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Old 02-15-2008, 06:07 PM   #1
robocop1 OP
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Thumb Dave & Pam's Excellent Adventure To Ushuaia



We left Chicago on December 29th and have been riding south on or Suzuki Vstrom 1000 ever since. We are currently in Iquique, Chile. We invite you to follow our adventure at http://www.rogorides.com or click here. We are trying to post our experiences and photos on a daily basis, sometimes it takes a couple of days to get caught up so bear with us. We are happy to answer any questions from other riders about our trip. Our email address is dave@rogorides.com
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:41 PM   #2
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An excellent adventure indeed!! what a great journey!! thanks for the link.. lots of great reading...
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:05 PM   #3
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Nice. Going to be interesting to see how a Strom does.

Tenga un buen viaje.
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Old 02-16-2008, 09:29 PM   #4
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Iquique To Antofagasta, Chile

.

We were the first ones up this morning, and had the same wonderful breakfast that we did yesterday, except instead of cheese we had ham with our sourdough French bread, butter and jam. We packed quickly and left early in order to get as much time on the road as possible before the winds picked up in the afternoon. It was an easy route out of the city, and before riding up the long steep 4,000 ft climb up from the beach of Iquique we stopped to fill up on gas. Soon the coast was out of sight and we were once again surrounded by desert. The Chileans call this the Pampa, but to us it looks like desert.

Our route backtracked nearly an hour to Humberstone, where we had turned off Route 5 (the Panamericana Sur) 2 days earlier to head west to the coast and Iquique. The highways in this part of Chile mimic California; Highway 1 goes right down the beach and Highway 5 runs north/south about 50 miles inland. Like California, Highway 1 is much more scenic than desolate Chilean route 5. We turned south on Route 5 and after about 5 miles we came to the first of two gas stations on the 450 kilometer stretch between Humberstone and Antofagasta. We stopped and asked the attendant who confirmed that there was another station 60 km further south at Victoria. We then noted the mileage and continued South. We stopped at Victoria and topped off here (and I mean topped off—right to the brim) before continuing on.

The road was in relatively good shape; markings came and went occasionally, and every so often we encountered some roadwork that forced us onto a gravel detour. It was pretty much straight south, with very few turns, although the elevation ranged from sea level to over 5,000 f.a.s.l.

In spite of looking like much of the same desert we have experienced over the last two weeks, this trip was made much more interesting by some very different aspects. The giant sand dune behind Iquique was the last one we saw; the land was now more rolling and less steep, although still quite barren for about 100 kilometers from Iquique. We are about to enter the Atacama Desert, considered the driest place on earth; so dry that in some parts no rainfall has ever been recorded. About 60 miles southeast of Iquique we passed through the Reserva Nacional Pampa del Taramugal (Pampa Taramugal National Reserve). This area actually had trees growing from the apparently lifeless sand. The trees are tamarugos, specially adapted to survive in the harsh dry climate by developing extensive root systems that search out water sources deep underground. These are the only plant life that survives in the Atacama, and they were almost wiped out during the nitrate boom when the miners used them for firewood. They look like a cross between a stunted olive tree and a sagebrush bush. We passed miles of them—it was good to see some vegetation at last.
Also in the Reserva, are the Cerros Pintados (Painted Hills), which are home to the largest group of geoglyphs in the world. There are more that 400 figures in a 4-kilometer stretch along the highway, and some of them are pretty amazing.

After we left the tamarugos and the geoglyphs, the land changed as we entered the Salar Llamara, large salt flats that are unlike the table top flat salt flats that we are familiar with. These flats were formed when salty water flowing from the Andes evaporated in the heat of the desert. The surface is a jumble of jagged rock-like crystals and crumbly salt deposits. Not somewhere you can set a new speed record.

After 187 miles, we arrived at the promised gas station, with gas to spare, we had been conserving as much as possible! We filled up again; the attendant must be used to such requests as he filled the tank until it could not hold another drop. We probably still had 60 miles left in the tank and our two liter-each gas bottles in reserve.

All day we continued to pass through old mining centers, where nitrate and salt and copper contributed to the rapid and successful growth of both Iquique and Antofagasta. Nitrate mining has dwindled and copper mining has taken up the slack. We passed several abandoned nitrate mines rusting in the distance, and what appeared to be a huge functioning open pit copper mine just north of Antofagasta. It appears that the majority of people living here are well supported by the mining industry.

We slowly lost elevation as we began to near Antofagasta. We could feel the change in the air as we drew nearer to the coastline. The road to Antofagasta curved to the west, and we followed it for about 10 kilometers until we suddenly crested a hill and saw the city, in vivid colors, spread out before us like a colorful blanket. The Port of Antofagasta sits in the center of the shoreline, with the beach and shipyards spreading away in a concave curve. As we drove the last 2,000 feet down the hill into the city, we noticed that here, as in the other cities we have seen in Chile, most streets are one-way. Drivers are very polite and are very good about observing stoplights and street signs. We made our way to the shore, and cruised south for several kilometers to scope out the beach and hotels. The beach area looked like a pretty high-rent district, so we stopped at one hotel and asked for a recommendation for hotels more in our price range. The desk clerk was very helpful and provided a city map and good directions on how to reach the Centro area where there is a main pedestrian promenade and several affordable hotels. We drove a bit looking for a likely place, and finally landed a decent room after three tries (first one was full, second one had no parking). Tonight we are staying at the Hotel Ancla Inn, only 1 block from the promenade and right in the middle of a shopping district. It is another shabby chic hotel, but is clean and roomy and has Internet, and is physically attached to a 24-hour parking structure, which has an agreement with the hotel. Much to Dave’s delight, there is also an ice-cream specialty shop attached to the hotel. Guess where we had dinner…

The Centro is very much like Iquique’s center in that there are many beautiful old wooden buildings that still grace the streets, many painted in bright colors. Antofagasta is the richest city in Chile’s north. We saw no police or armed guards anywhere in the downtown area tonight, nor does it seem that they are needed.

It stays lighter here much later now that we have jumped two time zones; we looked at our watches and were shocked to see it was almost 8:00 pm and daylight! A quick stroll to the grocery store to pick up some water and just take in the sights on the promenade, then back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Stores here are well stocked with reasonably priced modern goods, the promenade is alive with musicians and street theater. Tomorrow’s ride looks like another long one- we estimate we are still 3 days’ ride from Santiago.

Here is where we are tonight:

Latitude: -23.6495
Longitude: -70.3981
Nearest Town from unit Location: Antofagasta, Chile
Distance to the nearest town: 0 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 02/16/2008 21:38:51

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-23.6495,-70.3981&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

To view all of this adventure go to http://www.rogorides.com
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2005 GL1800 Dark Grey
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'07 KLR650
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Honda 200 Dirt
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robocop1 screwed with this post 02-17-2008 at 04:14 AM
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:13 AM   #5
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Good travels....looks like a great trip! Chile is beautiful!
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katoom119
Nice. Going to be interesting to see how a Strom does.
There are quite a few down that way. Ours got pretty trashed, but that was due to bad road decisions in Baja and elsewhere..
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:21 AM   #7
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Talking Suzuki Vstrom 1000

So far the Vstrom has run flawlessly - other than oil changes and 1 chain adjustment in Laredo there has been no maintenance. This in spite of our very heavy load with passenger. The one operating change has been stiffer springs ordered from Klaus in New Jersey and installed by Roger at On Road Off Road Cycles in Austin - the details are in our thread near the beginning

I don't think there could be a better bike for this trip than the Strom?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Katoom119
Nice. Going to be interesting to see how a Strom does.

Tenga un buen viaje.
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:38 AM   #8
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For a while we were only a few days apart. Awesome blog.
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:13 PM   #9
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Antofagasta To Copiapo, Chile

One thing we neglected to mention yesterday is that we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn.

Today was a good ride –we covered 568 kilometers from Antofagasta to Copiapo in the Atacama Desert. As we climbed the long hill out of Antofagasta we watched two dirt bike riders doing motocross jumps on the opposite ridge; they were obviously much lighter that we were. Like yesterday, there were limited gas stations on our route so fuel management became very important.

Once underway, we resigned ourselves to more desert scenery but were surprised by the new changes that quickly began to appear. First, other than the sandy ridge that the dirt bikers were on, instead, the mountains are less sharp and craggy, and it is possible to see the multiple colors of different types of stone rippling through the heights. The dunes gave way to stony ground stretching from the road to the foot of the hills. There were often unexpected surprises such as the “Mano del Desierto” or Stone Hand sculpture rising from the earth, and the ruins of an old British Fort in the middle of the wasteland. There were several more geoglyph sites; we have found it difficult to decipher the lines, maybe one of you out there can tell what they are!

We had very good roads for most of the way; very straight again; there was a stretch about 10 kilometers long where we were diverted onto a detour a temporary parallel roadway while the main road was being resurfaced. It’s nice that the temporary roadway was also paved. The road workers wear bright-colored work clothes that include masks and hats to protect against the sun and wind. We knew that we were climbing some when we left the coast, but were both very surprised to see the GPS showing us at 7071 f.a.s.l. The climbs were very gentle compared to the ones we have seen previously.

We saw many abandoned mines, and some that are still functioning with new facilities including flexible tanks and solar panels. We also began to see long stretches of white, which we believe was salt. When we checked on the map, we were in the area of several Salars or salt flats, at the beginning of the Atacama Desert.

The terrain changed somewhat after that; we began to see small pockets of green scrub brush on the side of the road, and some small purple flowers. The stony ground began to produce sharp black rock chunks that looked almost like obsidian. The hills had huge black stripes running across them; we thought perhaps they were seams of coal. We will have to find out what they are?

We wound our way back down to sea level and again approached the coast at Chanaral. Chanaral is a pretty seaport with a large cove filled with summer fun-seekers. There is a large salt-water swimming pool, and a lighthouse perched above the town overlooking the bay. Even after leaving the town, for the next several kilometers we saw many many campers with tents set up by the beautiful beaches. There’s nothing like summer by the sea! We stopped there to fill up and had lunch (which was terrible) at the Shell gas station’s restaurant. Afterward while we were suiting up, Dave noticed another Adventure rider filling up at the gas station and went to talk with him. Ben is from Holland, has been on the road for two years, and unlike most of the riders we have met is traveling in the same direction! We chatted for a while and swapped rider info, then said goodbye. About 30 minutes later a BMW blur raced by with a camera in hand, and we took photos of each at 100 kilometers/hour.

Just south of Chanaral we passed a beautiful airport terminal for the Atacama Desert Airport. It was a very modern new building and was teeming with people. It appeared to have jet service by LAN airlines.
Another hour to Copiapó, and the terrain continued to grow greener and greener. Not only was the wild flora increasing with trees and shrubs, we began to see lush green vineyards creeping up the sides of the barren hills. It was odd to see all the different types of trees growing side by side along the road. We when finally arrived in Copiapó, we found an energetic small town with a beautiful central square surrounded by a variety of trees. The architecture and layout of the town struck us both as very English, and we remembered that the British had been the most recent colonizers of Chile. We found a reasonable room at the Hotel San Francisco de la Selva, just a block of the main square. We spent some time in the square watching the people, and then went to the Bavaria Restaurant for dinner.

Tomorrow we should make it pretty close to Santiago and hopefully enter Santiago on Tuesday to look for a new rear tire as our current one will have over 10,000 miles by then.

Here is where we are tonight - we sent our coordinates from the town square, look for it on the satellite.

Latitude: -27.3662
Longitude: -70.3325
Nearest Town from unit Location: Copiapo, Chile
Distance to the nearest town: 0 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 02/17/2008 23:11:09

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-27.3662,-70.3325&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

The whole story is at http://www.rogorides.com
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There are no bad motorcycles - some are just better than others.

2005 GL1800 Dark Grey
K7 Vstrom 1000
'07 KLR650
3 x 1976 GL1000
Honda 200 Dirt
Honda 100 Dirt
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:39 AM   #10
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Great report but the non-white is hard to see.
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:28 PM   #11
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Took a couple hours to read your whole blog from the beginning. Very nice, and well written. Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:44 PM   #12
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Copiapó To Santiago, Chile 2-18-08

PHOTOS COMING SOON

We had the best included breakfast yet in Copiapó; a self-serve buffet that included scrambled eggs, ham, that wonderful French bread and cheese, juice, and 2 kinds of sweet rolls, one of which contained sweet chestnuts. Fully fueled to hit the road, we finished packing and loading the bike, made somewhat easier by the fact that our window opened directly over Tiburon’s parking spot and we could just toss the soft stuff like jackets out the window instead of trucking down the stairs. Pam went to pay the hotel and was met with a rude surprise—her credit card would not work. We used another card, but tried to take some cash from an ATM, and still got a “funds not available” reply. We will have to call the bank tonight and find out what’s going on---we know there is plenty of cash in that account.

On the road again at about 10:00 am, we left pretty Copiapó and headed south. Copiapó sits a little bit inland; our road will cut back to the coast in a couple hundred miles for quite a ways, then later head back inland toward Santiago. The Atacama Desert, although still dry, is definitely starting to show more signs of life. The scrub vegetation is beginning to get thicker and we are about to see our first cactus.

As we were refueling before reaching La Serena, another bike with 2-up pulled into the lot. Dave went over to talk with them and we all got together briefly for a chat and a picture taken by a generous passer-by. They were Sergio and Carolina from Santiago, and were working their way North on vacation. They recommended many of the national reserves and parks, in particular an island where you can find dolphins and the world’s smallest penguins.

We encountered our first peaje or tollbooth in Chile; unlike the northern neighbors, Chile expects all vehicles to pay for using the road (there’s even a sign that says so). The amount varies each time, so we had to dig for money at each stop. It was relatively painless—at least we didn’t have to squeeze through those narrow “moto” lanes anymore. We were charged roughly half of what cars had to pay. The first 200 miles of our travel today was all narrow two lane that we have become accustomed to. The last 200 miles today was four lane divided toll highway with occasional additional passing lanes and was very good. We made excellent progress today, we may have gone the furthest distance of our trip so far and it was pretty easy.

Traveling on the coast road at sea level and 110 kilometers an hour it got downright chilly; we stopped and Pam dug out the sweaters. Good thing we did, as the elevation kept going higher; but with the sweaters, Frogg Toggs and mesh jackets we were still toasty all afternoon.

We stopped briefly to gas up, have a snack, get some water and stretch our legs; immediately we were accosted by a thin, woman dressed in a long leopard print skirt and flowered top begging for money. She was very persistent until Dave said “NO!” and waggled his finger and then ignored her. She was one of three that were all dressed in similar fashion and ‘worked” the same way. We watched them closely (and Tiburon) for quite a while as we sat at our outside table with our water and snacks. They were quite an act, and hit every person coming or going in the lot. They may have been Gypsies as they did not look local and had henna in their hair. They were able bodied and there was no reason they could not work – therefore they get no sympathy from us. Nor did we see anyone else give them anything.

Back on the road again, traffic suddenly came to a complete halt. It looked like it had been there for a while, as engines were turned off and people were out talking with each other. We asked someone coming back from the blocked area what was going on and he replied “un muerto”—a death. Apparently there had been a collision between a bicycle and delivery truck, and both lost. The truck had rolled into the ditch, the bicycle was in pieces, and it all looked pretty bloody when we passed it a short time later.

As we drew closer to Santiago, we came through groves of eucalyptus trees. It smelled so good! We also could see acres of farmland and the resultant produce being sold at roadside stands. There were many entrepreneurs on the side of the road waving white pom poms at each car as it approached. They had something in a large basket or bucket that looked like a coal hod and covered with a cloth, and appeared to be counting or measuring out something for those who stopped. We did not stop ourselves as we were trying to get to Santiago before dark, so whatever was in the buckets is still a mystery to us. We did see many signs for bread, cheese, olives and fruit.

Our last tollbooth put us on the “Autopista de Aconcagua”, Aconcagua being one of the highest mountains in the Chilean Andes. The road took us through our longest tunnel yet at 2.5 kilometers long. Several warning signs prior to the tunnel gave everyone the option to use the tunnel or get off the toll way and use an alternate route along the cliff.

We arrived in Santiago just at sundown at 8:30pm. We were very lucky with traffic, there was hardly any at all. We worked our way toward the Centro to attempt to find a hotel, preferably the City Hotel at which we had stayed years ago. To make a very long story short, 2 taxis, countless circuits of the one-way streets in the center, and an illegal short-cut up the middle of the pedestrian promenade, 2 hours and several hotel stops later we finally found (by sheer luck) a very nice room at the Hotel Riviera on the corner of Miraflores and Moneda.

We went outside to find a place with a clear view of the sky to send our satellite coordinates. We tried standing in the center of the Alameda in a raised median area. While waiting for our Spot, we watched 2 street dogs that had their own game going with the taxis. The would wait in the outside lane, sometimes even lying down in it; whenever a taxi approached, they would chase it until it was out of “their” intersection. They would chase the taxis across one of the busiest streets in Santiago and then return before the light changed and massive traffic moved in. They never chased any cars other than taxis, and never very far. Neither dog was young. We have noticed throughout Chile that there are stray dogs living on just about every street corner. In America we have homeless people and beggars; in Chile they have homeless dogs that seemed to be well liked and somewhat cared for or at least tolerated by the local population.

In spite of two attempts we were unable to send our coordinates via satellite. There are too many high rise buildings and we do not have an unobstructed view of the sky. Tomorrow during daylight we will venture out into a nearby open area and try to send our Spot.

We had a delicious late dinner at Restaurant Nuria near our hotel where we ordered personal pizzas. They were the real things, just like we have had in Italy, and hit the spot. We got there just before closing; when midnight came, a buzzer signaling closing time rang for about 10 seconds, and all the wait staff sprung into action, putting chairs up on tables, closing the shutters on the windows, etc… We were graciously ushered out the tiny exit door through the locked metal shutter when we finished our meal.
The next couple of days we will try and put new tires on Tiburon and do a little maintenance including washing all of our clothes. We will also enjoy the many amenities available in summertime Santiago, where the temperature the last few weeks has been averaging 81o Fahrenheit.

Here is where we were tonight. The green arrow in the satellite picture is across the park that our hotel room looks out on. Our hotel is located on the corner of Miraflores and Moneda Streets. We were standing beside the Alameda or Avenida Bernardo O'Higgins when we sent our location. The spot seems to be off by about 100 feet, probably because of sky obstruction we were not receiving all of the satellites.

Latitude: -33.4424
Longitude: -70.6443

Nearest Town from unit Location: Santiago, Chile
Distance to the nearest town: 0 km
Time in GMT the message was sent: 02/19/2008 23:45:41

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-33.4424,-70.6443&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

To read more about our trip go to http://www.rogorides.com
__________________
There are no bad motorcycles - some are just better than others.

2005 GL1800 Dark Grey
K7 Vstrom 1000
'07 KLR650
3 x 1976 GL1000
Honda 200 Dirt
Honda 100 Dirt
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:44 AM   #13
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Hi Dave & Pam!

Looks like you are having a wonderful time! Doing a great job of reporting on it as well! I am up to Jan 30 on your blog and will catch up in a few days. Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:56 PM   #14
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Just Posted Photos For Feb 15 & 18th

We are getting caught up and just posted photos for Feb 15 our aborted attempt to ride from Iquique to Antofagasta and for Feb 18 our long ride from Copiapo to Santiago, Chile. Click on the links below to get to the photo page.
http://www.rogorides.com/saride/mywe...eToIquique.htm


http://www.rogorides.com/saride/mywe...ToSantiago.htm

For the whole story see http://www.rogorides.com
__________________
There are no bad motorcycles - some are just better than others.

2005 GL1800 Dark Grey
K7 Vstrom 1000
'07 KLR650
3 x 1976 GL1000
Honda 200 Dirt
Honda 100 Dirt
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:40 PM   #15
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Santiago, Chile - Feb 19, 20, 21, 2008


Beautiful Santiago! It has been 13 years since we were last here, and that was in the wintertime. Today we are watching people dressed in light summer clothes walking through the park and tree-lined streets and thoroughly enjoying the day.

In the daylight we can better appreciate our hotel. Not only does the Hotel Riviera (www.rivierahotel.cl) have covered secure parking, internet, and breakfast included, our room is very nice; it is on the third floor and though small is larger than the standard room as it is a corner room and has full curved windows on two sides. The hotel is very well situated on the corner of Miraflores and Moneda, just one block from Cerro Santa Lucia, the gorgeous city park situated on a large forested hill and with a fabulous 360-degree view of the city from the top. The view from our room overlooks a crosswalk and a small park, and has a view of Santa Lucia as well. In the other direction, it is only a short walk to the paseos, thepedestrian walkways lined with shops and eateries and a wonderful place to people-watch.

On Tuesday after breakfast (toast, coffee or tea, and rolls with bread and butter) Dave took the metro (subway) and then a bus out to Avenida Vicuña McKenna where there were several motorcycle shops listed in the yellow pages, (Interesting, the motorcycle shops were on Avenida Vicuña McKenna in Arica, too.) The metro system and city busses in Santiago are modern and very good, and probably are the reason the streets are not choked with traffic.

Upon arriving at the shop that was listed in the yellow pages this shop gave Dave directions to turn right and walk down 10th of July Street where he was told there are more shops. Finally after walking several blocks Dave came to a large neighborhood filled with hundreds of auto and motorcycle businesses of every description. Many of the shops had men standing on the street to waive you in as you drove into the area. Dave spent all morning visiting bike shops and looking for tires, oil and a filter for the VStrom. Although there were many sellers of tires finding the correct size proved difficult. Without too much trouble a Pirelli made in Brazil was located that would fit the rear, but nobody seemed to have a front tire. Well, maybe the front could wait if really necessary but the search went on. What Dave really wanted was a pair of highly recommended Metzler Tourances a tire that is described as 60% highway and 40% off road. Unfortunately, after locating the Metzler distributor Dave learned that the Tourances were sold out in his sizes.

Dave visited a shop, “Moto Mats Express”, Lira 824, Santiago Centro , that was recommended by several of the shops to install whatever tires were eventually purchased. Moto Mats was a small shop but had high quality tools and equipment and experienced mechanics. While talking to the mechanics at the shop Dave was introduced to Ricardo Cespedes who owned both Moto Mats and a larger shop in the Santiago suburb of Las Condes called “Moto Pro”. Ricardo had learned the business as a mechanic for Yamaha for many years and later decided to start his own business. Dave rode with Ricardo out to the neighborhood where his other shop was located and Ricardo offered to help Dave find a pair of tires that fit Tiburon. After several failed attempts the local Continental Tire dealer, “Motouring Chile” Los Juncos 388, Las Condes, Santiago www.motouring.cl said that they could have a pair to fit the VStrom by noon the following day. They also carried synthetic 10W-40-motorcycle oil that was needed for the oil change. So arrangements were made, Carlos Ramirez of Motouring would call Dave when the tires arrived and Dave would ride Tiburon to Ricardo’s shop in Las Condes where the installation and oil change would be done.
While Dave was tire shopping, Pam went searching for a laundry. The Yellow Pages showed several “Lavanderia Automatico” listings, and the hotel desk clerk assured her that there was one just in the next block. When she arrived, it turns out “Automatico” means they have an automatic washing machine—for their use, not the public’s. Two more stops failed to turn up a public laundry, so we bit the bullet and paid to have the laundry done, which included having our mesh coats cleaned. In the end it was worth it, as they were able to return the clothes within 4 hours, and even Dave’s bright yellow coat looked like new with all the road grime removed.
It did take longer that expected to return to the hotel, as Pam got turned around in the one-way streets and walked 4 blocks in the wrong direction. The upside was that she discovered the large Plaza de Armas, with beautiful buildings and market stalls in the old porticos. There were hundreds of people walking about or sitting on the many benches. Pam finally got her bearings and was able to navigate back to the hotel where Dave had just returned. Success on both counts the first day! We went back to the Plaza de Armas to send Spot, and got some good pictures of the old church and statues there. Afterwards we went back to Restaurante Nuria’s for dinner and a huge ice cream sundae for dessert.

Meals in Santiago are more expensive than other places we have been; we are averaging $24 USD for two of us. Breakfast included at the hotel helps, and if we eat breakfast late, a light snack in late afternoon and dinner later in the evening keep us in budget. Restaurante Nuria’s is both good food and affordable.

Wednesday morning after breakfast we went for a walk while waiting for the Tire shop to call and tell us the tires were in. It was warm but breezy, and the temperature was comfortable even at 82o. We came upon a section of street that had a “No Parking Except Motorcycles” sign—Dave loved that! He took pictures of the line-up of bikes, and of a clothing store called “Matthew” –our younger son Matt should appreciate that.
We decided to just use the hotel’s laundry service to do the few clothes we had been wearing when yesterday’s laundry was done, so that was dropped off. Back in the room we watched the homeless dogs playing in the park across the street, and began plotting out our route for the next stage of our trip; we will have to cross the Andes into Argentina at some point. We also have decided to mail back home the mesh jackets and pants and some other gear. The mesh clothing was required to cross the tropics but now that we are back in the temperate zone and heading south of Santiago we will run into cooler weather again, and we want to be as light as possible when we encounter the rough roads in Patagonia and Tierra Del Fuego.

The call from the tire shop finally came and Dave rode Tiburon out to the suburbs to get the work done. Tiburon now sports a new set of Conti Attack tires, more street and racetrack than off road so hopefully we can stay out of the mud, they should be great for the highway. Pam stayed behind to research shipping companies and costs. Unpleasant surprise; 10 kilos (22 lbs) will cost us around $90 USD to ship home. Ouch! Oh well, it will be worth it to lighten the load and increase the safety factor. Now we will have make the final decision on what stays and what goes, and do up the shipping and customs paperwork to send it.

As Pam was hanging up the phone from one of the calls, she thought she recognized Tiburon’s steady purr outside the window. Sure enough, 5 minutes later Dave walked into the room. You know you have been riding a long time when you can recognize your bike’s motor amongst the traffic in a city of 6 million people.

Later we walked back up to the Plaza de Armas to enjoy the evening. There was a group of guitarists playing live music and selling their CD’s; we stopped to listen for a while, as they were quite good. They played one of our favorite Gypsy Kings songs and convinced us to purchase one of the CD’s. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. We had dinner at a different Restaurante Nuria’s (they seem to be everywhere, but the pizza is always great), and wonderful pastries for dessert.

We decided to stay one more day in Santiago just to enjoy and Dave will wash Tiburon and do some minor maintenance. Our Hotel is wonderful - the hotel staff has adopted us as we keep telling them “one more night”—they are very helpful and always have a smile and time for a quick chat. We would highly recommend our Hotel to anyone coming to Santiago, www.rivierahotel.cl , very reasonably priced at $48USD for two people, well located, and great service. And of course secure parking for the bike right next door included in the price of the room.

Thursday morning we went down to a full breakfast room; the hotel has a group of young European tourists staying for a few days. Listening to the excited chatter over coffee brought back good memories of our own trips years ago as young backpackers in Europe.

Santiago is a nice city to ride the motorcycle in, unlike most other large cities in Latin America. The drivers are polite and not in too much of a hurry. Trying to find his way back to the motorcycle neighborhood on the bike this time, Dave found that the main street suddenly changed names and ended in a cross street that said “no turns”. He had to turn somewhere, so made an illegal “U” turn (which was OK for motos in most countries) right under the watchful eye of the local carabinieri (police). Dave did his best not to ‘see” them waving him down, but they radioed ahead to the next street corner and there was no way to avoid stopping this time. After 15 minutes of speaking only English and trying to explain why he had made the turn, the carabinieri gave up and told him to “go”. He quickly found his way back to the right street and avoided any more illegal turns as much as possible. Though Dave is convinced that if you obey all of the signs in Santiago you cannot get there from here.
Pam did some window-shopping; there are wonderful leather shops here, and jewelry too; deep blue lapis lazuli can be found in a lot of places and seems to be quite popular. Many of the fun places to window-shop are not on the main streets but are tucked back into the maze-like galleries of ‘metro” centers—sort of like mini-malls.

Dave arrived back first, and took some great shots from the hotel window of the homeless dogs sacked out in their park, and passers-by in general, including a whole stream of backpackers who looked like they had just arrived in town. Later we went out to a local German tearoom, Café Colonia (www.cafecolonia.cl), for a pastry and coffee. The pastries were wonderful, apple strudel and cream-filled cherry strudel, served with cappuccinos in small glass mugs piled high with whipped cream.
We strolled through some of the galleries on our way back to the hotel, and then buckled down to business sorting through packing. Dave got our friend at the front desk to find us a box for shipping and some packing tape, and we redistributed what was left to balance the load evenly with the heaviest on the bottom. We grabbed one last quick pizza at Nuria’s before heading back to watch the Democratic Debate on CNN. Tomorrow we will drop our package off at the post office when it opens at 9am, and then will head south along the Panamericana Sur toward Osorno. From Osorno we will head east over the Andes to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina in the Lake District.

Here are our satellite coordinates sent from the historic Plaza de Armas in Santiago. If you zoom way in on the satellite photos you can see details of Santiago's small main square.

Latitude: -33.4378
Longitude: -70.6503
Nearest Town from unit Location: Santiago, Chile
Distance to the nearest town: 2 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 02/19/2008 23:12:16


http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-33.4378,-70.6503&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

The coordinates and link below are sent from across the park which our hotel room looks out on - If you zoom in on the satellite you should be able to see Sierra Santa Lucia - our hotel sits on the little park at the bottom of the hill.
Latitude: -33.4424
Longitude: -70.6443
Nearest Town from unit Location: Santa Lucia, Santiago, Chile
Distance to the nearest town: 0 km
Time in GMT the message was sent: 02/19/2008 23:45:41
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-33.4424,-70.6443&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

The whole story is at http://www.rogorides.com
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