UPdates coming from the Freedom Rally Crew:
Today I was surprised that a gas station we stopped at had Wi-Fi, so I took the opportunity to upload all the photos I had… hope you liked them. I did not have time to describe them, but I will at a later date. I have many more to upload that show the terrain we are traveling through. I also had the opportunity to see what other people had posted on Freedom Rally Racing and realized... you know more about the race than I do!! I have no idea who is first, second, or what went on during the race, only what I hear through the grapevine. So I hope the day to day of setting up camp and what we the support team go through is interesting enough. I don’t even get feedback on that!
This morning the riders set out at the crack of dawn, while it was still dark outside. Scott, Jaime and Dave managed to get an extra hour of sleep as packing up camp was done by the time they woke up. Most times they are packing also, although this time much of it was done the night before as usual. Our camp today at Calama, Chile is sandy, dusty and windy, not fun at all! Dust is everywhere, it would be fruitless to try and clean anything! Spectators still manage to line the streets and highways, even in the most desolate places. When we stop for gas we are usually barraged by people wanting to take photographs with us by the camper. I have held many kids for their parents, girlfriends and wives for their family, standing in front of the RV! We also have a lot of stickers of every kind to hand out, which people love! The mini bike Mike has loaded onto the front of the RV always gets a lot of attention (usually laughs!) as we go through the crowds.
Today we had a flat tire on the RV and had to change it in the middle of nowhere. We also got some assistance from another team (Friends of Luis’s of course!) who stopped to lend a hand. They had a few wrenches we didn’t and made life much easier than it would have otherwise been. The outside rubber tread had come off the inside left rear tire… Changing it in the heat, the wind and in a dust bowl was no fun.
As I write this, Luis has not arrived yet (must be about 8:30pm… no my computer clock is not right…. The things we take for granted!!) the mechanics are eating now, and I’m waiting to give “King Luis” a hand when he gets here. Any minute now! I guess everyone had a good ride today… Marco passed Mateo today, which got a nice big chuckle from Liliana. I heard there is Wi-Fi at the “Host Country Tent” so I may be able to post this AND send emails! Wish me luck!
Today is a day of “rest” in Tucuman. This means simply we all get to sleep in. That’s it. Work goes on. When the bikes are ready, then the trucks get some attention. Mateo’s bike will get a new motor today, the other two are OK, although we are all worried about Luis’s. If something happens to his engine, we don’t have a spare. This has been a race with miracles being performed for him and by him, so stay tuned for more! Speaking of the trucks, let me elaborate. The RV has had two blown tires now and yesterday we were stranded by the side of the road about 50 km out of Salta, with no power. We had enough to reverse back onto the side of the road, but not to go forward. We were rescued by a bunch of very friendly and boisterous Dutchmen, who towed us in their Dakar support truck for 155km into Tucuman! That was quite the ride, as we were doing about 77 mph and still managed to pass another truck with the RV in tow. Mikes comment: “Well, that’s a first!”. Jaime fixed the problem when we got into camp. A loose magnet in the carburetor.
The camp today is inside a horse race track in Tucuman. Mike, Jenny, Mateo, Marcos , Liliana and Luis all got some much needed rest in a Tucuman hotel . Onwards we go now, to Cordoba tomorrow! More then!