Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chile - San Pedro de Atacama to La Serena, then Valparaiso

February 24th 2011
I arrived in San Pedro de Atacama, coming from Calama. I didn't like it, I cannot even get off the bike to get info from the hostel a police office came and told me I cannot park my bike on the side of the road, not even for a minute, even thought there are other cars parked, I need to go to the the parking far away, and by the way, I also need my helmet. Damm, and everything is so expensive, couldn't find a meal for less than $12. I eat a bit then go see the Valle del Luna.
I made the mistake of not stopping and walk around, maybe I was tired and it's not so easy to walk with ridding gear and boots.
Marcin and Renata, I met with in Potosi, told me about a salt flat there that is dry, so I wanted to find it. Took the road across the Valle del Luna, then the road going south near the salar, then the road going tru.
I don't think I can ride my bike there unfortunately, the road going further west was block according to the signs, so I headed back to San Pedro.
Back in town I needed a place to stay, I met Joaquin, left on the picture below. He said he has a company with his friend Juan Pablo. They are doing motorcycle tours in the Atacama deserts with BMW gs. He kindly offered to help me if I needed and I ended up staying at his place for the night. They have a big yard and I could camp next to the pool, nice!

If interested in tours of the Atacama deserts, here are their infos:

Brand new f650gs's
And a funny cat exploring and jumping at everything.
There were geysers nearby, but you need to get up at 4am then take a dirt road for over an hour to get there early to see the geysers splashing steam and water. I decided to drive further south instead, I feel pressed by time so I can't do everything. After a good breakfast with Joaquin and Juan Pablo, I left. They suggested me to go to the National park in Chanaral, about 700km away. Went to chanaral but didn't the national park, so I asked a few locals where I could camp.
 so went to a camping site near La Playa Flamenco. I was worry to just camp anywhere like I was doing in Mexico due to many rules they have here, like in Canada or USA.
Found a cool spot and a nice sunset. Here it's summer and it gets dark at about 9pm, so I have more time to drive.
I woke up at 5am due to super loud techno music, I couln't beleive how rude it was to have musics so loud at that time. I managed to fall asleep later on, music off, but it was a little late...
Feb 26th; direction La Serena
By the way, gas in Bolivia is crap, here you get 97 octane gas, coming from Bolivia you see how huge the difference is, much more responsive and fast, it's like having a turbo. But it's $1,50 a liter ($6/gal).
La Serena: nice town
They have a beach nearby, I was hoping for camping but it's too touristy and crowded.
After trying to find an hostel that I couldn't I gave up and took the first one availlable. No parking though, but it's next to a Police station and I go there with a guy from the hostel to ask if I could park there for one night. Sure no problem! I ended up staying 2 nights because I was tired.
Left to Valparaiso on the 28th. It nice place. Many hills everywhere and some old elevators to go up and down.
At the hostel met with Pierre, a French guy from Toulouse, and Jessica from Chicago. We had a good meal together and some wine drinking also. Nice night!
Hostel where I was, with very nice painting everywhere. It's nice to see arts in a town, it make it more pretty.

The next day Pierre was going to Santiago. Since I couldn't book a wine tour from Valparaiso I decided to go also and meet with him over there in Santiago. Went to a walk aroung the centro after we arrived.
They have so many hearthquakes you don't see many old building that are still standing up.
The metro has fans spraying water, never saw that before.
The guy at the hostel was from Montreal and was very helpful, he book a wine tour for us while we were visiting the centro. We went to the Cousino Macul. It's in town.
Many old wines that turned to vinegar, such a waste, they should have made a big party and let people drink instead of that...
Pierre and I.
In Chile, they have Champagne made in Chile, which is impossible, and it's cheap, you can get one bottle for about $5. Pierre was a little upset of that, well can't blame him, I'm sure this has nothing compared to the real Champagne from France, we didn't want to encourage this and try it, maybe I'll do it anyway, we'll see.
Then Sebastian, the guy I met in Machu Picchu, came over for a meal at the hostel, he's living here in Santiago.
We ended up in the Bellavista neighborhood, where all the bars are.
Then to another bar, where it's cheaper.
It's now March 3rd, I buy new motocross boot and Crocs sandals since I've lost my in a dirt road in Bolivia. Then put some new rubber on the bike, Metzeler Karoo in the front, and Deset Sahara in the back. I think it's a great choice and those Brazilian tires are cheap here.
My suspension was getting quite soft, was too much. I was oping I could finish Ushuaia then  Buenos Aires before dealing with than, but I've seen a puddle of oil from under the bike. It's coming from the suspension, no way I can ride this was, it's blown and I need a new one.

I went to the dealer and he can get that under warrenty, the bike has only 36 000 km, it's not that much, and I'm not that heavy with all my stuff. It will take 2 weeks to get it from Germany, it's considered "Hazardous Material" so you need a special team with nuclear suits to handle that try customs and it can take time. At the dealer I met with Paulo, a guy from Brazil, near Sao Paulo, he kindly offer help to make phone calls to Argentina see if they would have that in stock, the answer is no.

I booked a bus to Buenos Aires to meet a fews friends there. More of that coming next.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing pictures. I just come to your blog and found something which make my mood....thanks. Keep rocking.

    San Pedro de Atacama