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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In case interest. From Chile last week. Four days to explore following business there. Images and videos in chronological order below.

It is winter in the southern hemisphere but temps are moderate in Santiago. 50's f were the daytime high. Almost like summer here at 9,000ft. in Colorado! Overcast conditions ruled the skies. No H-D's to rent there. Just as well... away from the main highways it was all off road. Found a place on the web renting KTMs. Alrighty then! Made the reservation. Will note bike impressions Day #4 below.

On with the content.

DAY #1
Took a taxi to the dealer offering the KTM hire. Opened at 9:30a. By 10:30a I had completed the paperwork, loaded the panniers, left a suitcase behind, figured out the KTM basics, and was ready to face the crazy traffic. Here's the pic before departure...


Have done the "honey, can I stay a few days and see the country on two wheels" thing before. Many reports from varied places, like here (Alps) and here (Normandy).

Sometimes I ride a country far and wide, finding a place to stay each night. Sometimes I find a central location and go a different direction each day. Both work. For this adventure it was the latter. Sometimes there's just riding and riding, never stopping much to savor a place. Felt Chile was a place to pause, ride, pause, ride.

Gave consideration to staying in Santiago, but didn't want to fight the traffic every morning and evening. And you know, increasingly I'm finding big international cities having a lot of overlap. Oh sure there's differences, but one gets more of a taste for the distinct cultural flavor by getting out of Dodge. So La Serena on the coast, 500km north, was the destination, and would be the launch pad for the rides.

Made a few wrong turns, but with some heavy duty multitasking... bike control, traffic, signs, espanol, etc. between the ears got the bike unscathed through the city to Hwy 5 north, The Pan American. If you ride this thing in South America, this is a glamorous section you'll experience...


Here's the first fuel stop. Gas stations have attendants and they fuel the vehicle for you. Though my spanish is minimal, no problem communicating. You know, regardless of country riding, if you can speak 2-3% of the language, and the other can speak 2-3% of your language, you can get by just fine....


Well, the preceding was the immensely exciting day #1. Ha! Just blasted up Hwy 5 to La Serena 300 miles away and at the first place I stopped, seeing some nice and clean cabanas, found my place to stay for three nights.
 

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On a ride
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
DAY #2
I knew I wanted to see the Pacific coast up close and personal. Hey, when in landlocked Colorado these kinds of experiences are more meaningful!

At Los Hornos we get closer to the water when the highway skirts the surf. Just had to stop. Picture probably doesn't show the scale, but the pounding waves and surf of this coast were the most fearsome I had ever seen. Inimidating. Enormous and loud..


Away from the cities and main highways, Chile is a place of unpaved roads. While maps showed a nice solid road leading to the coast, once off the main highway north out of La Serena, it is an off road endeavor. Along the way to the coast, and miles from the highway I pause for a 40sec, 360 degree pan of the place. Not seeing anyone coming or going and no sign of humanity but for the road, felt like the middle of nowhere...

A Pause on the Road - Video

And from where the vid starts...


Well OK, later on there appear electrical lines and a common sight, even along main paved highways... horses, donkeys on or off to the side of the road...


On the outskirts of Los Choros. This was the finest weather day of the trip. The Pacific ocean is out in the haze on the horizon...


Closer to town.


You know, perhaps it is just fantasy thinking, me being a brave hombre on a big motorcycle, imagining I'm a sight rarely seen, then I come down to earth when I look at the entrance to this school on the town square and see Winnie the Poo and Sylvester/Tweety painted near the entrance...


Past town and further in an area of emptiness, as if riding in a giant bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon sprinkled on top, one comes across dunes. One can just sense there is big water nearby. One finds a place to ride through some sand, park, and ascend the dunes on foot. Looking back...


Down the other side and a lonely place as far as one can see, north and south, with just the birds and I...


I pause and record a 30sec vid where water meets land...

A Lonely Beach on the Pacific - Video

Have a habit or practice of bringing home a seashell or two from beaches around the world...


On the way to the next town I spot this herd of... well, I had to look it up on the web here: http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/andes_animal_page.htm Appears to be vicunas. Not a frequently seen animal. Did a major zoom of the digital camera...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Passing through the town of La Higuera, I pause at the square for a snack. Had a nice time with a friendly but shy boy...


He was mesmorized by the bike. Took some pics. Extended a hand with some peso coins and he bravely walked over to me on the idling bike. Sweetest smile...


Returned to La Serena with the descending sun turning the Pacific into a giant piece of aluminum foil. From up high off the highway. A riding day not like many others...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DAY #3
Yesterday was going low to sea level; today is going high into the Andes. The objective is the border with Argentina at a 15,000ft. pass -- Paso Del Agua *****. Heading east and going higher I found a nice road. An empty road. Towards where I am going, with the last vineyard hugging the slopes...


Towards where I came from...


Pavement ends shortly after the above pics. I see no one coming or going. No more towns, no more structures. Just me, the KTM, dirt/rock road, and accompanying -- a glacial mint green stream and electrical lines -- my guess... power for the higher border crossing.

But one begins with vague thoughts as the ascent continues, then the vagueness finds clarity as one begins to consider what happens if something happens. Crap. I left the tire puncture repair kit at home. I haven't seen a soul. I'm alone. It is winter in the Andes. No cell coverage. What if the bike has a problem. What if I get distracted and have a brief but crippling excursion into the rocks. Anything preventing a way back on two wheels and I'm hosed, marooned. From vagueness, to clarity, to decision. I stop. Gonna turn around. I take a pic...


But I purposefully stop where it looks like some form of distant habitation. I walk across a wooden bridge crossing the glacial stream and perhaps it is a goat herder's camp...


Inside this structure one can see smoke stained rocks from a fire...


On the descent back to faint civilization a pause when seeing these goats, like cattle following a leader, they're all heading up the rocks. Thus, perhaps a goat herder's camp seen up higher...


Down lower I pass through the town of Vicuna, coincidently the namesake for the animals seen yesterday. Have developed an enjoyment of small towns, regardless of country. Bravely, or foolishly, I record a two minute ride through the center of town. The cam isn't mounted yet and I'm lazy, so I take the gloves off and press record while sitting on the gloves, holding the cam in one hand, riding with the other on the throttle...

Passing Through Vicuna - Video

The video starts after watching a game of football/soccer. No net in the goals. If you're scored upon you go fetch the ball. What incentive...


I pause at a small store for a snack lunch in Vicuna...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The owner makes pastries and this one is excellent as I stand and eat out of my makeshift table...


An image while munching away, looking one direction...


And looking at the store I'm parked next to...


Following the kind of lunch I like, I find a section of pavement I like west of Vicuna. The mount is placed. The cam is attached. Four minutes of a delightful road is here:

A Chilean Curvy Road Scoot on the KTM - Video


You know, I'm seeing serious roadside memorials throughout Chile. I mean, some are absolutely dedicated if not monumental to a deceased loved one. I can't figure out if they are placed at random along a road of if they mark a spot where an unfortunate accident happened. In the States one will find a small memorial where there was an accident, but I'm seeing these elaborate displays on the loneliest of roads with no traffic, and if traffic, road conditions prohibiting any kind of lethal speeds. Any ideas? Here's an example...


And then peering inside we see a photograph, fresh flowers, burnt candles, etc...


Maps show me another route to La Serena. The sun is lower, clouds are thickening, and we have a route from Las Rojas to Altovalsol. Some pavement, mostly dirt. Two minutes of a ride video in a rural Chile...

A Rural Town Ride - Video
 

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On a ride
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DAY #4
I'm on a mission. 500km to Santiago. I want to get back. I want to navigate the big city, find the KTM dealer, unpack, get a taxi, get to the airport, relax, fly home.

Here's the last pic. The beach at La Serena before the return...


Some thoughts...

- I thought the KTM was outstanding. Loved the engine and stock exhaust note. Oooozed character. Got a kick out of just accelerating the thing. Handled all conditions superbly.

- This is another self-guided adventure/tour. More personal evidence after exploration rides in other places one can do this without a hand-holding tour. Can certainly see the benefits of a tour, but going it alone or with friends is certainly a very fine and attractive alternative. With the costs of some tours nowadays one could easily fund the airfare instead and save some serious cash. Plus there is a flexibility of going where and doing what when you want.

- Chile is a friendly place. I left my international power adapter behind at the KTM dealer with the unneeded luggage. When I asked the cabana owner if he happened to have one, he didn't, but left that night to buy me one!

- Chile is not a populated place. Extreme remoteness and desolation between cities. I went north out of Santiago to gain a few degrees of warmth. Can see a great ride south during their summer where things really get picturesque.

- Rural Chile gives one a much different perspective of culture and life versus the big city. True for many other places.

Good riding!
 

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Wow! Thats some chronicle you did up there and what a damn cool hardcore thing to do! Very cool. How many bannanas are we talking? I noticed it was a business trip. That should help. Ride on!
 

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Sounds like you had a blast, great thing to do and to have done it alone, good on you!! Thanks for sharing your pics an vids, they good. when is the next trip and where??
 

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Nice Pics! Looks like a nice time!
 

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Great pics, what type of camera were you using?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Great pics, what type of camera were you using?
Mike, the cam was a Sony DS2 M2 5mp digital camera. Has a killer movie mode plus it fits in a pocket! Increasingly I'm going for simplicity and small size. Great being able to just stuff the thing into a pocket and quickly take it out for a pic or attach it to a mount and record a ride vid.
 
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