The Atacama desert afforded us an excellent opportunity to collect a significant amount of sand in our tent that would stay with us until forever. Sleeping behind giant sand dunes while the perfect sun set behind the horizon was balanced with howling winds and the vigilant focus required to keep dinner sand free (dinner was never sand free). It was a bit of a climb out of the Atacama to the Argentinian border but a few things stand out. After a cold day of watching Andrea getting blown into the ditch by an impressive cross wind we ended up at a Police station in the middle of nowhere that we thought was the border and prayed that we would be able to sleep in an out building or just set up our tent in the lee of a building to get out of the wind. Unfortunately the police officers on duty declined our request, seeing the crushing disappointment wash across our faces they countered with an offer of coffee and bread and that was the single best moment in over a week of riding. Being able to sit in a building, near a wood stove, drinking instant coffee and eating bread with too much butter all the while forgetting this happy refuge would only be temporary. Flying on a caffeine high we put our sweaters on, puffy jackets and rain jackets and ventured back into the cold and found a perfect place to camp 5 minutes down the road.
3 more days of beautiful canyon riding brought us to Cafayate and another reunion with our Swiss friends who are riding a crazy spaceship tandem. We spent the next two weeks following them through the baking desert as we all fought to keep our sanity against the wind. I’m confident we would have thumbed a ride had it not been for our friends who were slowly chipping away at the kilometres that separated us from another night of rest. It was quite nice to share stories and meals with friends just the same as we would at home, a rare occurrence on the road. The good times couldn’t last forever and we continued South as the Swissers turned right and will be in Chile soon.
- Walter and Annabell (German motos) for lending us tools and heaps of good info about Argentina.
- Our new Swiss friends for dinner in San Pedro.
- All of the Chilean construction workers who kept throwing fresh water bottles our way as we slowly climbed out of the Atacama and their construction work.
- Way too cool Police officers in the middle of nowhere Chile, that coffee and bread really saved us.