April 30, 2010

I left La Paz later than I’d like, destination: Uyuni. Once I left the valley that La Paz lies in, the road was f-l-a-t. But it was high and cool, and I was sooooooo looking forward to reaching the salt flats in Uyuni.

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It was about 4:00 when I hit Oruru, and I decided to stay there for the night. Unfortunately, I had to do about 5 laps of the town, plus stop at 4 different hotels, to realize Oruro was e-x-p-e-n-s-iv-e. Like three times the price of La Paz. And I though Bolivia was supposed to be cheap!  Anyway, I ended up at Hostal Boston for about $7 with a shared bath, and I could not believe my eyes when they opened the car park:


They were from Argentina and we visited while I unpacked. They were also headed to Uyuni the next day as well.

Back on the road, I celebrated my first day of travel again with a STEAK at a Brazilian restaurant.

The side dish was smushed rice with cheese in it.

The hotel was really cold, really noisy, and I id not sleep very well. I was up before light and left the hotel. I knew I had 100+ miles of ripio to ride, and wanted to get a head start on it. I was surprised by the fact that I had 80 miles of pavement to ride before the ripio…next time I’d better look at the map closer!

It was a beautiful morning and it was c-o-l-d. I was glad to have my heated gear!

I don’t remember the name of this town, but I thought at 60 miles I’d better get some gas…I could not figure out why there was a line…they had gas…were they rationing? The line was looooooooooong and I am not so patient. I did a quick mental calculation, and decided if all the numbers were correct, I could just make it to Uyuni with the gas I still had. I also had a spare liter as reserve tied to the bike….I should be OK…

And here starts the ripio.

There were several water crossings…this one made me stop and walk about a bit to try to see the best path across. i was buying time hoping someone else would come along, but no one did. OK, I chose to follow the tracks where it looked like the majority of cars went…

And I made it to the other side. It was kinda deep and my legs got soaked.

Strange mud-and-water formations int he desert…I was glad I was riding in dry conditions and not in wet ones.

Lots of llamas along the rivers where enough green grew to sustain them…

This spot reminded me of some of the scenery I saw int eh American West last summer.

I (almost) made it…and I am tired.  Tough choice…do I ride out to the Salar, when I know I will take a tour tomorrow, or do I see it now?

I am not very patient…I voted for NOW!

I leave the salar and ride on to Uyuni.

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