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Santiago and South Chile

Santiago and South Chile

We made it to Santiago!  Just in time too.  It was pure highway.  I’m still not happy with the sound of the bike. But we arrived in the dark and back to their hosts house, Martyn and Katie, to find a note saying they had left for dinner and where to meet them.

Santiago is a cool town and when we walked into the restaurant, I knew immediately I was in trouble.  This is a nice place!  I have been riding a motorcycle all day, scruffy hair, dirty dusty motorcycle suit and boots from the mountain… And THEY! are all clean, looking good.  Katie is in a gorgeous green dress, Lukas, Walter and Martyn are in nice button down shirts… I could feel the whole restaurant of nicely dressed people looking at me.

Coming in late, Barton and I sat at the end of the table and I was doing everything I could not to just crawl under the table and wait until everyone was gone.  But this is a celebration dinner and I need to pull my head in.  Not only did the boys achieve their world record goal, but this is Lukas last night.  He’s on a plane tomorrow back to Austria already!  Sorry to see him go so quick, but he is tied into family business commitments back home.

Ciao Lukas..

Walter and Barton want to stay another week to explore the lake region of Chile before going home. They shipped their bikes half way across the world, might as well get the most out of it before loading them back on a plane!

I’m talking to Kevin and we keep updating each other on where we are… and a plan.  I explain to him about the bike, my worries, etc.  I told him I need to take it into KTM Santiago and see if they can get any idea as to what the problem is before I can make a plan on where we can meet up.  I’m quite honestly, thoroughly exhausted from the last few weeks.. I’m not sure what to do at this point.

One thing we HAVE to do today is return the rental truck.  That poor truck has been through a lot and the boys are cringing over what or if any damage was done.  You would not believe, they took the truck back, gave a quick inspection and said, “Thank you very much!”  And we said.. “No.. thank YOU very much!!” Wow, they got off lucky.

Barton calms his nerves with a ‘Completa’.  Hot dog complete with avocado, ketchup, mustard and mayo.  Seems to be one of the most popular sandwiches you’d find here in Chile! Ick..Minus the avocado, it’s so American…

The boys had known about the previous Guiness world record to the highest altitude on motorcycles was last achieved on Ojos del Salado by some local men here in Santiago!  They sent off a couple emails and got such a nice reply, congratulations from them and an invite up to their house for a meal and drinks.

Here’s a copy of Walter’s details he put on facebook. “A real honour for us as we met previous moto altitude record holders, the crew, just outside of Santiago. The Motorecord guys got the world record by riding to 6,220 metres, also on Ojos del Salado almost exactly 4 years earlier, on 19th March 2008 and held it for around 6 months, before the incumbents, the North Kolkata Disha took it by 25 metres. From L to R, Giovanni Sanguedolce, Sherri Jo, Barton, Johann Janko, Roland Hess, Walter.” And of course the NEWest world record is now 6361 metres..!

The real deal.. they’ve got the certificate from Guiness! It was interesting to listen to the boys compare experiences.

The next day I ended up making a plan with Kevin.  I decided that a few more days around here would be better than attempting another mad motorcycle marathon to the north.  I didn’t want Kevin to miss out on the things he wanted to see, and I was far too exhausted to get my head around another 4000 km north just to ride those same roads south again.  He agreed along with the worries/complaints about my bike at the moment, our new plan was get the bike checked out, ride with these two for 4 or 5 days, then reassess where we both are to try to meet.  But Mendoza, Argentina was an idea I put forth and Kevin said he was already looking at the map and thinking Mendoza would be perfect.  Mendoza is Argentinean wine country, so meeting up, doing a few wine tours and judging the quality ourselves sounded like a grand plan! I asked him if he still wanted to attempt getting to Ushuaia (our original plan).  Ushuaia is the very tip bottom of South America and the goal destination of most every rider who comes here. The good summer days of January and February are gone, and it’s already turning cold and snowy there.  Kevin then said, no, I think that ship has sailed.  My only goal now is to get to you.  That was so nice to hear.

Good, I’m excited he agrees.. so the next day I set off with Walter and Barton to the south.  The goal is Pucon, Chile.  Quite famous for it’s lakes and volcanoes!

So!  We are traveling south and that sound I have been complaining about (maybe a bit to much?)  The same sound they told me at the shop in Santiago seemed okay as well?  WELL, it just got a whole lot louder.

While revving the throttle to keep up with them on the highway, the bike just cut out.  Died in the passing lane.. I knew it!  I didn’t put my brakes on and did my best to cross over 3 lanes of traffic to the shoulder hoping nobody would hit me.

Barton saw this and pulled in behind me.  What’s up, SJ?  ‘That noise got louder and it died’.  While I was off the bike, I tried to start it so Barton could hear the noise.  Surprisingly, it did actually start, but he couldn’t believe the noise either.  However, Walter who was ahead didn’t notice us pulling over.  Even if he did, we are on a full highway with guard rails and no way to turn around anyway.  So I kept the motor going and we caught up with Walter.

I pulled over and let him hear the bike.  “Oh, shit SJ… that’s not good”.. “Hmphf, do you believe me now???”  “Yep, we’ve got a problem.”

The boys mulled it over for a bit and we decided to continue on south as the main KTM dealer is Chillan, our goal destination for the night.

About 10 minutes later Walter pulls over again.  “You know SJ, I’d feel better if we put your bike on a truck.  I’m not sure by the sound of it you are going to make it.”

It’s the main highway, there are plenty of trucks, see if you can find one that will take you to Chillan.  The boys took their helmets and jackets off and had a sit down in the shade.  I come back shortly after… with a truck!

Walter was looking at me and he says, “What are you doing.. ”  Well, you told me to get a truck so I got a truck! “I didn’t think you’d get one that fast.. ”  Ha!

So this lovely man agreed to take me exactly to Chillan.  He opens the doors and its… tah dah dah!!!!  Toilet paper!!

What a sweet deal! (as opposed to a crappy deal.. ;-))) We left, and the boys throttled ahead on their bikes. But every now and then I’d see two little Husabergs in a fuel station along the road.  They only have 8 litres, so they need to stop often.  We pass, they take their time with a drink or whatever and then eventually pass us again.

At one point, the truck driver pulls over completely.  It’s time for his lunch break and a nap.  Hmm.. at least I got him to look up online through his phone the address of where we need to go in Chillan.  I stood out in the road, knowing the boys should be passing us again soon.  Perfect!  I waved them over and gave them the address to punch into their gps’s.

About thirty minutes after lunch, the truck driver, a really nice man who taught me a lot about the places we are passing, was rubbing his stomach and complaining that it hurts.  Uh oh..

A few minutes later, he pulls over. Uh oh… He slowly opens the door, grabs a roll of toilet paper, walks across the front of the truck and tucks in behind a big mound of dirt.  About 5 minutes later he returns.  Quietly back into the truck and drives on.. That was HILARIOUS!!  and no more tummy rubbing, ha!

300 km later, into town and right to the front door.  I’m feeling a bit spoiled.  Six guys to unload my bike from the toilet paper truck of which I had quite the cushy ride over the last few hours.

The man that owns this shop is the same man who owns the shop up north that replaced my piston and the oil casing that blew off in transit.  So it was good that he knew the story and could hopefully find out what the problem is now.

That night was another well-deserved Pisco night.  Walter and Barton managed to knock back 5 pisco sours.  I am still off the stuff since I threw up on pisco when they first arrived.  I’ll stick with the beer thank you.  Plus I need to re-build my beer tolerance as Kevin will be here soon.

The shop owner offered me a solution for my troubled bike.  He has a rental business and asked if I would like to carry on with a KTM 990 Adventure.  What?  Really??  A momentary bit of excitement and then a whole lot of worry.  That is a super big bike.  I don’t think I can handle it.

That night Kevin was in Sucre, Bolivia.  I could not wait to show him what I was going to be riding!

Remember, he was just eyeing this exact bike in Lima Peru?

And what was even funnier is the ones he sent me that he found for sale in Canada are white.. and I’ve got a white one.  I was hoping he would arrive in time so that we could ride together for a bit.  I am on a 690 and his a 1200. So for me to ride along with a big bike would be so cool.  Plus, I thought it might be a good opportunity for Kevin to try it out as well.

Here we are picking up the big white bike.

Another day, another set of advice and instructions.  I have honestly never ridden a bike this big in my life.  But I had never ridden a Husaberg to a high altitude in my life either, and I survived that. So I have my hopes slightly up.

We pulled out of town and DIRECTLY on to a dirt road.  “Hey Walter!.. do you think I can get used to the weight and size of this 990 on pavement before I have to ride on scrabbly dirt???!!???”  Nope..

Well the good news, is that I got used to it…. really quick!  Had to!

This is a bit of a worry. I am loving this motorcycle!  I never ever would have guessed that riding the 990 would be this easy.  It felt a bit weird at first, but like anything, within moments I was used to it, plus loving it.  Oh no… don’t tell my little one… ;-)))

We are cruising around the tourist town of Pucon where we’ll stay for a couple days.

The guys have been complaining since day 1 that there are no pretty girls in Chile.  Once they found one, they had to pull over to get a photo of her…

Besides the interesting advertising choice of words, she doesn’t look very Chilean either.  For them, beggars can’t be choosers….  This was enough to make them temporarily happy.

Pretty cool.  Really glad I’m here and even more grateful the KTM guys gave me the 990 to ride for a few days.  Otherwise, I would have been just hanging out in a hotel while B-man and Capt. Magadan had all the fun.

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

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