Bolivia/Chile: San Juan del Rosario to San Pedro de Atacama – Lagunas and washboard
We left San Juan on Christmas Eve after stocking up on food for a week, so no Turkeys, crackers thankfully – a cunning way to have the most isolated, peaceful day possible! The downside – a complete inability to communicate with our families and friends, and hoping that they’d forgive us. The route is to take us through some high and wild country to Chile and hopefully New Year. We share it with the circuit of 4WD tours from Uyuni and San Pedro de Atacama.
Lines in flatness from 4WD tourist carriers, carved in sand or hard salt/mud. On hitting sand, judging ride-ability and no option but to drop gears and keep balance. Best to keep moving, but not too fast. Concentration. Swirling skies bring tailwinds to help.
Thunder sounds – look to see where – looking up to see which way the clouds are moving. Dancing with the storms, consequences of a collision considered – clothing combinations constantly juggled. Look left – a wispy draped shroud easily seen through brings hail. Stop, open front wheel pack, waterproof and gloves. Not trousers yet – take too much time. We’re high enough, and it’s cold enough that the hail bounces and shortly a windless stillness follows. Undulate onwards with all layers on now.
After a boulder-sheltered camp on the ridge above the Sol de Mañana geyser field we make a cold and overcast start downwards (wonderfully). Sarah, ahead, missed the emergence of two Ozzie blokes on bikes. Welcome accents after a stumbling ¿De donde eres? I part too shortly later with an amazing gift – an actual paper map of Chile – we’ve been using photos of other peoples maps for too long – Luxury :-)