Monday, 5 December 2016

Santiago days

Check in and  bikes.
Check in went well, the staff at the hotel were very helpful. They let us store all of our luggage in their office, as we needed to hit the Metro, to get to the bike shop. I think right now most of us are running on fumes. Down we go into the Subway  Station, a total underground  hub of activity. The system is very efficient, quite impressive as the volume of people coming and going is incredible. Amazing how warm it is underground, probably due to all the people, trains and limited ventilation. Six stops later and we will be once again seeing our friend Juan, manager and the go to guy at Pro Circuit Moto. When we arrived at the shop all the bikes were ready for us to work on them. With all of our electronics and cameras etc, installing 12 volt power outets  and  USB ports is essential. Also flatproofing our tires, there will be times when no services are available especially power sources. Juan and his staff were a great help to us, letting us use the shop,and giving us a helping hand when needed. After several hours at the shop, we all went back to the hotel to get some well deserved rest.

Getting your paperwork done, is a process, and usually takes 3-4 days, with couple of repeat visits to the Government Offices. Fortunatley for us, Andy had made arrangements for us, to have two local people, do all the ground work for us. Which is a huge help. They made the process seem like a breeze compared to our previous experience of doing it ourselves, three years earlier. There is a charge for the service but, well worth it., when you want to hit the road quickly. We most certainly appreciated all the help from, Noam and  Cecelia. Realy nice people. License Plates and Insurance were handled by our friend Juan, he made the arrangements to have it taken care of, so on our return to the bike shop," Muey Bien"  everthing was done. With that, we geared up and said our farewell. It was certainly emotional as  it is always hard to bid farewell to friends who live so far away.  Next stop Valparaiso .
And away we go all "Seis Amigos". The ride to Valparaiso is beautiful.
Once you leave Santiago, you begin to wind your way through the hills and valleys of wine country. Many Vineyards dotted along the route, simply beautiul. Between the scenery and the fact that we are all riding, spirits are up indeed. Our bikes seem to be performing well, comfortable and not underpowered. Amazing little machines considering the gear we are all carrying. Soon we will be in the Port City of Valparaiso.


We stayed at the IBIS Hotel, located on the waterfront in the downtown area. Nice clean accommodations, friendly staff, and even comes with a buffet breakfast for a reasonable charge, around 3,000 Chilean pesos.
We all went to our rooms, to get cleaned up and meet over a meal to discuss the day, and what tomorrow may hold. Valparaiso is such a beautiful Architectural City, we all decided to stay for one more day and do some sightseeing and imerse ourselves in the culture. Also a great city to ride the hilly cobblestone streets. Graffiti lines the walls on certain buildings, but it is really awesome, true artistry.  If you like stairs, then this is the place to be. Built on a hill, another mode of transportation is to take a "Funicular" which are elevators on rails to take you up and down. Truly an a experience one should not miss.. Being the kids we are at heart, we did it twice at two different locations. That evening we were all doing our own thing. Andy and I went to check out some of the stairs and to locate the Piano Steps, stairs painted like the keys on a piano then we set out to buy dog food to for the" Street Perros"
They usually come out at night, so we decided to go find a couple of friends we met on our last trip. We went to the Restaurant/Bar where they might be, but the waiter who remembered us said they moved North to another port city as they are Long Shoremen. Then we ate,said our goodbyes and left. Hounds to feed. Early start "Minyana"

Leaving Valparaiso
When traveling by moto, it always best to make a plan to leave early. Attaching the gear, takes a few days to master, do it efficiently and quick, but our group has nailed it, impressive and the eagerness to ride prevails. Our destination today is Talca, we have decided to camp there for the night. We are using "IOvetlander"a free app anyone can upload to check out camp sites and reviews posted by other traveller's. Today we travelled on secondary roads, a nice switch from the busy toll highway. The drive is approximately 361 km.  Hunger sets in and we stop in Santa Cruz Chile, a beautiful town about 3 hrs into the ride. With all the bikes lined up in the street, the people are curious and friendly. Many wish us safe travels. John aka does his magic of letting the masses know what we are up to, he
also gives a few children Canadian Souvenirs.Always nice to see children smile what an Ambassador he has become, "go Johny go". Time to leave." Giddy up poco moto's". On our arrival to Talca the group followed the coordinates to the spot.We all thought this must be it. On a hill, big property, cool, made it. So Ed went through the big solid gate. The big gate that closed behind him. Guess he didn't hear us saying Stop. Now locked in on someones property and a  gigantic dog about to head out to great him. I was pushing buttons to release our friend but no such luck. Ed, put your bike against the 8' gate, stand on the seat, jump, save yourself.
    Luckily for Ed the big beast was friendly, legs intact he managed to make it to the house where a servant greeted him. No camping here she said. Maybe the camping spot is next door, we know we were close. In the end we all turned around on the driveway very carefully as on one side it was a sheer drop of about 50 or so feet. Driving to the top of the hill you get a spectacular view of the city. There is a large statue of the Virgin Mary, beautiful site indeed. Darkness was setting in, so the group decided it would be best to hotel it for the night. Luckily for us we found accommodations at the Hotel Stella. The person at the check in was very nice to us, her name is Victoria, and made us feel most welcome. Off to bed as tomorrow we are off to camp at Salto de Laja.
Al Nino

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