Fri 18.3.2016 Der highest pass in Argentina
In El Carril I turn right to Cachi and after some kilometers the scenery changes immediately.
Very european and really green. Even above 2.500m you can still find trees. Heading further I reach the National Park Los Cardones with its numberless cactii which a hight up to 6m hoch. At 2.30 p.m. I reach Cachi. After a short break I will conquer the highest pass of Argentina. From Payogasta onwards the RN40 is again a graved road.
I was naiv and not tzhinking about it. Even the weather is not inviting. But the valley is really nice and offers a bench of variety. Unfortunately there is also challenging fords which seems easy on their first view. But I made it!
I’m alone on this road. Only some Lamas are with me. I try not to think about it, even not what could happen. I proudly reach the peak.
Down to San Antonio de las Cobres I can see the first Alpacas.
As I don’t want tp spend the night at a hight of 3.775m I follow a sign Jujuy (Chuchue, with “ch” like in Irish Loch) 60km. I will make this. But it seems that I have overseen a sign and so I end up in a very spooky atmosphere.
Art about 9.30 p.m. I reach Purmamarca. After exhausting 580km I find a hostel where I can leave my bike safely on a terrace.
Sat 19.3.2016 Bye, bye Argentina
Again the bolt of my mudguard broke and I will not repair it anymore but wait until it’s gone. It is foggy.on direction to Jujuy and I decide to drive back to the north. In Tilcara I can only pay cash at the petrol station and the ATM is not giving me any money. Due to having no cash I drive again back to Jujuy, fill up my tank and go straight to Chile. It is now sunny when I drive again the 4.170m high pass Cuesta de Lipán.
After the Salar Grande I drive though a nice canyon up to 3.600m.
At the border to Chile I must eat my apples. The I reach the border zu Chile on the Paso de Jama. Afterwards at a hight of 4.000m on the Altiplano I can see the first Vicuñas, many Salares and finally the volcanos Licancabur und Láscar.
It is really cold and the wind brings the felt temperature from 10°C down to 5°C. Within 18km on a straight road it goes down from 4.000m to 2.500m in San Pedro de Atacama.
After a the best breakfast I had during my journey I take a walk though the village with its nice Main place and the church.
In one of the many agencies I book a package of three tours. The first brings me to Laguna Cejar, where I can float like in the dead sea, because the salinity is 75%.
After an hour we are heading to Ojos del Salar. Much smaller and a salinity of only 5% I can get rid of the salty crust. With a header into the pool.
Chris, our Guide, is pushing us, because many other groups are behind us. In the Laguna Tebinquinche, we enjoy the sunset with a Pisco Sour.
With Svenja from Deutschland and Marteen from Holland we finish the evening with a gas of wine.
Mon 21.3.2016 Tanzen verboten
Already at 4.30 a.m. the night has been finished and we drive to the Geysir of Tation. It has only -4°C and I wished to wear my long underwear. The three Brasilen Girls are agin with me on this tour and we have fun. At 4.300m we reach the up to 120°C hot water.
After the sun comes out we can take a bath in another 38°C warm hole that finally has only 28°.
Anyway, it is a great experience and due to the hight we can stay only in the water for 15 minutes. On the way back we reach Vado Putana, a colorful and lovely place with many birds.
The next stop is a little village called Puebla Machuca from the 18th century.
An imposing Canyon, many animals like Vicuñas, Lamas, Viscachas, a kind of Chinchillas and Flamingos we can see on the way back to San Pedro. Afterwards I make Siesta, like the dogs here, too. In the afternoon the thirds tour goes to Valle de la Luna.
The dryest region of the world only one bacteria can survive. Amazing colors, forms and schielende (as long as no other groups are joining). Fascinating!
And the full moon is another highlight in the dusk.
My tires arrive actually at 6 p.m. and I found a gomería in this little village where I will change the fort tire tomorrow.