Day 91 (23rd Feb) At San Pedro de Atacama
We set out this morning to visit the nearby Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), which is located quite close to San Pedro. A short time after we left, the bike’s front fairing (cowling), onto which the windscreen and headlights are fitted, started to vibrate and judder far more than normal. We pulled over onto the roadside verge and found that one of the two mounting points which attaches the fairing’s supporting frame to the main frame of the bike had failed. Back at the campsite, Mark removed the fairing panels and the supporting sub-frame to find that the steel bracket, onto which the sub-frame is bolted to the bike’s main frame, had sheared-off at its upper position. In short, the fairing assembly was only being held in place by one of its two bolts.
The campsite’s owner, Braulio, kindly phoned a contact who he confirmed would be able to weld the broken section of bracket back in place. He said that the welder would come to us at the campsite later in the day, but having waited around all afternoon and into the evening it was clear to us that it would be ‘manana’ (tomorrow).
We spent the rest of the day reading books we’d found in the hostel’s communal lounge. I chose a book for Mark titled ‘Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps’ by Allan and Barbara Pease. Despite the book being 20 years old, the facts and the self-tests one could do were very interesting and explain a lot of things! After getting lost a few times with my map reading I now have an excuse and can blame my genes! I’m a lot better with the GPS maps when I only have to follow the green line on the phone screen, but thankfully Mark has a very good sense of direction so can always work out where we are…..but he still doesn’t listen!
Day 92 (24th Feb)
We were up early in hope that the welder would appear in the morning, but we could have had a lie-in! We spoke with Nayira and she will find out for us what is happening with the welder, so in the meantime we had to stay at the hostel in case he should appear. We spent most of the day talking with other travellers staying here, and then walked into the town for a late lunch (when it became obvious no welder was going to come today either), where Mark tried a tasty Guanaco stew. We’d seen these animals roaming the vast steppes of Patagonia, and he didn’t think then that one day he’d be eating one; however, it was very similar to venison and he enjoyed it.