Monday, 31 March 2014

Santiago - Large As Life

Moto servicing, tire shredding, piss drinking, riding, coffee, new amigos.

Leaving Lorraines this is everything we had to look forward too, having been corresponding with Jaime for nearly a year on moto stuff we had organised to meet up.

Taking the coastal road rather than the Ruta 5 mum nature was having an off day and provided a layer of fog stealing our views of the ocean, never mind can’t win em all.

Making our way into Santiago it progressively got hotter and the traffic thickened very quickly it does in a city of 5 million people.

We were very lucky to be invited to stay at Jaimes brothers house which is close to the KTM servicing guys and Jaimes riding amigos, Jaime has a one bedroom apartment so bit tight there.

We rocked into town following Mrs.Garmins good advice who in this instance on this day was 100% correct.

With warm welcome and greetings we followed Jaime to our new home in Santiago, a quick trip to the supermarket and some nice food we cooked up some tea for Jaime and us, in the afternoon we went for a cruz to the main KTM shop lotsa orange goodies everywhere.

Oranges .. not really edible

Having good services etc of a big city we soon had sushi seaweed in hand complimented by rum and wine..... yay.

Being a Sunday, the boys went for a ride, Martyn, Jaime and me, Martyn on his 990 Adventure R and Jaime on his 990 Adventure, me on our 950 SE, Orange it was.

High sun and a Kiwi squint and a stupid grin from Martyn .. looks kinda dodgy and it was

The three ladies ... a rose between two thorns

Our tire had some life left and I did not wonna give anything back, a fist full of fun riding for three hours took care of that.... and yes that is canvas in the middle, prolly only 1000 left in this one Salvi

After match function was at Martyns home complete with Moto GP in Qatar on TV and serving on Peruvian food, great day out

Maya, second hand, scrubby, stuffed tires, knackered chain and sprockets and black oil we took her to Claudios shop to get the monster round completed.

New shoes front and rear, new chain and sprockets, new oil, valve adjustment done, new rear shock from Alex at Konflict Motorsports, air filters cleaned and oiled, horn fixed and the bike cleaned, apart from that there was nothing to do.

Also while we were in town Geoff (Icerider on ADV) arrived in town, very nice guy, a wealth of knowledge and great stories of work as a Helicopter Pilot in the Faulklands, Geoff treated us to pic of the Faulklands and his "flying company car" ... WOW what a weapon, this thing carries 20 men plus cargo

A real pleasure meeting you Geoff, catch up next time.

While Maya was at the health professionals getting a makeover we took in Santiago town, coffee with legs was recommended by a dodgy Colombian so we had to investigate .... nothing to see move along please ...well almost, while we took our work seriously we did enjoy a nice coffee.

With Maya serviced and sorted bike night was on and one of Jaimes friends on a txt message said “bring the Kiwis” he did.

The mob we enjoyed the company of

We had a great night with the local lads with a mixture of bikes including Adventures, SE, Tenere, KLR, BMW 700 etc, great cross section with one interest .... takin shit about bikes!!!

Not a bad lineup of lusties

A huge thanks to Jaime, Martyn, Geoff and the local Santiaghoons for havings us around

Peru Sum Up

After spending nearly three months hovering around we came to a love hate relationship with Peru.

The love, what a fantastic place to ride what is the best of the Andes thus far, there is no dispute the Peruvians are the Zig Zag kings.

The Peruvians across the board were great, some a little long faced (indigenous mainly for some reason) and some outstanding so a normal cross section of people.

Mr Whippie at the protests also took things too far, looking back on it it was unnecessary what he did, maybe I am getting softer in my old age as I think back a few years I would have hoped off the bike and clopped him one, understanding their protest it does not give him the right to whip us with sour intentions...especially to a lady (Pau), brownie points lost there.

There is actually a strong moto syndicate within Peru and you do not have to go for for help.

Our two very big thank you’s are to Toby and Sara (around the block tours) in Huanuco and Alex in Peru Moto Tours in Cusco, both guys took delivery of stuff and helped us along the way, Tobys local know unmatched by anyone else for moto knowledge, few day stay at their B&B will enrich your trip.

The hate, two big aspects to this, firstly the rubbish, they simply do not respect their beautiful country and just throw rubbish anywhere and everywhere which is a crying shame, they just don’t give a crap, education has fallen short here big time.

The second hate is the drivers, I simply can’t grasp the concept of having a nice and friendly human being talking and enjoying a chat then getting into a car and having no bones about running you off the road .... WTF comes to mind, total Jekyll and Hyde.

On top of that we had the lite head on with the small moto completely on our side on a blind corner, we saw first hand damage to two other adventure riders bikes from wanker bus drivers not respecting others which is unnecessary.

Remember these fellas complete with safety T shirt

The use of horns is one thing but the overuse of horns pisses you off in a short space of time, I found myself getting angry with them which is frustrating, again dog eat dog and you just have to turn into an arsehole or fail and likely get run down, heading into Chile was a night and day refreshing difference with respectful drivers, come on Peru, it isn’t that hard and will cost you nothing.

For me these two things really took the shine off Peru for what is otherwise an awesome country, I know that others think the same way.

On a positive note the Huascaran National Park stole our hearts with outstanding beauty and reminders of New Zealand, I guess when it is close to your “home heart” it tends to mean more.

Also to ride from sea level and 38 deg C and and hour and half later be at 4800 meters with snow setting on you was a different experience one of which we really enjoyed.

While we can ride from beach to snow in New Zealand we simply don’t have the elevational changes that Peru offers and given we were constantly 1.30 km higher than the highest point in New Zealand that was kinda cool for us and have a new appreciation for heights.

To sum up, barring the arsehole drivers Peru for us was outstanding and I would recommend it in a heartbeat, stay away from north west Peru, dive into north east Peru and start loving it, Kuelap was outstanding and we preferred it to the mighty Macchu Picchu, there are also magic waterfalls in this region.

The scenery is stunning and will warm your sensors without doubt, get off the main drag and enjoy it, we did and it made our trip .

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Lorraines - A Homely Week

A year or so ago Lorraine put a post on the Hubb inviting weary travellers to stop and take a break, maybe help look after her dogs and for any handymen to help out around the house with small jobs as she was building.

We answered saying wow that would be cool but we are a long way off.

Fast forward a year or so we contacted Lorraine again to see if her offer was open and like a true traveller welcomed us with open arms.

Lorraines place from the beach

Having hauled some big days down through the northern Chile roads we were tired so the timing to stop for a few days and catch our breath was welcome too.

So, first things first, a shower .....had not had one for fours days , Lorraine asked if we wanted a shower .... it was further discussed that Lorraine would want us to have a shower .

Next up, so how can we help while we are here, food, Ellens specialty cooking of dumplings and sushi...that was a given.

Chats netted a few jobs that Lorraine said if possible it would be good to get done, one was find the roof leak.

After settling in, gathering our breath and getting sorted we climbed onto the roof, there were various cracked tiles and some sealant that had come away around the chimney.

I sealed the chimney and it was decided that a trip into town was in order to get two new roofing sheets, at that point Lorraine hoped up off the roof where she was sitting and broke a full sheet, so make that three sheets to buy.

In between time we established that our toilet was not flushing the goodies away, I followed the pipework out and dug down, clearly something was not right so I dug all the way along the pipe top to form a big trench all the way down to the septic tank which I finally found buried about 800 mm deep, the digging was easy though in sand which was cool.

On finding the tank we established the tree roots etc had grown into the tank and pipe blocking any hope of a flush. I had the short straw and cleaned out the roots and other stuff, Ellen tipped a bucket of water down the toilet outlet in the house at which point there was a burp, fart and bubbling noise and the head of water cleared the blockage I had loosened and removed, such was the force from the head of water that poos when everywhere for a second or so ..... luckily we had stood back a bit.

Plumba Handi Andi

.....a clean flush is better than a full house, mission accomplished.

Back to the roof, three sheets and a couple of hours we re-roofed the bottom section rearranging the new sheets to better cover things and utilizing the part sheets to add more laps ....X fingers it does not leak ... time will tell.

While we were there we met Charlie and Mahsa who are travelling two up on a F800GS BMW, he has a seriously cool high capacity tank with custom paint and graphics.

Very nice guys and great to meet them.

A few other odd jobs were completed as well as helping out with taking Fluffy for a walk, Fluffy is an old fello and is now paralysed in his hind legs, taking him for a walk is a mission for anyone but Lorraine has cleverly come up with a system using bicycle tubes which works a treat, we all shared the load taking him for walks.

She has two other Chilean dogs Lunar and Widget who are a heap of fun and beautiful looking dogs, Widget smiles like our Boxer used to do curling her lips up with a stupid grin, I have not seen any other dogs who do this so it was a little treat.

Pictured here is Lunar, beautiful girl and she knows it

Amongst the work and help we did get to relax and play, the location lending itself to sitting with a coffee and watching the sea.

Also on the op deck with Charlie and Mahsa as well, awful day

She also has a fire pit and wanted a log for seating so this was towed home by the van and wrestled into place providing a groovy twisted seat, that night we tested it to make sure it was all good, lit the fire and cooked our pork chops ..... perfect.

Next - Santiago for massive moto servicing etc.

Talk To The Hand - Antofagasta To Lorraines

Talk To The Hand

We left Antofagasta with our flash as Michael Jackson new mostly spent outa round TKC 80 .....WOH HOH.

Chile is great for offering a hand and today was no different, todays offering a was huge.

Mano De Desierto (Hand Of The Desert), a big sculpture in the desert, I first saw this from our friends Grif and Lisa’s pic (gippers travels), unfortunately the colour artists have decided it needed some enhancements none the less still cool to see it in person.

Given our location shade is not a readily available option so lunch it was.

Rest of the day was a Panam tar ride, in our sights La Sarena KTM dealership to replace our fast saddening battery and to bag the only heated grips in this end of the hemisphere.

This was our view for a few days, nothing really to keep posting pics of

A few cool rock ribs to make it interesting every now and then

La Sarena, nice KTM dealership, lots of bikes and a pretty good choice across the board for anyone with a pocket full of cash, KTM parts here in Chile are mighty expensive tho, the most I have ever seen throughout the world without a word of a lie.

After some negotiation over the price we walked away with heated grips in hand and a shiny new battery that cranked Maya into life so no fear of having to push start again.

They relieved us of $408 USD for the two ... I am still bleeding!!!, in NZ they would cost about $260 NZD which is about $215 USD.....much more camping in stall to cover the difference.

With no camping around La Sarena we headed south to a beach part noted on Google maps, we could get off the main road and find a quiet place to camp, along the road there was a disturbing amount of new fencing stopping any chance of exiting to potential campsites, arriving at out planned stop ... no road, big fence so we pulled into a mining road area and hid in some bluegums for the night.

Was cold and breezy with moisture laden air punishing any exposed skin so to bed early was in order.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Salta To Antofagasta

Hitting Paso Sico the road 51 that the hostel is on meant we just turned left from the hotel and headed for the hills.

The road was party tar and partly a dentists dream, the second half of the day which is only 124 km turned into a 5 and half hour ordeal of seriously bad sandpits linked together by corrugations from hell.

A nice smooth bit

At the half way point I just wanted the road to finish as I had had enough and Maya felt like she was gonna fall apart at the seams, I know Ellens arse took a hammering too.

So much was the vibration that one of the screws in my new sunnies vibrated out and got lost, a self dental check count showed all fillings were in place ... that was lucky.

Upon reaching the Chilean border we found out we had a further 100 km of gravel to do and the border guard advising us of very bad sandpits ... ouwh no...this however does come with rewards

More OMG moments of treasure

Shadows getting longer

By this time it was getting later in the day, still at 4300 meters we were very keen to drop elevation as it was very cold, we punched through the 100 km of gravel road and sandpits knocking off when the sun knocked off so setting up in twilight ...easy done.

Not too bad when you have company and these guys rode with us for the last 100 km

Again sky TV sponsored by the Atacama Desert giving us a great view of the Southern Cross again.

Our campsite with a very orange Mars like tinge from a firey sunset .. was looking for the Rover but couldn't see it

Turn 180 degrees this is what we had to put up with.

The following morning we had to go back up to San Pedro Atacama as the Aduana is situated there rather than the boarder.

Legally back in Chile the road on the opposite side of the salar was appealing, it started out as a shocker, we use our 5 km rule and applied it here, most people tend to go about 5 km up a gravel road then say bugger this and turn around and the road gets better, today was no different and the gravel road improved....luckily as it was shaping up to be another horror.

Soon enough we had the place to ourselves, making a lunch stop amidst stunning salt lunar landscapes, the camera simply can’t capture the stunning starkness yet beauty of the naked meca.

Ever changing colours from Ozzie red dirt, white salt and grey schist turning to brown sandpits and dust, this is one road only

On completion of another wow road we hit the semi sealed mine road complete with literally hundreds of mining trucks and utes, this end of Chile is thick with mine of all sorts being pretty the single biggest earner here, down side is a lot of mining towns have no got money and the price of EVERYTHING is very spendie.

Antofagasta was in our sights for a new battery (still nursing it along) and a new front rubber, our MT21 turning into a winter tire with cords hanging out of it.

Three moto shops only in a reasonable size city and one front tire that was very road oriented so no good but surprisingly one small shop has a 150/17 -17 Heidenau so an oddity there.

Now we are at the Suzuki & Llamaha shop, the owner has a 990 adventure S, he didn’t have a new tire but promptly jumped on his facebook buddies list putting it out to the local lads and with 5 - 6 minutes a reply came in, yes I have a TKC 80.

He said 30 minutes ... perfect we were not really going anywhere so waiting not knowing if it were new or what.

Soon enough he arrived with an 80 % spent TKC 80 and gave it to us, perfect, plenty to get us to Santiago where our new rubber awaits us.

Picture here, dude on the left is someone, middle is Raul the shop owner and his good friend Mark have gave us the tire ... great guys

We decided to change it right there and then, unknown to me the shop owner went down the street to see if they could change the tire, mean time I had wrestled the front wheel off, whipped the tire and tube out, remounted the new (secondhand) TKC 80 and was starting to put the wheel back in the forks when he returned, this was the conversation that followed, O = owner A = Andi.

O...they should be able to do it what?
O....change the tire
A....already done

He looked again realizing the new tire was already on and going back in, next words were “do you want a job”.

He was quite taken that we just did it and in the time it took, 15 minutes.

For us this is the norm but seemingly not for them, now it is 8.00pm, closing time, he kindly took us along the waterfront where we could camp, talk about an outstanding moto service for no gain other than to see us right.

The spot was great, right beside the sea, the only bumma was some party animals who pulled up at 3.07am deciding the whole beach needed to hear their sounds and our ear plugs no match for the booming base that was enough to vibrate the whole place.

A quick chat and a pleasant ask to bring it down to about 120 db they obliged still no sleep until they moved on quite some time later.

Next ..... need another hand....