As we emerged onto a dirt road, we stopped to celebrate, taking a pic and then spotting yet another whale out in the channel, only just outside of Ushuaia. This finish was almost becoming a cliché!
Little over half an hour later, we rolled into town and up to the famous sign that has heralded the start and finish of many an epic journey. It’s difficult to describe my feelings – it certainly felt a little surreal at the time. My overwhelming one though was that of pride. I’ve made a lot of flimsy commitments in my time to grand ideas and not really followed through with them or lost interest, but this was one that I could say I never gave up on. Even during the times when I was a bit down, it never even crossed my mind to quit and that gives me huge self-confidence.
The other feeling was that of empowerment. If I could do this, I could pretty much do anything if I put my mind to it. I might have to concede though that I’ve probably missed the boat on that professional bike racing career! 😉
For Scott and Sue, this was one hell of a milestone on their truly epic 3-year journey from Alaska. It wasn’t the end of the road though as, after a bit of recuperation, they planned to continue the journey in Europe and Asia. They were also going to do an extra few days riding and camping beyond Ushuaia, so I think they were suspending their emotions for a little while.
I can’t possibly think of a better way to finish off the trip – riding with great friends and blessed by fantastic weather. Everything just seemed to fall into place. A perfect end to the most incredible of journeys.
And so, off to the pub it was! And to where else but the most Southerly Irish pub on the planet! As I mentioned before, my cousin Jean had just been on a trip to Antarctica and happened to be disembarking his boat that afternoon so was able to join us to celebrate!
I had already booked my bus ticket back to Punta Arenas, but thought I’d better check the next day that I could indeed take my bike assembled on the bus. Lo and behold, contrary to what the website had said, the bus company said there was no guarantee they could take it and that I had better box it there and then. Fortunately, I was able to lay my hands on a box pretty quickly from a bike shop in town and headed back to the hostel. Funnily enough, this probably got me the most emotional of all – I hadn’t been mentally prepared for disassembling Sally quite yet and it was somewhat heart-breaking to do so. She had been my trusty steed for just under 13,000km of incredibly challenging cycling and had delivered me safely. I know it’s just an inanimate bunch of components, but it’s difficult not to become attached to something that delivers such innocent pleasure and offers such endless possibility.
Finally, if you’ve made it this far, you can probably bear to have a gander at a selection of Scott’s superb shots: