The longest day -900km Antofagasta to La Serena

Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
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13
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Trip End Jan 24, 2013


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Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Today we may be biting off more than we can chew.  This is the longest plan interval of over 900km.

The Plan
Starting Point: Antofagasta
Starting time:0500
End Point: La Serena
Distance: 900km
Travel Time:12 hours
Ending time: 1700
Average Speed made good: 75 km/hr

The Actual
Starting Point: Antofagasta
Starting time:0605 (allowing for the 2 hour change from Lima, this was actually 0405 Lima time)
End Point: La Serena
Distance: 900km
Travel Time:14 hours
Ending time: 2005
Average Speed made good: 65 km/hr

There was quite a bit of construction on the road out of Antofagasta which held up traffic and caused a significant delay.  Prior to sunup however we reached the famous "Hand in the Desert"
which for some reason the sculptor decided to put in the middle of nowhere about a kilometer off of Highway 5.  The highway was pretty good and pretty fast most f the way.  Reaching Copiapo in the afternoon, we saw numerous vehicles from the Dakar 2013 race which was in process at the time.

The entrance to La Serena along Hwy 5 is approximately located at 29 54'23S and 71 15'28W.  After crossing the desert all day it was nice to have the highway approach the coast and we enjoyed the beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean as we neared La Serena.  Further north there is a lot of vacation home development but no major resorts of any kind.  Probably people who come down from Santiago.

La Serena was founded in 1544 and is the second oldest city in Chile, after the national capital, Santiago.  Population is about 400,000 in the city and surrounding urban area. The city is an important tourist destination, especially during the summer, where people go to visit the beaches. 

The architecture of the city is of late 19th-century vintage style, built with wood from the US state of Oregon (pino oregon) brought to Chile in vessels sailing to the nearby port of Coquimbo to load copper and other minerals for transport back to the US. This Oregon pine and the use of native adobe create a unique style for the city.
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