When I left, I headed for Cordoba where I met many Peruvian motorcyclist and Adrian. I had a wonderful evening with them and then I was back on my bike heading north. In Rosario I stayed with Andrea and Claudio for three days; they are old friends, motorcyclists and Dakar fans and we had a lot to share.
From there I headed for Salta and the Paso de Jama. As other times during my trip I had a flat right after passing the border between Chile and Argentina at an elevation of about 4800 meters. I entered a snowstorm and I kept going in the blizzard until I reached the border between Bolivia and Chile, seven kilometers later. The customs officers afraid for me in the bad weather, kindly offered me hospitality for the night in their office. The morning after, warmed and rested, I changed the inner tube and after about 40 kilometers, in San Pedro De Atacama, I found a tire repairer who vulcanized the tire. Finally, I reached Calama, a lovely city by the sea, and was able to buy a new tire from a KTM dealer.
I had a big problem with elevation. I planned to go to Sico Pass, where the highest train in the world, the “train to the clouds”, passes. During the day elevation was bearable but during the night it was agony. This is why Andean people chew coke leaves and this is what I did too, since little bags of it are legally sold around town, but even so, I didn’t fell up to it, so I gave up reaching the pass. It will be my challenge on the next trip.
In Chile I visited the Valley of the Moon, the Atacama Desert and the dry salt lakes. After I posted pictures on Facebook I was contacted by Pinuccio and Doni, two motorcyclists who, on a dated Transalp, had been travelling in South America for 4 years. We decided to meet south of the city of Antofagasta under the Mano del Desierto sculpture.