by Mike Logsdon
The legs stopped but the crisp rush of air, chilled by a Patagonian winter, continued to bite our weathered faces. Wheels clicked and hummed in their familiar rhythm as we descended Garibaldi pass. Ahead, about an hour was something we knew well from imaginings. The road, once endless, filled with excitement and even dread, was finally running out.
Where once we rode with miles separating each of us, we now closed in to only inches from one another. Each of us, scanning ahead expectantly, took turns making awkward commentary or poorly timed jokes. Soon, however, we quieted.
Lacking any reasonable expression to suit the gravity of this 16,000 mile conclusion, we let silence and inertia carry us forward.
The light was harsh, reflecting off the icy dregs of the Andes, was only broken by the twisted bare limbs of the subpolar forest.
Later that day we laid the bikes down, took them apart and boxed them up. It was 3am when we finished packing. John was set to leave for New York the next day. Ushuaia was dark and we didn’t need to tell one another what we had been through. We convinced the hotel to sell us a bottle of champagne and we drank the bottle in the empty hotel bar, surrounded by upturned stools.