Day 17 – San Pedro de Atacama to Salta


No, you didn’t miss anything – Day 16 was a combination Rest Day and Test Day but the test was canceled. Hence, Day 16 just faded into history as a non-event. Such is life …

Day 17 presented its own challenges – crossing the border from Chile into Argentina and driving from 11,000 feet up to our new high of 15.881 feet with most of the morning and early afternoon over 14,000 feet. Perhaps we are becoming acclimated to the altitude but we did not feel any adverse effects (except those weird things which might appear in the blog) from the experience.

The Customs office did not open until 8am so everyone lined up nicely and were very patient. We were rewarded with a relatively quick exit processing from Chile.


Behind these walls right along the street at the check point were little places (couldn’t call them houses) where people lived – sad and amazing …


Once we had processed out of Chile, we had a little 158 km drive to reach the Argentina border – all uphill – a very strange arrangement. The mountain on the left is an active volcano and we had to cross the flat one on the right.


This is the Andes and these pictures were taken well above 11,000 feet – a quick guess would be that this snow-capped peak was somewhere in excess of 22.000 feet.


I know you keep seeing the same cars over and over – these are the only ones we can pass. As I’m sure you know by now this is Fritz and Lang in their trusty ’25 Model A Ford.


If nothing else, the mountains are spectacular …


Another of our often featured companions, Mark and Victor in their ’32 Plymouth …


There were times I thought we were in the Black Hills …


The mountains and desert seem never ending – perhaps they are in this part of the world …


How can you get tired of this ever changing but ever the same vista – amazing.


Finally, the Argentinian border – neat, clean, seemed like a different world and efficient too. Our crossing was very well organized, not that they are ever easy but this went very well thanks to good preplanning and hands-on support by the organization at the border.


Some weren’t quite so lucky, poor Charlie (in the white hat) couldn’t find his Reciprocity Form (we charge them to come to the US so they charge us to come to Argentina – sounds fair). Seems the officials were very understanding and took a receipt for payment as proof he had paid.


More of the same on the other side of the border – mountains, mountains, mountains – desert, desert, desert …


But no, the scenery began to change – we actually saw green in them there hills …


These are really big mountains which make really deep valleys …


And the slopes are now green – no trees as we are still above the timber line but what a relief from sand and dust.


This was a herd of sheep and goats that hurried off the road when they saw Lloyd approaching – good news was no one was hurt.


We pulled into a gas station to fuel and found this lama and his friend the goat waiting for ??? I don’t think they take either gasoline or diesel …


Confirming, there is real industry in Argentina. This is the most progressive country we have visited – nice to see.


We arrive in Salta and found our Sheraton Hotel which is very nice and the bar service excellent. This is a shot of the city from our room. Unfortunately, we will not have time to explore Salta but it sure looks good from a distance as do all the houses in the area.


Unfortunately, I missed many fabulous shots of the mountains in Argentina as I was driving and Lloyd really frowns of taking pictures on tight switchbacks at speed. Maybe more tomorrow …

Tonight, we changed the carburetor back to our low altitude version for the last time. We would have been lost at high altitude without this alternative.

Tomorrow was supposed to be a short day – 10 am start and only 190 kms. to travel but we have learned that a test on a closed circuit track has been arranged and we now leave at 7:30 am – there is no rest for the weary. This should be very interesting as Lloyd is very good at these types of challenges – we’ll see.

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2 Responses to Day 17 – San Pedro de Atacama to Salta

  1. Lisa says:

    Glad the goats got the memo to keep an eye on that big white car. International news travels fast these days! xoxo

  2. Mike T. says:

    Perhaps the llama and the goat were waiting to ‘have a word’ with Lloyd but the opportunity did not present itself this time…

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