Day 195 – San Pedro de Atacama, CL to Chanalan, CL

Day 195 – San Pedro de Atacama, CL to Chanalan, CL      03/04/11      Mileage: 455

Marshall and I were up relatively early to work on the bikes and Megan cooked a nice breakfast for us. I’m going to miss all of their home cooking, as our time together was almost over. They were heading back over the pass to Argentina and I was going to cross the Atacama Desert and bomb down the Chilean coast as time is running short to make it to Ushuaia before winter. Our last mile together was to the gas station in San Pedro where we parted ways.

Adios mi amigos, buen viaje…

As much as I enjoy going solo, traveling with them has been great and will miss their company immensely. So just like that I was on my own again and rolling south. Instead of taking the paved route up to Calama and then south, I decided to put my still fresh knobby tires to use and chose to cut straight across the Atacama Desert on the dirt.

When I tell you that I didn’t pass a single car or truck, I mean not even 1 for a hundred miles until I hit the pavement again.

Crossing the Tropic of Capicorn….   I crossed the Tropic of Cancer way back in Baja Mexico…almost 5 months ago.

Continuing south on the Pan American my next stop was the Mano del Desierto…and who should I see when I pull up…none other than Alex and his KLR! That would be the third time I’ve bumped into him in as many countries….first in Ollantaytambo back in Peru, then in the middle of the Bolivian Altiplano and now in northern Chile…crazy!

Alex, his KLR and the big mano…

After the photos with the Hand of the Desert, we rolled south down the Pan Am. The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is desolate…so desolate it makes the Altiplano seem like Ho Ho Kus (yes, that is a town in northern NJ!) They only thing that makes it not feel as remote is the well traveled paved road across it. There are also not many gas stations and we made the mistake of passing one by and I had to use the two spare gallons I was carrying…one for Alex and one for me. Luckily it was enough to carry us to Chanalan where we split a room and scored some Chinese food.

The Chinese restaurant had Bud, and I couldn’t pass up a little slice Americana…

Tomorrow it’s more super slab down the Pan Am to Valpariso…

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6 Responses to Day 195 – San Pedro de Atacama, CL to Chanalan, CL

  1. Arlene says:

    Sorry to see that you when your different ways……Megan and Marshall. That was really a good ride with them and camping out together. I am sure you will miss them. But, I couldn’t get over the fact that you met up with Alex in the middle of the desert. The pictures are fantastic!!!!!!! I was surprised you didn’t fill up when you saw the gas station……good thing you had the extra.
    You sure did a lot of catching up yesterday and today. I guess you are getting good connections where you are.
    Be safe and well. Love ya, Mom

    • Lenny says:

      For sure…I miss traveling with them, but I do like going it alone as well…it’s all good. The internet connection at the hostal stinks so I found a little restaurant a few blocks away that has good wifi…

  2. Gene says:

    Your about 12 days behind the ADVriders “Corporate Runaways”. Great RR and Pics, stay safe.

  3. Lynn Hilliard says:

    That hand is crazy! Does it commemorate something? Guess I’ll have to Google it.

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