February 13, 2018
This morning we left Copiapo in high spirits. Knowing the bikes are in excellent condition is reassuring.
So, off we went anticipating 325 miles forward. The road goes inland dropping to the coast after 75 miles. A few “caletas” (if you can call it a town… you are creative), small hamlets, dot the coast.
After a while, at a rather large Caleta the local police patrolling the speed limit posted at 60 km/h (36 mph) were far ahead having stopped a couple of motorcycles. I did not see them right away, john on the other hand had slowed down (while I said to myself … “now what? “.)
Soon as I realized the cause of John’s slow down… too late!
The officer is indicating for us to stop. “Drivers lisence, please”. Aww man, I don’t need this crap! The other two motorcycles are being inspected for – who knows what. So I get ready for the worst.
The officer inspect our drive’s license and says… “gracias, proceda”. John replies, in broken English .. “por favor hable a mi amigo, no español” (please talk to my friend, I do not speak Spanish). – “John crank it up, we are told to go!”
The other two guys re still being detained. I do not look back and get out of there as fast as I can.
So off we went, with 200 miles or more ahead for us.
Northern Chile is truly barren. The mountains are completely devoid of any greenery. Rocks, dirt and the blue sky and lots of all three.
We are aiming for kilometer 1306 ( 40 miles short of Antofagasta) to see the famed sculpture: “The Hand From the Desert”. An enormous sculpture of a hand emerging from the sand. It should be noted that a similar sculpture is located in Uruguay.
Having seen the sculpture I realize that most objectives in this journey have been accomplished. This fact makes me acutely aware of the impending end of this journey and a corresponding nostalgic aura covers all of me. “ce la vi”… buck up and live it!!
Antofagasta lies ahead. I am glad of it. I need to get off the bike and gather myself for what lies ahead… still a lot of mileage!
Thank you for today… more, mañana.
Iuri, who told us everything we needed to know about the Atacama Desert…
The road North. Chile in the North is a very inhospitable land. No agriculture is possible.
The road is in many areas so straight and there is NOTHING to look at… it hypnotizes you and lulls you to sleep. The road is peppered with car crashes and small altars to remember lost family to a car crash. A reminder to us all
THE HAND… a sculpture. A similar one is is Uruguay. It is certainly impressive. It is located 40 miles south of Antofagasta
we went for a walk in the city. Antofagasta is a very active port. Pure Zinc and Copper from Bolivia (which has no Ocean access) finds its way here by train and truck, then shipped all around the world.