Carretera de la Muerte – Bolivia’s “Road of Death”

Well the next day I got even luckier: another friend of Eric’s had passed by the hotel just as I was coming back from Copacabana all exhilarate form my ride, and we got to talking. I told him I was heading to the “Road of Death”…Luis took the day off work and decided to ride with me. His brother also joined us, and the three of us had a blast riding together.

Several tours gather here at the top of this pass to ride the tarmac to where the “Road of Death” begins. Here’s one such group getting started.

Yup! There’s our road…

My tourguide, Luis:

A nondescript right turn gets us onto the famous “Road of Death”. while more of a tourist attraction now rather than a truly harrowing road (trucks not take the new, asphalted road). Weird rule of the road here: traffic coming UP the mountain has the right f way, and so you pass on the LEFT (severe drop-off) side of the road. Yikes!

These guys were just great. Such good company.

Juan Carlos

Luis

Other than the 6000 foot drop-offs,

the only other dangerous thing about the road are looking out for all the mountain biking tourists…

Note to self: check the tress for vultures before choosing a stopping place:

At least there were nice butterflies to look at to distract us from the stench…

End of the road leads us to Coroico, where we have lunch and I spend a lot of time looking for a “Road of Death” Tee shirt.

We picked up their nephew Erick that is a Doctor-in-residence at the local hospital, and went to lunch:

Here was the view from the porch we ate on: That’s where we came from.

Luis adds a little fuel to his bike for the ride home…

We took the asphalt on the way back.

There was a lot of fog coming back up and over the high pass into La Paz, and at one point it began to rain. That turned to hail, and the roads froze over with a slick layer of black ice…Luis nearly ate it trying to pass a truck when another truck came along with no lights, and the no lights truck skidded to a stop with the front wheels dangling over the cliff. Too much excitement for me–I just rode slow and concentrated on looking as far ahead as I could so I would keep my balance.

We made it back into La Paz and Luis led me back to my hotel.

what a GREAT! day…

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