Stayed at the Hilton last night. Quite a nice pub with really good beds. Slept like babies we did. Very tired.
So we’re up early as is normal around 5:30 getting prepared for breakfast and the day ahead.
We started at 8:56 am into the traffic at Iquique,busy busy!
Had some amendments to plan. How to get out of here?
Tricky manoeuvres and some illegal traffic access, entering the road through a pedestrian crossing, then onto our first wrong turn for the day.
Did a u turn in the heavy traffic and returned to the correct road heading out to the first track event for the day.
Only 19 kms to this track up the side of what looked like a sand mountain then through some really built up commercial and housing areas, very ramshackle and dirty with rubbish everywhere.
On the track we began with enthusiasm, racing away only to take the exit one lap early.
Cheekily we returned to the start and had another go. Much to the delight of the marshals who closed a blind eye to this misdemeanour.
Lots of laughs and good humour.
Then onto a leg of 40kms to a place called Humberstone.
An old saltpetre village and workshop. It’s a tourist attraction displaying the old equipment used to extract the mineral from the ground. It’s still a big industry here but this place looked very delapilated.
Then on to the next leg to Muchas Tabernas through the mountains and the desert. Amazing landscape but absolutely deserted of habitation with the exception of some squalid housing at a billabong on the way. Nothing grows on this soil/sandy surface. It’s devoid of life.
Beautiful in its majestic nothingness.
We were warned before setting out by the police to have sufficient fuel on board to traverse this desert and we considered that we did with fuel in the spare tank.
Fuel usage here is dependent on the type of roads and of course hilly roads require more than just flat roads. On and on we drove until the time control at Muchas Tabernas, had a bite to eat. Transferred the fuel from the spare tank and got underway.
We had another 125 kms to get to Arica and enroute saw that it was touch and go with fuel. There were no petrol stations for the entire trip and we only hoped that there would be petrol stations on the outskirts of the town. To save fuel Steve glided down the hills, hearts in our mouths.
We found petrol not far from the final track event, fuelled up and did two laps at a pretty rough track in a time that is not worth mentioning.
Out of there, to the hotel set right on the Pacific Ocean. An older hotel with decorations dating circa 1970. Ok but nothing to write home about. Such a beautiful spot yet not taking advantage of the views etc.
still it’s a place to sleep with quite large beds.
Today was only a 344 km journey yet it feels as though we’ve had a heavy day.
Before checking in Steve decided that he would change the engine oil. This entailed removing the protection plate under the engine to get to the oil drain. Upon removing this plate he saw that the rubbers on the ends of the front stabiliser bars had been badly compressed and loose. Couldn’t leave this as is so started removing these only to find that the spare rubbers he brought along for just such an event had been given to another competitor to fix a problem he had. So, improvisation swung into gear and he made up some rubbers out of something else’s, fitted them and proceeded to drain the oil. The motor had run for 5000 kms so the oil was quite black.
Hope Denise appreciates the treat and that she looks after us on the road.
Well that’s all folks.
We cross the border into Peru in the morning so up early and get on our way.