21 February 2018 – Leaving Pozo Almonte driving toward Antofagasta, Chile. I typed some in my blog before I left. If I don’t, the finer details get lost as more and more details accrue day after day. If you’re wondering why the posts come in chunks, it’s because it takes a couple of days in one place with good Wi-Fi to organize and send all the pictures. When Mary gets them she has to match up the pictures with the right dates and edit the Word document before posting it all. It’s a lot of monkey business.
I bought a tank of gas and was off. It was endless brown desert again and weather worn mountains. The road was the best I had driven through Central and South America so far. I pretty much drove 56 and 62 Mph / 90 and 100 Kph all day. I actually saw a campground along side the road. That was a first. Along the side the road I saw many vehicle wrecks left abandon and cannibalized. The engines, drive trains, interiors and wheels all striped off. Basically, all that was left was the sheet metal body bleaching in the sun. I think one of two things happened with these vehicles and drivers. First and least likely they were passing a vehicle, misjudged the speed of the oncoming car and were forced off the road to their untimely demise. Second and mostly likely, they fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road to their death. Some of these vehicles looked like accordions, others had been rolled several times and others lay upside down.
Most of the desert I drove thru and the ditches were filled with large boulders and rocks. I can assure you, if your vehicle was driven into the ditch it would be wrecked even if you lived. I also passed multiple sights where some kind of a salt or mineral processing was / is going on. That’s the best I can say because I couldn’t translate the signs as I was driving. There was also a copper mine near the Tropic of Capricorn. I stopped and took some pictures of these two signs. I wanted to take this same kind of picture by the equator but there were no signs. I was let down by that. I took a souvenir chip of green stone with me. It almost looked like jade. I thought maybe with the right handling I could have a necklace made out of it. I texted Mary three pictures from the signs and ate an apple before I continued on into Antofagasta. I found the hostel I was planning to stay at. I Knocked on the door and no one answered so I moved on to a nearby hotel. I’m sure I’m happier here than at the hostel. I worked on my route and where I plan to stay the rest of the night. Blanche again navigated me right to the door step of both hotels.