Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 143 (771km): Trees! I see trees!

It's weird getting used to the new time zone. It's really dark in the mornings and a bit cold when we hit the road. Good thing we have oatmeal and tea to warm us up in the mornings.
Peeking out of the tent
The scenery this morning was amazing! At times it felt like we were driving on Mars. Beautiful empty desert and mountains. Quite stunning. My favourite desert sights so far. Also, since yesterday afternoon the road has really straightened out. Normally this would be a bad thing but under the circumstances it's welcomed. The straight, flat and sunny roads make it pretty easy to make good progress south.
I was loving this!

It's always a little stressful when our gas tanks are going onto reserve and we have no idea when the next gas station will be. Such is life in Northern Chile (and most likely South). So far one always shows up and we haven't had any issues. I'm happy to be carrying our Rotopax though. It's hard to pinpoint but so far these new bikes are getting worse fuel range. We've also been pushing it harder and riding in wind, so I'm not entirely blaming the engine.... only time will tell.
Once again the roads were taken over

In the afternoon the road got busier (both with traffic and construction) and there started to be greenery on the hills. It was hard to tell if we were in some far off land or the United Sates. For that reason the scenery was less appealing and sort of old news. People have been more friendly the further south we've gone. So maybe there is hope for Chile yet.
The changing scenery

We were trying, unsuccessfully, to find internet all day to get in touch with our friend in La Serena. We made it all the way to La Serena and went straight to the Mall (where we hoped we'd find internet). We got his phone number and gave him a call. He just happened to be in the mall, yay! We got some food and he took us back to his place. Ricardo, our friend, is also a Mining Engineer. He's currently in Chile for a year working at a copper mine.

We spent the evening catching up and getting clean (we had showers and did laundry). When we stopped for the day Alberto noticed a small oil leak on my bike. We'll have to keep an eye on things and thankfully our next stop is Santiago so we can get BMW assistance if required.

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