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Old 10-03-2012, 10:02 AM   #46
Parcero
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As many pictures as I have seen of the Salar de Uyuni it is still an unbelievable sight. Can't wait to get there myself. The bike's staged in Ecuador now, so I am getting closer, and am following your excellent ride report.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:03 AM   #47
crashmaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martynho View Post
The town of Uyuni comes into view against the background of the Salar. It looks pretty cool from a distance but I could not get my mate Crashmaster`s description of it out of my head. " "Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious." - -- Obi Wan Kenobi.




This pretty much sums up the town itself it is a right shithole.

I think I might have got that quote wrong.





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Old 10-03-2012, 10:11 AM   #48
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Sorry Martyn I thought you would guess it was me Dave Norville. Looks absolutely stunning over there and dynamite to play with as well -cant wait for the video.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:22 AM   #49
Martynho OP
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Isml!

I shat myself laughing! Brilliant one mate!

Quote:
Originally Posted by crashmaster View Post
I think I might have got that quote wrong.





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Old 10-03-2012, 10:24 AM   #50
Martynho OP
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Of course! I should have guessed. Hope you are OK Dave and getting out on that GS plenty. Keep watching the ride report...Katie joins me for the last part

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Sorry Martyn I thought you would guess it was me Dave Norville. Looks absolutely stunning over there and dynamite to play with as well -cant wait for the video.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:28 AM   #51
lorraine
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What a GREAT ride report!!!! So funny!
WE WANT EXPLOSIONS!!!!!!
Donde es expolosivo???!
Your fans await impatiently....
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:21 PM   #52
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cool ride report . It all looks like i have plenty of good miles to come .
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:38 PM   #53
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Enjoying the Ride Report! Will be riding south within the next few weeks!! really looking forward to it!

Videos please!
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:06 PM   #54
Martynho OP
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The Lagunas Route (The Rough Stuff)

We had a reasonably comfortable night camping out on the Salar, despite our marginal sleeping bags for the temps we did ok wearing all our kit. We were up early to catch the sunrise over the Salar and packed up quickly as we knew we had a long day ahead of us. The plan was to get across the altiplano to Laguna Colorado up at over 5000m. About 320 kms on rough roads, very cold, high winds and high altitudes. Great!

Marcelo had a detailed plan done on his tablet PC over a few beers. Arrow number 3 dude!





The edges of the Salar can be wet so you have to be careful to take the proper exits off it, otherwise you risk sinking your bike into saline slop



Once off the Salar we headed to the village of San Juan. Tried to stockup on food. Fail! Just got chocolate and some biscuits. Water, yes. Went looking for fuel and were told to go to a house where the lady of the house sold us 30 litres from a barrel. We asked her if she could rustle us some lunch up but no deal. Can we use your hosepipe to wash the salt of the bikes? Si Señor. Result! The lady continued doing her washing.....



So we set off out onto the smaller Salar de Chiguana, nowhere near as big as the Uyuni Salar but great to blast along. The salt was smooth and the track really wide, it felt like scooting along a huge runway The altitude, volcanoes all around us and salt mists being blown around in the distance gave it a weird feel.











At the end of the Salar we came to the hamlet of Chiguana, and old railway station on the Antofagasta to La Paz railway line by the looks of it. Pretty much deserted apart from a sleepy looking Bolivian military outpost. Bolivia is currently sabre rattling with Chile about its centuries old claim for access to the Pacific ocean. Chile has a fleet of latest generation F16 fighters armed to the teeth, based in Antofagasta and Iquique and they have an unlimited budget to overfly the border area every night. Bolivia has this lot. I think the Chilenos can sleep easy in their beds.




The track quickly turned into deep sand. It wasnt particularly bad just hard work on fully loaded bikes at this altitude. The bikes occasionally got tired and needed to take a lie down. First Marcelo's.....



The recovery time after lifting the bikes up and out of the sand was around 15 minutes. We had 200 miles of this to come, little did we know at this point




Then my bike's turn. This was was particularly scary. I was in the MOFN, the bike fell on my ankle, I was at a strange angle, I wasnt able to get it off me and it felt like it could have been fractured it was that painful . In the event Marcelo got it off me and it was not broken just bruised! It left me with a very sore ankle which further complicated the rest of what turned out to be a VERY long day. Despite the burning hi altitude sun, the air temp was bloody freezing all day. Note the salt whirlwinds in the background. Weirdness abounds!



Marcelo again...



After this the track turned very rocky for about 50 kms which rattled our fillings out, we were relieved to find the road smoothed out a bit. Turned out it was wishful thinking we wanted it to be the right way, it wasnt we ended up about 80 kms east of where we wanted to be so we went into a substantial looking village to try and get food, fuel, whatever. Turned out to be pretty much a ghost town apart from a few kids and llamas roaming the streets. More weirdness.



Despite the hard going, we were both just blown away with the beauty of this place, when you threw in the Lagoons it was just stunning



We managed to navigate a course that would get us back on track to Laguna Colorado for the night, but the worng turn cost us time and we ended up riding into the night when we eventually arrived at the Laguna. According to the map there was a rudimentary lodging for the Land Cruiser tours near there although we could see nothing.

We were bloody freezing, physically and mentally exhausted, hungry and not at all happy with the idea of putting up the tent in the dark. The wind was howling and it was about -15C. We had only a few buscuits and some left over pasta. I could see in Marcelo's eyes he wasn't in great condition either and given the circusmtances I am not ashamed to admit I was very concerned, bordering on scared. Oh BTW we had just both gone onto reserve fuel.

All of a sudden I spotted some lights in the distance! We headed of towards them and were relieved when we sawa line of Land Cruisers lined up aganst an adobe building, as we got closer we could see in the windows and the sight of gringo backpackers sat at tables tucking into dinner was one to behold. We knocked on the door and stumbled in to gasps and ahhs, they could not believe we had just come accross that wilderness in the dark and cold. We felt like heroes and they treated us as such putting warm food in front of us, and 2 young dutch ladies immediately offered us the 2 remaining spare beds that were in their dorm

20 minutes later it was surreal to be sat in out of the cold wind, at a table drinking a glass of wine with warm food and good company. The beds were hard concrete with a mattress on top but it felt like a bloody Hilton. It was VERY high though and I did not sleep well because of it.

The lodging the following morning



It was so cold evernight that Marcelos radiator froze up and his bike failed to start in the morning. I had to cable up my bike to his to charge his battery up.

Dank ye well girls!


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Old 10-05-2012, 08:21 PM   #55
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Best update yet in a series of good ones.
Gracias
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:51 PM   #56
Radioman
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Enjoying the ride! Will be headed south from Cusco in the weeks ahead..... Looks like fun

Ran into a David in Cusco..... Know you guys Had a few beers here on his birthday!!

Ride safe. Keep the bikes upright!
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:22 PM   #57
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Patiently waiting for the.........
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:38 PM   #58
Jaimoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radioman View Post
Ride safe
Did you notice they were carrying dynamite inside their bags, right?

Martyn,
Evo Morales called, he wants to see how you blew up parts of Bolivia.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:48 AM   #59
Martynho OP
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Crash/ Goti......easy boys, easy. Its in the works. Public holiday today in Chile so I am hoping to finish it off, in the meantime heres the final update

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Patiently waiting for the.........
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:54 AM   #60
Martynho OP
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Final day on the Bolivian altiplano and into Northern Chile

We left the hostal a bit worried as we were unable to score any fuel from the Land Cruiser drivers. One of them told us we may be able to get some at the hot springs at Salar de Challaviri, so we emptied our spare tanks into the main and set off onto the altiplano again a little apprehensive. To make things worse Marcelos bike had started to overheat so we stopped to try go for the obvious fixes. It didn't work and the problem got worse as we went on but we managed to manage it by stopping every now and then to allow it to cool off.



Challaviri came into sight within about an hour.



It was a stunning place with a good population of flamingoes albeit with lots of tourists enjoying the hot springs.






We were tempted by the hot springs but we were disctracted by our need for fuel. No fuel no make it to the border and be stranded. We chatted up a couple of guys building a new tourist refuge and I was elated when they agreed to sell us 30 litres of fuel from their stash.



I was even more pleased when I noted that the fuel was blue, indicating it had come from Chile and would therefore be of much better quality.



My 15 litres going in



Good job we got that fuel, we were informed that we had missed the Bolivian customs at a mine about 30 kms back. Frustrated we backtracked and cleared our bikes out of Bolivia and then made a course for the last 100 kms or so to Laguna Verde and the border. Out in the MOFN I had a puncture and Marcelo had gone on ahead so I started to changed the tube when I realised that he had the pump. Had to wait about half an hour before he realised I was missing and he retraced his steps back to me. Again good job we got that fuel!



Laguna Verde



The Chilean border was just beyond the other side of the Laguna, I was exhausted and relieved we had made it but not a bit reluctant to leave this wilderness.



We made it! Lonely border guard was hardly busy and it took us a few minutes to get our papers sorted, and BTW we didnt need those customs docs after all!



Marcelo was glad to see the back of 500 km of sandy Bolivian roads



But we were both just high on the whole experience of riding across the altiplano. It was rough for sure. The roads were shite, we were very cold for most of time, the altitude beat the shit out of us, and we stuggled to find fuel and food. But it was a great challenge and the scenery just blew us both away. I have no doubt that I will be back, hopefully better prepared next time.



We made it!



500 kms of THIS!



As soon as we were over the border it was with mixed feelings that we hit the Chilean asphalt and started descending into the tourist town of San Pedro de Atacama. We knew we would get good (but expensive!) lodgings and a good meal there but it felt weird to be back in the real world again.





We checked in to a good hostel, went out to eat like horses and came back early to sleep like babies.

DOUBLE BIKE TROUBLE!...

Next morning we were out the door at 6AM as I had to meet my wife Kate. She had decided to fly up to Antofagasta to join me for the ride down ruta 5 back to Santiago . Of course I couldn't be late for the boss so Marcelo and I split up so I could make time. Unfortunately just out of San Pedro, Marcelo's bike overheated so badly he had to bail and get a pickup to take him to Calama where he overnighted and eventually abandoned the bike at a friends house. He got a bus back to Santiago that took about 24 hours in total . He got the bike shipped back to Santiago a few days later

My bike started to play up also. As I arrived in Antofagasta the cam chain tensioners started a-clacking badly. Knowing that this is the first signs of low oil pressure I checked the oil and was horrified when it took 1.5 litres!

This continued all the way back for the 1500 kms to Santiago. The bike consuming about 1 litre per 500kms. It is now undergoing open heart surgery for new rings. Not sure what caused this but for sure Bolivia is bloody rough on the machinery! I also had to stop at KTM La Serena to get a set of fuel filters as the bike was hesitating when the fuel got low in the tank. They were absolutely black from the crap fuel we had been using up there.

Nontheless, Katie and I had a great trip back. I reconfigured the bike luggage dumping all the camping gear from the drybag, Kate replacing this with shoes, handbags, makeup etc

Obligatory shot at La Mano del Desierto just south of Antofagasta



About 100 kms after I took this, and in the middle of nowhere out in the desert, the bike started sputtering and eventually just died. It did restart after a while but the problem presented itself again once again, disappeared again and eventually went away once I got the chance to fill the tanks. Obvious first signs of fuel pump issues I mentioned before.

A few miles further along the road at the Aguas Verdes fuel oasis, we came across my mate Ricky Godoy and his cameraman Jorge Marchant. Ricky presents an Adventure riding program on Chilean TV and was doing a special on Chaleco Lopez's training program for the Dakar. Chaleco is Chile's leading rally rider (he has placed 3rd in the Dakar!) so it was real pleasure to meet him

Ricky, Chaleco, me and Katie with Chaleco's 2012 Dakar bike. Nice bit of kit!



We overnighted at Copiapo where I had a days business to take care of at Candelaria mine. Next day we headed for a couple of days R+R at the beach in La Serena, a rather agreeable way to wind down the trip . Well you have to mix the rough with the smooth dont you?


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