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Old 02-12-2013, 02:47 AM   #1081
Kedgi OP
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Ok so it's morning now and I have a few minutes before breakfast ( I gotta wait for breakfast, I gotta have it before I attempt what I hope is the last really clustered border of this trip.

I want to bring you up to date on how I got to the border yesterday.

I set out fairly early from my hostal in Antofagasta, armed with new information about border crossing kindly provided by a reader.

I picked one out of the list and headed there after a quick stop for breakfast at McDonalds which was inexplicably closed at 9:00am. Fully staffed just closed? Another mystery. Couldn't even get a cup of coffee. Looked for a coffee shop, nothing open. Headed out, with water from by camel back for breakfast

So the new pass I'd picked had good pavement the first few miles then a bit of construction and then good pavement again, beautiful Spring like weather as I climbed, Then I came to some sort of control point manned by two guys. I tried to just ride on by but they waved me in. I got into the line up of mining pickup trucks that resemble what you see in Labrador City. All have big numbers painted on them, most are white or red with roll bars and big flags swinging from the top of them so they can see each other at 100 miles an hour in the dust.

The two guys finally get to me. They ask where I'm going. Argentina. Well as you know, I'm not master of the Spanish language especially the Chilean variety but the blast of excited and concerned Spanish that followed was amazing. I picked out a few words like Militare, and I took the frenzied scraping of the gravel with four work boots to mean loose gravel, No Gasolina was easy, Mucho Frijole (Very Cold) I know all too well and finally frequent pointing to the north and the word Calama probably meant I should take the pass I had originally intended that runs through the city of Calama about 110k north. (I'm getting pretty good at Spanish) So. my loose summation of what they were so excited about was they wanted to know if I was FN Nuts.

I figured these guys were working the pass highways they had to know if the pass was open and they insisted it was so, I rode back down, got lost in the construction for a while then finally found the road to Calama, and after an hour of riding, I had not had the breakfast i planned on and was 10k from my hostal. Well, this had to be a good day! Surprisingly though, it was. The weather was great. Bright blue sky with just a hint of white cloud reflecting the flat grey of the land. It was beautiful.

I climbed the Calama pass, bought gas in Calama, talked to the people at the Touritsa center, none of them spoke English, but They assured me the pass was abiereto (Open) Cool! So I rode to San Pedro de Aticama, about 30 miles from the border, the last stop in Chile. I determined that it was 100 miles or more to the next gas in Argentina using my GPS. that never fails and I looked at my watch 4PM. Having all ready ridden down the western slope of the Andes in the dark, I figured I had nothing left to prove by riding down the eastern slope of the Andes in the dark, and if Customs was the cluster it normally is that was exactly what I was going to end up doing trying to get to that first town in Argentina, so I stopped, found a nice place after a lot of searching. This town is busy.

San Pedro de Aticama is a pleasant surprise. It's a tourist town selling all the typical woven souveniers etc. They have restored an old adobe town, with narrow dirt streets and the entire place is a pedestrian mall, except for when Trusty, and myself and four other adventure bikers from Brazil I met briefly ride through. It was sort of like out of the Old West with the townsfolk looking at us ride in.

Anyway I'm here today, they are getting breakfast ready and I intend to be in Salta, Argentina tonight if at all possible. I'm stoked!

Oh Yeah on the ride up to San Pedro, it gets pretty high. So at one point I stopped at a pullout and put on all the clothes I had. I was like a sled kid. for those of you that grew up in warmer climes, and don't know what a sled kid is. It gets so cold in Canada that mothers of young children that want to go for a walk, bundle up their little ones in snowsuits, scarves, big boots hats etc so much clothes that the kid can't move an appendage and they they stuff them in a sled and pull/slide them along the sidewalk. That's just they way I felt, bundled up for the pass. Then of course, i went around the next turn, dropped some 1500 meters in a huge descent to temperature in the mid to upper eighties, stopped at a pullout, did the sock hop on the gravel in the parking lot, trying to hurry to get my long underwear off, before I melted and before a tour group looking at a canyon came back to their bus and was scared by my manly, but skinny, glow in the dark white legs.

The tour group's canyon. I'm sure they are in the left side of the picture somewhere, but i can't see them this morning. I gotta get a coffee soon.




San Pedro









Talk to you from Argentina

Kedgi

Kedgi screwed with this post 02-12-2013 at 02:55 AM
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:58 AM   #1082
Kedgi OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithee View Post
Dwight, this couple crossed at Aguascalientes Negras. Not sure how far that is from you. This post details their crossing and has a number of photos of the road.

http://advrider.com/forums/showpost....&postcount=313

Edit - damn that auto correct!!! Heading says Aguascalientes Negras. It should be Aguas Negras.
Thanks, I appreciate it but now it looks like this original pass will work. It's cool but clear skies this morning and no wind so far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Kedgi
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:01 AM   #1083
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Originally Posted by shirtman View Post
Your highway is far more barren than ours - amazing pics!

Ride safe!
I think the Eagles must have been here before they wrote, Dark Desert Highway!

Nebraska and Iowa look positively brimming with activity compared to northern Chile.

db

Kedgi

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Old 02-12-2013, 02:48 PM   #1084
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Still following along, rock it Kedgi!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:01 PM   #1085
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Based on your recent posts, I can suggest this for copy:

If you don't drink Kunstman, then Feng Yu
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:48 AM   #1086
Kedgi OP
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Thumb Dream come true

I have made the dream I've held since i was a kid come true. I have ridden my bike from my driveway in NB to Argentina. I have stories to tell about the pass i took and pictures to post including one of a very happy man at the border, but as it turns out, Argentina uses a different wall outlet than Chile does and I can't charge my computer and have to save the little bit of battery I have left until I get that sorted.

I'm in a small town I can't even remember the name of but it starts with a P and it's about 1 hour west of Salta. Ten minutes west of here I discovered the best road of the entire trip. Absolutely amazing. It's part of Argentina route 52, you can probaly find it on Google Maps. It is way twistier than even the Sacred Valley in Peru. Stunning. I didn't even get a picture. It was getting dark and I had been absolutely frozen for hours. All I could think of was getting somewhere warm..

I am so glad to be here. Next ten days or so, I ride to BA and make the arrangements to get back to Miami.

I may go to Salta today but that's it. I covered a ton of ground in the last four days and I'm beat.

I'll post pictures as soon as I get this latest computer issue sorted

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Old 02-13-2013, 08:32 AM   #1087
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Dwight:

I'm so glad for you . . . to achieve your dream of riding to Argentina. You're doing what a lot of us wished we could do. We are happy that you achieved your goal.

all we need now is a photo of that "Happy Man at the Border"

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:26 PM   #1088
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Thumb The Jama Pass, Pictures

Well I've got my computer problem sorted. This time it cost about $1.50 for an adapter.

Here are pictures from yesterdays ride across the Jama Pass

This sign saved me from a horrible mistake. I've been across enough clustered borders to know or at least twig to the fact that it only mentioned Argentinian Customs and I was deep inside Chile, there must be something different about this border. The Chilean Customs is in San Pedro de Aticama....160kms BEFORE the border. If you missed them and went across the pass you would have to backtrack the pass, see them, and then do the pass a third time!




When I saw Argentina custom, ONLY mentioned I went back to make sure and sure enough found customs in a non descript building.

When you first start up the pass you ride by this amazing volcano



Some pics from the pass
























Then the picture of a happy man at the border




Then I went to Argentine customs only to find out that Argentina and Canada have a reciprocity agreement. It means it costs $75 to go into Argentina. They are not set up to take the payment at the border you must pay online and print a receipt. WTF! The officer told me I might be able to do that at a Cargo Office across the street. A lady in line behind me, from Argentina heard this and thought it was so stupid, she volunteered to help me. She spoke English very well and we went together in search of a computer and printer (There is no WiFi at the border. It is smack dab in the middle of no where. There's nothing there but a gas station)

Meet Paula, my Saviour!!!!!





Without Paula's help I think I would still be at the border. How lucky was I that she was in line behind me?


She left her son, Furnunco to do their paperwork while she helped me. She even stayed an hour after they were cleared to go to help me. Who does that? How kind!

Here's Furnunco while he took a turn trying to figure out the Customs website



These are outstanding people, overwhelmingly kind!


After a three hour wait to get things sorted at the border. I knew I would never make Salta. The high elevation of the Pass goes on forever, like 330K

The Argentine side






You pass a huge Salar (Salt Lake)







The headwind was so strong here, combined with the extreme elevation, I could only do 80kph on the straight and level and it was COLD! The puddles were freezing.

Trusty with some genuine Argentinian llamas



Finally you descend down a roller coaster of a descent into

Purmamarca, Argentina

That's the little town I couldn't think of the name of. Google Map that and look at the road to the west of town! Amazing!


Here's Purmamarca

Stovepipe Cactus




They make a cool "wood" out of them




I saw it used for lots of trim applications and beautiful doors like this





I even saw it used for lamps shades. really nice!


The town is surrounded by mountains



Some are amazingly multi colored. I have a picture of that I will upload tomorrow.

This historic church, Santa Rosa, sits on the town square




Today i got up early, as always and headed for Salta. I got to a gas station tried to buy a Coke and a sandwich......NO WALLET! Yikes! After some panic I realized I had packed it in my saddle bags when I grabbe the plastic baggie i keep my toothbrush etc in and I grabbed the plastic bag I keep the wallet in at the same time and stuffed both in my panier. OMG.

So tonight I'm in Salta. It is famous for being HOT! So hot they close the stores between noon and 5PM because no one wants to be out in the heat. It must have been 35C today and it's at least 30C as I write this at 7:30PM Lovely!

More tomorrow

Kedgi

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:53 PM   #1089
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kedgi View Post

Stovepipe Cactus

The ADV salute x2
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:31 PM   #1090
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Cool2 Salute x 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddyturn View Post
The ADV salute x2
I never noticed that 'til you mentioned it. So true!

Kedgi

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Old 02-14-2013, 03:47 AM   #1091
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Salta Pictures

One of the reasons many tourists visit the Salta area is to see these amazing muticolored mountains at Purmamarca





Besides the great weather, another reason tourists visit is because Salta has preserved many Colonial era buildings



















Salta's main square is huge and beautiful, with the tallest palm trees I've ever seen. They must be over 150 feet high.











I walked around yesterday and saw the sights. I noticed all the parking lots had screen covers. At first I thought it was for sun protection but then I read where Salta has many afternoon thunderstorms. I saw a car with really bad hail damage and i put it all together, the screens are there to protect cars from hail.





A BMW rider I saw.





At the end of the day I sat at a nice sidewalk cafe and had a beer and just watched people and cars go by. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

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Old 02-14-2013, 04:02 AM   #1092
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Thumb Thanks Kedgi

Incredible. Hope you take some time to enjoy this, I know it must be difficult not to 'rush to the finish' after being on the road so long. Salta looks amazing. Thanks so much for your efforts with this ride report. So many of us appreciate it. Wishing you safe travels...
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:48 AM   #1093
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Hello my friend, it is great to see you doing this great trip. Enjoy.

If you like to eat great food and drink some great wine go to La Moderna in Salta it is near the main plaza. The place is very cool but the owner does not allow you to take pictures... bummer.

I was in Salta last year with a friend from Brazil riding our bikes.

If you have a day go to: http://www.cafayate.todowebsalta.com.ar/

It is a nice day ride and you will see amazing landscapes and they also have great wine there.

Enjoy your trip and if you ever come to Brazil let me know.

I am planning for the end of the year ride my KTM 990 until Ushuaia as well.

Carlos
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:08 AM   #1094
Hevy Kevy
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WOOHOOO!! Way to go Dwight!!!
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:46 AM   #1095
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Originally Posted by DHC-2 View Post
Thanks so much for your efforts with this ride report. So many of us appreciate it. Wishing you safe travels...

What the Beav said with a big +1!
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