Next day we are up early and ready for our official last day of the trip. The weather however is not playing ball and it is still torrential rain and low cloud.
We start out and follow the RN3 down, with the wind and rain it was pretty hard going. The temperature really starts to drop too and even with my heated vest on I was still getting cold from the wind chill.
We stop for fuel after a good two hours and Darren admits that his heated vest isn't working.
He is shivering badly so I get him into the coffee shop and warmed up with a hot chocolate.
What Em fails to mention is that I was shaking that badly that the first cup of hot chocolate ended up on the floor! And yes I did have my liners in, the heated vest has been tempremental since Alaska, Ems has been perfect so I guess mine was a Friday afternoon job.
We head back out into the cold and rain and the scenery starts to get more interesting with Lenga Forests and scary 'witch' trees covered in moss.
The road climbs higher and skirts the Fagnano Lake before heading higher still and through the Garibaldi Pass.
Unfortunately we can't see much from here on in and this cloud is thick and low.
As we start to head down from the pass I keep a close eye on the GPS, not far now, being an emotional idiot I start to well up, its cold and throwing it down with rain but I hardly notice.
I think back to the last 8 monhs and what we have achieved and try to savour the moment, its too much, I start to blub. Theres no reaction on the autocom, I check to see if its working by chatting to Em about what we have achieved, places we have seen and people we have met, little reaction – the sad reality is that for Em, Ushuaia is a place to get to so that we can go home, for me Ushuaia is so much more and this realization really hurts.
All I can say Darren is that this bike trip was the hardest thing I have ever done, I put my heart and soul into it from planning through to facing every challenge thrown at me with good humour and a positive attitude. Reaching Ushuaia for me was actually gutting as it was the end of the trip and the realisation of that for me was devastating. I was too upset to form words or think clearly.
While all this is on my mind, I round the bend and there it is, the sign 'welcome to Ushuaia' .
Finally after 8 months of riding we had made it, we park up where so many have before for the photo by the sign, we hug and pat each other on the back – we have made it to Ushuaia!!
We head through the town and get chased by various dogs until we turn off down to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park. This is officially where the road runs out, the furthest point that you can drive South.
We pay to enter the Park and follow the very muddy track along through some very pretty scenery.
There are also of tourists around, mainly old people from the Cruise Liners in Ushuaia, they are all looking very grumpy and not very happy to be in the freezing cold Antarctic capital.
Finally we reach the end of the road - and there is the sign, the one I had been dreaming about getting to in a very long time. It feels surreal to actually be here and we take a moment to take it all in.
There are some wooden posts in the way and we manage to get the panniers off the bike and squeeze it through the posts next to the famous sign.
The tourists are all staring at us in disbelief like we are mad as we take our photos.
I would rather visit this sign at the age of 31 knowing that I have ridden half way around the world to get to it than to turn up in a coach at the age of 80 with barely the breath to walk the 40 metres across the car park...
A Park Ranger turns up and proceeds to tell us we can't do this and we need to move now - Darren is having none of it and persuades the ranger to take our picture.
Like Em says it was a little surreal, but no one was going to stop me getting the pick of the three of us by the sign.
We had rode 30,000miles through 13 countries in just over 8 months and had completed our goal of riding from the top of the World to the bottom.
Heading back we bump into some bikers coming the other way- finally- we had wondered where they all were! After a brief chat we head back into Ushuaia to find a Hotel.
After driving round several times we find what looks like a great Hotel. We want to treat ourselves tonight and celebrate so need a Restaurant too.
The Hotel we find (Canal Beagle 4star) looks great and it takes me over an hour to check in. Whilst I am battling with paperwork Darren is busy getting beseiged by lots of people outside.
While outside I just can't believe the attention that the bike and I are getting. The cruise ship had docked some hours earlier and many of its passengers of all nationalities were now busy asking the usual questions, all of a sudden I felt very proud of what we had achieved.
We get into the room, cleaned up and then head out into the town for a wander round and for Darren to get his stickers.
That evening we head to the Restaurant and treat ourselves to a nice meal and bottle of Champagne.
We then sit at the bar till midnight and the Barman gives us free drinks all night to help us celebrate.
Ushuaia - End of the World, beginning of Everything
A special note from Darren.
The adventure is not over yet of course, theres the small matter of riding the 2000 miles to Buenos Aires to get home and we will continue the blog until we get on the plane, but I feel now is the time to say a few words.
Taking on something like this as a couple on one bike was never going to be easy, living with your partner 24/7 was always going to be our biggest challenge, I will be the first to admit that I am not the easiest to live with.
Em has always been what I would describe as a 5 star girl, she likes her comforts and its this that makes her achievement so much more. She has had to put up with numerous hardships, made many sacrifices on route and has taken them all in her stride, I can't begin to describe how proud of her I am.
We had to make some very difficult decisions at times, events at home meant that Em had to consider returning home at one point. It was at this point that I made the decision to continue on my own if necessary and this effected Em deeply.
Its for this reason that I just want to say this to my co-rider;
Thank you Em, for giving up what we had in the UK, for taking the chance and for allowing us to achieve a dream. From the organizing of the trip back home to the planning of the day to day you have been phenominal.
I am so happy that we were able to complete our adventure together, to see it through to the end.
Posted by Darren Homer at September 13, 2008 04:58 PM GMT
I honestly could not have done this without you, what is more, I wouldn’t have wanted to.
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