Day 70 – Iquique to San Pedro de Atacama

What a day! Last night was kind of cool as well – we went around town to look for a restaurant and ran into Fernando, a local Iquiquean who showed us around and had a couple of beers with us at a bar/restaurant along the beach. Nice town.
Well… today started out with a wonderful breakfast on the 15th floor of the hotel we stayed in.
Then I went to the Yamaha dealer to see if they had a spare tube for my rear tire which I completely forgot to look for yesterday.
I ran into a Brazilian couple – Marcos and Antonela – – who are rode from Brazil to Machu Picchu and are now heading back the same way we are going, just a day later than us!!
Then I met another motorcyclist – a Swiss guy on a Tenere 600 who’s name I didn’t get unfortunately.
The spare tube turned out to be a lot harder to find than expected but finally got it at a Michelin store.
We headed down the coastal road to Tocopilla – beautiful desert and ocean scenario!
At a checkpoint we stopped at a bar where we saw 3 bikes – another 3 were leaving. There was a 1200GS Adventure, an F800GS, and a KLR. The GSes were being ridden by a British couple in their 60’s – very cool couple – they had done the entire world already – amazing! They were going North though so our contact ended there.
The KLR was being ridden by Steve ( – an American living in Panama. He was going the same way as us.
My rear tire was still vibrating annoyingly so.
In Tocopilla we stopped for gas and to take a look at the wheel. Yesterday a mechanic said it was because the tire was being worn down unevenly, another said it was because the inner tube had formed a bubble. Finally the tire repair man in Tocopilla nailed it – some of the weights that balance the wheel out were missing!! The wheel was out of balance!! OBVIOUS!!
Unfortunately no one in that town performed that service.
So we kept on going and stopped in Calama to see if we found someone who would balance my wheel – no again. Nice little town though…
Then we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama!!
Before we got into to town though we took a right into the Valle de la Luna to see the sunset.
PERFECT timing – we got there – walked up the hill and saw the sunset.
We ran into 3 Italian guys who had rented 3 KTM 990’s just like mine in Santiago and were going up to the Salar de Uyuni – a stretch we skipped due to lack of time – next trip 🙂
We also met some Brazilians who were traveling through the region on a van and 2 motorcycles. They gave me some good tips about the road we’re going to take through Argentina.
We have never ran into so many motorcyclists in this entire trip – was pretty cool – I guess this place is pretty special – so we also decided to take a day break here – our second PLANNED break so far 🙂
The town is amazingly cute, full of tourists and nice hotels. We are staying at the Terrantai hotel.
Tomorrow we shall do some “real” tourism 🙂

From Motorcycle NY to SP