on Mondays.

Tuesday morning we arrive at the ferry terminal and run into Juergen, the Austrian we rode with into Puerto Natales.  His friend Andi shipped his bike in from Austria and they planned to ride together to Ushuaia, the bottom of South America.  As we know all too well, unexpected things always happen on a trip like this.  It turns out his bike was stuck on the ship because customs officials were on strike and he wouldn't be able to get it until the 23rd of Dec.( now not until 27th).  So they both hopped on Juergens bike for this leg of the ride.

           Riding onto the ferry for the two and half hour crossing to Porvenir

                          Crew tied down the bikes for us

                   Andi on left.         Juergen on the right

Unloaded and on the road it immediately turned to dirt just outside of Porvenir.  Only about 100 miles of dirt road left then it is all asphalt for the rest of the journey for us.  With views of the Straits of Magellin we make good time on the hard pack dirt road. 

That is until we are twenty miles from the Argentine border and eighty miles from the nearest town, Porvenir.  Out in the middle of nowhere, of course, my bike quit running.  I knew immediately what it was,  we played this game before near Cali, Colombia.  Yes,  my cam chain broke AGAIN!!! Did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere?!  Luckily,  Juergen went to line up a truck for us to haul the bike back to Porvenir.  You can't import a vehicle that doesn't run, so we had to go back eighty miles to Porvenir.  After two hours and the truck didn't show up,  Juergen went back to see what was up.  Eventually,  I think we were on the side of the road five hours,  the truck showed up and got us back to Porvenir.  Trust me,  they took advantage of the situation.

While waiting for the truck and having to battle the cold wind and dirt flying around we decided to make use of the spare time and take pictures.  Juergen took this picture dubbed
                                                              "The Banditos"

Back in Porvenir we grabbed a hostel and stayed two nights there, because the ferry didn't run in the other direction the next day, Wednesday.  We locked the bike in the garage at the hostal in Porvenir and Took the ferry back to Punta Arenas.  It is a much larger town and has better infrastructure and facilities.  We got the parts list together and a shipping address then emailed our ground support in the US.  thanks mom, dad and Gary at Harley Charlie's.   I tried using USPS for the shipping this time but I think that was a mistake.  Being Christmas time I think it will take longer than it should.  According to my tracking number it hasn't moved from NY for five days. So,  while waiting for parts we have nothing to do so we walk around.  The rest of these pictures are in and around Punta Arenas, Chile.

                    For $36 US you can buy a cow hoof mug to drink tea from

      Local fire station

These trees were lining the walkways at the local cemetery.  Which in itself is a tourist attraction due to the monuments that have been built there.

                                               These trees need a haircut

Back in the center of town at Plaza de Armas is this tribute to Ferdinand Magellin

The foot on this part is polished from everybody touching it while getting pictures

         At the top,  Ferdinand himself

I haven't seen very many skate parks on this trip but this one seemed like it would be a good one.

There were several motorcycle shops here but this was by far the best one.  Alejandro the owner maintains motorcycles for several moto tour companies in South America.  

He has stuff for just about any dual sport motorcycle.  Nothing for Harley's though.  But I knew that before I went in.  Which reminds me,  while in Punta Arenas I went to an auto parts store to find a battery since none of the motorcycle shop had one for a Harley.  I about fell over when he pulled out an actual Harley battery that was exact match for my bike.  I unfortunately had to buy the Chinese knockoff because I wasn't going to pay $292.00 for the Harley battery.  At least they had one....

We decided to hop on this ferry and head out to  Magdalene Isle to see the penguin reserve.

Home to 69,000 pairs of penguins and all of their offspring.  Over 200,000 penguins between October and March. They come back to the same place they were born every year to breed and have offspring.   
They take turns going out to sea for food to feed the young. So there is constant activity and shift change twice a day.

       Young penguin still has downy feathers and can't handle the cold water so the other parent goes for the food.

                The penguins mate for life,  if one dies the other usually dies alone.

  They dig these burrows to live in.  They looked to be about two feet deep at an angle.

                Barriers and rules against touching or feeding the birds

                        This was the ferry, waiting for the return trip

Jingle bells jingle bells  oh what fun it is to ride in a beat up Chevrolet

                            Lamb is the preferred dish of the holiday 



  1. Hi Steve, the pictures are so cool. I hope you had a nice birthday. Did you eat any of that fresh lamb for Christmas?

  2. Hope you enjoy the FRESH fish markets and partake of it. Good luck and HAPPY NEW YEAR Judy. Lu Aunt Mary I'm jealous.

  3. Hey Steve , your pics are great. Still so jellous maybe I could have that kind of fun someday. Miss you brother take care. Your buddy Jim.

  4. Hey you guys. Good to see you're still going (together). Are you still coming back in a year? Susan Baldrige

  5. Great photos!! Glad you had a great time