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22 March – Fin.

Wow. It honestly feels like an Eon ago I was chilling on Copacobana Beach in Rio anxious for the start of this almightly large adventure. What an adventure it has been. Just shy of 15,000Km’s and it has all come to the end of the world in Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego. It feels strange that I sit here blogging (yeah I know i missed the last few days sorry haha) knowing that I don’t have to set an alarm for tomorrow morning. Don’t have to clean and rain-x the windshield. Don’t have to check radiator and oil levels. Don’t have to carry our bags and put them precisely where they belong in the back. Don’t have to slam down some corn flakes and scull a cup of coffee. Don’t have to steal ham and cheese and bread from the breakfast buffet for lunch on the road. Tomorrow I am completely left to my own devices. And it feels different.

The last few days where shorter days in comparison to the beginning of this epic journey but for some reason they felt as long as all the others. I think everyone as starting to get a little bit tired, including the cars. A few days ago we had some reallyexciting gravel road regularity tests. They say you always get better with something with practice, totally true! Me and dad only ever improved our tactics and methods for regularity and the last two tests we had total penalties fewer than 10 seconds over hundred+ distances.

The true patagonian winds whipped up and slapped us in the face on wednesday. “Why are we going so slow, James, is your foot to the floor?” Dad asked me as I was driving as fast as possible with the roaring headwind…. We barely crept past 70kph on the flat…. And mother of Zeus was it cold…. Tierra del Fuego is The land of Fire….. more like Tierra del ICE.

The end of the world is hard to describe. Because it literally does feel like the end of the world. It has been weeks since the feeling of a large city, and we cross a 6mile ferry channel to the Tierra del Fuego island and everything changes. Flat. Lifeless apart from the few alapaca things and rolling low hills. If Chile has an abundance of pebbles, then Patagonia and Tierra Del Fuego has an abundance of shrubs. Small salt-bush-esque bushes that care not for the howling south-west-bone-chilling-nose-melting winds. Every now and then you can spot a tree or so.

And then all of a sudden on our way out of Rio Grande this morning we caught a glimpse of mountains again. It was so pleasing to see mountains with snow caps again. And snow means moisture, so trees and vegetation came back into sight. yay! We were at sea level and the tree line was still only a few hundred feet above us. I have no idea how anyone could live in this place all year round. I would go mad. The bleak rain one minute and not 5 minutes later the sun would poke through and wind would blow me over. It would be colder than pitching a tent inside a freezer. Kudos to those who stick it out down here….. However, the view across Beagle Passage to the Chilean fiords and mountains (all islands) is pretty spectacular.

Tonight is the prize giving ceremony and final goodbye dinner. Yes, we are the overall winners and Champions!!!! Huzzah!!! Winners baby! I know we have said that merely making it to Ushuaia would be enough but come on…. winning is always better 😀 hahaha

Thanks to everyone who has stuck it out and followed us on my rambunctious rambling blog. It has really meant a lot. Thank you all!

I can finally take my beard off when I get home now. I have succeeded in looking homeless.

Final goodbyes and mucho love to all. Until my next adventure. Thank you and farewell.


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19th March – Down down, deeper down.

After our unlucky happenstance of a rock taking off our trip meters in the middle of the regularity stage the other day, we thought our bad luck had come to an end.

We were wrong….. 30 seconds into todays regularity test our power cord wriggled out of our distributor, turning off our engine. For a test based on average speed, stopping to fix the problem is not an ideal situation. Well, this happened 3 times in 5 minutes and the last time it happened we even had to dig out a pair of pliers to fix the problem permanently. And we still managed to catch up on time with an ‘enthusiastic driving style.’ An overall penalty of 7 seconds. The best for the day. High fives were had in Car 11.

Less than 1000 k’s to go now.

Lots of people are slowing down just a little bit to make sure they nurse their car across the finish line. Bits and pieces are just starting to rattle and shake loose. My goPro mount has seen better days since being pried from the packet.

Today was a short day so we did what everyone MUST do when visiting the thriving metropolis of El Calafate, and go see the glacier. It was sooooooo cool. Literally it was more than cool, it was ice cold. get it? get it? ok that was terrible, I know. Really spectacular.

read fun facts here:

Interwebz is less than desirable so you will have to wait another day for a giant photo dump. I don’t have the patience to sit and wait for eons to upload them.


17th March – The good favours from the Chapstick god.

For all my fellow users of chapstick to prevent cracks and ensure supple-ness, I am one of the few. I have actually got to the end of a stick without loosing it. I have never completed an entire stick without somehow misplacing it.

I still find it hard to grasp just how quickly an entire environment can change. Yesterday we were driving through lush thick forests and lakes plenty of water, and within 50k’s and one small mountain range we must have driven into a rain shadow. Now, the tallest shrub is knee high and the whole landscape is made of pebbles and gravel.

Ever since my eyes first gazed upon the Ande’s as we flew over Santiago oh so many weeks ago, I am still amazed as to how rugged they are. Impassably rugged. Unclimbable rugged. Un-survey-able rugged. The tops of the ridge lines look identical to parapets on a castle made from giants. The scree slopes start at the peak and encroach past the tree line and spill into the valley below.

Towns are becoming more few and far between. Petrol stations are not guaranteed to have any petrol so filling up before necessary is a wise move. I was told Patagonia is a beautiful place. I can only agree. It is the kind of place that you go to retreat from the hustle and bustle of real life. The giant fur trees, roaring wood fires (even at the end of summer the mountains are all snow capped) and endless horizons lend a tranquil feel to a stressed mind.

Our good friend Steve and Janet Hyde are now car number 8 to drop by the wayside and have a terminal breakdown. He blew the head gasket in his Mercedes yesterday afternoon for the second time in 7days. The one horse town of Esquel couldn’t do an engine rebuild overnight like the guys in Mendosa did for him. 🙁

Dad and I had the worst possible luck today, right at the beginning of a 100km regularity test. We started with high hopes and confidence. Calculating our distance, remaining time and average speed every half a kilometre. The only tools we use are a stopwatch and a calculator. 13.38 K’s into the test and our trip meter (monit) numbers stop changing. Our trip meter was broken…… Our life support system for the test had stopped. An unluckily placed rock had got caught and ripped our sender unit off. So for the rest of the test we had to use a less efficient gps trip and all the numbers didn’t match up so the maths was done all over again on the trot. Over the 1hour 38 minute test we had about 20 seconds penalties. I think that is good enough to retain our position at the pointy end of the tree 😀


15/16th March – The cardinal sin was broken

Well, I don’t actually know what the cardinal sin is. But my cardinal sin is ‘one must not eat seafood unless you can see the ocean, or at least drive to the ocean without having a piss stop.’ And guess who broke that rule. Father dear did. You would think he would learn from past mistakes. No. He doesn’t. Hahahaha. We are in a stunning lakeside town called Bariloche at least 12 hours drive from any form of an ocean and Dad ordered seafood pasta for lunch (today was a transit day with no timing), and needless to say I do not need to describe how his afternoon was…….. sigh… :

Another border day today as we crossed back into Argentina for my 3rd time and probably one of the most stunning drives of my life. We were traveling through an region called the lakes region or something. But it is quite simply, large mountains with windy roads and every 5-10k’s is another lake at the bottom of the mountains. Similar to Swiss lakes but much much better apparently and the water is such a brilliant azure blue. I can understand why fisherman love this area of Patagonia. Without the fish it would still be the best place ever.

Piccies are still on the thin and wispy today for one main reason. IT WAS TOO COLD TO DO ANYTHING. I couldn’t whip out my phone to take picture because I need to take my gloves off to use the touch screen and there was no chance that was happening.

Still smashing first place.