The guys want to be up early and I have no problem with that so up at 7am even though I do not hit the road till 9am 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 knew 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.
I had the place to myself for while sculpture itself is pretty crap looks like a kid made it however in it’s setting its quite interesting. I am joined by some Brazilian Gold Wing riders so we take each other’s pictures and then it is 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 café so I found my breakfast 3 fried eggs and bread in a mini individual frying pan local way of serving eggs and exactly what I wanted.
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 I 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. One did law and one did marketing and neither spoke English so I can kind of communicate with the locals now 🙂 (This scene could the beginning of a crap B movie)
Back on the road have been given a recommendation by Markus to go along the coast road it’s a dirt road but this one is actually a salt road (compressed Salt) and allegedly quite manageable. I am going to do some wild camping tonight as it in the middle of nowhere I am bit scared of this option so I am looking for an out clause and alternatives all along the way as I am really not that brave on my own.
I 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 next bit of road that I am planning to do for the next 200km and I fill up with Petrol as well and then hit the dirt or is it the salt.
The road is strange its like polished tarmac quite smooth so I 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 I am soon speeding along at a fair rate of Knots.
Its gorgeous I am in the desert it is quite flat but have the coast on my right and I am 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 I have got to bite the bullet sooner or later the road is now more inland so I turn of onto a dirt road and 10km down to the beach. It is deserted except for a few fisherman’s huts so this will be my home for tonight the dirt track to the beach was hard but doable then I had a choice left along the beach on a road or to the right a road that looked like deep soft sand the one to left looked a bit better so I headed down there and before I knew it the back wheel had buried itself quite deep into soft sand that deep that I could stand up above the seat where as usually my feet struggle to reach the ground so a complete new experience for me but it keeps on bogging down and the front wheel has started digging in as well. Oh well its only short bit to the first fisherman hut I should be able to get there. I stalled it and it dug in a couple of times more and when I was moving forward the front wheel dug in and the bike was fighting me all the way so more speed was needed! Nope that did not work I ended up in a heap on the floor with Daisy on top of me. I just had my first crash of the trip. Soft sand so not hurt but I have one foot stuck under the bike between the ground and the panniers. I try to lift Daisy of me but from the position I am in its impossible. I am quite calm even though I am in the middle of nowhere trapped under my bike (Wonderful drug adrenalin) so I decided to pull out my camera and take a picture!
I try lifting the bike again nope so the next plan is try and take my boot of as its seems to be a bit loose. Nope that’s not working either. In the distance I see the Fisherman Family coming out of their hut so that is 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.
I wave to my audience to tell them I am okay I heave the old girl upright and try walking beside her with the engine running but this is not working so I hop back on to try and get some traction and wobble and struggle all the way to the fisherman hut.
I have a giggle with Bernard and his family as I had now introduced my self formerly and I had asked whether I could camp on his beach next to an empty house to get out 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 I am sorry Daisy I will try and keep you upright in the future 🙂
So I am camping again in a beautiful spot I am pumped full of adrenalin and setting up camp was a slow process as I was knackered and I am just enjoying the environment.
I walked up a hill to watch the sunset and just enjoy where I was. It is good to be brave when it works out but then again!
I walked back to the tent and the four dogs went wild they 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 then went to get her kittens as well and was rabbiting away in Spanish some of which I actually understood a lot of it just gibberish to me but it was entertaining as she just kept on chatting away whether or not I was following any of this was not that important. So I have chatted with my neighbours and sort of made friends with the dogs and it was getting dark so I 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. I need to pee and was dreading going out just in case I set the dogs of again but no bother quick pee and back in the tent before they even noticed. I am wild camping but I feel safe next to Bernard and his family and his dogs looking after me as well getting to sleep was no problem what a day!