A Short Sojourn in South America

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Tiffany, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    It's me again, I know things have been a bit quiet on the Tiffany's Travels front, but my Dad was unwell last year and so I spent some time with him and my mum to remind them what a peaceful life they lead the rest of the time!
    I'm pleased to report that he is making a good recovery:clap:clap and so once more I could look to far horizons.

    First step was leaving Lands End

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    Yep, it's long distance travel with full bike gear and not a bike in sight as I took ferry, train and bus to get to Heathrow and flew out...my final destination being Antofagasta, Northern Chile (that's South America for the geographically challenged:rofl)

    Hmm, Antofagasta, what can I say about it except that it's like Newcastle-Upon-Tyne with palm trees

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    It felt so wrong to be flying over the Equator, ever since I started this bike travel lark, I've only ever ridden across it, but needs must, I was heading out on a mission for World of BMW
    The clues were there..posh riding gear and no Thelma (my R80GS who goes everywhere with me)

    as I get transformed into...Tiffany Coates - Motorcycle Tour Guide

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    and here are some of my lovely group

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    #1
  2. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    757
    Location:
    Darnestown, MD
    Enjoy South America! I always look forward to a "Tiffany Tour Guide" report.


    Cheers,
    #2
  3. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Good to hear that poolman and although this won't be as epic as the Tibet trip that I was tour guide on, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
    #3
  4. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    A somewhat jet-lagged group set off that first morning, following the straight roads that headed east under a clear blue sky

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    We're in the Atacama Desert, the driest spot on the planet and without a hint of greenery, I've crossed a lot of deserts in my time and it's often surprising how much grows there, but not at the Atacama - a dry, grey landscape stretched away in all directions.

    breaks to enjoy the view and to grab some snacks,

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    and for me to change my hairstyle to summer riding (some people change their jackets, mine is my hair).
    We're mostly on the BMW 1200GS with a couple of smaller bikes thrown in for good measure

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    our destination, San Pedro de Atacama a town in the foothills of the Andes, but first we had the Salar de Atacama to cross- a huge expanse of salt flat, not as well-known as its near neighbour the Salar de Uyuni but just as stunning.

    To our relief, after over 100 miles of dead straight tarmac, the road started to get a few curves in it

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    and there was the Salar in front of us

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    bloody great lumps of salt mixed with hardened clay
    #4
  5. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Bike enjoying the view

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    Luckily they've made a sort of road across the Salar, not surprisingly it's made of salt, and actually it's quite a good surface to ride on

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    The landscape and scenery is just spectacular


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    The rest of the group arrive and we all get busy with our cameras

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    I look around at this amazing environment with its breathtaking views...or maybe that's the lack of oxygen, and I just think to myself how bloody lucky I am

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    The urge to travel and a bike really can take you anywhere.
    #5
  6. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Those rocky salt fields are trickier to walk across than they look

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    time to ride on
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    heading through some small villages, where life hasn't changed for centuries

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    #6
  7. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Having arrived at San Pedro de Atacama after a great day of riding, we set our alarm clocks for the unearthly hour of 4.00am. It's going to be a special day if a rather long one...
    We’re going to see one of the Andes Mountains’ best kept secrets, sunrise at the world’s highest geyser fields.
    The Tatio Geysers

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    As a side issue, I am also testing out the new BMW GS Dry suit, so it was a bit ironic that my initial ride with it was across teh driest desert in the world. however the geysers gave me a chance to try them in the wet as I wandered through
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    We’re up at 4250 metres, and feeling the effects of the lack of oxygen, it doesn't stop us fooling around a bit

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    We pose for pictures as the beams of light cut through the steam, giving an eerie look.
    The Bolt somehow becomes our team look for the rest of the trip as you'll see.

    And although it's a bit chilly in the early morning and at this altitude, I spot some pools

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    It doesn't take me long to get in the water as well

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    and a few of my group join in as well

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    #7
  8. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Having seen the sunrise at the Tatio Geysers, we headed west of town in the afternoon to enjoy the sunset at La Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)

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    Some gorge riding to get there

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    Sure enough the landscape started to resemble something you'd see...well not on the moon, maybe on Mars

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    Don't worry, it's not snow, it's salty deposits

    Weird rock formations
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    There are four other women in the group with me, it's always good to have female company in what tends to be a male dominated world.

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    The valley is an incredible looking place

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    Lots of volcanoes in this area, though the locals assured me that they're almost all extinct
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    We lingered a bit long in the Valley, taking photos and so by the time we made our way back to our hotel, it was rapidly darkening and so we took a short-cut, which turned into a motorbike obstacle course:lol3

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    #8
  9. MiGSel

    MiGSel GaStronaut

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    395
    Location:
    Belgium
    Good to see you're on the move again.

    Have a great time and keep the report going, always a good read :thumb
    #9
  10. RokLobster

    RokLobster Far from sanity

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    New Harbor, ME
    :clap:clap:clap A new Tiffany adventure!!!


    :lurk
    #10
  11. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,335
    Location:
    marietta, ga.
    Welcome back. Did you manage to tour Ecuador as well?
    #11
  12. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    899
    Location:
    okieland
    Jolly good show, Tiffany
    #12
  13. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,022
    Location:
    Shasta County,Calif
    Glad your back out wandering,thanks for again taking us along,I will be here watching.
    #13
  14. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

    Joined:
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    Location:
    RGV Texas
    :eyes :lurk
    #14
  15. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Glad your back...:lurk
    #15
  16. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Almost forget El Zorro...the fox that we saw at the geysers

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    At high altitude when there's nothing green, I really wonder what these animals live on.

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    Discussing routes, whilst eating crisps.
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    My meat-eating customers had no problems with tucking into llama kebabs

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    No, it's NOT a sign for a brothel but one that indicates the location of the nearest Ladies' Loo.

    Negotiating with Customs :deal
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    Keeping an eye on the customers whilst having a break from riding

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    the ghost town of Humberstone, first settled in the 1860's then abandoned virtually overnight 100 years later, the place is spooky to walk around, but fascinating.
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    The new Word of BMW Support Vehicle

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    Vicuna- wild cousins of the llama and alpaca and rarely seen.

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    (what happened to the thumbs up for the post icon?)
    #16
  17. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,234
    Location:
    Behind the Redwood Curtain
    What's the story here? Are they repaving (cobblestone) the road?

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    #17
  18. E-Bum

    E-Bum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    736
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Ha! There's a chance that I passed by you guys one morning while going to work here in Antofagasta. I ride on a blue KLR 650 with a hi viz jacket. I remember riding alongside those BMWs with that paint scheme one morning.
    #18
  19. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    328
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Glad you're back on the road Tiffany.:clap
    #19
  20. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Lands End, England (sometimes)
    Yep, I remember seeing you!!:D
    I was quite impressed with the bikes that we saw in Antofagasta- a lot more big bikes than the last time I was here.
    #20