We are headed for Ojos del Salado. I will probably drive you crazy calling it a mountain, but it is actually a volcano. It's called a stratovolcano and it's the HIGHEST volcano in the world, located in the Andes near the Argentina/Chile border. There is no smoke, lava, or anything warm about it. It felt more like being on a mountain and sometimes I call it that because calling it a volcano gives the wrong image of spurting red lava and ash in my head. Here is a link to read more about it
In the meantime, the boys are putting their bikes together after having them shipped from Europe and United States. They acquired many sponsors for the job, so opening boxes is like Christmas for them too!
They spent a good part of two days preparing the bikes. My concern is what to feed them for three weeks using only our camp stoves at a high and very cold elevation.
So Walter, Lukas and I hit the big supermarket here in La Serena. What an experience that was! Shopping with boys is just entertaining in itself, but with this project at hand, we have to be very prepared with meals as well as amounts. I don't want to run out of food, but as you can see, there is limited space in what we can carry. We are going to be VERY far from civilization. I can't come back down the mountain on my own to get any extra ingredients for anything!
It wasn't as easy as I hoped it to be. All three boys have different ideas of what a meal should be. Lukas is going to kill me but I have to tell you about his own request. He is a very healthy guy and lives mostly on protein. It was important for him to have a minimum of 3 tins of tuna per day. So we got an entire case of tuna tins just for him! After they were counted, he reminded us if we need any tuna, we have to figure out the extra for ourselves...ha!
But mostly we opted for lots and lots of pasta (Barton's request that they live mostly on Carbs for energy, not tuna) and unfortunately the pasta sauce in a packet rather than the real thing. There was no option to carry fresh tomatoes up the hill. We couldn't take eggs, as we knew they would all break from the rough mountain track (not even a road) to our camp. How many bottles of white gas should we get to cook 2 warm meals per day plus?
One bottle of shampoo that will double as body soap as well as dish washing detergent (Walter's pick). We took lots of salami so they can have meat, but it wouldn't need to be cooked. Heaps of granola type bars, chocolate, nuts, the list goes on and on as you can see in the photos of the receipt Lukas is holding above.. ;-)
Back to the KTM shop in La Serena to pack up all their gear as well as the groceries to start making our move to the north. This photo above is of me in my new job with the support vehicle. There is not a tiny bit of space left. Back cab is full from the floor to the ceiling (so no watching out the rear view mirror). Even the passenger seat is full. (Keep in mind that we have not added the gallons of fuel and water needed for 3 weeks to the truck, YET!!!)
The bikes are nearly ready for the road. They look good together, so we get them to pose for a photo..
They are using their own old street tires from home to save wear on their new sponosored Golden Tires which they will change over once we get to camp. The tires will be specially carried separately with me in the truck cab. Which is fine and I have to say these are the best looking tires I have ever seen.. I don't get turned on much by motorcycle pieces and parts, but the blue.. and the gold.. they are down right pretty! ;-))
Come on boys, it's late in the afternoon and we still have 365 km to Copiapo, Chile.
Time to RIDE....
And they're off!
We didn't get too far. Walter wanted one last photo at SEA LEVEL. They do look good together..
You can see by the shadows from the west that is quite late in the day to start off, but we do have limited time. So below are a few last photos before the sun went down.
It was dark for most of the ride. Their fuel tanks are small, only 8 litres. I carry the fuel in the truck for them in a couple red jugs to fill up when needed. There is not much of anything between La Serena and Copiapo. The odd shack with lots of trucks parked outside means there must be somewhat decent food inside for dinner. I pull over and ask if anybody is hungry.. YEAH!! Kind of a stupid question really.
Since I've already had a night in Copiapo, I had learned exactly where all the hotels are, and the prices. I went straight to the one I had stayed previously. Booked out. Miners again. The next one and the next one and the next one. All booked out, even if we did want to pay a high price. Of course we all have our camping gear, but it's really buried in different places for all of us. We are not prepared or organized for camping, so I knew one last resort. The love hotel on the edge of town. Lord have mercy....
It worked! They had 2 rooms, and the bikes are parked behind the 'security' screen for protection! The price is right.. But dag gone it, they don't have internet! Of all things!!
What happens in a love hotel stays in a love hotel.. I have some great stories I could tell, but I'll be kind. I will show you one of the lovely rooms before checking out.
We unloaded every bit of gear from the truck. This morning's plan is to get all the fuel and water needed for the next 3 weeks. And of course it needs to be on the bottom in the truck and the bags of gear on top. So off to the shops to get anything and everything we need one last time..
First the water, then the fuel. I hope we've calculated this right. At the end of the day, we can melt snow for extra water (that is if there is snow up there.. global warming you know..). But the fuel needs to get us all (Including me in a diesel truck) about 300+ km away from Copiapo up the mountain tracks. Fuel needed for them to achieve their riding goals for the world record, and enough fuel to get us all the way back to town once finished.
Right.. back to the Love Hotel.. to put all the remaining gear back on the truck. The fully loaded truck doesn't look so bad, does it? Don't mind the rear end nearly touching the ground, we're tough and we can do this.. ;-)
After a fair amount of time coercing the love hotel staff, I managed to get them to let me use the internet quickly. One last message to Kevin to let him know I will be out of range of any communication of any for for 2-3 weeks. He is still enjoying surfing lessons in Lima and waiting on his parts to arrive from the United States. He gave me lots of encouragement and look forward to see each other when I'm back to civilization.
And we're off. Leaving Copiapo and any bit of civilization behind. Those three little specs on the road ahead of me are three brave men on a mission (and on very light and fast Husaberg 570's). I am doing all I can to half way keep up in a super duper heavy support truck. It struggles in first, second and third gear, but once I'm into 4th and 5th I'm cruisin! Walter checks on me and the truck often as the weight truly is a concern. But so far so good!
This is really exciting. I'm so happy to be part of this massive adventure.