December 22, 2012 GMT

Blog Backtracking...... our time in Ushuaia before we leave for Antarctica.

We are pretty excited to be in Ushuaia, we have heard so much about this place from our fellow motorcycling friends over the years. We find the Freestyle Hostel with no problems, secure parking out the back after negotiating a building site, throw our gear into the room, for tonight we have to share a dorm room with two Italian ladies but tomorrow we get to move into our own private room. We then head out for a king crab empanada and Quilmes beer. The Hostel is a busy place with many nationalities coming and going. We spend the rest of the day sussing out down town Ushuaia, finding the supermarket, before heading back to the hostel for a few drinks and managing to cook dinner in the hostel kitchen.

View from Hostel

The following day we move into our new room and spend the day chilling out in the upstairs lounge of the hostel, trying to catch up on emails and blogs. We also hunt and gather and discover that empanadas and BBQ sauce go really well together, that evening we fight for a space in the zoo like kitchen, it is a mele. I also share a few gin and tonics with an older Italian lady and proceed to have a 2 hour chat, me in English and her in Italian, surprisingly I think we understood nearly everything that was said. Skill had to intervene a few times with google translator, but I think it was the G & T s that really did the trick.

While the hostel is fine, in fact it is great, we are here for another 10 days and we don't fancy having to stay here and battle for space in the kitchen all that time, so we ride out to Rio Pipo the overland motorcyclists campsite of choice but there is not a sole around and it is bleak. We then go to the tourist office and later look on line at our cheaper cabana options. After that we go for a ride and suss them all out, we finally chance upon Ona Shin Cabanas owned by Mariano and Nancy, little did we know how lucky we were. This little oasis proved to be our home away from home, and Mariano, Nancy and their gorgeous cleaning lady (whose name we never got) could not have been more helpful.

That evening we tried to go to a family run Chilean seafood restaurant (yes I know we are in Argentina) for dinner but were told we would have to reserva, so reserva we did. Oh well Pizza it is instead. We return to the hostel after a fantastic calzone, it is midnight, we are finally getting into the swing of eating late.

The following day we spend all morning trying to find somewhere to do an oil change, in the end Skill gives up and buys some oil, he then heads out to the supermarket to buy a bucket or bowl to drain the old oil into. He returns quickly, very chuffed with himself, he has found some old water bottles in a bin that should do the job.

Skill happy with his bin find

A speedy oil change ensues at the back of the Hostel. After several goes at trying to find a proper place to dispose of the oil and being told to just put it in the bin, we regretfully do.

Oil Change at the back of the Hostel

We head to Chkos restaurant where we enjoy a sumptuous king crab dinner and watch the sunset over the Andes at 10.30 pm.

Phone photo Skill at Chkos Retaurant

On Saturday we get ourselves and the bike packed and at midday we move to our beautiful little Swiss style cabana, it is a glorious day, we settle ourselves in then head off to the Carefour supermarket to shop, the top box is absolutely chock a block. It is so nice to have our own space, our own kitchen and our own fridge. The first thing I do is fill the ice cube trays, yay finally G & Ts with ice. It is such a beautiful day we proceed to sit in the sun and have a few wines. Our life is pretty much perfecto.

Skill drinking red wine outside our Cabana

Our red wine of choice costs less than $2.00 AUD

View from our bedroom window

To be honest our time in Ushuaia goes quickly, people say what did you do for nearly two weeks, in a word not too much we seem to be very good at filling our days with doing very little. We wander down into the town each day (it is about a 20 minute walk), walk around the harbour watching the myriad of cruise boats come and go.

Boats in the Harbour

Lan and Skill at the Harbour

Then hunt and gather at the supermarkets on the way home.

Going to the Supermarket

Coming home from the Supermarket

One morning a couple of days after we move into the Cabana I wake up and look out the window (I can see the mountains without lifting my head off the pillow) to see that we have had a considerable snow fall over night. After breakfast we wander into town in the sleet and snow.

We have had a fair amount of snow overnight

Coming home from the Supermarket after the snowfall (Compare this to a couple of photos above to see how much snow we had)

A cold and windy day in Ushuaia

Down town Ushuaia, the weather is cold.

From then on in the weather takes a turn for the worse and most days we have rain, sleet or snow, sometimes a combination of all three, and there is always the wind ranging from a gentle breeze to gusty cyclonic conditions. I am so glad we didn't camp.

On one day we head to the Museo Maratimo which is located in an old prision that held up to 700 inmates in 380 small, cold cells. Many of Ushuaia's first non indigenous inhabitants were convicts. Many similarities with Port Arthur. This prison was not the original and housed criminals and political dissidents up until the 1950s. (I think) The museum was a hotchpotch of Ushuaia's history but interesting none the less.

Lan talking to some pretty notorious inmates

After nearly two months of Argentinian food we are hanging out for something with a few more vegetables in it. On one occasion it takes us three days and three supermarkets to hunt down enough ingredients to make Burritos (couldn't find flat bread had to make do with pocket bread) but we are eventually successful, even finding plain natural yoghurt is a challenge.

Yay Burritos for tea

One day while out having our daily hot chocolate at Laguna Negra -our cafe of choice- Skill spies this notice in the window.

Motorcyle Rally Poster

When we get back to the cabana he does a bit of a search and emails the organiser (with the help of google translator) who insists that we must join them at the meeting which will be held at the airport. The weekend of the rally arrives (we are still in two minds as to whether we should go) and we decide we will go for a quiet ride out to the National Park, we must pass at least 100 bikes on our way out, and when we return to refuel at the YPF service station two local motorcyclists accost us and insist that we must join them and show us the way to the meeting. We are pleased they did as we would have had a bit of trouble finding it as it was at the old airport.

We had a lovely weekend with these guys and although our Spanish is still hopeless and very little English was spoken we still felt very welcomed. We thank them for their hospitality. On the Saturday afternoon we had official photographs on the runway at the airport and then a police escorted ride through the streets of Ushuaia before parking up in the middle of town, there were probably about 200 bikes of all sizes, types, and makes. The riders aged from 4 to 80+. Later in the evening we venture back to the airport for an Asado dinner, slide shows and a local entertainer who was pretty damned good. We leave early at 1.00am.

The ride onto the runway

Lan and Skill at the motorcycle rally

Bikes, bikes everywhere

The bikes assemble on the runway

Our Police Escorts

We assemble in the main street

The next day we meet at 10.00 and it is off for more police escorted rides up to the glacier and then out into the surrounding countryside before another asado lunch. We decide we need to leave the meeting early so we can get back to the Cabana to sort out our gear and the bike before we leave for Antarctica tomorrow. We do eventually get ourselves sorted out and that night as I go to sleep listening to the rain on the roof and wind through the trees I wonder what we will do with ourselves till 4.00 pm tomorrow. Oh well I am sure we will think of something.

Posted by John Skillington at December 22, 2012 10:27 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!