2012 and Beyond ...

Continuation of a journey


Sample imageDecember 10, 2012 - Farewell to Bolivia, onwards to Chile. The border on the Chilean side was easy, all of five minutes, polite nods and glances, a single piece of paper printed for the bike, a few signatures and I was on my way. On to paved roads, as promised by our Bolivian driver earlier.




Alas, the reality was painfully different. The roads got worse as the day progressed and four hundred kilometers of gravel and broken up pavement later, I arrived in Calama. The sun was weighing on the horizon, but with only a mere hundred kilometers to go to San Pedro de Atacama, I pressed on. Who knew pavement could be so satisfying.

San Pedro de Atacama is a dusty crop of life in the middle of the desert, wise to the tourist dollar. A simple room with shared bathroom was $26, the highest price encountered on this trip. And that was a cheap place. However, the surroundings were worth it. I rode the bike out to Valle de la Luna and waited for the sunset the next day.

I didn't venture much further than Valle de la Luna and took it easy the day after. Aside from the church, there really is nothing of esthetic value in San Pedro.

The next stop was Taltal, a whopping six hundred kilometers further south, but this time all on smooth pavement. The famous hand in the desert needed its picture taken. Sadly it's defaced with all sorts of graffiti these days.

Taltal is an odd little place, half town, half shanty town. Some attempts to spruce it up, such as a decent Plaza de Armas and even a few small sections of malecon, overlooking the water. The hotel I stayed in looked more like a comfortable living room with some quarters surrounding it. It was quite busy and very casual.

A walk around town scared up an odd sight. A German-plated BMW sidecar bastard.

I must admit I don't get sidecars. You're combining all the negatives of motorcycling and automobiles with none of the benefits of either. Beauty in madness I suppose. Tomorrow I'm off to La Serena, where I'll pause for a few days.