Chile, rain, oil and punctures.

This web page comes to you from about 100km north of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. We are parked by the shores of Lago Kami (Fagnano) near the town of Tolhuim (S54.537182 W67.226902).

Although we are on a similar latitude to London (that is London, England for any USA readers) and today is midsummer's day the temperature outside is only about 8°C (that is 46°F for any USA readers) and there are snow topped hills visible thru the window (you probably can't see them for the rain).

Those of you who remember your school geography (or even your history) may recall that the souther tip of South America is not actually attached to the mainland, but is a series of large islands separated from the mainland by the Estrecho de Magallanes.

Those of you with a good grasp of Latin American politics may be able to explain why in order to get from Rio Gallegos in Argentina to Rio Grande in Argentina you have to pass thru a couple of hundred kilometers of desolate windswept Chile.

And those of you with a good knowledge of epidemiology will be able to explain why you can not carry fruit, vegetables, butter, milk, eggs, processed cheese, semen or carved wooden ornaments across those windswept kilometers!

We have spent one night in Chile (our twenty first and final country in Central and South America) at the oil town of Cero Sombrero where we parked in the town square (S52.776350 W69.291173). Well worth a visit if only to see the very odd combined supermarket and Internet cafe. In this town you get bonus points if you spot any vehicle that is not a company pick-up.

As we approach Ushuaia the good tarmac roads have started to give way to unmade dirt roads (although so far all in reasonable condition).

On one stretch of dirt road Mel had another blow-out. As with Mel's two previous punctures, the tyre was damaged beyond sensible (or even legal) repair.

Mel had started the trip with two spare wheels, however one of them was stollen somewhere between the UK and Ecuador. As Mick and Mo will confirm traveling without a usable spare wheel in this terrain is very uncomfortable.

On reaching Rio Grande (the next town) getting a replacement tyre was our highest priority. Luckily we decided to camp at the Club Nautico (S53.799038 W67.681692) a very friendly, if basic, camp site right on water's edge.

The campsite manager immediately directed Mel to a local tyre garage that not only had a suitable tyre in stock, but was also able to provide a new wheel and a second tyre within the hour. All for less than $400USA!

Stephen Stewart.

Home - This page last changed on 2006-12-22
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