It was still over 500 km to Ushuaia, the last town before the South Pole. We would not make it in a day. Moreover we would have to cross in and out of Chile to get there. Up till now we had some 10 degree winds (steering wheel angle) but further south it became 30 degrees or even more. It was sometimes difficult to keep the camper on the road. The motorcyclists we saw were hanging overboard as if they were racing with a sidecar. We also saw several cyclists pushing against the wind. I don’t understand how they can ever make it. Especially since towns are far in between and they do need water. Impressive!
Just 80 km outside Rio Gallegos was the first border crossing into Chile. Everything was well organized. The immigration officer took care of both the exit from Argentina and entry into Chile. Exporting the camper and importing it again took 2 counters but everybody was friendly and the travelers were all nicely queuing up. No pushing or cutting queue like we used to on our Russian trip. Fresh food import is prohibited so we had cooked everything last night and put it in the fridge. One apple remained which we duly reported. The customs man advised us to eat it which Rudy did. However when they went through the camper they were looking for the apple. We gave them the peelings and they were happy.
The landscape was becoming hilly and it looked as if the land was more fertile. There was more grass land. After 48 km we reached the ferry which would bring us across the street of Magallanes to Tierra del Fuego, which in fact is an island. Once off the ferry it was a good new road to the next border crossing back into Argentina. Again compliments to the immigration and customs people. Very efficient and friendly. Jamaliah had again found a beach camping this time just before Rio Grande. When we arrived people were racing dirt bikes on a small sand track and larger quad bikes were crossing through the dunes. It was very windy. The sand was flying everywhere. We drove as far as we dared over the piste in between the dunes, to seek cover from the wind. Again the difflock had to be used to get the camper in place and even more to get her out the next morning.
It was only 240 km further to Ushuaia. The landscape changed significantly. There were more green grasses. Trees suddenly started appearing. At first with lots of dead branches hanging full of air fungus. Later on, the trees were more healthy and there was less fungus. The mountains become higher. We were getting close to the end of the Andes. Some 38 km before Ushuaia we turn off on to a dirt road which brought us after 50 km to the oldest Estancia “Harberton” on the Beagle canal. It was established in 1886 and still run by the same family. We were allowed to camp along one of the river streams. The hills were covered with old growth forest with patches of grass in the valleys. It was for once a short driving day so we used the remaining of the afternoon to wash the camper (so dusty) and do some small maintenance jobs.