To progress further south to Ushuaia, we had to travel through Chile for a short time then back into Argentina. It took about an hour and a half to visit all 4 cajas (windows) in the Chilean border office then the little man inspected inside our truck and camper outside on the roadway for foods not allowed ‘in’. They included honey, every fresh vegetable in the fridge and a dozen eggs. The cook was none too happy! She bleated on about it for hours! Luckily ripening avocadoes in the top cupboard escaped the little mans attention. On reflection I should have been proactive in the stashing department. The cooked bif (steak) and pollo (chicken) was OK luckily, otherwise we would have been left with a can of peas and dry biscuits! Just joking!! A short trip from the Chilean border and we were on the 20 minute ferry crossing of the Magellan Strait then on into Tierra del Fuego, Argentinian Territory once again.
From the ferry, through to the Argentinian Border post and a little beyond San Sebastian the 125km of road was rutted gravel WITH potholes as well. Not the most pleasant trip and to think we have to return on the same road to head north-west fills us with dread! The next border crossing back into Argentina was an un-expected short 15-20 minute affair where our passports and truck papers were checked. There was a little confusion with the officials as to whether we were coming in or going out of Argentina but once it was established we were entering again we were on our way. We bush camped 40 km south of Rio Grande under trees and beside a clear bubbling stream….about 300 meters from the highway. We played cards for a couple of hours until bed time. It was a quiet cosy night under our minus 5deg comforters. 5 days and no internet!
I have to say we felt a little disconnected. The driver celebrated his 70th birthday and we couldn’t even see if he had any well-wishers! This momentous occasion came and went as we later learned with only Murray and Marisa to belatedly send their good wishes. As we ventured further south….the last 160 km or so, trees that were a little less stunted began to appear and mountains and lakes. Near Tolhuin, forests covered mountain slopes, and still higher slopes and gullies had snow drifts despite summer sun aloft. Interestingly there were peat bogs on the floors of valleys. The scenery around us took us fondly back to the lochs in Scotland and to the bogs in the Connemara in the west ofIreland.