January 11, 2009 GMT
Chile Norte

January 7, 2009
Traveled North on Ruta 5 to Los Molles and stayed in a nice Cabones that looked out to the ocean. It was hot till Ruta 5 dropped down to the coast then it was quite comfortable. The Cabin had a stove and fridge so I walked down to mini market and bought some soup and three eggs. Cooked the soup and one egg for dinner and had the other two for breakfast. I had no oil so who ever had to wash the pans will not want me back.

Fruit stand beside the Rute 5 (Pan American hwy) 150 miles north of Santiago. Moto is clean so I needed a picture before it gets dirty.

January 8, 2009
Traveled on North on Ruta 5 to La Serena and looked for a hotel that was recommended in the guide book but could not find it so went for another cabin. La Serena is a fairly large city with an interesting central (old) section.
Had some time and decided to try to find motorcycle insurance. I can not enter Argentina without insurance. Chile does not require insurance and it appears that no one will insure vehicles that do not have Chelan license for use in Chile. Did find company that would insure moto for use in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. Cost was 39,610 CP (55 USD) for 5 weeks. No one in the office spoke English but with my limited Spanish and lots of pointing we got it done, a real accomplishment.
The insurance issue had been bothering me as I plan on crossing in to Argentina at the southern most pass. Have been told that I could buy insurance at the border crossings but this will be a little used border and could not get any assurances that it would have been available. Which would mean backtracking for several days to find insurance.
Met another moto traveler at a gas station on Ruta 5. He and his wife were also headed north on a BMW. They were from Argentina and provided many recommendation on where to travel in there country. Highly recommended northwest Argentina and marked on my map some good rides and towns to visit, most helpful.
There is an internet site (more than one maybe) where you can make phone calls for almost nothing all over the world. Cost to call the USA is $0.02 per minute. Tried to subscribe but there security system would not take my credit cards from unknown site. Will try again or at least make sure I do it before coming back next year.

January 9, 2009
Where I donít need to be back in Valapariso till tomorrow night and it can be done in one day I decide to explore. Left La Serena and east up a valley. The idea was to ride to top of pass then come back down. Paso Aqua Negra is 4775 meters high and wanted to see how moto ran at that altitude. Went through 12 miles of construction with most of it tore up reaching 2150 meters (6500 to 7000 ft.) and 88 kilometers to go when I came to Aduana (customs). I did not want to check out Chile without the papers I needed to get in to Argentina so I turned back deciding to go south
Grapes being raised on rock hill sides under shade cloth
The map showed a
gravel road Ruta 445 from Vicuna to Hurtado at 46 kilometers. I could use a little practice on gravel so off I go. The first few K were packed gravel then things changed to Goat Path status and stated climbing. At about a third of the way and 1500 meters I began questioning if I should turn around, but things could get better. Well they could have but did not but at half way I decide to continue on. Reached 1750 meters then stated to descend so stopped and put coat back on, had taken it off due to heat and at 15 mph you do not get much wind. I made it almost through when down we go to a switchback with a sand wash at bottom. Have no idea what happened, first thing I know the ground comes up and smacks me. Came down on right shoulder and right arm on chest which knocked the wind out of me. Broke mirror on right side of moto but know other damage. Unload bike to lower weight so I can right it, then reload. 2.5 hours I make it to Hurtado and get two bottles of water (only had one with me). Have now decided to travel only road that might have some traffic, only one small pickup near the end on this one.
The road improved here as small buses were running it but then ran in to more construction as I headed to Rio Hurtado. Finally reached pavement and made it to Ovalle and a hotel about 8 PM. Over 12 hours of hard riding and I was so tired I did not ask what they charged, just give me a room.
My ribs where I landed on my arm were hurting (probable broke a rib) and shoulder was hurting. By morning I was better but limited how I moved due to rib damage. Not a problem riding but sure hurts to cough.
Construction on route to pass
Ruta 447 AKA Goat Road

Moto on Goat Road

Flowering cactus

January 1
0, 2009
Yesterday kind of took it out of me so I headed straight for Ruta 5, which is four lane toll road. Mostly uneventful day and made it to Valapariso about 4:30.
The Dakar race was in town today so we went down to take a look at the vehicles. Was hard to get any good pictures as there was just too many people trying to do the same. So we drank beer till 7:00 then tried again with about the same luck. A friend of Martinaís gave her a wrist band (press pass) and she tried for quite awhile to convince the guards that I needed to go in with her. Good try but it did not work. Finally made it back to the house hit the bed and was out.

Support truck for the Dakar race
January 11, 2009
Spent the day working on moto (repaired mirror), did laundry and reorganized stuff. Will get on the road early tomorrow heading south.

Posted by Robert Thode at January 11, 2009 08:24 PM GMT

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