April 11th Tilcara to San Pedro De Atacama
Trip Start Mar 17, 2010
77Trip End May 27, 2010
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Got up and my washed clothes were not yet dry so I put them next to the gas fire. 5 Min's later I smelt burning. BOLLOCKS! Just melted the sleeve on my Helly Hanson top.I bloody liked that top too. I had to cut the sleeve down with my leatherman tool. Got one short sleeve now, look like a right tit! At least I don't have to roll my sleeve up now to look at my watch.
Had a nice breakfast but couldn't see any views because we were in the clouds.
The group met up at 9 and rode out west toward Chile on route 52
3675 meters. Top Gear are wrong again. Trying to concentrate on this snaking road and look at the amazing scenery is very difficult. One stupid move and it could be good night Vienna.
We carried on up to 4000M over the top and then the same the other side. An immense strip of white became visible in the distance. This was `Salinas Grande´. A giant salt flat that stretched as far as the eye could see,(the largest in Argentina). We rode through the flats on a needle straight road for miles and miles. We had to stop with the 3 amigos and have a little taste of the salt. Man that is salty stuff!
Finally we got to the other side and started to rise again with more panoramic stunning views. It never fails to amaze. We stopped at 11.30 for a wee and a top up at 3500M (thats the height we are at, not the height of my wee).
Got to Paso Jama at 12.30, now at 3935M. The ride has been quick and very fresh. The bike was even more gutless than usual coming out of the gas station with there being no oxygen in the air
Come across more salt flats with Llamas everywhere. We seem to do something new everyday which is all part of the experience.
Got to the border at 1pm and out at 1.40pm. We stopped at 4600M at 2.25pm just to see what it was like. I had to lie down before I fell down.
Riding through no mans land is like riding on Mars (not that I have). The rock faces are very smooth, I suppose worn down by the wind. Browns, reds, oranges, and flashes of bright blue lakes and white salt flats. Thankfully 99% of this trip has been amazing scenery, there has been some boring bits but you have to take the rough with the smooth.
100 Miles of no mans land then arrive at the Chile border at 3.40pm, out at 4.20 which is pretty good. As I will tell you later most Countries are easy to get out of but a bloody nightmare to get into because of the paperwork for the bikes (all 20 of them ).
Before we got to the border we were at the top of the mountain in cloud and the road down into Chile was straight down rather than twisty. As we rode down you could feel the temperature rising rapidly. Once at the border it was roasting !
First impressions of the town were not good, very run down and wasn't looking forward to seeing what the camp site was like. Got to the camp site and it was another surprise. We were able to get a double room and again it was one of the best yet. Massive bed and very authentic. Look like it had rough clay walls and colorfully decorated with a nice bathroom and great shower.
It was about 33 degrees so I done a bit of blogging and chilled in the room as it was a bit cooler in there.
We are still lat 2600M so I am still feeling a little weak and puffed out. You have to keep drinking and resting to acclimatise.
A group of us went into the small town for some nosh. The town is quite popular with the great unwashed and backpackers alike
The restaurant we chose was thankfully another good one. Clay ovens, seats molded into the walls, good music and a good atmosphere. The boys got a chicken curry which was served in a coconut shell, it looked good but it was only enough to feed a small child.
Martin ordered a tea and when it came there was no milk so he asked the senorita for some. She looked at him weirdly as he kept asking for leche (milk) but eventually got it. He put it in his tea and at this point realized it was a herbal tea! NICE. Milky mint tea. I bet the waitress thought he was a right twat.
After I went to the ATM and got millions of Chile wotsits. Cant work out the money yet so I think I have been ripped off by the money exchange person I went to earlier.
Walked back down the dirt track to the camp site in darkness and again gorping at the stars.
Just gained an hour as the clocks have gone back yeah!
Early night at 9pm.
Night Jon boy
274 miles done.