Saturday, 24 January 2015

Rodeo To Hualilan

Starting our normal day the mission was to see Paso Agua Negra, getting to the gas station was our first surprise of the day, no gas!! ouwh no.

We were directed to another station that had some so we were lucky enough to fill up, we also learnt the next town did not have it either so we were going so we had to do about 530 km without refilling,...ok we filled the supertanker full with 39 liters.

Grateful for getting gas and Maya with a full belly we hit it to Las Flores then on and up to Aqua Negra for the day.

P1220589 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Beautiful is the only way to describe this place again with mineral poring out of the ground making an array of colors.

IMG_5443 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

At the top, 4780 meters is was a little cold and our lunch spot, I even resorted to putting on my beanie cos my ears got cold.

P1220586 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Heading back down we took in the sights, a well earned reward for the trip up.

IMG_5457 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

The ice formations at the top are called Penitentes and you can read about em here

IMG_5423 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

IMG_5425 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Wicked cool clean colours

P1220570 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Arriving back down at Las Flores we checked out some accommodation as the weather was looking ominous, again it would mean selling Maya as they were wanting Chilean prices so we opted to travel on given we had time up our sleeve and search for a more economical place to stay away from the border town.

We found a camp ground, the owner was nice as were the 6 - 7 dogs running around, I was keen on a good nights sleep and didn’t see this happening there as there were asados and parties going on as well as chickens and 6 - 7 dogs.

I didn’t have a fluffy feeling about the place so I pulled rank and we continued on our merry way, only a few km up the road the weather was darkening again, that's ok cos it was bloody hot, only a few more km along the temperature dropped, I started feeling cold and it was an airy feeling coming across.

The temperature dropped from close to forty then down to below 20, then it felt even colder, I thought I was having an attack or something bad, the clouds were black, it started to rain, slowing down from poor visibility we slowly climbed from 1900 - 2600 meters and into the abyss.

By this time I was starting to shiver, closing all vents etc, cresting a rise it then became apparent we had just ridden into the edge of a hailstorm with the hills and road white from hailstones.

P1220599 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

P1220597 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Our temp gauge reading about 4 degrees, 10 minutes earlier nearly 40 degrees … no wonder I felt weird.

By this time I am starting to doubt my judgement of where we should have stopped for the night, the next town a long way off so we were both looking for a camping place to stay.

With the weather still swirling around and looking like having another crack at us we rode on, in my mind I thought at least we could carry on into the evening if we needed to and we were on tarseal so could hightail it if needed.

Cresting the pass and making our way back down to about 2000 meters we were on the edge of the crap so it was looking better, our moto gods deciding we needed some help came to the party.

We arrived at Hualilan, you won’t find it on the map as it is an abandoned old mine.

We pulled in and rode the 400 odd meters to the ruins, 4 - 5 creek crossings I was weary of on entry, although dry showed signs of scaring from rain.

There was one building, a single room with a door opening but no door, a window opening but no window…..and a roof!! WOH HOH

Check out the new digs bro

IMG_5462 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Checking the place out we decided we had been handed the winning lotto ticket for the night and set camp inside to escape the weather.

Come on in to the lounge, bedroom, kitchen, laundry and en-suite

IMG_5474 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

The view from the kitchen window to the non undercover parking

IMG_5471 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

As soon as we set up and got organized the sun came out as if the weather makers said “ok you win”, what a feeling with a jet signing off on the clear sky

IMG_5561 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Our chosen stop then handed us some rewards, a few photos and a neat place to explore.

IMG_5534 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Hualilan - Maya by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Mayas parking spot for the night, outa sight outa mind ...don't look down

IMG_5520 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Even a small cactus flower was out making it feel good

IMG_5685 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Venturing out the back I discovered the rabbits had a series of underground tunnels which were trying to swallow Maya

IMG_5480 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Upon night fall it was clear we had chosen wisely, all around us the sky was alive with lightening and rain, the weather starting to encroach on our piece of paradise, camping by candle light

IMG_5582 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

Bed time was an appreciative dry space to store gear and have our tent, water was in short supply by this time so we put our pots out to collect some rain water, that turned out to be a big enough deterrent to stop the rain…. ... can't win sometimes

As we lay in bed the angry sky lights lighting up our room like a floodlight it was a little hard to get to sleep, coupled of course with the occasional LOUD bang and claps from close lightening strikes.

Finally the morning arrived, safe and dry our pots had been blown away by the wind and we were void of any water, it was 120 km to the next town so no biggy, we had a mouth full of water each.

While packing up Maya the park rangers turned up with “what are you doing here faces”, a bit of spinglish, smiles and chats and they were soon on our side realizing we were there as friends and not doing any harm, I explained we took shelter from the storms and the discussion ensued as to the angryness of the storms.

We must have looked poor and hungry as the head lady told the young girl to go to the car, she did and came back with some Churros kinda thingies and gave them to us for breakfast, some more chats, hand shakes etc they were on their way and us again being grateful for being handed breakfast from out of the blue.

Interesting how one event leads to another and good comes from it all.

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