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Back to sea level – From Ojos to Bahia Ingles Chile

Back to sea level – From Ojos to Bahia Ingles Chile

From Camp Atacama we ride back to Camp Murray. This time I get to travel the river bed on four wheels which is super fun and very different from my wild ride a few days ago on the Husaberg! I never seem to get photos in the really difficult parts as I’m holding on with both hands.  So looking at these photos, it looks a whole lot easier than it really was.. but trust me!  Quite the experience!

I like going really fast in the rubble…  I hope the truck rental company doesn’t mind.. ;-)))

Extra fun, especially since we have very little fuel and water left, the truck weighs so much less! I try to keep the wheels just to the side of the old tracks for a little better fresh grip.

I see Camp Murray, nearly there.

Back to our little home, to pack up the remaining gear.  The guys spend the rest of the day changing tires back from knobbies to street tires for the ride back to paved roads.

And the next morning.. we are officially out of here! We take a different route back to Copiapo than the one we rode to get here.  They calculated the amount of fuel needed for the motorcycles well, but not the truck.  Even after scoring some diesel from the road workers the other day, there is nowhere near enough fuel to get back to town.  We decided to head toward the Argentinian border in hopes of finding something or somebody along that route for fuel.

Even though we were not leaving Chile the lady at the border post said there is no fuel here.  But she pointed to a mining post, maybe they could sell us some fuel.  All the boys said, you have to do it alone SJ…  “Why?”  Because you are a girl and you are blonde.  If we have any chance for fuel, it’s you.  Urgh!

So I drive into the mining post alone.  Went to the office, spoke in my spanish and the men were amazed, but the control guy kept telling me, they don’t sell fuel here.  I understand, but anybody I can get something from?  Any work trucks, anything?  No, no, no…  so much for that blonde thing!  Until the big boss man who must have been listening in, came out of his office.

He asked how much fuel do I have.  I said EMPTY.  He took my keys out of my hands and went into the driver side of the truck, turned it on and saw the gage go nowhere.  EMPTY, he said!  Duh.. maybe blonde, but I wasn’t lyin! 😉

He ordered the guys who were telling me no, to get me some fuel.. Ha!  Nany nany boo boo…. ;-)))

I liked the boss man…

With a few high fives from the world record holders, we are back on the road with plenty of fuel to get me to Copiapo.  Woo hoo!

Not long after, it’s the boys turn to refill their bikes from my stash in the truck.

I grabbed the camera a bit late, but this was the first tree, the first bit of green I have seen in nearly two weeks! The little things we take for granted! 😉

I’m glad we came back a different way.  What a gorgeous road this is! Too bad the sun is too low to enjoy the full colors.

We arrived Copiapo in the dark.  All those meals we have been dreaming about, in my experience from this town, is not going to happen.  But we did pass a pizza place.  And voted to stop. Our first meal…… bread… cheese.. so many things we have been missing we have right here on a sidewalk in Copiapo with heaps of trucks passing by.  But it was good and we ate every bit of two very large pizzas!

The goal was to go past Copiapo about 75 km to the next town, Bahia Inglesa.  Unlike the dreadful boring mining town of Copiapo, Bahia is on the ocean and even a bit touristy.  We liked the idea of being at Camp Murray 4,527m (14,852 ft) just a few hours ago, and return this quick to sleep tonight at sea level.. Yes!  My dreams of being able to breathe again are coming true!

It was most difficult to find a place to stay in Bahia Inglesa, but we did it, and I even got my own little room/closet.  Too happy!

I could definitely breathe better, that was a nice feeling.  However, my heart is still beating super fast.  I was hoping that would stop as soon as we reached sea level as well, but it didn’t want to and kept racing away, which was a worry.

The next day was a rest day in an ocean side town that will be full of eating, drinking, being merry, and internet!!!  We NEED internet…..

Armed with computer bags, we go in search of… WIFI……………

Score!  Beers are flowing!  Three Macbooks are on over drive, except for the one person who still uses Windows.. we hope he will eventually see the light.. ;-)))

Lots of messages going out to family, friends, and facebook… everyone addicted to facebook.

More imporantly, where is Kevin? I saw he put a “I knew you could do it” on my facebook world record photo. I was happy to know he could see our progress.  Did he get the Buell fixed? How far away is he?  Aha!  So good to connect with him on skype.  He said, “I knew you could do it again, really proud of you..”  in his Scottish accent.

He did finally get his bike repairs done in Lima Peru, and had just left Cusco and crossed the border to Bolivia at Copacabana.  It’s been a long process getting his bike running again and he’s still a long way off.  And what a story he had.  He got to the border of Peru and Bolivia where the belt on his bike broke and he had to PUSH it over the border.  Dag gone, he has more bad luck with that bike.. what a bummer.  But he had a spare belt and got it fixed straight away in the dark. Okay then! He suggested I get back on my bike and ride up to meet him, a mere 4000 km north !!?? Not sure yet Kevin.  I explained to him about my heart worrying me, and of course I don’t have my own bike yet.  It was just really nice to be connected again.

So we had our full day of alcohol, food and internet.  The next morning we ride back to La Serena, Chile to the KTM shop where my bike has been waiting for me.  The mechanics there were giving it a once over while I was away to see if anything needs to be fixed or replaced other than the chain.  The guys suggested this because I have over 95,000 km on it and they insist there has to be something that needs attention.  I am looking forward to having my bike back.  I’ve enjoyed the truck, a nice change, but following these guys without my own motorcycle makes me jealous.

Leaving the desert along the Chilean coast and the return of even more greenery the farther south we go.

We arrived the shop and learn that the only attention me ol’ bike needed was a piston.  Little bits and pieces here and there but mainly the piston.  Lukas, Barton and Walter were amazed, they said that is really good with 95,000 km!

We started the bike up in the showroom, and it was great to be reunited, but it didn’t sound normal to me.  All the guys, the mechanics and the manager standing around, I said again.  “Are you sure everything is okay, it sounds so different!”  They all convinced me that I have been running on an old engine so long I forget what it used to sound like.  Okay then…

At the time, we thought we’d just load my bike up on the truck and I would finish driving the truck back to Santiago.

However, the shop manager was needing to drive his own big shop truck down to Santiago and offered to carry the Husabergs for them.  Walter and Lukas took up the offer.

Barton and I opted to ride our motorcycles to Santiago.. why not?  I was looking forward to riding again.

Once they were gone and I finished putting my panniers back on, repacking my own gear etc.  I started up the bike again.  “Barton, my bike does not sound right.”  Again SJ, you haven’t heard it for a while and with a new piston, it’s bound to sound different until it breaks in. “Okay then..”  Who am I to argue.  These guys are all mechanics, I am not.

We got about 2 stop lights away.  I don’t want to sound like a tape recorder, but “Barton, are you really sure, it sounds horrible if you ask me?”

Two more kilometers into La Serena and at a stop light, the side of my bike blew out and oil went spewing straight out near my right leg.  For F____ Sake!  I turned the bike off as soon as I could and pushed it up on the curb to get out of everyones way.  Gee whiz, what the heck was that!?

The case around the oil filter blew off and took the METAL with it!

OK, do you believe me now that the bike doesn’t sound right?? ;-/ Barton went and got the shop guys to come and pick up my bike. They tried to weld the piece but it’s an aluminum alloy and won’t hold.  I saw another bashed up KTM 690 in the shop that is used as a rental and I asked the manager to call the owner of that bike to see if I can buy his casing and have a brand new one sent to him.  He agreed, thank goodness!  So, they quickly did the change, put oil back in the bike so Barton and I can make it to Santiago.  For such a big drama, pretty good to be back on the road so quick and it was a Sherri Jo idea.. even more surprising!

I started the bike and I hate to say it, but it still sounds like sh___.  Other than tell the mechanics to take the entire thing apart into pieces while they convince me I am crazy, there is nothing I can do about it.  So we go.

To be continued….

Originally from America. Proud citizen of Australia. Currently riding my motorcycle around the world. 44 countries so far and counting. ;-)


  • November 24, 2012

    I’m jealous… Great post and pictures… I’m looking forward to more… Thanks


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