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Published: March 17th 2014
Rosco 'Sucking it up'
Here is the man himself, transferring fuel to HIS moto!!
From Dusty Desert to Rain Forest
Leaving Iquique and heading south down the Pacific coast to Tocopilla, we made good time, despite the massive road works while they create yet another toll motorway, at this stage as far as the Airport.
We refuelled our motos and us at the Shell gas station in Tocoppila, before we headed inland, up into the the high desert once again. We made good pace in spite of the heat and isolation, with a couple of stops for drinks and a snack. As we approached Calama, we reached the highest point so far at 4845m. Some of the riders were feeling the effect of altitude by now and needed more rest stops.
We regrouped at Calama, beside the worlds biggest Copper mine, the tailings are as big as mountains themselves, with tiny little Dinky Toy Trucks tipping their load of spoils over the side.
We made the last 100 kms to San Pedro de Atacama in good time. They changed the road layout so we had a small problem to locate our Hotel and fuel, but once there, it was not long before the pool was made good use of to bring
A regroup along the Chilean coast.
body temperatures back down.
Gerardo arrived only 10 minutes before us, after riding from Antofagasta that day.
A nice dinner was had down town that evening before all the tired riders hit the sack for a well earned rest.
Leaving San Pedro de Atacama around 9.30 am, we made our way to the Chile Check Point, only to discover that they now share the crossing with Argentina at Paso Jama, so it was gear back on and the long slog up the 37 km hill to the entry to Bolivia, where we regrouped for a photo in the freezing wind. Both Bob and Mary had to stop several times as they ascended the hill to put more and more layers on as temperatures dropped to around 3 deg.
The ride across the Altiplano, was as always, just bloody fantastic, with panoramic views forever....
When we arrived at the border, there were three bus loads of people being processed, an hour and a half later we were refuelling with Argentine Nafta (Gasoline) and coffee.
We stopped for a bit of fun and shopping on the road as it crosses Argentina's largest salt reserves, before ascending
to the highest point today at 4,200m as we ride through Paso Abra de Porerillos, before the remarkable zig-zags as we drop down from Cuesta de Lipan into Pumamarca for the night.
After a leisurely start the next day, we made our way to Salta via Ruta 9, but not before we lost Bob and Mary, as they never saw us waiting on the off ramp and sailed past, gerardo saw us, so I knew he would lead them back on track, and sure enough they rolled into the gas station that we were waiting at in El Carmen. We had a toasted sandwich for lunch and headed off on one of the most twisty and narrow roads that we have been on, and climbed over the mountain, with thick lush tropical rain forest surrounding us. D Duke found himself in Ducati heaven.... We regrouped before decending down to the busy streets of Salta and our hotel for two nights.
We have a day off today, so we took the Telefereco (Gondola to us) to the top of hill overlooking the city, we had a great view of the city along with some cheese and chicken empanadas, coffee
for me and a milk/fruit drink for Bones. We then wandered around the massive waterfalls that have been created at the top of the hill, where the water comes from is beyond me!!
I heard a rumour that D Duke and Christine wandered around the Plaza last night looking for a restaurant of their choice for dinner, finally they found one with alfresco dining and had a really great meal. They then paid the bill and wandered off to find their hotel, only to discover later on that they actually ate their hotel, but out side on the footpath...ha, ha, ha.....
In the evening we went to a Cultural/Dance dinner show, the meal was good, but the introduction duo went on for ever, then we had the main band and some flaminco dancing. We got back to the hotel around 12.30 am, so a big day all round.
Tomorrow we head south to Cafayate for the night. So until the next blog, un abrazo, Rosco
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