Sunday, 21.02.2010: up and down..

21 Feb
I know, we already had that title. Why not reusing it if it match absolutely?
So in the night I woke up and wanted to know the time. As I don’t have a watch, I thought I could use the battery of the water resistant picture frame (digital camera) instead of those of the phone. Heyyy… What’s up? I can see the picture of the inner tent on the display! Cool, while I were sleeping, some little I-do-not-what fixed the digicam… As I was very hungry, I took some hot water, powder mild and instant müesli, as Gérard showed me. Quick and easy. Now I would sleep well.
In the morning I woke up at about 8h mainly because the airmat is leeking some air in the last weeks. I had search in the hostal using water and soap without success. As yesterday evening I blew it quite early up, it didn’t last until the morning, my back was hurting and partially cold while I was more than warm. The second thing I was feeling beside my bag was the upper part of my legs: I had put sun cream up to the throuser/shorts and while resting, the throuser slipped…now I have a nice burning 5cm large red part.
So I decided to stand up before the tourist bus were halting in front of my “house” and prepared breakfast, this time with coffea and jam-müesli. Outside the tent was just above zero…bbrrrr..cold! Then the sun appeared out of the clouds and started to warm, so I could dry the sleeping bag over the tent.
Anyway, I could left at about 10h30… Earlier would not have make sense:the wind came slightly from behind and did not clear the sand(powder) trace every car was regressing from El Tatio. So mostly at each car (bus, jeep..), I had to stop, take my hat in from of the mouth and breath.
One exception: the car of slowed down – I was ready for the fotograf session – and the guide friendly asked what I could need: Xmas time! Dry fruits, a bottle of water, peanuts and.. Two small bars of chocolat gauffre/waffeln!
The (female) guide – I realized later as everything happened so fast and did not get her name – had once met a French cycling around the world. Since then she stops and give whatever she can :-))) And she told me, I would be soon at the entrance of El Tatio, where I can eat…
I wanted to take a picture of the nice mountain landscape and went for the high resolution one (with the little… ;-)) yes, the display showed something…but did not focussed. There must something (a cable?) that is not at ist place anymore.
The day was up and down as well regarding the landscape and the road, mainly with hardened sand. Where to many traffic passed, the sand gets soft and you have to care. At the side of the road you might be more lucky. But there is the risk that your front wheel grabs itself into the side and the rest of the bike don’t follow as fast. Kind of small rodeo. Believe me, at “higher” speed (even 20km/h) you have to feel your bike and be ready to get very fast out of the pedals. Up to now (touch wood) I was always fast enough and I would not miss my Eggbeater (brand of click pedals).
Just before arriving at El Tatio, you find the rest? of the geothermic station. Quite spooky!
My goal was El Tatio and trying:
1) get some food at the entrance…I was imagining some Llama or steak…
2) take a WARM (or even hot) bath where Rocketgeronimo and I were cold in the night.
3) enjoy the night and start fresh the next day towards Linzor.

1) they don’t have food and did not show to give some. Even asking for water is responded with a kind of “if you really want”. (they have plenty of 18L Bottles there!)
2) just before I arrived, students and their professor (geologic?) by passed me, I would not be alone in the pool and the strong cold wind did even not emphasis my envy for a bath.
3) the people at entrance said that if I wanted to camp, it would cost additional 4USD to the 10USD entrance. Sleeping in their dorms was the same price. And they said as well Tafter mustering my bike), that the road to Linzor is kind of bad or even closed, depending of who was telling.
I had a road on my map and could not imagine it could be worse than the one to El Tatio.
I paid the entrance and cycled through. Basta. Now it might be possible that I will have to regress. But the view I already have had would be worse it. You get to see the back of the colcano which parts of natural erosion by rain and wind Very interesting! There was one part where I thought the road have been gone, but it was only an optical illusion.

You might feel correct: El Tatio is not my friend. For me, you can closed the site, put a geothermic installation on it and basta: those are not geysires, there are every day hundreds of people driving there to see something you get in the kittchen when boiling water and Chile needs to get away from fossile energy. Sorry for that comment: I only cycle via El Tatio because I want to go north, needs the altitude to aclimate (which is a kind of sport challenge) and don’t want to cycle back via Calama.

Now I did set the tent away from the mountain to avoid to be waken up by a torrent, just to be save. And while looking outside I might have been right: the clouds were not as dark before!

Ok, let’s cook something and try to sleep better!

*Dear reader, don’t hesitate to have a look their website!

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