Today we are headed where few people seem to have gone, which is Antofogasta de la Sierra in 257 km. This route is not on google map, but is on RP 43 which heads out from RN 40 just before Hualfin. The road is paved from Belen to the turn off ( last gas) and then there is about 30 km of dirt. The rest is paved until the last 60 km from El Penon.
The 4200 m altitude hits you after “you see the first big dune” as our friend told us. We stopped when it got to 2.5 degrees to add a few layers.
When we pulled over Andi went off the pavement into deep sand for a nap.
We stopped for a break in El Penon before the last off road section. There are a few km of new pavement to start and then it deteriorates.
For a bit of fun we decided to ride on the “tarmac” sections, which have never been used in the 4 years they have been here. This meant riding over the dirt blockades or riding around in the sand. This meant riding over the dirt blockades or riding around in the sand. This avoided the dusty dirt road beside us.
The last 10 KM are pot holed with a few sand pits and dirt sections. Just before town there is a large black lava field from the two nearby black volcanoes.
Arriving in Antofagata at 3200 m we met up with our friends from La Falda who had managed to book us rooms here on this long weekend. The room was nice enough, but since there was no heat or insulation and the window did not close all the way it was the same temperature inside our room and outside minus 10, but at least not with the added wind chill. The worst part was Sara now had Andi’s flu and combined with the altitude was pretty miserable.