After spending one night in Copiapo, and while the boys were paying their fees for parks and permits, I did an ice cream run. It is so hot, and the ice cream shop was a surprisingly good find. Seriously… it was impossible to find a decent meal for lunch or dinner. Not a green vegetable in town. But good ice cream will suffice! So good they sent me back for a second set of ice cream cones.
We are still in the Atacama Desert, a desert which hasn’t seen rain in many parts for over 400 years. We’ll be leaving town heading east toward the border of Argentina.
The road was a smooth pave for a while and then it started to get a bit rough, albeit paved.
Following the boys there is one that stands out. There is music going on in his helmet and he is bopping the head while playing air guitar so hard, I swear he’s going to loose the bike. That would be Walter. I recognize the head bop from our days riding together in Russia.. But the gigantic air guitar and even drums sometimes is a new addition. I hope that little video camera they attached to the hood of my truck catches some of that.
About 120 km down the road and with only 8 litres of gas on each bike, it’s not long before the first fuel stop. When there are no fuel stations around, Sherri Jo’s truck becomes the fuel stop! I think I could use a support vehicle on the rest of my journey, they are so handy! ;-)))
I’m letting the boys refuel themselves American style. Self-service. 😉 Some support vehicle I am!!
It’s so weird being on 4 wheels instead of 2. Especially when my friends around me are still on 2. I have to admit I get a bit jealous. However.. I am LOVING the air conditioner and radio. Change is good sometimes.
It’s only when I get close to them that I can take photos. As mentioned, on the take off, the truck is so incredibly slow. I do take it at high speed in 4th and 5th. Not to be rough on it, but the contrary. It nearly glides over the ridges and bumps of this rough road at a higher speed even while being totally weighted down. I didn’t expect that. I would have expected it to break to pieces. And it is better to know that they are well ahead of me and out of my way. I’m trying to take care of it as much as I can. It is a rental truck.. There are no other roads out here to miss a turn and I’ll see them the next time they need something.
Well, actually there is a turn off. The first one I’ve seen and it was already known as an option from their planning. The boys pulled over to make a decision as well as make sure I saw which way they would go (I do not have a gps). The right turn means we have far less kilometers, but it’s a dirt track and a pretty rough one from what they can tell from google earth. The decision is not so much for them.. they are on the best bikes for the roughest road you can come up with. The decision is whether I can make it up hill in sand and rubble with God knows how much weight in gear, water and fuel. The other route is longer but a lot of it continues to be paved. Not like good paved, but at least a bit more solid than sand.
There was no question really. As much as we want to make the ‘smart’ decision, boys will be boys. They are so excited to get into the dirt. We’ll tackle the truck issues when and if they arrive. I’m personally not fussed one way or the other. If there is anything I know, these are the guys you want around no matter what happens and I have nothing to worry about.
Dag gone it, it’s still somewhat paved.. what will they do?
This is what they did, and I was laughing so hard in the truck when I saw it.
The road did turn to gravel shortly after, but I was glad to see them getting some of their off road motorcycling steam out of their system. But keep in mind, they have to accomplish a world record shortly with these bikes, so try not to break anything?
These guys are dressed like identical triplets on three completely identical bikes, and I haven’t got my head around being able to tell who is who unless they actually speak to me. However on this stop I paid closer attention. Just like true identical triplets, there is always one little thing that helps you know which one you are talking to. There are two things they wear that are not identical. Boots and goggles. While listening to them I noticed that Lukas has orange goggles (he is Austrian and they are his ski goggles) And Barton had recently bought these super good looking and expensive Oakley goggles. I thought they were so good looking I would consider changing my helmet out so I could wear these same kind of Oakley goggles someday. Oh well. I looked down at their boots and I noticed out of the three, Lukas wears white boots. The others have black. So I can only tell who I see from a distance by boots or air guitar. Up close I determine by goggles.
The sun is getting a bit low. I couldn’t believe there are people living out here. It surprised me so much that I wanted to take a photo of it. We are so far from town now.
While I’ve got the truck stopped for a moment, I like to do a quick walk around and see if the tie downs are tight, or even worse, to see if I’ve lost anything yet.
Coming up over a ridge the boys are stopped. No doubt why! Look at the view! Who is coming to my truck window? Who is that???? C’mon, I thought you sorted that out! Ah, Walter.. paying attention now to his red zebra-like goggles. I was only with Lukas and Barton last time I studied goggles.
He wanted to take a photo. For freaks’ sake! Who turned the cold air on! I know we’ve come up hill a bit over the last hour or so, but we just went from summer to winter. We had ice cream at lunch, and now I’m scrambling for anything warm I can find.
Anyway, check out our VIEW…….
Walter got a photo of me.. freezing..
I got a photo of Lukas which I think should be entered into the Husaberg Adventure Team calendar..Ha! What a look!
Back into the truck and Walter holds back and points out to me that the lake in the distance is our goal destination for the night. Perfect timing. I’d like to set up camp before the sun goes completely down. But I have to admit, this is one of THE prettiest places I have EVER been on the planet. Breathtaking.
Walter got a shot of me driving away..
And this would be Bartons photo of us arriving camp a few minutes later.
This planned stop and goal is to stay here in Parque Nacional Nevado Tres Cruces, which is 3700 meters (12,140 feet) above sea level for a couple days as part of the acclimatization process. We will move up slowly to 2 more camps each higher in elevation before they will be able to begin the world record attempt later. For now.. just soaking up the beauty of being in the middle of “nowhere”. I don’t want to say nowhere, it is somewhere really cool… Ciao!