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Published: February 15th 2018
I am lucky enough to have family at the southernmost point of the continent. After saying goodbye to Marty (who would continue his ride up the Argentine coast, back to Santiago to see his son) and Rob (who was flying back to Calgary) I took the bus to Rio Gallegos. My uncle John Blake and aunt Monica have lived in the Falkland Islands and Patagonia for over 50 years, running sheep farms. They eventually bought their own, across the river from Rio Gallegos, and retired there. My cousin Steve now runs the farm after his father passed away in 2014. It covers some 33,000 ha ( 82,000 acres ) with some 12,500 sheep, more or less. The visit was educational, as well as a lot of fun. Steve is coming off a career with the West Midlands Police Force in the UK, and he chuckled as he explained how he used his surveillance and policing skills to stop thievery and corruption on the farm when he took it over. Under his and my aunt's tutelage, and with help from his family, the farm has been slowly turning around. This year it rained in spring and summer [we are talking a maximum
of 300 mm (11.8 inches) per annum here], and with all his improved animal and water management innovations in place, it was a bumper year for wool and lamb meat. And prices held up too. May the weather continue to be good ! A surprising issue he faces comes from the competition for very scarce grass resources from the protected population of guanaco (a smaller cousin of the llama). These beautiful animals eat more than sheep, and are good at jumping over normal fences. He figures he will have to build some 21 km of fences six feet (2 m) high, to protect his grass. My aunt, in addition to participating in all aspects of farm operations, keeps a big house, entertains regularly, runs a craft shop in town, and manages a huge vegetable garden which feeds our family and all the farm hands and staff. We ate a variety of fresh vegetables every meal -- a long way from the meat and starch diet of the motorcycle trail.
Many thanks to Monica and Steve for receiving me so graciously. And thanks to those who followed me through the blog. I very much appreciate your presence and support during
the ups and downs of a motorcycle trip.
For those who like the numbers I rented a 2015 BMW R1200 GSA from Motoaventura in Osorno, Chile. It was a newer version of my own bike, with computerized ride management, traction control, adjustable suspension settings and a wet clutch. And 15% more power. Can't say I appreciated all of these 'improvements', and will be quite happy to get back to my ancient 2012 machine in the near future. I carried clothes, tools and bivouac gear, sleeping in hotels and motels along the way. It looks like the motorcycle ride was 3,127 km (1,954 mi ) over a very wide range of roads -- perhaps 2/3 paved. The trip took 12 days and carried me to a total of 10 different destinations. Crossed the Chile - Argentina border 4 times.
It was a fabulous ride. Thanks for joining me.
Tot: 0.12s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 14; qc: 58; dbt: 0.0142s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb