I arrived back in Iquique for the third time feeling ready to be reacquainted with my travel buddy. I was able to pick Ghost up that afternoon from JP´s (my lawyer) fathers warehouse where he'd been safely stored.
The next day was spent organizing everything necessary to take off in the morning. Very excited, I set off toward San Pedro, a 500 journey, at around 10am. A funky Chilean couple I'd met previously whilst they were traveling through Iquique, had kindly offered me accommodation if I was to be in San Pedro at any point, and so to their place is where I was headed.
Everything was going exceptionally well. I was making great time, and really feeling myself sinking back into Ghosts comfortable seat. I arrived at what was to be about 20km´s or so of bad dirt road, sandy and slightly bumpy. For the first time in my motorcycle travels, I was trying out my earphones inside the helmet, and must say I was feeling in fine spirits whilst I had the second 'Doors' album in a row blasting into my ears, riding in the desert on my beautiful chopper, sun shining upon me.
On the dusty road, maybe I became a little too involved with the music, and without noticing, my speed was creeping up. Out of nowhere appeared a great sand ditch directly in front of me. I knew at this point, from previous experience, if I was to brake hard, I would be gone for sure. Over the top of the Doors blasting into my ears, I heard my instinct saying ´speed up and drive straight´, which is exactly what I did thinking this was my only hope. I cannot remember the exact details, however I know that as soon as we hit the soft sand there was wobbling, and then flying, which was followed by sliding.
My right leg was trapped under Ghost. I had to use force to pull it out, and lost a boot during the process. I was sprawled out beside poor Ghost, both of lying side by side, two buddies absolutely covered head to to in dust. He was leaking fuel and not looking at all very happy with me, so I quickly picked him up and we hobbled over to the side of the dusty road. I was limping around in circles (one of my beloved boots torn and still in the middle of the road) trying to work out if I was hurt. My knee was sore and bleeding reasonably, and my ankle numb.
Two passing trucks stopped. One man who's Spanish I could hardly decipher, maybe because of my dazed state I was in, or maybe because my Spanish was just still really bad gave me a drink, the other took some alcohol solution from his truck which caused agony when i squirted it all over my bleeding knee.
After crashing Ghost for the second time, I was only too pleased when he started straight up for me, and soon we were leaving the crash zone, both feeling and looking worse for wear. About 20 k´s later, feeling quite a lot of pain in my knee and ankle, I stopped to have a walk around. During this brief stop, to rub a bit more salt in the wound so to speak, I discovered I had lost the tent off the back of my bike. I did ride back with hope of finding it, however I could only come to the conclusion that someone had stopped to see what it was and found themselves a nice gift.
After a long day´s riding, which became quite cold as the altitude increased, especially with my new ventilation points in my right boot and the right knee of my jeans, which were kindly offered (without me having any say) by my accident, I arrived in San Pedro, a very cool little oasis town in the desert.
I turned up to the restaurant where my friends worked, and Loreto, one of my lovely hosts gave me directions toward their house. After some confusion, I arrived to their amazing little electricity free house, situated with a perfect view of seven volcanos.
I was greeted by Diego with a couple of shots of Tequila, and figured I would start the healing process of myself and Ghost in the morning. After a few more drinks I crawled off to bed.
The next day was my first day since meeting Ghost that I really pulled him apart. There were a few times where I found myself way in over my head, and thought that maybe I'd made horrible irreversible mistakes. This concerned me as there were no motorbike mechanics in San Pedro, but I surprised myself and managed to get him back together with all the repairs necessary to carry on with my journey, and actually Ghost was now more fitted for me than he had been at any other time on this trip.
I spent about 4 or 5 days of relaxing, a bit of partying, becoming acquainted with San Pedro, and trying to tune Ghosts quirky ways of behaving.
Preped up and ready for my ride into Argentina, to the town of Salta, the next day would be the moment of truth, would I be allowed out of Chile.