02 Jan Eastern Argentina & The End
Days 557 – 560 –
After driving as far south as we could go, we turned around and started the long drive north towards Buenos Aires and the end of the journey. For a couple days, we quickly passed over the road we had already taken on the way down, back through Chile, and then veered right to the Argentine east coast.
Our first picturesque stop was along a coastal circuit north of Puerto San Julian, with some impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean and wildlife.
After an annoying night in a campground next to a loud family, we chose our next campsite based on where we were most likely to be alone. This was a gravel pit off the highway, which turned out to be a nice afternoon. The wind even died down for the evening while we were making dinner, but came back in the evening and shook the car all night.
Days 561 – 570
The following days we made our way north along the coast, stopping in windy deserted beach towns, or long stretches of lonely coast to camp.
Off the coast, on the main highway north, the road remained flat, straight, and stark.
One of the main attractions to see in this area were the penguins, and we chose to visit Punta Tombo, continental South America’s largest penguin nesting ground with a colony of more than half a million Magellanic penguins. We arrived just after colonies had come ashore to lay and hatch their eggs. Although the babies wouldn’t come out of the nests for another month, we were able to get a glimpse of a few poking their heads out from underneath their protective mothers.
Then in Balneario el Condor, the little beach town was filled with over 150,000 squawking parrots that lived in a long stretch of cliffs.
Days 571 – 591
We somehow managed to pass 9 days in the town of Tandil, Argentina. We drove more quickly than we had planned from Ushuaia, and needed a comfortable place to wait until we dropped the car off to be shipped in December. We wanted to avoid driving and staying in the big city of Buenos Aires, and the very laid back and non-touristy town of Tandil seemed like a good solution. It was a big enough to get our chores done, but not too big or expensive.
We rented an AirBnB apartment and started to make the mental transition back to living and cooking inside. We took some long walks to their city parks and plazas, and one day went to the town’s biggest attraction, an unusual boulder perched precariously on the top of hill.
During our time there we met up with some local couchsurfers for a language exchange, got our second flat tire of the trip, and spent some time figuring out how to secure the truck for its long boat ride home.
The reality of our trip being over, and the dread of having to go back to the real world, look for jobs, and a permanent place to live, was finally starting to creep in. There were still a lot of steps between Tandil and living with jobs in San Diego, but it was finally starting to sink in.
Driving north, and not wanting to drive into Buenos Aires, we found a cute little town about one hour south of the port called San Antonio de Areco. Our first day there we left the truck and took a bus to Buenos Aires which was far less stressful than driving and parking in a city of more than 15,000,000. We payed part of our shipping fees and then walked around the city a little bit before heading back.
The next day we devoted to going through the truck and all of our things, and choosing what to bring versus what to pack up in the back. We moved everything into the back and secured it as best we could.
What we heard was an easy process at the port was no so easy for us. We arrived early in the morning with instructions and waypoints only to find them inaccurate. As usual we just had to ask around about what to do. To our surprise, they allowed both of us to enter the port, and we drove the truck down through the gate to the customs building, our last drive with the truck in South America
We spent the rest of the day waiting around to have the truck inspected, which went in typical fashion of little information and lots of confusion. By the end of the day it was eventually sorted out. We left the port without our third partner, and with the help of a very nice ballerina who spoke English we took a bus into the city.
We arrived to our AirBnB too exhausted to find a grocery store and then cook, so we ate pizza for dinner and enjoyed our last evening together for a while. Becky would fly out to Seattle the next day to spend the holidays with her family and friends, and Mark would wait one more week until after the truck shipped out in case there were any complications and return to San Diego.
Thanks for following along on our adventure! We are now back in the United States and the truck is onboard a ship on its way to Houston. In a few weeks we will fly to Texas and drive it back to San Diego to complete our journey. It was an amazing experience and now we are looking forward to settling down for a little while in a house where we can stand up inside, and start dreaming of our next big idea.
Here are a few fun stats from our trip. If you’re dreaming of doing a trip like this, it’s totally possible and costs less than you would guess. If you need some encouragement to get going, just let us know!