Jay Turns 27 in Chile – Happy Birthday Buddy!
Day 59 – Monday, December 30, 1996
Miles – 256 (thus ending a five-day stretch of over 1800 miles (3000+ kilometers))
(by Jason Martin)
Spent all morning slaving away in front of a computer at an the Internet cafe. All I have to say about “La Serena” is, it very well may be the most beautiful city I have ever seen! -Outstanding! Spent a good 15 minutes pushing my bike up and down the road trying to get it going, I looked back to see Jim, red in the face from exhaustion, then I noticed maybe I should turn the key on first, that might help.
Jim treated me to a healthy serving of ham«n pinapple pancakes and fruit juice, (I didnt tell him about the key not being turned on, actually, he won«t know till he reads this). [I just did, and me and my sore ankle are not too pleased!]
The good folks at “Torino Motos” provided us with a new 17 inch Perelli. Installed and balanced for $58000pesos ($125 dollars). And not a second too soon, many cords were showing on the faithful Dunlop, 16,000 hard kms and not one single flat! I highly recommend Kawi«s stock KLR tires. Jim will also need a new skin any time now (he has tire envy). Needless to say my luck has not been as good with the new one, it was flat by the end of the day.
Some bad luck for Jim, his beloved Scott Goggles had been stolen right off his helmet (while he was wearing it) no, while we were in the bike shop.
Back on the road again…..the police here are much more concerned with speeding than lets say, Guatamala. Here your first offense carries a penalty of, 30 days prohibited from driving! 3 tickets in one year………you loose you licence indefinitely! (If this was Canada, I would not be driving, and may very well be in Jail). So Jim and I were cruising along at 130kms/hr in a 100 zone (not yet knowing the penalties). Sure enough, the enevitable happened, but after some small talk and butt kissin.
-Birthday hotdogs and ice cream
Arrival at picturesque “Vina Del Mar” brought on a birthday dinner, then a hopeless night club search.
Jason and I have safely reached La Serena, Chile, which is a beautiful resort community about 300 miles north of Santiago.
Angst in the Andes
The last week has been unbelievable. In the last 3 days we have ridden 1600+ miles and crossed a border (Peru/Chile). And this wasn«t all freeway cruising either, we rode in every condition imaginable — rain, wind, freezing cold, rocks, sand, hail storms, snow storms, pot holes-I mean huge pot holes, mud puddles that rival swimming pools (when you enter them you have no idea how deep they may be and whether you will emerge from the other side), sand storms in the desert with wind so strong you ride leaning at a 45 degree angle only to experience a shift in the wind and quickly lean to the other side at the same angle.
Below is one description Jason wrote for some of his friends about our part of the ride:
“…but my bike has got a few hard miles on it now. Took a short cut to “Cusco Peru” from “Nasca” (used to be called “the Shining Path” Used primarily by drug dealers and Guerrila military. Every travel book and person told us, “DON«T take that route!” But it looked so much shorter on the map and not to mention a good time! …..Picture this….no pavement….wash board….mud, sand, dust, hail, snow, sun, rain, pot holes, rocks, (at one point there was a boulder the size of a bus blocking the road completely, only enough room for bikes, on the immediate edge of the small rock was a couple thousand foot drop.) This went on for two days and 700 nerve-wracking kilometers!
To my surprise I needed a little maintenance on arrival. New chain and sprockets, (that«s a story in itself, no master link!, It took 3 hours and two large stones to get the old chain off!) Cooked battery, clogged air filter, Sub-frame broken in half, bottomed it out so bad, it ripped the license plate, reflectors, and plastic mud flap completely off, lost my tent ground sheet, 2 rack bolts, a foot peg bolt, and over heated it once cause of mud caked on to the radiator. One thing that was good is that there was no one as stupid as us to be traveling on this road so there wasn«t any traffic….like none. Lucky, cause if there had been, I might not be writing this. At one point, the KLR was wide open, 130km/hr over some sandy ruts, (felt like Tye Davis) couldn«t slow down for approaching right hander, nearly took er into the ditch. By the way, I highly recommend Kawi«s stock tire selection, 17000kms and not one flat! LA to Santiago Chile! It«s actually still on at the moment, apparently 17 inch tires aren«t very popular south of the border.
Hope everyone had a great Christmas, while all you guys were home with your families, we were camped out on a grungy resturant floor in the middle of nowhere Peru. The second highest road in the world. 300kms of dirt road, (this is on our way out) (the good road) winding through the Andes. A hail storm so fierce and painful, we had to get off our bikes and hide! Then a snow storm! I was so wet and cold I was delerious. No other cars, towns, farmers or even any animals. The air was so thin the bikes would barely run, and it was hard to breathe. But slowly the road started descending (from 13000ft) and we found our oasis. A lonely grubby dirty resturant. We ate, brought our bikes right inside, buddy gave us some sheep skins for the floor, we laid out our sleeping bags and fell asleep to the sound of pouring rain on a bare tin roof. (It was 7:30pm) Got up at 3:30am, to find we were locked in. But we were back on the muddy road by 4:15.”
Jason has a great way of describing road events doesn’t he.
So a little bit about where we«ve been. On the way to Lima we met a nice Scottish guy, David, and his Australian girlfriend, Leanne. They have been on the road for 2 1/2 years! I mean these guys have been everywhere–Iran, Vietnam, Indonesia–you get the idea. And the person I really respect is Leanne, she has been David’s passenger the whole time! Poor thing.