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Old 03-07-2013, 08:36 AM   #181
dean10 OP
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Netherlands
Oddometer: 258
Arequipa to Arica, Saturday, 12 January 2013, Day 193

Straight roads to the hills![/caption]

Then twisty in the hills[/caption]

Bit of a funny mood I have been to Machu Picchu got me new tyres so all my immediate goals have been achieved leaving nothing else left to do except the big one and that is the bottom of South America and that one seems miles away and that is so daunting and at this stage looking at the maps I am doubting my ability to be able to do it. No idea what is causing this lack of confidence perhaps I know more now than when I started and was totally naÔve when I set of in June but as I have progressed my knowledge about the road ahead has grown and this is what is scary if only I could go back to being totally ignorant maybe that could help. Knowledge is king so they say but in this case I rather not know and meet up with it blindly and deal with it as it comes but at the moment I am fretting about the road ahead rather than looking forward to the road ahead. Ho hum onward and forward and all that. (Suck it up you ponce!)

Today is time to say goodbye to Peru and hello to a new country Chile maybe that will lift my spirits. ( I think I am a new country junkie :-))

Hope they where not aiming at fast moving yellow objects![/caption]

Had big plans on getting on the road early as I was heading to Arica, which was 430km away plus a border crossing. Out of the mountain Type Mountains into the desert Type Mountains so in other words still huge mountains only the colour from green to brown and temperature from cool to warm had changed. Stopped for breakfast in a strip of Road Side Cafes no idea which one to pick so I chose the one in the yellow Inca Kola livery and order some fried eggs and they had some nice pork sandwiches as well so that perked me up. Lovely but cautious ride to the border as I was feeling out the new tyre set up as I had no idea how the new combination would be but seem to be okay most of the issues in my head in reality seem to be working as should no strange feedback except the odd twitchiness over the tar mac banding where they have tried to fix the road but you get that with all tyres so looks like my gamble (lots of in depth research actually) on the replacement tyres may have worked.

Had to go in the one with the Yellow Inca Kola livery :-) for breakfast.[/caption]

Got to the border at 3pm and my GPS was telling me I would not reach Arica till 6 and it was only 20km. So before I start another GPS rant it was right as there is a 2 hour time difference between Chile and Peru do not ask me why but meant I was going to be late getting to my final destination as I still had to get over the border.

First the simple bit get Daisy exported out of Peru. Problem one huge queue one lady doing both export and import but she did export first as that is just a rubber stamp exercise. Problem 2 I needed a form not sure what it is called but it is the holy grail document at this crossing it had all your details on it and it gets stamped at every part of the process on both the Peru and Chile side and when you get all the stamps they let into Chile so first had to locate this form and get it filled in then the stamps you need are

  • Export Bike Peru

  • Export self Immigration Peru

  • Import self immigration Chile

  • Customs Check Personal Chile

  • Import Bike Chile


So when you have all 5 stamps you hand in the special form and you are in a new country.

This all took 1.5 hours so patience and the ability to stand in queues is a most and little more Spanish on my side would help enormously but got through and made some friends along the way.

Sort run to Arica to a place called Sunny Days Hostel and I am booked in have a complementary Lemon Juice and small piece of cake which is nice it about 8.30 here so later than planned next stop money and food all within a stones throw from where I am staying. Thereís a market but closed already but I find a sandwich shop and end having a huge meat ham cheese sandwich, which really hits the spot.

Went for a walk down to the beach caught the tail end of the sunset and stumbled on a 7 a side rugby full contact competition being played on the beach. So settled in to watch this and it was great. There was sand flying everywhere, which added a whole new dynamic to a 7 a side rugby match. Unfortunately I got there to late and the game had finished so wandered back to the hostel and worked on the never-ending chore of Phillys Big trip Blog. It was late when I went to bed but in my reality early due to the 2-hour time difference.

Another pleasant sunset![/caption]

 

 

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:39 AM   #182
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Arica to Iquique, Sunday, 13 January 2013, Day 194



Which side left or right[/caption]

You have probably noticed I have decided to go to Chile and skip Bolivia and here is my rational

  • The only thing I know about Bolivia that I wanted to see where the famous salt flats and maybe La Paz (even with the horrors stories I heard about the place)

  • It was the rainy season

  • The roads are bad worse still in the rainy season

  • Would have to double back to Juliaca!

  • No one I had talked to recently had anything good to say about Bolivia all negative

  • Need to get my arse moving South or it going to be very cold trip if winter sets in

  • Chile is the quicker route with better roads see point above


So plan was to move south and maybe hopefully see some of the Dakar but looks like I maybe ahead of it now so would have to slow down and stop for a while if I was going to see some of it and not sure how easy it is to get to see the race as the course is unknown up until the moment that it starts so where would I stand in the hope that it may go past where Phillys is standing.

So heading to a place called Iquique just because I like the name. The Hostel did a good breakfast with everyone sitting down together chatting, which was nice and hard to pull myself away from, as dialog was interesting and engaging. So back in the desert however this desert different than the one in Peru seems a much more hilly and not so dusty but its still a desert so still very dusty and sand everywhere but engaging enough and very pleasant riding.

Sculptures in the middle of the Desert Why![/caption]

Stopped for some sculptures out in the middle of no where and was thoroughly enjoying the ride my mood and spirit lifting moving south so the trick is just get busy and hit the road and leave your blues behind :-)

Was a short ish ride and I heard about a ghost called Santiago Humberstone which was an old Saltpeter mine and the town that was build next to it to house and support the workers so a total self contained little town that was in operation from 1872 until 1960 and production stopped and the town was deserted and left to go to ruin. It is now a museum and you can wander round this place and its like a ghost town the building are still there in a state of repair as much is metal that has eroded some parts have been done up slightly and its quite large. So took me a couple of hours before I seen the majority of it. Similar to Beamish and the Canadian Historical outpost I had visited not quite as slick and done up but that added to the charm of the place and we all know that Philly loves these types of places and can spend hours just wandering around these and this place was no different had a great couple of hour discovering this lost town first the factory with the old rusting building and locomotives and then the town with the posh houses for the manager and the workers cottages the church, the market, the shops, tennis court, and a huge theatre and the piece de resistance a huge metal swimming pool I guess you are in the middle of a desert so that does kind of make sense. So this village was there for the workers and had everything there not sure what the working conditions where like and cannot imagine what it was like in its hay day as not much in the way of info but all in all a couple of hours well entertained on my mini voyage of discovery this derelict ghost town.



Big metal swimming pool in the desert makes sense![/caption]

Spent longer that anticipated at the ghost town could easily spent longer but need to find somewhere to kip so on towards Iquique. First place full, second place no safe parking, third place full. Oh dear its going to be one of those nights. I had an address of a Paragliding club that had rooms and worse case scenario camping facilities! So tried to locate this, which was difficult as it was just out of town and my GPS was not playing ball. So I stopped to ask 3 coppers on Horseback on the seafront and was quite an amusing dialog and chat one because my Spanish accent is so bad a I cannot get the ll pronounced right at all so they had no idea what I was whitering on about but showed them the address out came the IPhone and Google maps and we where sort of there but then they had to explain it to me in Spanish.

Well in the end I found it a Paragliding club at the far end of town on the side of cliff gorgeous views but no they where full but I could camp. Oh well nice evening gorgeous setting why not so the tent pulled out of its bag the first time since the 19th August last year so I have been lugging the tent and kit around for 120 days and never used it well it makes a great back rest when I a riding and I guess it will be used more in the coming months yuk!

Back Under Canvas :-([/caption]

 

View not bad![/caption]

No food available but there is a small shop at the bottom of the hill that may sell something as I did not want to go back into town and it was a Sunday. Found the shop and brought the ingredients for a turkey and cheese sandwich not the kind of things you expect to find in a corner shop that is in the middle of an area where all I could see was a container shipping yard and love motels and a club having a beach pool party the music you could here up at the Paragliding club.

Walked back to the club and had my dinner chatting to a retired German chap who was travelling around in his van called Bernard who was kind enough to lend me his adaptor as the plugs here are different in Chile they are not the American type but similar to the Europe type plug only thinner so you can try and ram your European plugs into the socket but will probably end up breaking them (Sort of worked last night!) so need an adaptor.

Nice sunset nice location Paragliding folk not that friendly but Bernard nice and had my computer and the Internet so a pleasant evening and then on my hands and knees crawling into the tent. I am always putting camping down because of the hassle and the hands and knees stuff but I do get my best night sleep in the tent and tonight was no exception went to sleep to the sound of the club pool party latest south American pop songs nice.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:42 AM   #183
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Oddometer: 258
Iquique to Antofagasta, Monday, 14 January 2013, Day 195

Eerie but Beautiful Cemetery one yellow grave![/caption]

Oops let this slip again so what happened today better check the photos. Well in short quite a quite day again in the desert but in the hilly part. The highlight if you can call a cemetery a highlight was I have given it away was an old cemetery between the hills (keep calling them hills they are huge so guess they may be mountains) and beach. It looked like it had been abandoned and obviously the folks buried there not that rich as no stone gravestones but all weather worn wooden ones. It was really eerie as well as being beautiful and sad all the same time.



Spent time just wandering around trying to be respectful but also enjoying this place very much mixed emotions. I kept getting flash backs of the good the bad and the ugly or was it for a few dollars more Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns where they are at the old graveyard looking for the buried money with my favourite soundtrack by Ennio Morricone which was buzzing in my head for most of the day. Saddest part was the children toys on the kidís graves this always get me.

kiddies grave sad :-([/caption]

Quite a long day but not much to report hit Antofagasta as planned problem again was trying to find somewhere to stay. Tried a couple of hostel all full then went down the coast a bit to try some campsite first one closed due landslide risks, second one no water but still wanted to charge full price third one private for students from the University only. Bugger back to town tried another hotel on the beach who directed me to another one in town as it was full who also then directed me to another one as they where full as well not looking good when I stopped next to 2 German bikers and asked them where they where going and they said to a hostel so I followed them and it turned out there was room at this place and safe parking so sharing a room with Markus and Patrick (www.gstour.eu) from Germany as I followed them there and decided to move in with them as well :-)

It was late so I needed food and also needed Chilean adaptor for my electrical equipment and it was a bit of a repeat of the accommodation problem I just described above being sent from one electrical shop to another as they did not have European to Chile plug adaptors or they all did but they where 3 prong plugs and as yet I have not seen a 3 prong socket in Chile so not much use. Finally got a US/Latin America plug to Chile Plug adaptor so will use European to US to Chile adaptors so 2 adaptors hope I do not end up burning somewhere down :-)

Mission accomplished including feeding myself back to the room chatting to Markus picking his brains on the route they had taken from the south saves me figuring it all out :-)

Antofagasta Art[/caption]

Been a long hard day beddy byes room smells like a navyís armpit but to tired to care 3 sets of smelly motorcycle boots have been ceremoniously placed in the hall but not much help.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:46 AM   #184
dean10 OP
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Antofagasta to Bana Salido, Tuesday, 15 January 2013, Day 196

Mandatory Hand in the Desert Shot all travels blogs through Chile must have one of these. Daisy is actually the right size for me in this shot :-)[/caption]

The guys want to be up early and I have no problem with that so up at 7 even though do not hit the road till 9 say Ta ta to the guys and first stop petrol and buy a good road map from COPEC. I had also been trying to find the famous hand in the desert sculpture as I new it was round Antofagasta somewhere and I was getting close and I was determined as I had missed the mandatory Equator photo shot in Ecuador I was not going to miss this one.

First dilemma it was on Route 5 which is the main drag through Chile and I wanted to take the coast road so this would mean going 17km down the road for a photo and then doubling back and we all know Phillys views on doubling back so decision made stick to route 5 and get the money shot.

Had the place to myself for while sculpture itself is pretty crap looks like a kid made it however in itís setting its quite interesting. Joined by some Brazilian Gold Wing riders so we take each otherís pictures and then back on the road.

I had not had breakfast yet but I was again in the middle of nowhere miles from anywhere when I spotted a shack in the middle of the desert which was a cafť so found my breakfast 3 fried eggs and bread in a mini individual frying pan local way of serving eggs and just what I wanted.

possible start scene of Tarantino From Dusk till Dawn[/caption]

Place is empty except for 1 lorry driver who has 2 hitchhikers a French guy and Chilean girl so speaking a mix of French English and Spanish which is confusing and amusing at the same time they leave and get chatting to the girls working in this god forsaken place and they are Peruvian students working there in the school holidays. My Spanish dialog and conversation getting longer and more complex but one did law and one did marketing and neither spoke English so can kind of communicate with the locals now :-) (This scene could the beginning of a B movie)

Back on the road have been given a recommendation by Markus to go along the coast road itís a dirt road but this one is actually a salt road and allegedly quite manageable. I am going to do some wild camping tonight as it in the middle of nowhere bit scared of this option so looking for an out clause and alternatives all along the way as I am really not that brave on my own.

Stop for Fish and Chips in the nice seaside town of Caldera as I am expecting very little in the way of facilities on the bit of road I am planning to do for the next 200km and fill up with Petrol as well and then hit the dirt or is the salt.

Nice seaside Town Caldera[/caption]

Road is strange its like polished tarmac quite smooth so can keep up the speed only problem is very rough in patches and not sure how much grip there really is so cautious at first but soon speeding along at a fair rate of notes.

Phillys fan club can find him even in a Desert![/caption]

Its gorgeous I am in the desert quite flat but have the coast on my right going from one gorgeous bay to another and then inland and then back to the coast. All the time looking for somewhere to camp but forever rolling forward as nothing is ideal (It is its just me) It getting late and the sun is going down so got to bite the bullet sooner or later road is more inland now so turn of onto a dirt road 10km down to the beach. Deserted except for a few fishermanís huts so this will be home for tonight the dirt track to the beach was hard but doable then I had a choice left or right along the beach the road to the right looked like deep soft sand the one to left looked a bit better so headed down there and before I knew I back wheel had buried itself quite deep into soft sand that deep I could stand up above the seat where as usually my feet struggle to reach the ground so new experience but it kept on bogging down and the front started digging in as well. Oh well its only short bit to the first fisherman hut should be able to get there. Stalled and dug in a couple of times and when I was moving forward front dug in and bike fighting me all the way so more speed needed! Nope that did not work ended up in a heap on the floor with Daisy on Top of me. I had my first crash of the trip. Soft sand so not hurt but I have on foot stuck under between the ground and the panniers. Try to lift Daisy of me but from the position I am in its impossible. Quite calm even though I am in the middle of nowhere trapped under my bike (Wonderful drug adrenalin) so decided to pull out my camera and take a picture!

Foot trapped under Pannier oops a Daisy ![/caption]

Try lifting the bike again nope so next plan try and take my boot of as its seems to be a bit loose. Nope thatís not working. In the distance I see the Fisherman Family coming out of their hut so that a relief I am not totally alone then I have the idea of digging my foot out as it very soft sand and that works I am free all I need to is get Daisy upright and make my way out of this soft sand.

Wave to my audience to tell them I am okay Heave the old girl upright try walking beside her with the engine running but not working so hop back on to try and get some traction and wobble and struggle way to the fisherman hut.

Have a giggle with Bernard and his family as I had now introduced my self formerly and asked whether I could camp on his beach next to an empty house to get of the wind.

It was late and later I had calculated I had done 600km that day so I put the crash down to fatigue rather than my of road abilities :-). Or I could blame the new tyres but nope it is me I am clueless off road :-(

Today Daisy hit two milestones first one was she had hit the 50,000km mark and then on her special day I went and dropped her sorry Daisy will try and keep you upright in the future :-)

50,000km happy KM day Daisy[/caption]

So camping again in a beautiful spot pumped full of adrenalin setting up camp was a slow process as I was knackered and just enjoying the environment.

Gorgeous wild Camping Spot[/caption]

 



Walked up a hill to watch the sunset and just enjoy where I was. It good to be brave when it works out but then again!

See I told you the sun shone out .. .. ....![/caption]

Walked back to the tent and the four dogs went wild had not bothered me till then so Bernard came out kicked one of them and then I went over to get them familiar with me as I would be staying the night and did not want them going off when I was having a pee in the middle of the night. Bernard was with his little girl who introduced me to all of the dogs and went to get her kittens as well and was rabbiting away in Spanish some of I actually understood a lot of just gibberish to me but entertaining as she just kept on chatting away whether or not I was following any of this not important. So have chatted with my neighbours and sort of made friends with the dogs it was getting dark so retired to the tent to work on this and to finish Winston Churchill Biography and it was quite late when I turned my torch out to go to sleep. Need to pee and was dreading going out just in case I set the dogs of but no bother quite pee and back in the tent before they even noticed. I am wild camping but feel safe next to Bernard and his family and the dogs looking after me as well getting to sleep no problem what a day!

Tough day at the Office![/caption]
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:48 AM   #185
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Netherlands
Oddometer: 258
Bana Salido to La Serena, Wednesday, 16 January 2013, Day 197

Breakfast view very pleasant :-)[/caption]

As usual slept well in the tent and woke up at 9 ish which is late for me but a good nights sleep. Remember yesterday I said I was sort of friends with the dogs well this morning it looked like they had been visiting as Daisy had a wet patch on both her front ad back tyre so the dogs had been marking there territory whilst I was having a lie in sorry about that Daisy first being dropped and now being pissed on not the way you wanted to spend your 50k km milestone oh well.

Packed the bike and then as I pulled out dogs go wild again little bastards, I am getting tired of being barked and chased by dogs its getting seriously old. The other day I was at a set of traffic lights for a zebra crossing for a shopping street and 2 large dogs come straight at me jumping up on the front of the bike they normal come at your sides and run a long side trying to nip your legs but this was new to me and was not sure what to do huge audience as well so just nailed it and got the hell out of there bugger the dogs. I was back there as a pedestrian a couple of hours later and they where chasing everything that stopped not just bike they must do that all day!

So waved goodbye to my fisherman family over the noise of the dogs and took a harder as in compound road than the one I came in on as I did not want to end up on my arse again. Lovely ride again but was in the need of some nourishment when I came across a beautiful bay called Carrizal Bajo and there overlooking this bay a nice little restaurant perfect for breakfast I am a jammy bastard sometimes.

To keep folks in church they are now knocking the wheels of all vehicles that arrive[/caption]

Long leisurely breakfast chatting to some locals how this town used to be British and was the way they got the silver from the mines out later chatting to the owner and his grand daughter who was asking me about vet nary schools in the UK as she wanted to study there all this in broken Spanish :-)

Finally pulled myself from this gorgeous place and hit the road to La Serena finished of salt road and the back to route 5 and to a hostel I had the name of in La Serena. Yes they had a bed or a bunk bed I could pay for the full room but she the German owner was pretty dam certain they could rent the other bed out as it was still early and I would only have to pay half the room. So after trying to do a deal and spread the risk I decided to go for it bloody expensive if no one shows reasonable if someone does but she was pretty confident the bed would go and I trusted her judgement. You can tell by the last statement I got screwed no one turned up and I had the most expensive no bathroom bunk bed room of the trip, bitch but guess my fault for taking all the risk she was quidís in either way hate being done over.

Had a shower and then went for a walk round town watched an amusing puppet show in the park and went for a Chinese restaurant which was empty except for a surly Chinese adolescent working there felt like walking at one stage his attitude sucked so much but fancied some Chinese noodles so just cussed him every time he left and ignored me.

He is behind you in Spanish of Course[/caption]



Pleasant enough town nothing special and had soon exhausted all I want to see so back to the hostel to work on this and my photographs. The German lady owner kept saying someone would be coming not sure now if she was taking the piss. Beddy byes in my expensive bunk bed

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:50 AM   #186
dean10 OP
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Oddometer: 258
La Serena to Valparaiso, Thursday, 17 January 2013, Day 198

Off road again supposed to be a salt road but on hills like corrugated iron this is quite a smooth bit![/caption]

Checked out and asked about splitting the difference on the room but she was having none of it saying she had said that she could not guarantee that someone else would come see was very persuasive and confident last yesterday so in short what a bitch and left with a very bad taste in my mouth will not get burnt like this again.

Heading for Valparaiso heading inland again on the salt roads as they where pretty good yesterday. Even told a Dutch English couple from Canada that these roads are doable well I would like to retract that statement the one I took today was a lot rougher and on the slope parts like driving on corrugated iron so quite slow going. Scenery is changing from brown to more green with stubbly bits as I move south with lots of Cactuses. So after heading inland back to the coast where itís much greener and a nice long day in the saddle and get to Valparaiso quite late. Heading to a place called Villa Kunterbunt a Motorcyclist Hostel I heard about.

They use Cactuses as fences and occasionally as guard rails so make sure you do not end up in them![/caption]

Find it but they are full but they put a mattress on the floor in the office total contrast from yesterday they where very accommodating and made sure I was ok unlike the attitude I got from queen bitch in La Serena.

Was planning on going round the corner for dinner but ended up wandering all over town which is built on hills so quite hard work bit run down but this place has a cool vibe to it which I like even though a very rough around the edges in some place. Back to the hostel which is full of bikers, some waiting for there bikes to arrive some just starting there trip those who had finished and where shipping there bikes back so lots of tall stories been exchanged. Will keep this place in mind when it comes to shipping back as the prices seem reasonable which is weird as we are on the Pacific side not the Atlantic side which is shorter.

Valparaiso rough old working town with a certain charm :-)[/caption]

They arrange import and export of motorcycles here as well.

So big thumbs up for Enzo and Martine Tesser of villakuntabuntvalpo great place that they run :-)

Night shot![/caption]

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #187
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Joined: Jun 2012
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Valparaiso, Friday, 18 January 2013, Day 199

Valparaiso Graffiti really rather good in my view[/caption]

Being pushing south hard since I hit Chile and I have been averaging 450km a day for the last week so a rest day is called for, as I am a wee bit tired. Good sleep on the mattress on the floor under the piano a lazy morning first a Skype call to the folks been a while and then just chatting to folks at the hostel in general. Plan is to go Vina del Mar to see if I can get an Oil Filter and possible service for Daisy so eventually tear myself away from the hostel and head down the hill to catch the metro to Vina. Nice walk pick up an empanada on the way and then 15 minutes on the train along the coast and I am there. I have two addresses of bike shop the first one I walk right past and miles further up the road before I realize and when I get back they are closing for lunch and will not open till 4pm so ask if they have an oil filter and they sort of ignore me and are quite rude and pretend not to understand by bad Spanish and tell me to come back at 4pm but I do not want to hang around only to find they do not stock any. No joy they are gone left talking to a nice guy customer who helps with the location of the second address I have and its quite a walk but I have plenty time as this shop will not be open again till 4.

Its quite hot and this morning it was cold so I packed my jumper and coat so again I am lugging these around when I do not need to be one day I will get the weather clothes combination right. Long traipse out to the other shop no they do have the parts but the guy there could not be more helpful he checked out shops in Santiago for me and they have them in stock there and he gave me the address of the main street for Motorcycle parts in Santiago called Lira. And to top it all he gave me his card and number and said I should call him if I need some help or cannot find what I am looking for so that is what I call service cheers mate. Jose Lopez Gallardo of Kilometro Cero Motorcycles step forward and take a bow for outstanding service.

Long hot walk back to the other shop taking in a bit of Vina Del Mar which was not that interesting but I had time to kill and then at 4 back to the other shop nope they did not have any specific oil filters for Suzuki but had some Generic ones if I brought the old one in. Brilliant could have told me that about 2 and half an hours ago and when I asked one of the blokes if I could use the loo he totally blanked me. Nice so not happy as I needed a pee and had an unsuccessful day so far and walked for miles so back to Valparaiso the place I wanted to spend more time in first some dinner to get my energy levels up and then I went wandering. Gorgeous evening and I walked everywhere up hills and downhill different neighbourhoods I loved the place each corner was a new discovery. Totally run down and decrepit in places but I think that adds to the charm and the graffiti in places was brilliant as well as the different views. Spent hours just wandering admiring the old funicular railways they had here taking loads of picture of street art and the different places.

Funicular railways in Valparaiso[/caption]



Was smitten by this place and had turned a mediocre day into an excellent one. I was finally knackered and still had to get up yet another hill to the hostel and I had been trying for a couple of days to get a decent picture of the old trolley busses they have her and think I managed to so slowly walked up the hill to the hostel which was a bit quite tonight but had a good chat with the remaining folks and managed to get my washing done as well finally crashed well pleased with my decision to come to Valparaiso I liked the hostel and I like the dirty old town :-)



Villa Kuntabunt and Valparaiso graffiti whats not to like![/caption]

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:56 AM   #188
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Valparaiso to Santiago, Saturday, 19 January 2013, Day 200

Phillys Back up truck with a couple of spare tyres you did not think this was a solo effort![/caption]

So I needed go to Chile capital Santiago was not sure I was going to stop there or not but Daisy needs a service and I might get see some of the Dakar so a short run from Valparaiso to Santiago. Its cold damp and misty when I leave and is like this all the way to Santiago so do not see much of the scenery so stick to the motorway all of the way. Head to a Hostel I have an address for check in there chat with the guy and he says there is a Motorcycle event in a park round the corner because of the Dakar so that this afternoon itinerary sorted and he says that the finish and podium of Dakar is round the corner in the other direction so that Sundays Itinerary sorted as well but first Oil filter and a service for Daisy needs to be sorted. Headed to the street the nice chap in Vina del Mar had told me about and he was a right load of Motorcycle shops all shape and sizes all I need to do is find the Suzuki one. Find one and they are just shutting but if I can come back on Monday they can do a service and they have the parts I need and they give me a price for the work. So I check a few other place and the labour quoted seems in the ballpark and they are the only Suzuki dealer I can see on the street so will come back on Monday and get Daisy sorted.

Back to the hostel out of my bike gear and walk to the park expecting a big motorcycle gathering but all I find is a theme park wrong side of the park so walk round the huge park and find the event. Turns out to be the park ferme for the Dakar so all fenced off you can see in from a distance but not allowed in I did try to blag my way in but failed. You could see the competitorís vehicles coming in off the final stage as the road was closed of but not that interesting so took some photos and went for a walk to a huge market and shopping mall I had seen on my way into town and went for the food hall for my dinner and than walked some more and finally back to the hostel sitting in there nice backyard updating this.



Finally caught up with the Dakar[/caption]



 
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:59 AM   #189
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Joined: Jun 2012
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Oddometer: 258
Santiago, Sunday, 20 January 2013, Day 201

Does my bum look big in this ?[/caption]

On my 200th night on the road they finally got me bed bugs Yuk! Been bitten all night at first I thought it was mossies but none around and talking to a French girl in the morning she said she had been bitten to and it was the dreaded bedbugs. Shame really as nice hostel bit tatty in places and the folks running it very friendly and helpful but been eating alive all night very appealing. I have another night here but the French guy in the room is leaving and he said he was not bitten so will knick his bed tonight and see if that works.

Alex and Andrea are in town so try and make vague plans to meet them at the Dakar but in a strange town and allegedly 1 million people expected for the finish chances are slim.

Nice Sculpture![/caption]

So walk into town to the finish podium but again cannot get to close as holders only there is loads of road which has been closed of where the public can see the vehicles and competitors and the ceremony is from 10 till 4 pm so that 6 hours as everyone gets to stand on the podium but not very interesting to watch so take a few more photos and then go for a walk around Santiago which is quite as itís a Sunday and the roads are closed for the Dakar. Walk takes a good couple of hours Santiago not really exciting me pleasant enough but just another big city nothing to write home about well the bits I have seen.



Hot and tired from the walking have another watch of the Dakar getting to the tail end of competitors and the crowd has thinned a bit but still boring. Walk home find another food hall for me tea and then back to Hostel working on you guess work this never ending chore called Phillysbigtrip.wordpress.com

Not looking forward to going to bed as I not that fond of my new bed partners hope the other bed is bug free.

Sitting chatting and updating the blog in the yard at the back of the hostel very pleasant and nope I did not meet up with A & A but may see Alex tomorrow while getting the bike serviced as he needs some work doing as well.

Santiago Cathedral[/caption]

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:02 AM   #190
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Santiago to Pichilemu,Monday, 21 January 2013,Day 202

Phillys is captain of this boat tonight ooh aah me hearties![/caption]

No problems with bugs last night which is a relief few moments but I think lot of the icky moments are in my head not reality but glad to be leaving.

Daisy is getting a good seeing to today oil change new oil filter and air filter and a bit of TLC. They reckon it going to take a good couple of hours so I go for a wander down the street where I bump into Alex trying to source some bits for his bike and some tyres. I look after his bike and kit whilst he goes to each of the many bike shops on Lira looking for the best deal. When he done he comes to the shop where Daisy is being sorted and asks if he can use the workshop to change his oil, oil filter and air filter they say yes no problem as he is buying both there so he sets to work on his bike and Daisy is being seen to by the mechanic and I just hang around doing what I do best and that is to look pretty. I could probably do the work on Daisy my self but I choose not to as I rather someone else takes the responsibility who knows what they are doing and they can spot something serious that I may have missed and it if it goes wrong than I have some one blame other than me



Alex posing for the cameras[/caption]

Good fun hanging around workshop watching and occasionally assisting while folks fettle with motorcycles. It about 1 when Daisy is given the all clear and ready to roll Alex is still busy. I want to get out of Santiago one because of the bedbugs and two is that so far it has not really turned me on so I have decided to head to the beach which is about 200km away.

Say Tata to Alex who I will meet down the road as I had lent him the money for his oil filter and air filter as his credit card was playing up and make my way out of Santiago. Its dull and overcast and scenery not much to write home about but glad to be on the move again and Daisy is feeling a bit fresher after the work that has been done.So thanks to Jorge of Promotors in Lira Santiago for squeezing us in at short notice and letting Alex use your workshop facilities cheers mate.

As I left late its quite late when I get to Pichilemu and I have an address there but when I get there the prices are a lot higher than what I was expecting so I ask them why and they say oh you are talking about staying on the boat thatís not here but just down the beach. Me a bit confused but we walk down the beach together and in the distance perched on cliff overlooking the beach is a house shaped like a boat and that was going to be my home for the night.

Great Boat Shaped Hostel on the Beach![/caption]

This was a folly built years ago as a teahouse to attract tourist to Pichilemu and has been converted into a hostel 3 floors top floor 8 bed dorm window all around with views over the sea and the beach fantastic, Middle floor also great vistas communal area and on the ground floor separate 4 person dorms no windows this is where I would be staying as it was the cheapest option.

The first thing that need doing was to break down the door that had been shut for years so that we could get the bike into a secure courtyard so Christian (handyman and custodian of boat) set to work with a hacksaw cutting through a rusty padlock so Daisy was safe for the night. Then I found out I am the only person staying here tonight so have the whole place to myself no staff just me which is cool as well as scary as it perched on a cliff on its own and quite a large old building so could be a few scary moments tonight as I am scary wuzz :-)

http://www.surfhostalbackpackers.cl

So checked went for along walk around town looking for a Chinese that had shut years ago just because I fancied I Chinese ending up having a Pork Sandwich which was also good and got back to my mini palace by the sea at about 8.30 as I said I was on my own so spread out got the music on and thoroughly enjoyed having my own space with no one else to bother me sat in every chair looked out of every window as the views of the sea where spectacular then it got dark so put every light on and jumped at every squeak and noise that I heard and there where a lot.

Finally went to bed one downside downstairs was damp and lots of mossies so from bed bugs to mossies not sure what I prefer.

Surfing how difficult can that be then![/caption]

 

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:04 AM   #191
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Pichilemu to Chillan, Tuesday, 22 January 2013,Day 203

Lost Again![/caption]

I had deliberately headed for the coast as I knew that the only way out of here going south was on dirt roads and as we all know my mantra is onward and forward and never go backwards on the same road I was sort of forcing myself into a corner where I would have to do some dirt roads rather than double back. As we all know I am no great shakes at this off road malarkey so thought lets get some practice in whilst I have options so that when I do not have the option I may have a vague idea on how to handle any terrain that may be thrown my way.

So left my little castle was a bit sad as I loved this cool place would like to stay longer and perhaps learn how to surf but will save that for another trip and time today is off road practice day and I had picked a nice 60km long bit of dirt.

Went to fill up Daisy as I was heading into the middle of nowhere and I met an ex Chilean enduro champion and ask him about the roads and he give me another alternative set bit longer but according to him much nicer. I tell him I am complete pants at the off road business and he says I should be able to do it and he is not sending me down a difficult road where I would end up hating him and Chile he wanted me to enjoy it and have a fond memory rather than a nightmare. So appreciated the thought and sentiment and was confident he was not sending me down some gruelling dirt track. He said not worry about the road but to focus on the other traffic on the road as that was more dangerous and I new exactly what he meant as I had had my share of dodgy traffic on small back roads. Parting words there are some parts with deep sand what! Deep sand one off my off motorcycling nemesis remember last time Ho hum!

So Daisy sorted route sorted find a nice little cafť for breakfast and I am sorted so hit the road dull and overcast again also a sea fret so nice scenery only I cannot see much of it but I guess this means I can focus on the road instead and cool for my off road excursion.

Hit the dirt and its reasonable bit rough but manageable but every now and again bits of deep sand which are very difficult. One of these bits was on a steep downhill section so picking up speed but want to go slow as thick soft sand ABS totally confused so in other words not working and I am gaining momentum and all I want to do is slow down as speed in deep sand and me does not mix well. I have read somewhere in a situation like this best thing to do is hit the kill switch which turns the ABS off and use the dead engine to slow and stop the bike and turn the bike across the road to slow down. Thatís the theory and who can remember all that when itís all going pear shape so I do what I usually do and wrestle the bike to a stop somehow and try and stay upright. And then pray to all the motorcycling gods to help me stay vertical. Thatís another theory and today that worked so managed to slow the bike to a speed I could manage the deep sand on an incline and sort of skidded my way down the hill bit by bit not pretty but got me down and where I wanted to be.

No one around to ask Directions![/caption]

This was the worse bit a few others but not so scary. Glad no one else is around as coping with traffic and this would be even hairier but now I am lost GPS no good as I totally off road and there are tracks heading all over the place as they are doing a lot of forestation going on here but which ones is the actual road so that is when you want folks around to ask. Find some guys chopping down some trees blocking the road and they tell me I am going the wrong way which I had figured out already so U turn and back the way I had come. Went down another track with a huge steep hill but does not look right either so go back up the hill try another track nope going no where back down the steep hill when I hear a tooting of a horn and huge forestry truck flying down the hill that I been up and down a couple of time he pulls over and tells me I am going the wrong way yep he right he tryís to explains how to get out of this but he can tell I have not got a clue what he is saying language thing again so he says he will lead me out so he tell me to go ahead of him and he will direct me to the way out. So up the steep hill again and back the way I had come but this time with a huge forestry truck up my chuff so going a lot faster than earlier and trying to pretend I can really handle the dirt for the benefit of the audience stupid I know it must be a boy thing. Finally get to the crossroads where I had turned of as there was a sign saying lorries only so I thought that was logging roads and not the track I turned down. My new mate gives me some last minute instruction turns his huge truck round and heads of in the direction we had just come for. Cheers mate appreciate you showing me the way out I could still be riding around their now otherwise so Muchos Gracias Senor.



Finally hit the coast and Tarmac covered in brown dust so certainly look the part of a hard-core Moto crosser but deep down I know I am nothing of the sort got through by pure luck no skill or judgement involved. Still dull and overcast but nice run along the coast and then on route 5 to Chillan to get some mile under my belt. Find a hostel and yes they have parking which is round the back but turns out round the back is a block away at the owners daughter posher hotel so ride round the front dump my gear and ride round the block again to park Daisy safe and sound for the night much to the amusement of the owner who told me to this in the first place but I did not understand her must improve language skills!

Other good news its opposite a Chinese restaurant so after last night failing got my Chinese dinner tonight yummy. Went for a walk around town had to sit down at one point as I had not realised how tired I was as it been a long hard tough day.

Back to the hotel working the blog and beddy byes shattered will I ever be any good at off-roading survived today but riding my luck a bit to much for my liking.



Interesting Modern designed Church[/caption]
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:08 AM   #192
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Chillan to Villarrica, Wednesday, 23 January 2013, Day 204

Philly lost again is that Mt Fuji![/caption]

Pretty non-eventual day trying hard to remember what I did but cannot be anything to fascinating, as I would remember that. Did a bit more of route 5 as you really do have much choice then of towards the Lake District destination Villarrica. Once of route 5 road more pleasant and interesting driving through golden brown cornfields and it is harvesting time so interesting and pretty scenery.

Something I can keep up off road :-)[/caption]

Head to hostel I have the address of and check in there and its like I arrived in Germany as the houses in Villarrica and architecture very Germanic and the hostel is a Swiss chalet. Go for a nice walk around then the town and along the lake front gorgeous evening so pleasant walk. Brought a couple of empanadas for my tea and just hung around the hostel chatting to folks there so another pleasant evening.

So John R what is this one then?[/caption]

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:10 AM   #193
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Villarrica to Futrono, Thursday, 24 January 2013, Day 205

Detour led me into this loverly Farmyard unfortunately my off road skills (lack off) meant I could not go much further![/caption]

As mentioned earlier the problem with Chile is that there is one main road through the heart of it called Route 5 everything is off this road but normally you have to turn off go to the place and come the same way back as the connecting routes are non existent or dirt roads. So I wanted to spend some more time whizzing around the lake district but did not want to too keep heading back to Route 5 for each different lake so again Philly was going to be adventurous and go of road so that I could spend more time round the lakes than on the motorway.

So after a good breakfast at the hostel headed to Pucon another place I wanted to see I hit the road hoping that road I was going to take was doable but first thing I needed to do was fill up and find the road which I did eventually. First part flat and gravelly and dusty but doable past by a couple of cars kicking up a lot of dust making visibility difficult I but pressed on. Then the road was blocked and you where diverted on to a grass track that took you through a farmyard. Also manageable but I thought I had better check with a group of people who had pukka Motocross bikes and ATV that they where prepping about the state of the road ahead. The first response from a young lad in all the pukka motocross gear was yes it was easy with a smirk on his face so I thought better ask a grown up which I did and he looked at me looked at the bike and he had seen me come gingerly into the farmyard and he said I think the road will be to difficult for you and your bike. He looked like he might know what he was talking about and then he pulled out his I phone and showed pictures of the road and various ATV struggling through mud and the odd stream crossing then my decision was made looks like I will be breaking my cardinal rule of onward and forward and backtracking to Villarrica but it was gorgeous where I was decided to continue a bit more to hot springs and turn around there. There was a sign saying 39km to the town I was heading for it was 109km via the paved road and again back on route 5 bugger and dam my lack of off road talent but Looking at that blokes pictures makes me think I made the right decision,

Pukka equipment may help with the off road stuff[/caption]

 



So back the way I came and then to another lake I chose this one because it was not in any of the guidebooks so thought it would be less touristy but as was in the lake district still have some touristy facilities and I was right so found myself in a nice little town called Futrono even liked the name and found a great little affordable hotel the town I think had two hotels and one big posh one according to the nice ladies at the small tourist office so settled in and went for a walk, On the lake but completely different vibe than Villarrica which was a tourist town this was a lot quieter and I liked it walked to the lake and around the town grabbed some dinner and then sitting in the garden of the hotel working on this. Bit disappointed about my off road shortcomings but not much I can do about that and in a great little place so lets just enjoy that :-)

Lago Ranco less touristy lake in Chiles Lake District which I prefer[/caption]

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:14 AM   #194
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Futrono to San Carlos de Bariloche, Friday, 25 January 2013, Day 206

Great morning run light and scenery perfect :-)[/caption]

Had breakfast at the hotel home made bread from a wood oven cannot get much nicer than that. Hit the road and the scenery and light fantastic so very pleasant riding heading for the border means another stint on route 5 and which is a toll road have been shelling out regularly for the GPS is telling me to turn of the motorway do a U turn come back on the motorway and turn off there! Strange but follow the instructions blindly but that means paying the toll again so expecting a bit of a debate however my GPS says itís the next turn off not the first and as I sail pass I realize it being its usual accurate self and I have missed the turning so have to go a couple of km before I am able to do a U turn and come of at another exit 500 meters before the one I had just come of about 2 minutes ago. Try explaining to the booth attendant that I had just paid a couple of minutes ago but she is having nothing of it even after I show her my receipt as well so I am well pissed of in having to pay again and by my now there a bit of a queue building up behind and they start honking there horns so I turn round and tell them all to f**k of as I well pissed now booth attendant does not care she is not letting me through. Eventually cough up the money give her a gob full in Spanish and English to vent my frustration but she just shuts the window and jeers at me holding up the money jobs worth bitch. So looks like Philly has some serious pent up aggression in him today I wonder wants the cause of that is?

Why so grumpy with scenery like this !!![/caption]

So back on the right road again looking for a car museum I read about which I find and spend an hour or so chilling out at the Auto Museum Moncopulli, which has huge collection of Studebakers which is one of my favourite old timers. So a bit more chilled now but get in another ruck at a petrol station with some arrogant prick in a big car who wants to know which pump I am queuing for and I politely tell him whichever one comes free first as I was here first and that how a queue system work he not happy and I do not give a fig as he not getting ahead of me. What makes my days is he pulls in after me once the pump is free and told that there no diesel at this pump he would have to go to another. Later he tryís to lecture me about cars having there petrol tanks on one side I tell him to go f**k himself like I care so for some reason I seem to be looking for a fight aggressive little bastard that I am and I have been so chilled for so long been a while since a Philly rant and I am determined not to have one.



Old Cars got to love them!

Today I am heading into Argentina so you could say the tag line of Alaska to Chile or is that Argentina has been fulfilled but I still miles away of my goal of getting from the top of the Americas to the bottom of the Americas so that could explain some of my grumpiness and frustration.

So head to the border and much to my delight I bump into Alex and Andrea waiting in the queue to exit Chile had a vague idea that they were crossing today and was half expecting and sort of agreed to meet them but very fortunate we hit the border at the same time. Good to see some friendly faces.

I know these people wish they would stop following me everywhere ;-)[/caption]

Standard border crossing so thatís

  • Export Daisy

  • Export Me

  • Import Me

  • Import Daisy


Simple except for huge queues at immigration on the Argentina side so took the standard hour and half to cross but a lot simpler than some of the crossing I had.

Nice drive in a yet another new country heading to the famous San Carlos de Bariloche A & A have a couch surfer place tonight so we grab some dinner together and do a quick catch up and arrange that we will travel south together for a while then I head of into a very touristy town in the high season trying to find somewhere cheap to sleep. First place full could not even be bothered to open or answer the door so was not looking good so try and find another one but cannot locate but spot a Hostelling International place so try that but expensive even with my discount card and some negotiations still steep problem is its late I have no point of reference for prices in Argentina so I except the offer so I have a bed and there is secure parking when we can clear the entrance of illegally parked cars in front of the doors.

Go for a walk around town not impressed full of chocolate selling shops and very Germanic but very little charm. Pleasant walk nice church with some great wood carvings all Jesus stories but the woodwork and carvings very interesting and different that ignoring the subject matter great pieces of work.

Head back to the Hostel and work on this and finally crash at about 12 been a long day meeting A & A and heading south tomorrow. Getting closer day by day.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:16 AM   #195
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San Carlos de Bariloche to Gobernator Costa, Saturday, 26 January 2013, Day 207

Tough life on the road you just need to lie down every now and again :-)[/caption]

Riding with Alex and Andrea again which is nice but first had to find them as they where couch surfing some where in Bariloche and had arranged to go there and pick them up at about nine. So had my free breakfast, which always seems to take longer than planned got the bike out of the car park and pulled up the address on my GPS that Andrea had put into it yesterday. Got lost and directed down some seriously steep dirt roads (Coffee still had not kicked in so that is all I needed) and then found the road but did not have the number. You put the house number in when you put the address in and Garmin and Mr GPS are supposed to get you to the right end and side of the street that matches the number problem number one with the maps I have in they are never remotely close so normally on the wrong side of the street and miles away form the number you want to be at especially if a log street. Problem number 2 it tells you that you have arrived at the address but never the number, which of course you cannot remember, so in short yet another shortcoming of my GPS or its operator is an idiot and does not how to operate it you decide. So I am on the right street but no idea which house so the only thing to do is ride up and down and hopefully spot Alexís bike. Do one length of the street no joy lady stops and ask me what I am doing and or what I am looking for I try to explain but strange I do not no the house owners name and or the number so she is rather suspicious of this strange hairy bloke on a bike with foreign plates riding up and down her street. Do another pass and Alex comes running out of a garden that I had driven by pass twice so had not spotted his bike but he had noticed me riding up and down so found the Romanian duo time to hit the road.

Nice hot day scenery interesting and all in all a nice day paranoid about petrol and there not been any so stopping whenever we see one as we never no when the next one will be and if it will have any petrol so slows progress slightly but will slower if we run out.

ever changing scenery[/caption]

We have a great late lunch as we plan to do some wild camping tonight and when we arrive at our final petrol fill up in the small town of Gobernator Costa we find out there is a Municipal Campsite so we opt for that as it is supposed to be free its not but cheap as chips EUR1.50 so set up camp out of the wind which has been blowing consistently all day. Nice spot and pleasant evening before an early night back in the tent

Back under Canvas[/caption]

 
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