Thursday, 25.02.2010: first rain

25 Feb
I woke up when the merchandise train to Bolivia passsed in front of the guards house at seven o’clock. It was anyway time to stand up and get breakfast with Luis and the others.
I left the Carabiñeros at about 10am, after getting some fresh water. The first kilometers were downhill between mine fields towards the village Ascotan. The rdoad was not as promised not “harden” with a kind of salt-water mixture, but just earth-sand. At a speed of 50km/h, my Angel had (again) lot to do The weather was cloudy and quite cool. The first 30km were along or on the salar de Ascotan. The main road is following the coast, while there is two parts that cut straight over the salar. And it is worth to take the shortcut. Not because you save a few 100m, but because you smell and see the salar much better and there is no traffic that brings sand/powder in the air.
On the 2nd part I was really feeling like on another planet. And the clouds all around were getting darker. The scenic was beautiful again.
Then after 25km I finally get my first Chilean rain. 15 minutes a light rain would not kill me and I continued. And it stopped faster than it started. The road was dry again. With the side effect to have earth poweder in the air, especially when Bolivian driver were driving fast and near me.
Between the two salars the road gets up about 300m. You arrive then on the top of the salar de Carcote with a beautiful view on it. Interesting for me is the difference of path between train and road: the train goes behind the hill and avoid higher “altitude” and cross the salar instead of following the coast. My opinion: the train path was done at another time, by other engineers.
After the salar de Carcote, it started to rain lightly and the road went up 200m again. But I was sooo lucky: when looking back, the sky was dark that it looks like end of days…

And then I looked down.. See next blog entry!