Bolivia deals to Men and Machines

Published: March 25th 2010
Edit Blog Post

A hot dip A hot dip A hot dip

Well earned soak in the Bolivian hot pools
Well Bolivia sure took it's toll again this year, below is a blog from Scott and one from Gerardo, for all the Spanish speaking (reading) people out there.
We are now in La Paz, so I will try and update again after our ride to Coroico and the Yangas Road of death.....
Cheers, Rosco

Scotties Blog #1

We arrived in Salta in good spirits and arriving at the best hotel in town at about 3pm. The idea was for everybody to have a rest and do washing as the temperature on arriving was approx 40 degrees. The road to Salta was full of red mountain passes. There was one place where the rain had washed the rock out completely making a huge water fall but without the water. We all stood down the bottom of this huge rock face and you just can’t understand the size of it. It has been said many times, people who have been on this trip before that photos’ just don’t do it justice and it is so true. We continue on the roads (dirt/sand) and around every new corner more spectacular mountain ranges of all different colours.

The idea for the rest
Letting off steamLetting off steamLetting off steam

Scott letting off a bit of steam
of the day in Salta was for Rosco and Gerardo to go and collect Rosco’s moto that had been brought to Salta the day before. Having the electrics sorted out the moto was now back on track and after all the troubles it was one lonely broken wire that had caused to bike to completely turn off. It was traced and repaired for about NZ$80

The next day we were off to Purmamarca which was only a very short ride of 180ks and that was what we all needed as the next day would be a huge ride over the boarder in into the dreaded Bolivia. The ride went well and Rosco was happy to be on his moto again with the rest of the team. We arrived at the best hotel in the village as usual in good time. We also found out the Garith Morgan had stayed at the same hotel so it must have been the best.

We were all ready and willing to go at 8am the next day on the dot. This day was going to be long and hard and it stood up to that in spades. The first part of the ride was pretty simple and all tarseal for about 350kms and then we crossed the boarder into Bolivia. This is when the shit hit the fan! Within about 2km of the boarder my front tyre hit a load of loose gravel, shit it must have been about 8 metres deep hahaha, and I was on my arse. No damage to me or the moto but a good quick lesson on paying attention at all times from this point on. We all soon found out why Bolivian roads were some of the worst in the world consisting of rock, sand, riverstone and add a little bit of water in places. Further into the ride a bit and Rosco thought he would jump off his bike also, he forgot to remove his ankle out of the way and ended up with his leg stuck under the moto. Just to remind everybody at home that all this is happening at over 4000metres.
After some help to get the moto off and some water and rest he wanted to get back on his moto and ride on like only Rosco would! We checked his ankle about 20min later at another rest stop and it
Just a short walk downJust a short walk downJust a short walk down

But a big walk back for Fill Up, Anne and Jane
was already double the size. Nothing that emu oil couldn’t fix. Next was Marcus who unbeknown to me had dropped his moto a couple of times with a graze to his calfe but not bad enough to stop riding. Then it was Vinces turn to drop his BMW which happened straight in front of me. I thought his moto was also on top of him and pretty much dropped my bike in one motion and ran at the same time to help. He wasn’t stuck but had also got his ankle caught on the luggage tray on his moto. He didn’t seem to be in very good shape at all and nobody at the time was sure whether he had broken it or not. His bike was put on the back of the truck as there was no way Jane wanted to ride the moto in this thick sand. We finally made it to Laguna Colorada with no more problems. The one good thing about the whole day was riding off the track completely on virgin desert sand with a bit of stone on top at around 70 to 80k, all the boys thought they were in the Dakar rally. At the end of the day, the results were 2 swollen ankles, 1 grazed calf and a total of bikes being dropped was 5.

The next day was 150km and after leaving our little hotel which consisted of a mattress on a concrete slab in the middle of nowhere. It was going to be another hard day in the sand and stones and would take most of the day. We went through more painted dessert and to the rock tree where everybody had there photo taken. We had guides taking us through this whole part of Bolivia as you would be lost within 5min of leaving the start. They supplied us with fuel, food and the right direction. We arrived in Villa Alota in good time without anymore dropsees, to a hotel that was a little bit better and even had a shower but were still struggling to find toilet paper. We had a lovely dinner cooked for us with only Marcus and Vince not liking the cooking with to much salt and feeding it back to the toilet.

The next day was another 150km which would be a lot easier so they said. No, it wasn’t that
BMW goes downBMW goes downBMW goes down

Vince's BMW being put on the truck after a heavy spill in thick loose sand
bad but the corrugations in the road made the worst roads in NZ look like a tarseal road. You are surprised at the end of the day that your eyes are still in your head, you get off your moto and you still seem to be shaking. You certainly notice the change in people and surrounding when you enter Bolivia. Not to be mean or anything but a lot of people have been hit with an ugly stick and the villages are covered in rubbish. We are very lucky that Rosco and Gerardo have found the best hotels in each of these places.

Today the team went to the largest salt lake in the world. Only Gerardo stayed behind to fix the truck tyre that also got damaged in the Bolivian desert. We had the guides taking us in 4 wheel drives across the lake to the centre which was approx 120km in to middle. The lake being 12000sq miles in circumference. Looking at the old and the new hotels made out of salt blocks and done extremely well considering where we are. We got back to the hotel to find out that the local gas station only serves the Bolivians so here we have the next challenge. Our day tomorrow will start a bit earlier as we have to back track a little bit to a gas station that will serve us but at double the price of the local petrol price. They really are trying not to encourage tourism if you ask me. Its time for Pizza so I must eat, until the next blog chow

And from Gerardo...
Hola, aqua estoy por primera vez escribiendo en esta aventura, esta ha sido una aventura dificil y no exenta de muchos problemas como ser la inundaci’on de Machu Pichu, el terremoto de Chile, en el cual hemos sido testigos ya que cuando ibamos a sacar las motos de San Antonio, estando en el puerto comenzo un fuerte sismo, lo que ocasiono la orden de abandono del puerto y alerta de tsunami, habian como 100 camiones y quedo una estampida, que debimos subir a la parte alta de este horrible lugar, donde estaba todo el pueblo. Por lo que debimos volver a Valparaiso con las manos vacias, sin motos, lo que significo un atraso de 2 dias de nuestro viaje debiendo anular una noche en Tongoy y
Jane and GerardoJane and GerardoJane and Gerardo

The first time we have been able to cross this river here.
otra en Casona Distante en Alcohuaz, Valle Elqui. Pero de vuelta a la historia en Valparaiso, llegue a la casa de Martina & Enzo y habia alerta de tsunami,por lo que ellos me dihedron que no podia irme a Vina y debia esperar, ya que la orden era abandonar la costa, pero entre porfiado- estpido y magallanico pesque mi moto y hize toda la avenida que va de Valparaiso a Vina del Mar, sin ningun vehiculo, solo unas pocas personas corriendo hacia los cerros, por lo que recorri la avenida a 90 kms por hora, solo, parecia una pelicula futurista de una catastrofe, al llegar a Vina al Hotel Ankara la misma cosa, todos los negocios y restaurantes cerrados y sin movimiento, habia una sola persona en recepcion y me dijo que el hotel habia sido desalojado y debia ir al cerro, estaba en mi moto para hacer eso cuando paso un carro de bomberos. Y se detuvo y con autoparlante me senalaron que debia irme a la punta del cerro, cosa que hize, estaba lleno de gente, estuve como media hora hasta que acabo la alarma de tsunami.
El resto de la aventura ha tenido de todo, ya
Truck washTruck washTruck wash

Fill Up trying to clear the sand and stuff from under the truck
lo habran visto en el resto del blog, una aventura personal que tuve que hacer fue irme a Calama solo y no entrar a Bolivia con el grupo, pero lo debia hacer en el paso Ollague pero esta vez solo no en grupo sin soporte, Calama una ciudad que no conocia, no era tan fea como decian, para mi gusto todas las cuidades del norte de Chile son parecidas, mucho polvo, opacas, sin el verde que da vida y casas muy feas con rejas en ventanas, con personas de tez oscura, lo que si me asombro es la cantidad de carnicerias y todas con publico, parece que son carnivoros, me aloje en el Hotel Calama, bueno, lleno de gente que trabaja en las minas, todo gira en torno a ese rubro. Fui a Chuquicamata que esta a 18 kms de Calama, pero no pude entrar se requiere autorizacion y entrar con un tour que hace la empresa, lamentable.
El dia Lunes 22 parti a las 7 am en mi aventura hacia Uyuni, Bolivia, solo, estaba oscuro y muy helado, a los 34 kms de asfalto llegue a Chiu Chiu, un pueblito tipico del norte y aqui comienza un camino
The Gangs all hereThe Gangs all hereThe Gangs all here

At the Train cemetery
bueno pero de un material entre ripio y de estabilizado con sal, que de vez en cuando pasaba a arena pero bien, pero de aqui para adelante jamas vi un vehiculo, un camino muy deshabitado, pero debi determe en un reten antes del Salar de Azcotan, el carabinero me atendio sin muchas ganas y con un gesto de muy poco amigo, quizas si uno estuviera ahi seria igual, llegue a las 10.10 am a Ollague, junto con el tren boliviano, los del SAG me esperaban para ayer, todo bien, todo rapido, estaba Patty una nina de Aduanas que trabajo en Punta Arenas que esta casada con Soto igual de aduanas que me atendio al ingreso a Chile en San Pedro de Atacama, lugar que definitivamente no me gusta.
Y de aqui a Abaroa, frontera Boliviana, todo bien, ya eran la 11 y parti a Uyuni, no existian letreros que senalaran a donde conducian los caminos, cosa muy habitual en este pais, por lo que pregunte y me dijieron que ese debia tomar, recorri como 40 kilometros de ripio y arena y encontre un jeep boliviano y pregunte y me dijo que este era el camino, continue avanzando y empeze
Philip and AnnePhilip and AnnePhilip and Anne

Missing home?
a ver unas rocas que me parecian conocerlas, al poco tiempo aparece un letrero que dice 10 kms Villa Alota, o sea error me fui por el camino que no queria y era 80 kms mas largo, pero que podia hacer continuar, el camino tenia partes estupendas y otras horrible, una calamina que te mueve hasta los dientes, ya sabia que era la bienvenida queme hacia Bolivia, llegue como a las 14.30 a Uyuni y ya estaba el grupo en el Hotel, pero con dos accidentados Rosco y Vince, con cojeras y haematomas pero pueden continuar, ya Bolivia comenzo a provocar los danos que provoca a sus visitantes, y como dicen lleva a Tierra a todos, Vince decia que la arena era lo que mas le gustaba y nos daba lecciones de como enfocar ese reto, y fue el primero en suscumbir, todo el resto cayeron menos mi otro colega que anda en una Dakar, realmente la moto es muy Buena.
Manana miercoles 24 iremos a Oruro, ciudad horrible, y con un camino que es siempre una incognita ya que nunca es reparado y el ultimo tramo llevan dos anos en arreglo, capaz que ahora este listo, no creo,
Out there on the Salar Out there on the Salar Out there on the Salar

Rosco trying to keep things under control !
el ano 2008 tuvimos un accidente grave aqui de Charlie, espero todo salga bien.
No quiero referirem a Bolivia, ya que es un pais que uno debe conocer para op inar, pero es muy distinto a los que he conocido anteriormente, su gente es unica y mejor termino aqui, aunque siempre me acuerdo lo que dijo el Almirante Merino de ellos, creo que lamentablemente tenia razon, chao………

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21



Feeling sorry for himself after his 'off' in the sand

25th March 2010

Solo es otra cosa
Hola, saludos a los aventureros. Realmente leo el blog y vuelven recuerdos muy buenos. No solo de agrado sino de momentos especiales mezclados con harto esfuerzo fisico y con esa sensacion de que a la vuelta de la esquina era distinto al dia anterior (ya no para Rosco y Gerardo por supuesto). Despues de leer tu post, Gerardo, me acordaste del tramo de Arequipa a Arica que hice solo-500 km- la sensacion que debes haber sentido es de una soledad absoluta, a pesar de todo muy especial. Bueno muy entretenido tu relato, de hecho te imagino corriendo en la moto con la idea en tu cabeza de una ola gigante detras. Sigue escribiendo en espanol, que la verdad da un poco de lata traducir.....Un abrazo para todos
28th March 2010

"Great BLog"--THANKS You guys be careful and see you when you get back. Maybe Trapper and I will get to NZ. Don,t know about shipping bikes ART

Tot: 0.053s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 11; qc: 25; dbt: 0.0267s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.1mb