While in Antofagasta I decided to take care of some needed repairs and also do some minor maintenance on the GS. An oil change was in order and I have always used Mobil 1 oil in my GS and did not want to change to another brand at this point. I paid dearly for the Mobil 1 oil in Chile. It cost $20.00 a quart. WOW!! I also wanted to change the tires on the GS back to the street tires since I would not be on dirt roads until I got much further south. I also needed to have the back rack re-welded since it had cracked again. The tail rack was in one piece but developed a crack again from the pounding it took crossing the Bolivian desert. I was able to take care of everything in one day without any difficulty.
After a couple of days in Antofagasta I continued traveling south. Not far from Antofagasta I visited a monument named “La Mano Del Desierto” (the Hand of the Desert). The monument was made by the Chilean artist Mario Iranrrazabal. His idea was to have this hand waving at people traveling to and from Antofagasta.
I rode across approximately 150 miles of Atacama Desert again. This desert is considered the driest desert in the world and has existed for over 100 million years. After many miles and many days of traveling at very high and dry elevation, it was nice to be able to breathe nice, moist air once I approached the coast.
I stopped for the night in the small coastal village of Caldera. Caldera was a very quant village with a bay full of fishing boats, cargo ships, and a plaza full of souvenir shops.