Patagonia – Day 18: Travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Date: 11/27/2014 Thursday (Thanksgiving)
Starting Location: Ushuaia, Argentina
Ending Locatiolayed by 1 hour so we arrived at 1:00 AM n: Buenos Aires, Argentina (All riding done in and around Ushuaia)
Mileage Today:  0 Miles (Actually, the trip to Buenos Aires is about 2800 Km by air)
Mileage Total:  2313 miles

Breakfast

UshuaiaHotelBreakfastAdmittedly, the allure of eggs has worn off a bit since I was exuberant yesterday. Today, I’m realizing that the eggs are not that good, and they are served with hot dogs on the side.  This seems a bit odd to me, but down here in South America, the most popular item on any and all menus is Jamon y Queso, the Ham and Cheese sandwich.

But today, on this very morning, I was going to have a breakfast fit for an Adventure rider.  I was going to have Eggs with Hot Dogs.

Yum, yum.  Perhaps, I should not be so unkind.  In fact, the eggs were not bad, and were really welcomed, given the diet of the previous days, which was almost entirely Carbohydrates, every day.  So, enough joking around, what did I do today?

Removing my gear from the motorcycle

If’ you’ve been paying attention, you’ll recall that at the very beginning of the trip, in Pucon, I installed a number of “enhancements” to the bike.  Well, now it was time to remove them, pack them up, and prepare to install them on my bike back home.

Yesterday afternoon, after arriving at the hotel in Ushuaia, I removed the mirrors, and the windscreen extender, but I did not have the tools to remove the GPS bracket, or the footpegs.  So, i would have to rely on our guide to remove those parts.  I was told that they would be removed by the end of the day.

I guess that a number of other things came up, which were more important, and as a result, these parts did not get removed.  Since we had a dinner reservation at 8:00 PM, for our farewell dinner, I would have to get these parts from Eduardo tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

Hotel logistics and packing for departure

The hotel checkout time was 11AM, and if we were going to go on the boat trip that we missed out on yesterday, we would need to be packed, and to have our luggage in the storage closet by 9AM.  This would give us enough time to walk to the dock, and board the boat, departing at 9:30 AM.

Unfortunately, I had not received my motorcycle parts/gear yet from Eduardo, and this gear gets packed at the center of my large duffel.  As a result, there was no way for me to pack my bags, and get them into the storage closet in time.  So, I waited, and eventually got all of the parts at 11AM, and I quickly finished packing and stored my luggage in the closet.

By this time, the boat had set sail, and I had missed it by several hours.

To be fair, when we arrived in Ushuaia, late in the afternoon, there were a great many things that the guide and driver needed to sort out, it it looks as if they had not found the time to get this work done, so that my schedule was optimized.  To some extent, I certainly understand the problem, and it should be understood that on an Adventure trip, things happen, things come up, and things change.

What to do in Ushuaia

I may have missed the boat, but I’m in Ushuaia, and I’m going to take full advantage of being there.  So what did I do, I searched for gifts for Isabella, my 9 year old granddaughter.  I managed to find a few gifts for her, and also was able to secure more stickers for the bike.

Finishing the day in Ushuaia and waiting…

We finished our day at about 2PM, which meant that we had about 4 hours to kill.  When you’re on an adventure trip, and you have 4 hours to kill, it can only mean one thing.  Go to the bar.

Peter, Leslie, Stan and I spent the last 4 hours in the bar, talking about the trip, and enjoying a little Scotch, Beer and coffees, not to mention a few Ham and Cheese sandwiches.  I took a few pictures from all 4 sides of the deck of the 4th floor of the hotel, in order to illustrate the landscape of Ushuaia.  Enjoy the view from the hotel bar…

Flights out of Ushuaia

The flight out was scheduled to depart at 8:20PM, and arrive at midnight, but the flight was delayed and did not arrive until 1:00 AM, and by the time we made corrections to some of the airport transfer reservations, and loaded the van, we got to the hotel at 2:00 AM.  We then discovered that the hotel had a 10:00 AM checkout time.

The hotel was quite accommodating and allowed us all to change our check-out time until noon, but once again, we were going to need to store the bags in the luggage closet, and make our way through the city with limited gear on our possession.

As I, and all of my fellow traveling companions looked at the flight schedule, we could not understand why we had not been booked on an earlier flight in the day.  Had wee been booked on a 10AM flight to Buenos Aires, we would have been able to go out for a nice Argentinian steak when we arrived in BA, but when you arrive at 2AM, after being up for 20 hours, you’re not in the mood for steak.

Perhaps it was that all of the flights earlier in the day were full, and we’ll never know if that is the case, but this is one of the two travel legs of the trip where the Tour operator was in complete charge, and we did not have visibility into any issues that they may have been dealing with.  That said, we lost an entire day as a result of having to take this late night flight.

Update: Why were these flights chosen?

After I got home from the trip, I had a chance to talk to Jerry from Compass Expeditions.  I asked specifically why he had chosen these flights, instead of flights earlier in the day.  He said that they had booked these flights months in advance, because the two airlines that fly to BA are both struggling financially.  So, they try to get the flights worked out way up front.

In addition, getting flights for 10 people can be difficult and Compass likes to try to put everyone on the same plane, so it was a combination of these two thoughts, that caused us to be on the last flight of the evening.

Now, it all is starting to make sense.

What will tomorrow bring

Tomorrow’s schedule has us in Buenos Aires, Argentina, spending the day doing whatever we please, after which I’ll need to head to the airport at about 5PM.  Tomorrow will be the final post of the travelogue section, but I’ll also be publishing a few epilogues which will highlight some of the things that I learned on this trip.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.

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