Chile 2

It is the 27th of November, 2005 and we are still resting up a bit in Antofagasta, Chile.  We are enjoying the wireless Internet, and the view of the ocean from our room.

It was time to do a valve adjustment on the BMW.

I have adjusted the valves on the KTM 525, but this is the first time I had to do it on the BMW.

It is a breeze compared to the KTM.

I noticed that we are wearing the paint off the tank from squeezing it tightly with the knees.

We get up early on the 28th.  It is time to hit the road again.

The ships at sunrise......

We have ridden nearly 1,200 miles through the Atacama Desert, and this is the first time we noticed "Water Erosion" on the mountain sides.  We have been told that during 2001, it did rain in this area.

But, there was still, no vegetation.

What was that on the horizon?

I thought that it may be the "Helping Hands" of Allstate Insurance.


And it is also in the middle of no where!

Sandy requested that I ride back to Antofagasta, and get some bright red paint, so she could paint the nails!

I gave Sandy her Med's and she got over the idea!

I am not a skeptic, but I am starting to believe that NASA has never been to the moon with the Pathfinder.

They simply filmed the entire Pathfinder Rover episode, here in the Atacama Desert!

Again, pure nothingness!  It sure would be fun, with riding buddies, and a BIG fuel tank on the 525......

Sometimes the nothingness has grey hues.

Sometimes red hues.

Out in the center of nowhere, we find this huge cemetery, with thousands of grave sites.

Apparently, during the 1700's and 1800's there was a German mining operation (Tal Tal), and this was where those that lived the hard life, were laid to rest.

They either did not bury people very deep, or the winds have blown the sand away!

Every grave was clearly defined by a slight mound.

Kind of like Tombstone, Arizona, but 100% authentic!

I went to lift the board to see what was left.

Sandy screamed!

We left......

We took a 40 mile dirt road side trip through the National Park.....Pan de Azucar, just north of Chanaral, Chile.  I could hear Sandy complaining that she did not want to go on another bad dirt road.  I played deaf (and that is why I left the helmet intercoms at home).  As it turned out, the dirt road was great, and she DID enjoy the ride.... 

This would have been a great high speed, crossed up, sliding road on the KTM.

I started to open it up, but Sandy said NO.... she wanted to be careful!

It was similar to some of the areas of the Anza Borrego Desert, east of San Diego.

It was overcast, so the colors suck.

The beach was nearly 1/2 mile wide on this part of the coastline.

It was an excellent dirt road.

After driving through Pan de Azucar, we found a room on the beach in Bahia Inglesa, which is about 250 miles north of La Serena, which would be our next stop.

View from our room.

Sure wished it would have been sunny!

We are not toughing it anymore!

This is a picture from a few month ago.  It was taken in Ecuador, where they make truck bodies.

This is how they make truck bodies here in Chile!  In the shadows, on the scaffolding, you can barely see the welders.  In Chile they haul earth.  In Ecuador they haul fruit.  Maybe this is a little too big for hauling banana's.

As we get closer to La Serena, I see orange.  One of my favorite motorcycle colors.  As it turns out, it is a group of riders from Russia!  The tall guy, behind the Jesse Panniers, is Dmitriy Khitrov, Editor-In-Chief of the Russian magazine, "Bike Freak" (

Now we are starting to see some vegetation....

And it starts to feel like the deserts of Southwest.

This accident happened about 5 minutes before we got here.

This guy was lucky to be alive.  He took out about 400 feet of guard rail before dropping into the 12 foot deep ravine. 

We are now out of the "No Rain Fall" Atacama desert.

Feels a lot like Baja, California.

The main church in La Serena, Chile.

This is a very popular resort town for the people from Santiago, Chile.

Typical La Serena boulevard.

It seems that many retired people get bored and then get jobs at Wal-Mart, as a greeter!

If I get bored, which I doubt will happen, I think I have found my next vocation. 

I could be the first in Southern California!

We had dinner with Chris and Liz from England.

They have been traveling for 2 years on a 750 Honda African Twin.  They have another 9 months to go.

They just crossed the border from Bolivia to Chile, and fell a few times.  They punctured their fuel tank, so it required a few days in La Serena to have the tank repaired.

This was a Y2K millennium monument in Coquimbo, just south of La Serena.

One of many beachside resorts near La Serena.

And another......

On the first day of December, we leave La Serena and head east to Vicuna, Chile.

This area reminded us of the central coast of California (the Santa Ynez and San Luis Obispo areas).


The main bridge into Vicuna, Chile.
This unusual tower was on the main square, in Vicuna.
Vicuna in the background.

We now headed south from Vicuna on a dirt road towards Ovalle, Chile.

A very "Baja" feeling to this part of the ride.

And a very remote feeling!

It was a pretty good road, but on a big bike, and nobody riding along with you, you still feel a little tense riding alone.

After about 40 miles, we dropped into a more populated valley.

We stopped the engine and the horse still went crazy.

After this picture was taken, he ran behind us, and tried to run between a power pole and a fence, which brought him to his knees.

When we started this days ride, we did not realize that the road was going to be dirt, so we did not fill the camelback.

We filled up with water at the first opportunity.


On Friday, the 2nd of December we leave Los Vilos and head for Vina del Mar.

It was one of the best days of the trip.

Very relaxed riding through beautiful areas.

And homes of all styles.....

The coastline of Chile is extremely scenic...
And many people in this area live the good life.....

Homes like this went on for 30 miles.

Some areas were very similar to Monterey, California. 

And at other times it would be like La Jolla or Newport Beach.

We have enjoyed many of the places that we have visited during the last 3 months.  Many of the places we would return to for a visit.

This area of Chile is the first area we would consider moving to.......


And these are not isolated "Nice Areas".

It goes on and on.....

Just north of Vina del Mar.....

This bay was about 12 miles across.

And it was all nicely developed!

Vina del Mar and Valparaiso occupy the same bay.

Vina del Mar is fairly new....

Valparaiso is more historic....

Common street in the older Valparaiso....
Valparaiso is an older city built along the shore.  But there is a cliff a block or 2 inland from the water.  As the city grew, it required building on top of the cliff.

At one time there used to be 33 "Ascensores" which climbed the cliffs.

Today there are 13 still operating.  So far we have ridden 3 of the Ascensores's.

The usually climb between 60 and 200 meters.

And at angles from 22 degrees to 60 degrees.

Vina del Mar has many unusual buildings.....
The Vina del Mar Casino, built in 1930.

A very classy place.

The following picture was taken in 1924, and printed in Frank Carpenter's 1925 book entitled "Carpenter's World Travels.

There have been many changes during the last 80 years....., and changes are continuing...

The following two pictures are of the same location.  It is the Vina del Mar Casino, which was built in 1930.

The 1st picture is from James Fitzpatrick's 1948 book entitled "Firestone Travel's in South America".

The 2nd picture is from Sydney Clark's 1954 book, "All the Best in South America's West Coast".

As it turns out, we were 4 years late.  This part of the Casino was torn down, and a hotel was built on this spot.  The original building had 3 round sections.  The old pictures were of the front of the Casino, which has been replaced by the hotel.  The following picture looks similar, but it is one of the rear round sections.

This is where the original pictures were taken......

That's it through the 3rd of December, 2005.

Click the "Next" button to continued on to Santiago, Chile.......

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