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Old 01-20-2013, 03:35 PM   #42
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
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2013 dakar rally - limache, chile to portillo, chile

so after realizing the dakar route was running right across my path to mendoza, argentina, i stuck around another day to hunt down a good spot to watch the racers come through. yesterday, we drove from playa reneca, through concón, into limache, and around into villa alemana. after finding no good spots to stay, we drove the final 8 miles back into the back side of vina del mar. we found a sketchy hostel downtown that had ancient mattresses, mosquitos, and shitty internet. as a traveler, i'm fine with terrible lodging, but bad wi-fi is inexcusable.

we rolled into limache, no motorcycles anywhere. how can an event that draws 10,000 spectators not produce at least one or two bikes on the road?


en route to dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

anyway, at a gas station we got directions to the zones dos espectadores (spectators zone). there is hardly any signage in the town. finally, we got to a place where there were some dakar vehicle in front of a dirt road. it looked official, so we just blasted through without talking to anyone. (that's how you do things in south america if you don't want to spend all day talking in terrible spanish to people that barely understand you.)

we passed a couple of cows on the road, which over the in-helmet intercom system that i brought along, we named "DAKOWS" out of respect for the event. 2 more DAKOWS, and we ran into a big ranch gate that looked super official with signs that said VIP DAKAR ESPECIAL. well, my spanish is bad, but this gringo knows when he's onto something good.

i pulled off the helmet, and we chatted up the guard. franco, the guard, said that this area was for VIP, race techs, and TV crews. i explained to him that we had just risen the length of the americas to get to this event (una mentira - a lie), and he agreed we were worthy to enter.

after a few kilometers more of dirt road, we came into a clearing roped off with yellow tape. we followed a tape path down to the end of the big clearing toward the VIP tent, realizing after a few confused looks that we were riding on the ACTUAL DAKAR 2013 COURSE!!

since we were already pushing our luck a bit by lying our way into VIP, we agreed we should get the hell off the course. bear pulled up under a big shade tree, right next to the Red Bull camp, and we claimed our own CAMP GRINGO, DAKAR 2013.


campo dakar por los gringos, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i pulled out the camping goods, made some coffee and tea, and we've just been hanging out taking photos with all the VIPs who keep coming over and asking if we are in the race. "claro que si!" (of course we are!). no, actually, we've been finally telling the truth. so it's about 11:15am now, and we are just waiting for the racers to start blasting by the course.


dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


chiliean "zumaran", dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


special line-up, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


special line-up, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


special, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


what?, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


dutch fanatic, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

bear and i split out of the dakar VIP area around 3pm, both eager to get off to our next destinations. once we got out of the VIP section, we ran into all the normal spectators. since we came from the direction of the race, everyone assumed we were racing. so we were waving, stopping for photos, kissing babies. we didn't want to disappoint them. they'd been waiting all day for a glimpse of the action. it continued out on the freeway moving SE to santiago (bear) and los andes (me). in our final miles together, bear and i were getting standing ovations and cheers from people parked along the freeway waiting for dakar riders and drivers to come by. quite a send off.

bear and i stopped for water about 7km from my turn east to los andes and the paso dos liberadores - my entrance into argentina. i got a little emotional. it was odd. here i had just made a good friend, sharing some pretty intense days at the start of our journey, and now we were already parting.

bear is headed to santiago to take care of some business before heading to patagonia. (get that tail light fixed boy!). i'll miss him. if patagonia sucks (it won't), we can meet up in 3-4 weeks in mendoza and continue north together. he's a good man...


fairwell bear, for now, route 60/route 5, north of santiago, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

later that afternoon, i started to climb elevation toward the paso dos liberadores and the andean peak of aconcagua, the highest point in the andes and the second highest point in the world after the himalayas. i got to the bottom of the switchback and hit the line-up i was expecting.


line-up for paso dos liberadores crossing, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


line-up for paso dos liberadores crossing, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


line-up for paso dos liberadores crossing, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

they are doing construction on the paso, so eastbound from chile can only pass from 8pm to 7am. so i rolled up to the front of a 3 mile line (good to be on a motorcycle), and stuck in with a pack of about 8 bikes, which turned out to be brazilians on the way back home from dakar.

so after spending all day speaking spanish, i switched over to portuguese for the 1.5 hour wait. i was told that even brazlians, after spending time in spanish speaking countries, end up speaking "portunol" - a mix of the two. now i don't feel so bad. my portuguese is still better.


são paulo, brazil motorcycle plate by porkandcorn, on Flickr


una paulista con un triumph tiger, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

an american from seattle named ted showed up at the line-up, and he and i ended up decided to stay at the hotel portillo up the road and after the chilean switchbacks.


ted from seattle, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the switchbacks were intense, and we took them at dusk after they release the 300 car line-up. i was at the head of the pack after i passed a big tour bus. it was intense. the altitude comes quick. soon, as i passed into the mountain shadow, dusk turned to night. i don't like riding at night, but it was an empty road with no oncoming traffic. just eventually switchbacks lit by the moon. (i didn't take the photo, as i couldn't stop, but this is what they look like during the day.)


paso dos liberadores, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

eventually, the GPS directed me onto a dirt road toward the hotel portillo. it was completely vacant.

hmmmm... the next town in across the chilean/argentinian border, through customs and about 3 hours of non-sense. i stopped to see if i could anyone. it was unlocked and i wandered in. i found my way down into the kitchen. there were 3 staff members there, although i don't know why. by this time ted had shown up and i was convincing one of them in spanish to let us camp out in the hotel, if only on the floor. finally, he agree and after a nice meal of ham and cheese sandwich and a bottle of local red wine, we camped out in some grand living room. i felt like in the night, the two little twin girls from hitchcock's the shining would throttle me in my sleep. i sleep on the couch cushions, with my motorcycle jacket as a blanket and my motorcyle pants as a pillow. i could not have been happier.


vacant hotel portillo, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


campo portillo, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


campo portillo, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 01-20-2013 at 03:42 PM
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