A night in the tent

Trip Start Mar 20, 2011
Trip End Jun 05, 2011

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Flag of Chile  ,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today was to be yet another long drawn out day on the roads of Chile. As usual I and the Grandad team left well before the rest of the group simply to let them get ahead and to allow me to stop and take my usual amount of photos along the way.

At first the road was wonderful and I flew along at about 50mph and kept stopping in the wonderful valleys etc to photo the wonderful mountains and scenery. Even though the sun was beating down on us and not a single cloud was to be seen it was still very cold and my heated grips were on hi for the first few hours.

We were heading for Calama which was about 100 miles away. Just like all good things come to an end well so did this good road. Some of it was well maintained and wonderful to ride on but the rest was just sand and stones and was just hell. Some sections were solid ground but water had cut out grooves about 6" wide and anything up to 10"deep long ways along the road. Get your wheel stuck in one of them and it could really cause a accident.

As much as the scenery was great, I just wanted this road to end and so I took less photos and kept pushing on towards Camala.

Allan and John were ahead of me but Scott and Andy were both behind as we plodded along some of the worst sections of road we had ever seen. As the scenery kept changing so I kept stopping for photos and another swig of my Coke. I kept looking back for Andy and Scott but never saw them again and got a feeling something had happened to one of them.

Anyway I decided to continue on my journey. A few of the racers came past me on one of the good sections. I was doing 50mph and was quite happy at that. What all the rush is about I do not know. I caught up with the two Pauls at a wonderful cutting where they had stopped to take photos and also have a drink.

Onwards we went and from here the dirt road was very well maintained and then suddenly in the middle of nowhere the dirt changed to tar. I just wanted to get off and kiss the tar mat. It felt so nice to cruise along the road without being shaken to pieces. I put on my video camera and began to sway from side to side of the road simply to celebrate the smooth surface.

My wonderful Honda was doing great so far on petrol and since there was no rush to get to Camala I just took my time and sat at 65mph stopping along the way as usual to take photos.

By the time we reached Calama we were out of the mountains and heading into a semi desert kind of area. I pulled into the first petrol station I saw and there I caught up with a few of the others. I went to fill up but was told we must pay in the local currency and that the US dollar is not accepted. We found a local ATM and lifted 200 000 of the local currency as that is what one of the other riders told us would be enough for the two days here in Chile. In the past we were also warned about Chile being a rather bad country for thieves and that we must never trust anyone, well we were just about to find out how true this is.

I was first to fill up my tank and the pump showed a total of 13.1ltrs for my 221miles and the price was 112000 pasos or whatever the currency is. I then gave the guy 120 000 pasos and he gave me a few notes change. After a few other riders had filled up we all realized we had been ripped off by these buggers at the pumps. As there is no comma shown on the pump and non of us knew the exchange rate we did not know the price in local currency. I should only have paid 11,2 pasos but instead paid 112 000. We tried to get our money back but there was no ways this was going to happen. I lost about 25 USD to those thieves. The same thing happened in the pizza shop right there in the same garage but we had become wise to it all by now and made sure we got the correct change each time.

The rest of the day was spent working on many of the bikes in the garage area. Poor Phil on hid KTM had just arrived at the garage with two totally flat tires and in so doing had now damaged his rear rim. His front rim was damaged in another accident he had during the first week of the trip so now he is riding with two damaged rims. I bought some gearbox oil to refill my chain oiler and tried to get it to work but only time will tell.

At about 5pm all maintenance was complete and about 5 tires had been changed so just to get our own back on these thieves at the garage we left all our old tires etc in their forecourt to let them get rid of them.

It was going to be a struggle to find our way out of this town and so one kind local biker took lead and showed us the way out of town. We were to head west and finally up the  main Pan American Highway towards a town of Pintadof. It was a boring road through the desert that just went on forever. After about 150miles we approached a police check point and right there behind this point was our camping spot for the night.

We spent the evening making camp fires and simply having a laugh until we all decided to head for our tents. Right now its about 1am and im sitting here in my tent with ear plugs in due to all the noise of trucks and a noisy generator. The stars above are wonderful and its quite warm outside.

I'm not sure what the plans are for tomorrow but hopefully it will be another great adventure on our journey to Alaska. 

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