Valparaiso to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Please find the photos for this entry here: Google Album - Valparaiso to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

(*The photo album for this section follows Cameron's solo ride from Concepcion to Valparaiso, documents some of the sights of Valparaiso, and covers the pickup truck drive from Valparaiso to San Pedro de Atacama - read on for more detail!) 

Before arriving in Valparaiso, we all decided to take a solo week, making our own plans and getting ourselves to a shared Airbnb in Valparaiso. Between Concepcion and Valparaiso, Noah hopped a bus and took more time in Valpo, and Eli and Cameron planned their own routes and took to the road solo. After about two and half months riding (and spending every waking moment together), we all agreed that it was a good proactive step to take some solo time. We cook together, ride together, listen to each other snore, complain to each other, etc. A week apart helped us re-center, allowed us the space to do what we needed to do to recharge. We also recognized that, when spending time with the same two people for such an extended period, it sometimes became more difficult to find empathy for each other's respective struggles, down days, etc. The time apart and reflection together afterwards has definitely helped us be stronger as a group. 

Though Noah had about ten days in Valparaiso exploring, we all met up on Friday, March 31st, and got an Airbnb to share. Thanks to Noah's prior research of the city, we got to see many of the murals (can be seen in the photo album) and took time to relax before hitting the road again. 

From Valparaiso north, we had a slightly different plan. Eli's good friend from home, Ben Brody, a veteran and photo journalist (photobrody.com), was scheduled to arrive in Santiago on Sunday, April 2nd. His plan was to rent a pickup truck, come to Valparaiso, then drive north with us to San Pedro de Atacama. Given the length of our trip, and the number of kilometers to cover, we were forced to make a decision about either busing or driving a section. We all agreed that spending time with Ben and having the freedom to explore the northern coast of Chile was the best option for covering the dry, desert region. After a long 3 day drive, we'd made it to the high desert of San Pedro de Atacama and the Valley of the Moon. The photos document the drive and high desert at 8,000 ft. Before saying goodbye to Ben, we all took a drive back to Calama to supply up with 10 days of food for the Lagoon route in Bolivia, that would take us up to between 14,000 and 16,000 ft. Unfortunately, while in the grocery store, the rental pickup was broken into and Ben's backpack was stolen. We all had belongings in the pack that Ben was going to bring back to the States, but after scratching our heads in disappointment surrounding our goodbye with Ben, we all recognized that we were fortunate to all be safe and sound and that everything stolen could be replaced. There were definitely sentimental items in the bag, but maybe this was the reminder that we needed to make sure we stayed safe moving forward.

After acclimatizing at 8,000 ft for 4 or 5 days, we're headed to Bolivia and will be sure to update the the blog on the other side! 

Please check out the comments in the photo album for specific locations, etc!

 Until next time,

  -Cameron, Eli, and Noah

Please find the photos for this entry here: Google Album - Valparaiso to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile