Santiago To Vallenar

V-TunnelWe left Santiago mid morning headed for Vallenar. It would prove to be an eventful day.  The drive was spectacular.  Probably some of the most scenic of the trip so far.

Of course we had a bit of difficulty getting out of Santiago. Somehow we missed a turn and ended up on a bypass that rounded the city.  It was a mistake that was completely worth going out of our way. In the end we saw some beautiful views of Santiago, as well as some of the new tunnels through the mountains that are engineering marvels.  Chile certainly has a knack for digging and tunneling.

V-Six-guysThe entire day was a beautiful drive.  At each stop we met more friendly travelers intrigued by our journey.  At one stop we met six guys on motorcycles touring South America.

Meeting other riders on the road like this is helpful as you can share advice about the roads ahead including where to stay and eat.

Meeting new friends continues to be one of the highlights of the trip for us.

V-Solid-lineFrom mountain to coastal roads; back and forth, the variety made the day go by fast and was very enjoyable.

Traffic was heavy toward the end of the day.  Two-lane roads and slow truck through the mountains are not a good combination for Motorcycles.  We are getting very good at passing.  Sometimes passing three deep.  Do you see a solid “no passing” line.  Neither did we!

V-PoliciaAbout 15 miles from our destination we (and 4 other cars, including a bus) were waved to the side of the road by the Policia.  They had been watching us descend the mountain from a distance and noticed we had passed other vehicles several times when there was a solid line (no passing – go figure).

Of course there just happened to be a solid line at the point where they waved us over.  They asked for credentials and we kindly obliged; giving them one of our faux drivers license. Gary inadvertently grabbed the wrong one and ended up giving them his actual license.  Oops!  To get the license back you have to go to the court the next morning and pay a fine.

V-Poicia-stopSince Gary had other copies of his license we at first thought about moving on, but then the more we thought about it, the more we were intrigued about staying and going through the process; just for the adventure of course.



V-Admin-buildingWe were prompt arriving at the Police station at 8 AM the following morning.  However, after walking five blocks to the police station we were told we needed to go to the administration building which was actually next to where we were staying.  When we got there we were told our license had not arrived yet.  And that they would be there in 1 hour. So, we walked back to pack our gear and came back an hour later, with the bikes.  After waiting about 5 mins, the police car pulled up and gave the clerk a folder container our drivers licenses.  No one spoke english and there was quite a bit of confusion over what we actually need to pay.  The confusion must have been perceived as negotiation, because in the end, they offered us a substantial discount on the fine.

During the commotion, I had remembered a locksmith (Sergio) down the street that I had said hello to earlier.  He had taught English in the local village school.  I walked over to see if he would come and translate for us. He told me hadn’t practiced English in years.  He was now retired and made key’s to pay for his food.

V-SergioSergio obliged and followed me back to the administration building on the town square where he helped sort things out. In the end we paid the fine, and Gary got his REAL license back.

Coming out of the court house Gary was putting away his drivers license and inadvertently dropped his folder containing all his fake drivers license.  You should have seen the others faces when they saw all those drivers licenses.

Needless to say, we left quickly.