A long drive today trying to make some headway south. Today signaled the first of a few milestones, the vehicle ticked over 40,000 miles on the odometer, and we left the Atacama desert behind finally. Coming up in the next few days are 30,000 trip miles and S 30° latitude.
The major town today was La Serena on the coast from where we turned inland into the Valle de Elqui and towards the town of Vicuna. A little side trip from the Panamericana that we have been told is pretty. The desert scenery of the past week or so gave way gradually to a more balanced ecology during the day, until tonight we are beside a river, and within the shelter of pine and gum trees.
Just near the town of El Molle we found a nice little campground called Tikal with sheltered camp sites set among pine and eucalyptus trees. Water, electricity, toilets and hot showers in the morning.