Tag Archives: wild camping

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 🙂

      

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.

Pull Over Wide Load

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.

possible start scene of Tarantino film From Dusk till Dawn

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.

Nice seaside Town Caldera

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.

Phillys fan club can find him even in a Desert!

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!

Foot trapped under Pannier oops a Daisy !

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 🙂

50,000km happy KM day Daisy

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.

Gorgeous wild Camping Spot

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!

See I told you the sun shone out of my .. .. ….!

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!

Tough day at the Office!

Gobernator Costa to Pico Truncado, Sunday, 27 January 2013, Day 208

Dammed wind on Ruta 40!

Today both Alex and me are feeling very brave and we have decided rather then head over to Route 3, which is a Tarmac to the bottom of Argentina we are going off road on the infamous Route 40. I am not sure why we are feeling so brave and as you know my off road abilities are crap and Alex has Andrea on the back of his bike making off roading a tad more difficult but yet we had persuaded each other that we should not be wuzzes and had to the hit the dirt. We packed up breakfast at the petrol station and then to Rio Mayo where Route 40 turns from tarmac to dirt and is dirt for 30km and then new tarmac till Perito Moreno then loads more dirt to Tres Lagos but we still had an opt out clause at Perito Moreno to still head across to Route 3 if we did not like our little off road dirt experience.

  

      

We filled up both the bikes and ourselves in Rio Mayo huge piece’s of breaded meat with cheese ham and eggs on it for a late lunch as again we are planning on doing some wild camping tonight.

 

So we are stuffed to the gills as we gingerly make our way onto the dirt road and to help us with this endeavour the wind is really strong and gusting pushing us all over the place which is all you do not need when you trying to find the smoothest part of the dirt road so progress is slow. There is a choice between a dirt track and another dirt track that sort of being prepared for tarmacking and we swopped between the two finding out that the grass was always greener on the one that we were not on.

Choice crap dirt road on the right or crap dirt road on the left Alex takes this seriously so he and Andrea took a closer look no photos of this!

I was already regretting my decision and my rush of bravado to do off road stint as we crawled through the dust counting the kilometres off one by one until we reached tarmac again. On one of the cross overs from one dirt track to another there was the dreaded soft sand on hill which I skirted around but in my mirrors I watched Alex and Andrea hit the dirt and they where down. I pull up park the bike so that it will not get blown over by the wind and run back to help the guys up to there feet. Everyone is ok bike is ok adrenalin is pumping but all is well. The first thing Alex asks me if is did I take any pictures and to be honest as I was running to help them I did think about this being the  perfect photo opportunity but my caring Phill kicked in first and I helped them first and made sure all was alright before pulling the camera out after knowing that they where fine and it was only a low speed off I now wish that I had pulled the camera out earlier 🙂

  

So I was not happy on the dirt and I am guessing that A & A where not that thrilled with miles and miles of dirt so when we hit tarmac the decision was relatively easy to make we are hitting Route 3 down to Fitzroy as it has already taken us nearly 2 hours to do 33km so at that speed we would be in Ushuaia in 2014 so its longer distance by tarmac but this is definitely quicker for us.

Happy to be back on Tarmac

We stop on the Tarmac part of Route 40 to take some fun pictures with the wind and the signs. I had been teasing A & A when they where looking to buy a Route 40 sticker for there bike that they do not deserve it until they had completed the full length of it including the dirt parts as well however after today and as they had seen Route 40 from extremely close up I said that they had earned it 🙂 and they could buy and add the sticker to there collection.

Windy!

So the original plan was to head to Perito Moreno and camp there but as we were now heading to Route 3, which was about 200km we decided as we were back on our beloved tarmac that we would try and take a large chunk out of this bit tonight and we headed of for Las Heras where my GPS was telling there was a municipal camp site and fuel.

We got there at about 8.30pm and filled up and we then went to find the campsite which compared with last nights it was a hole and there were gangs of youths that had been drinking all day hanging around which was most off putting so we soon decided that we were heading to the next town even though it was getting late and the next place was nearly 80km away.

So off we headed on the right looking back there was one of the most glorious sunsets I had seen for while the light was amazing and in front of us was the moon a new full moon coming up over the horizon so I did not know whether to look forward or backwards as we where passing through an oil field with nodding donkeys all over the place and it was beautiful and I really did not care on reaching the next place by nightfall as I was enjoying the light so much. I was trying to take photos whilst driving which was not working for me as I kept getting my gloves in the way I eventually decided to pull over to get a shot of the moon over one of the nodding donkeys from a stationery position which sort of worked then in hot pursuit of A & A which involved over taking a police car we had stopped earlier to ask about camping possibilities and they had said there was a Municipal campsite in Pico Truncado. They where doing 90km and they had a sticker on the back saying 110km so a sailed past at 109km waving politely and when they where out of sight I nailed it to catch up with A&A.

Got to Pico Truncado just as the Sun had gone down still a gorgeous pink light show and there was an interesting sculpture of a dinosaur made of old oil drilling equipment that was dying to be photographed.

Interesting Sculpture but better still the light

Whilst we discussing what to do next another a biker pulled up and walked over to chat with us his front tyre had just blown and he was busy calling folks. Alex had an electrical pump so we tried that but his blown front tyre was not staying up. It turned out the chap name was Daniel and he had a car repair shop a couple of km away and if we liked we could sleep there the night. Wow cheers mate so we follow his mechanic who had turned up to help with the puncture and find ourselves in a huge hanger / workshop in the middle of no where and this is going to be home for the night. The office for A & A and the supply room for Philly and it even had a hot shower on the premises. So after chatting to Daniel and looking at his bike we found the reason for the puncture was that he had hit something really hard and dented and broken his wheel explaining why it was no longer holding air so he was lucky to stay upright but it shows how fragile perhaps V-strom rims are on Argentinean roads that both me and Alex had a quick look and check of ours after seeing the damage on Daniels. After offering us dinner we politely declined we where left on our own in this huge workshop talk about trusting and generous spirit this bloke has for letting total strangers sleep in his workshop.

Home for the night

It was quite late by now but I was buzzing at it had been a long eventual day so we had a cup of tea and sat in the office just chilling for while before pulling out the sleeping bags and mats. Earlier Alex was trying to figure out where he was going to put his tent up and I explained that there was no need as we sleeping in the office and store room I blame this brain freeze on the fall and the long day we had had today but it made me giggle.

Chilling after a long day in an office in a workshop in the middle of nowhere.

We finally hit the sack amongst the car spare parts and oil cans what a strange but great day.

Strange dreams about Police cars or was it a dream!