1. Ushuaia! Let the pedalling commence.

Landing!! I was in awe as we approached Ushuaia, flying over craggy snow-patched mountains with small tightly meandering streams through grassy scrub-land and clumps of trees, a stuttered view as the plane dived back into big cotton-like white-towering cumulus clouds. Having been six years from initial thoughts of riding this route - whilst toward the end of my Cape Town tour - it felt like the best landing I'd been on, bloody amazing..I was buzzing!!

Ushuaia is in Argentina's province of Tierra del Fuego - Spanish; 'Land of Fire' - is an archipelago (an
extensive group of islands). The earliest known settlers here were from around 8,000 B.C.

My host - Juan - unexpectedly met me at the airport. He and his wife - Lili - were going out so intended to give me their front door key, but after I explained I preferred to assemble my bike at their house thus taking a taxi there he offered me a lift in their spacious camper-style van.
Ushuaia from the outskirts, near Juan + Lili's house.
In the harbour this water-logged ship has become rather a tourist attraction - most convenient for the owner's insurance company I guess!!

Back at the house, with cunning and patience I was able to get right in on the action of this this local species!!

With my bike's transit box surprisingly surviving the three flights, the first day was unpack + assembly time - several hours later it's built up and ready to ride. In Buenos Aires I'd met a London girl - Nikki - flying to Ushuaia to meet her boyfriend - Jules - whom were also about to start their [first] bicycle tour, where to?? Only Alaska!! What a coincidence of meeting [effective] neighbours also riding 'The America's' and in the same (silly!) south to north direction as myself! Arranging to meet that day I ride down to the city's main street to 'Cafe Ideal' for a good chat. They were riding out the following day but I'd inevitably see them again further down the thousands of kilometres that lay in wait. (Nikki + Jules' blog can be seen here)

Being so far south, surrounded by mountains and so close to Antarctica the weather can be extremely fickle. That afternoon, an otherwise relatively clear sky - although blustery - had turned grey with rain, then sleet, then snow!!

On my first night at Juan & Lili's house I'd noticed this set of 'balancing forks', an ornamental piece that Juan had crafted, each fork carefully balancing on the one beneath it, he said most people who - by curiosity - knock them off are unable to replace / re-balance them....there's always one though! A big thanks to Juan & Lili for being so welcoming with fine hospitality!

Originally planning to camp for a night at the neighbouring Tierra del Fuego National Park the nasty cold blustery weather soon changed that idea!! As what lay ahead of my tyres I'd have copious amount of national parks and awesome scenery to take-in so there was no disappointment.

A few more pictures from around the city before I depart.

The morning of departure! With panniers clipped on I bade farewell to my warmshowres.org excellent hosts (see my hosts page). Whilst Still needing to exchange U.S. dollars - with no luck at two major banks - the information centre sends me to the city's Casino (seriously?!), from pillar-to-post they say no ahhhh!! Eventually managing to find a money changer at one of the city's hotels. my last port-of-call was the obligatory photo at the sea front that many-a cyclists blog's feature;

They say there's no looking back! My final view of Ushuaia as I climb the coastal route through the industrial sea-front area.

With my passport checked at a customs-police check-point the city boundary line approaches, now I'm well and truly on my way.

- - -

In the next post you'll here about the mountain pass with the same name
of a biscuit!..But can ya guess which one it is? and also some cyclists that I meet.