two days to Santiago

The night of the Dakar we were up late with the ex-pat farm owners, specially since another Aussie has shown up, and looked over maps.

But we’re headed for Santiago because there’s a few jobs to do, and that’s where we’re going to start the next leg of the journey.

No point in posting the return track to Mendosa, so here’s the track over the Andes to Chile
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The Aussie, Trevor, is headed out north too so we head off to Mendosa together. It’s a privilege to ride with him – he’s a pro. He’s been riding long distances for over 30 years. His bike is the excellent Super Tenere
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We have a fast but uneventful ride into Mendosa. As usual I don’t like to hold people up for photos.

So the next day Lucinda (who’s a bit tired and in need of tlc after the last 5000 miles since Lima) and I head off early. We’ll maybe meet Trevor in Santiago. Out of Mendosa its a gradual climb at first past a long narrow lake
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Then it dries out and although this pic doesn’t show it, we keep climbing consistently
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Way up, on an excellent road. Although what we really need at this point is an excellent dirt road, it’s beautiful
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To our right is Aconcagua, 22,800 feet. You’d never guess from the road and the shape of the mountains we ride through we’re at alpine
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I stop because there’s an extraordinary tiny Convolvulus by the road. The flower diameter is no more than an inch
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Good sized clumps
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Sometimes growing with a yellow-flowered plant I haven’t identified yet
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We keep climbing past small creeks
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Then we peak out
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Hard to believe but the border crossing is up here. Even harder to believe is the border traffic. I think I’m seriously missing Central America, Ecuador, Peru and even tough old Bolivia as I gloomily survey the depressingly new cars. To think I was excited when I crossed into the comfort of Argentina – that novelty didn’t last long. But there are personal contradictions here that haven’t been sorted out.
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Looking at the line-up, the good news is I spot three bikes ahead, pretend I’m one of them and skip half of it. Excellent guys from Brazil
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Good views up in the Andes, it’s all gigantic. This series of slabs and scree is maybe 5000 feet in screen here
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The border, due to the traffic, is a bitch. I have to wait for an hour just to get to the building I need for aduana, which takes another hour. Plus the rest of the drill you’ve read about here often enough, it’s three hours before we’re through.

Once through we pass a Chilean ski resort and a lake, off-season
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Down the hill a bit things get a bit weird. Innocently enough to start
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Then we go through a few switch back curves that are more like airport runway construction technology than road works. It’s all very serious stuff
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Then we get a peek over the edge and the road plunges off a cliff in a series of truck sized switchbacks. Impressive engineering, but I wonder again if this is what I want.
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Still under construction but they put us through in groups
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Very cool riding, paved or not

It wasn’t supposed to be a long day, but was. Another couple of hours into Santiago and we were done
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Comments

2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Hugh Thomas,

    Hi Jeremy, WOW, I just got caught up. Congrats to you for your determination. You really are doing it. I think of all that I have done since we left you and all that time you have been motoring on. There was a post around Christmas where you mentioned how each day was just another, the date didn’t really matter, its all the same on the bike. I could relate in my own small way. You da man for sure.
    Keep up the great posts, I look forward to them. Good luck with Lucinda, hope she gets a tune up in Santiago.
    The Klim riding suit looks nice. How do you feel about it now, after putting in some time in it?
    Be safe,
    Hugh

    • I can’t really say for sure about the suit yet, it’s only been a few months. It’s heavy but you get used to that. It’s fully featured if that’s your thing. Hot until you get moving but the venting is good. I haven’t been in downpours of more than 30 minutes – there have been a couple of complaints out there of leaking, we’ll see. I’ll do a full report in another few months.

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