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Day 398 – 10th January 2010

Posted by TravellingStrom on January 10, 2010

Sunday – Antofagasta, Chile

The day started off bad, the silly bitch that looks after breakfast at the cafe next door was an agro mother! She was so rude and mean I could have punched her lights out, when the service you are paying so much for is so slack, it makes your first impression of a new country very bad. She even had the nerve to give me a bill for the two bananas I ate from the fruit bowl, of course I did not pay it, the worst breakfast of my life, the bread was so hard I nearly broke the table when I banged it on it and she told me that was normal 😦

Well, another day of group riding which to tell the truth is beginning to tell on me and try my patience. We only had to ride to Antofagasta where I wanted a good room with internet connection, but the bunch dynamics meant that everyone was travelling the same way, but no one took control and made a pegs down time, even though 10am had been mentioned. I hung back but I guess I should have left, too late now though. I took a picture of the pannier damage, it should not be too hard to fix, either a jack or a big whackometer 🙂

I had plenty of time to look around, I grabbed some cash from the bank but could not find any stickers or tshirts of the desert, never mind.

We finally after getting fuel hit the road about 1pm, about 3 hours later than I wanted, but that was my mistake for not leaving by myself. The first section out of the crap town was actually quite nice, sort of a moonscape type landscape 🙂

Here is the pogo stick, fully loaded two up with no rear shock, crazy 🙂

The ride to the first town of Calama was not long but it was certainly time for lunch. Once again, any time we made up on the road was lost while we waited for the slow bikes to come into town. But, while waiting we were found by a group of Calama bikers club and they chatted with us for a fair while before taking us into town and showing us where to have a good feed, it was a very nice meeting 🙂

After a great lunch where the service was actually very good we hit the road and headed west and south to the coast and when we got to the Highway 5, we were finally back on the PanAmerican Highway, yeeeeehaaaa 🙂 Along here were a lot of small towns that had names but seemed to be desolate, maybe part of the Pinochet era?

By the looks of the next city distances sign I was still along long way from Santiago, which may be the last chance of seeing the Dakar, after all this effort I hope I do not miss it, but it may mean some long hard riding and leaving the group to achieve it. The mirror on the right hand side of my bike was a bit hard to adjust too, every time I look at it I think I am on a lean, I will have to straighten that out sometime 🙂

The roads down here are littered with shrines to the dead, some were just basic crosses but some were actual buildings, some even had plants and fountains and gardens etc, a lot of effort put into these, here is an example of a probable workplace accident result.

I had been keeping an eye on my GPS because as I was getting closer to Antofagasta I would cross the Tropic of Capricorn and great news it was actually signposted with a monument to mark it. For those that don’t know, my home town of Rockhampton lies on the TOC on the east coast of Australia, so this is me facing east and waving to all my family and friends in Rocky, G’day there, see you all in a few months 🙂

This of course meant I have now officially left the tropics, but it was still warm riding, except the wind was bad, yucky in your face headwind, but I might as well get used to it because it will get a lot worse down the coast. So, the final run into Antofagasta caused me to run out of fuel, because it was downhill into the city and my tank pick up is at the back of the tank, uphill. The fuel I put in from my container was a bit bad as well, some coughing and spluttering while riding around looking for accommodation. Well, it turns out the Dakar is in town and had been for the past 4 days so that was hard to come by, but perseverance paid off and eventually we were in an expensive hotel and I had expected internet for a change but the connection was very dodgy and hard to connect to, rip off!

I ended up having some dinner downstairs and then working on my laptop down there as well for a short while answering emails etc. Tomorrow we intended a long day, the Dakar was actually ahead of us and heading to Copiopa and we figured if we could do a long run then we could be ahead of it by the end of the day and catch them down near Santiago the following day, here’s hoping, I would hate to miss out now after all the hard yards and being so close!

Day – 212 miles and 341 km
Trip – 48,816 miles and 78,562 km



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4 Responses to “Day 398 – 10th January 2010”

  1. Hugh said

    Great effort! Some of that riding should have put you in the Dakar. Glad to see that there was not too much damage to the bike…love the V -Strom.


  2. ybg said

    I’ve got an idea for your sticker for the desert crossing. Just print off that photo of you squatting next to the bike in the ditch, from the previous day, and slap it on the bent pannier. Everyone will automatically know where it was taken.


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