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Published: March 12th 2013
Who's having fun then??
We have all finally arrived here in Tongoy for two nights, which will give everyone a chance for some rest and a bit of moto maintenance.
Howard has written up a Few words with his perspective of our adventure so far.
I am having trouble with slow Internet to upload photos, so bear with me I will post more when I can. Cheers, Rosco.
So from Howard.......
In Valpairaso it is like Wellington and the colour of the houses are solid yellow and reds. Amazing. One of the guys on the Adventure, Terry, has been all around the world as a merchant sea engineer and is really impressed with both Latin America and Valparaiso, and is thinking of buying a place here. Just had a lovely dinner here in Corico after moving down here from Vina Del Mar today.Just divine the meat (ribs) and corn (some sort of mashed stuff.) I haven´t eaten meat that good EVER. And the corn was so gorgeous. On the recommendation of a couple of locals here in the dining room. Tomorrow is a different story with a trip to the Arginentinian border south of the usual one as that is closed to
How could you get lost with such good signs?
eastern traffic other until 2000 to 0800hrs, vice versa with the western traffic from 0800 to 2000hrs. That was too difficult for us sto travel through the mountains at night ( on the wrong side fo the road?) So instead the smaller one is accessed through 300 kms of gravel road which will be interesting.The bike is going well and the second day was only 2 lost souls in the group.
Well, I haven´t been able to get onto the internet since Curico.From there went over the pass the Paso Vergado or something. That was out of it. The norrmal one you can´t get through as they are doing it up, so we go to this border post in the middle of no where. Just a building in the Andes for the Chilean side. Then 19 kms further was the Argentinian border and that was worse. Think of the middle of the Mackenzie country, a rock cottage with nothing around, with 28 cyclists doing a tour, when we rock up. Only took an hour and half! Really dramatic coming away from that too. Made it to Malargue which is like a town out of the Wild West. Dusty wide,
Bugger, that happened bloody fast!!
The Ruta 40 Sand Snake grabbed the front wheel.
streets, and when coming back from the restaurant the main street was closed off. There was a parade turns out to be a graduation for some class or other. Big celebration.Out from there doing our first bit of off seal roading. Going along and hitting sand. Big sand. Like putting the throttle down, lean back and give it the burst with the bars goiing all over the place. First time I´d tried that, and also for a few of the others. Have to get used to it or fall off. Did this for 100 kms or so. Nearly at the end when there was a 300 metre stretch of it. Going along at 100 kmh and came up behind a couple of others that were slowing down fast. I saw it and one guy, Rodgrigo went to the left, I went to the right of Scratch as the latter veered across in front of me. I nearly hit him by a couple of feet and had to keep the power on. I got through it with the bars going all over the place and me too, off the saddle and all of that. Got through and over the hill but
He came back to help the others and that blasted Sand Snake got his front wheel!!
as I was going past Scratch he was beeping his horn when he shouldn´t. So I stopped and waited for him. Not coming. So went back and here he was down in the big BMW 1200. He managed to get out from under it. Gerardo was about 100 metres back in the sand as well. Motioned to go to him first, and through the sand. Picked his bike up and he walked it out, then to Scratch and both of us lifted it. Imagine that I had to go through 3 times in all, with the bars going all over the place. Didn´t fall off thank goodness.We got 5 kms furthers own the road to re group. Waited for the others. Then a couple were missing. Barry and Radar went back to check. Another rider down in his new Tiger. Went just about over the bars and hit the sand with his head and shoulders. He´s pretty sore but has kept on with it. One of the guys who went back to help (Radar) also went down. So that´s 4 for the period. Not surprising as the Tiger man put his hand in the sand and it was up to
Really just a cool photo
Got to Uspallata. I like that place. Tree lined. Good vibe. Pool there... had a nice swim. I decided to wash my jacket and pants. Just in the shower and filled it up and hung it in the bathroom with a hole in the floor. Other undies, shirt and sox I put in the bottom of the shower while I had one and stomped on it. Not bad for the 4th day of riding and still on the same shirt, undies and sox, just wash them, put them out to dry and wear them the next day. This new stuff is great!
Today it was albsolutely beautiful coming out of Uspallata. Think the Crown Range only 5 times better, with the ribbon of road going through the tussock sort of plains, with the Andes on one side and another range, San Juan, on the other. Not a cloud In the sky, sparkling. Cool at first and then heating up. Then through rock hills. Huge, for miles. Then through the gorge that the road had been washed out. Nearly came off again. Rodrigo in front off the seal to road works no warning, he apparently crossed up and caused
Sock and T shirt washing
We found these neat little fountain things in our room for washing socks and T shirts, just great!!
the cloud of dust. Jack behind too close couldn´t see a think. Into whatever it was and I saw the bars flick back and forth. By that time I was to the left and had my own problems. Into a cloud couldn´t see anything. Knew the roadside was there. Up over bumps with bars flicking, me all over the place but hung on. Don´t know how. Further on and climbing really high. Think the Arthurs´Pass but 5 times as steep and long. Really gunning it with Jack behind but I thought it was Scratch. Full throttle all the way up and round the corners, going really fast. After that we had problems with fuel and not enough of it. I have a 600 kms range for the main tank, and then with 15 litres in the side one, but didn´t have it full. Others on 300 kms limit. I stayed with Tiny who ran out but went 10 kms down hill to a town. I went to a back street and got 4 litres from some fellow and went back to fill Tiny.Now we are at Los Flores for the night.That´s about it. Team dinner on now..
Los Flores to
Terry preparing for the day
Please dear god, let there be some tar seal today...
Vicuña...... From Los Flores we went only 5 kms down the road to the Argenine border post. That was uneventful, and I took off with Rodrigo, on his V Strom like the Viktor that I had. On a plain with just the ribbon of road for miles, climbing hard all the way.Then to another check point with one man stationed there in the middle of nowhere. Moving on and getting rocky dusty and dramatic. Climbing hard. Following a truck in a cloud. It stopped. We were at the end of a quarry: Went back. hard to turn in the soft rubble. On winding up, corrugations, Rodrigo in front as I was taking photos. I came to him with his bike on its side and helped him to lift it up then ride up the hill. Further on was really climbing to 4721m. This is higher than Mt Cook.Gerardo and Rodrigo and I were taking photos but I was lightheaded with the altitude and disorinetated. I wanted to go. I was warned by Gerardo to go slow as bad judgement. So 50km for a while. Got better after 500 m or so lower altitude. Quick drops with steep over the sides.
Paso del Agua Negra
Translated to Black Water....
Got further down and a man was on a horse, with goats etc. A guy on a mule and then at one part it had 2 ways and went to the left and it looped back on itselt. Alot of us did that. Remember we are where there is no OSH and you´ve got to think for yourself, and not have everything laid out with cones or signposts like home. I was still coming down, 60 kms or so to the Chile border. That was a nice one. Stripped off all the liners. We went from 5 degrees up the top to about 35 degrees by the Chilean border. Rodrigo wanted to go as he was still crook. I was fluffing around. The pin from the lid of the top box had fallen out with the weight of the exinguisher.I found another couple of pins that fit just outside the SAG (maf) checkpoint. Put one in. I took off. Hotter and hotter. Too hot to have the visor bit open.To Vicuna and a quaint old Spanish Style hotel with an inner courtyqard, and old rooms off it with high ceilings. Rodrigo had to ask a few people how to get
there. 250kms to there. Most used the same gas as 350kms. Parked the bikes across the street. Went to the dairy. Got helados (ice cream) and chilos (chewing gum). It was a Sunday and all the towns people seemed to be eating helados. The latter to repair the top box which Ray, my room mate screwed and fixed. I washed the clothes in the hand basin. Not bad, still on the same set of clothes during the day. Had a swim in the pool. Walked to the town square, which was packed on a Sunday, with couples, families, and most having ice cream. Walking on the street was a furnace.Then we went to a cantina across the road from the hotel. Think of an edgy, noisey, cantina like in the movies. That was it. One guy said he was a right wing in footbll, then said another guy there was Argentine and played with Lionel MESSI. We had a few beers with Terry, then Tiny, Scrath, Jack and Don. One of the locals was being a pain to Tiny, so the barman kicked him out for annoying the gringos who were good paying customers.Out of there to a pizzeria at
the Plaza Central. Nice, alot better than the Uspallata one. 11¡3 On the road and turned onto the Hutado Valley road. Small metal roads winding in, out of the hills for an hour, very tight, hilly. At the top all stopped and Scratch´s big BMW 1200 fell over onto Radar´s. I learnt later that he had stopped about 1 km down the road and it fell over there too! So that´s 3 times for the trip so far, and it´s only the first of 6 weeks.Another indicator gone. More turning. Came to a T behind Rodrigo an Gerardo who said to me go left to Andecolla but he was turning right. I was confused. I had a discussion with the others after he left. I asked a guy working at the carabinieri opposite which way to Andecolla and he pointed left. Barry said to wait for Rosco in the truck which we did, who said to turn right. Gerardo must have been tricking which he admitted later at a village which we stopped at for Cokes. Then off behind Gerardo and Rodrigo again. I got separted just with Rodrigo. I followed when a ute went the other side of the
road then right in front of us to a driveway, without warning and indication. Rodrigo slmamed on his brakes. I did too, he locked the back wheel and I had to haul on everything to stop in time for the ute to go right in front of me. We shook fists and tooted but just got the great ignore. Really scary. Rodrigo was off with me following around a lake. I stopped tor a photo. I couldn´t find him. I learnt later he saw me in the mirror, then didn´t and decided to speed off and lose me on purpose¡I went straight to Qualla. I asked where was Andecollo. Got a digaram made. Went back to where I came from and saw a sign so realized I went the wrong way on a fork. While going along a porsche zoomed past. It must have been doing the ton at least. I was following and then caught up when it was behind other traffic and I passed him. Soon after he was behind again, and passed moderately, then zoomed on and I realized it was an Audi R8,not a porsche and it went to at least 200 km-h I reckon. I
Paso del Agua Negra
The last of the snow and ice melt
caught up with it again behind other trucks and passed, then it passed me again at warp speed and I didn´t see it again.I turned right up to Andecollo and what an amazing road, with excellent surface for the winding road with tight corners. Think the Takaka hill and you´re close, or perhaps the Kaimais, but alot longer. I had Bumble singing, but the tyres aren´t the best and when I felt the front tyre slip a bit I had to tell myself that I still had 5 weeks to go on them!To Andecollo and saw the bikes. I was walking past the old churches and got stopped by Margarena who must have seen I was English speaking and wanted to practise it. She said she worked at the radio station and told me the history of the old church (400 years ) and the new chucrch (200yrs=) which had the history of Chile there.I heard later from Terry that on 23rd and 27th December
there is a big celebration there with people coming from as far away as Columbia and up to 500 000 people attend!I saw all the guys in the restaurant just finishing lunch. They tried to say
Looking for Howard and Rodrigo.....
it was my fault I got lost, as Gerardo was waiting on the corner for me and Rodrigo. If so how come I didn´t see him? that is the job of the corner man isn´t it? (There was huge sign pointing to Andacolla-Rosco)At the restaurant they were about to take off, and I got their 3 litre of coke they´d bought. I got eggs on buns and chips and was full. the nice waitress gave me glasses that had been left There and mentioned an old man with a beard (Rosco) that had left them. Gerardo came back. I hid his helmet for him for trying to lose me going the wrong way from Hurtado. I got a photo of the waitress and went for another one of the kitchen women. No. no. So I paid the bill. Then the kitchen lady gave me a vial of rocks. ( told the guys later she tried to buy me!)I rode around the streets. It was narrow, one way and old buildings. Nice vibe. When I got the bike again school kids and a man was talking to me about the bike. A I also took photos of the öld¨and ¨new¨church. Impressive.
Back to the mainroad. I tried to find the place in Tongoy from Rosco's instrucions. I asked at the service station. Still confused. I asked a man washing a car near the water where I thought it might me, he pointed to the hotel which was 70 m away.A lovely place right on the water with big windows and small fising boats on the water.Then we went to a restaurant on the water which was really beautiful with lovely food. I had a salmon type fish or something. Melt in the mouth. That´s it for another day. Tomorrow is a ¨rest¨day and I will be doing some maintenance on the bike, doing the washing and a bit of a snooze before we go up the highway to Copiapo to continue the adventure. Hasta Pronto, Howard
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