Well, yesterday I was telling how nice it was to have a heater from below, as the sand was still warm when I installed the tent. Heating in combination with a warm sleeping bag was to much: the temperature did not fall below 17C!
The day started nice with nearly 10km of driving down… And was followed by 65km of more ups then down with an ascencion of 500m at 1150m.
After refilling the water tanks (3 bottles of 1.6 l water) and taking a coffea in Domeyko, a little pueblo of some hundreds of people and with an open air museum. As the rest of the region (or of Chile), mining has a very strong importance there as well, which can be seen in the presented “stuff”, like one rock of “cobre” for copper which found in the sulfate form (and therefore green color). During the extraction process, the “sulfate” is condensate to sulfuric acid, which then transported by truck in a red cylinder… I just hope non of them will have an accident!
I guess I had today a first of riding in the desert as the view was getting dryer and dryer. But even the vegetation starts slowly to disappear, the live on the road don’t: the Panamerican or the highway Nr. 5 is definitively one of the back bones of Chile. My guess: every minute at least a truck or bus pass by.
One picture to be afraid of: imagine a truck driving the hill down at 80 km/h followed by a car, just 4m behind him..and see that it is attached by a rope and ist driver tries, not to be to near to the truck. Quite impressing and not possible in Switzerland, where the distance is min 5m and the max speed is 40km/h…
The highest point of today was followed by a long downhill of 20km…but with strong wind (as all the day) from north. Finally, I arrived at Vallenar, a little city lying in the bed of a river and having on both sides 30m high natural “walls”, which looks like were once the riverside.
As I prefer to be in a city for new year, I will stay two night in Vallenar…hoping it will cure my bottom pain.