So where does the name "Latitude Fifty Four" come from?
The final destination for this motorcycle adventure was the city of Ushuaia located in Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina.
The latitude of this city is 54° 47' South.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Day 142 to Day 144

March 25th, 2006: Sarmiento, Argentina to San Julian, Argentina
March 26th, 2006: San Julian, Argentina to Rio Gallegos, Argentina
March 27th, 2006: Rio Gallegos, Argentina to Rio Grande, Argentina

The remaining drive across the pampas was a lot less windy, but just as flat and barren. We passed through many oil fields, but aside from the oil wells there was little else short of the occasional flock of rheas or guanacos. The distances between towns was so large that even the tiniest, most unremarkable area afforded some sort of recognition just for being there at all! In the picture to the right you can see the sign welcoming you to the town of Tres Cerros which was nothing more than one house, a gas station with a hostal and restaurant built into it, and their town monument....the painted tire. We drove a little further and came across a truck stop, which oddly enough was bigger than the whole city of Tres Cerros, but didn't really have the full range of amenities I suppose. They did have nice hot coffee though, and this adorabe little puppy named Bobby which reminded me just a little bit of my "niece" Lily! After having a bit of fun playing with the dog we had to get going again towards San Julian. Shortly after we arrived in San Julian the strangest incidence happened. On a spur of the moment penguin hunt (which turned up fruitless...or rather, penguinless) a lady began waving to me frantically and saying "Ahhh! Good trip!!!!" in Spanish. Rather confused since I didn't have my glasses on, I only gave her a slight wave and kept on my way. I mentioned it to my dad and he said "Hey, maybe its the couple from our hotel last night that we were chatting with over breakfast." I couldn't remember, but said "It's possible, but how coincidental would that be!" Later that evening, on the recommendation of the taxi driver we went to a restaurant only to hear our names when we opened the door. The lady that was waving to me earlier was indeed the lady from our hotel, and now again we ran into her and her husband at the restaurant! They invited us to have dinner with them and we found out over the course of the evening that they had taken the exact same route as us for the last few days. The next couple of days were fairly uneventful with respect to the driving as it was more flat land with little vegetation, a few flamingos, and a whole lot of wind. We got ourselves into a little bit of a snag with the distances, in fact. At 170km's we passed a gas station, but said "It is only 200 more kms to Rio Gallegos, we can make that easy" We normally have about 380-400kms to a tank plus about 40km left on reserve but unfortunately due to the high winds we used SO much gas that we were totally empty at 265km!!! We were left stranded 50km away from the nearest gas station with nothing in site but guanacos and dirt. We tried to flag a few cars down, to no avail when we spotted a luxury liner bus headed towards us. We waved frantically and much to our surprise it actually stopped! We explained the situation to the drivers and they actually offered to give us a lift! I never thought I'd see the day I'd be hitchhiking in Argentina...but at least it was the classy way to do it on a luxury line!!! My dad stayed with the bikes and I hopped aboard the bus. Once we hit the first gas station the tour bus operator was nice enough to even go out of his way to pull into the station to let me off the bus. I gave them a very hearty thank you and frantically dashed into the station's store. Thankfully since the distances are so large here every gas station sells gas containers, so I bought the biggest one I could find. The strangest thing then happened....the couple that was in our hotel (that I ran into by the lake and then again at the restaurant) were in the gas station!!! They started calling out my name when I came in! I really lucked out there because they were able to arrange for a taxi to take me the entire 50kms back to where my dad was waiting with the bikes. We were pretty thankful for all the help we got along the way!
ps. The gas is actually that blue here!

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