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Day 394 – 6th January 2010

Posted by TravellingStrom on January 6, 2010

Wednesday – Uyuni, Bolivia

This was one of the toughest dirt rides I have done. And btw, the internet connections are so bad down this way it is extremely painful to upload photos, so once again I am way behind but still alive despite what happens

I was up at sparrow fart getting packed for a long days ride, so after taking a few pictures of the town from the roof top I went to get my bike, I had been Bolivia’d again as I found out and it took another ten minutes to get the damm bike free, idiots, I had told them I wanted an early start!.

But, after a short while we managed to get our bikes out and tell the lady that no, we will not pay for parking, we are paying the hotel enough money, talk to them about your cut!! A bit late now, but on the way and after some unusual navigating( ie, geographically challenged) we managed to find the correct road south to Potosi.

Today’s crew was Graham and Sue, Johannes and Judi and myself to start with. Gino had grabbed a cab and taken off for Potosi, about 165km away and would meet us somewhere on the other side of that town after he had gotten his bike sorted. So, the first section was fine, it was just a repeat of what we did the other day, not boring just not new, but it was still fun 🙂 Some of the scenery was still nice to look at and of course it was from a different direction 😉

Once we got to the small village short of Potosi, we found a small Chinese chook joint where we were once again Obolivianed when we tried to order food. For some reason cold drinks are not available and once again, we would prefer the drinks now, not later, with ice if you can. We did get fed, but we are counting the days until we leave this country, surely Chile will be better, mind you we said the same thing about Peru!! Maybe our expectations are a bit high? Never mind, after lunch a chap outside on an Africa Twin was interested in my Vstrom and we discussed price, it may be worth following up, but I would need to lower the price a bit, it may still be worthwhile though 🙂

After this we waited up the road at the Uyuni junction for Gino for a short while, but at 1pm we headed off, Gino is a big boy and can find us a bit later as we would be going slow on the dirt. We did not get far, some dudes at a road block wanted money for us to use the road and after some heated argument we forked out the dosh. They said it was a private road, but I am not sure, the people sitting down selling stuff sure were not interested in having their photos taken!

Once moving again we were very surprised by the fact the road was paved, maybe that money is being used for something useful after all!

Mind you this did not last but 15-20km or so before we were on dirt. This also started out quit easy and fast but I still dropped my tyre pressure, the only one to do so. I ended up with a bit lower pressure than wanted in the front, but no worries, 17psi is good enough with a new tyre 🙂 The road did get worse, corrugations, soft sand and loose rock which made it quite challenging especially with the rain about to start!

It was a slow old ride but the views were great when there was a chance to take the eyes off the road occasionally 🙂

We then hit the rain and lucky for us we found a nice stretch of smooth slippery bitumen, I think I preferred the wet dirt actually 🙂

Well, not this wet!!!!!

I had been leading and stopped because a small bus was coming through, so I watched where he went and it was nowhere near the above location. I had waited to tell the others which line to take when Graham came along and thought, why is Richard stopped, no worries here and went in, straight into a big hole and nearly tipped the missus off 🙂 I went in and helped push him out with Sues help, of course we now had boots full of cold freezing water, brrr! The actual track to take was to my right, meantime Johannes had turned up and went left, so I was the only one to take the bus track and even then I went deep into a hole, but came out fine.

The rain did stop after a while and we were soon back in the dust and climbing through some nice valleys. We stopped for a break a short while later and just as we were leaving, Gino came flying up behind us, he was so happy to see us he promptly came to a stop and fell off the bike, 😆

After that little interlude it was onwards through more slow climbing hills and once again another stop for a rest an hour or so later. I am not sure if this is “Thunderbirds Are Go” or “Ziggy Stardust” but Graham sure looks the part 🙂

It was now after 5pm and the road started to get harder, basically we had been through a lot of detours via crap muddy side roads, and now we had corrugations PLUS big berms of gravel to contend with. I was getting good pace through here, as long as the track I was in did not close up, but I was getting a lot more confident with this type of terrain and was reaching over 110kmh in some sections, probably a tad fast 😉

So, now we had it all, wet muddy crossings, dry dusty roads with corrugations and deep loose gravel and also some trucks to contend with. It was a long and tiring day and it was gone 6.30pm that we came up over a crest and saw Uyuni down there on the plain, whew finally!

Now it was a straight run into a dusty old town with potholed dirt streets, but after some searching we found a sort of OK place and were soon booked in and looking for food.

Of course we were Obolivious to the fact that this was not going to happen easily. The recommended place was packed and being served by one person, after 30 mins of waiting we left without being served, in fact not even looked at 😦 But, we found a street BBQ we had passed on the way down here and had a nice feed and beer there 🙂

We had checked with the hotel and we were going to arrange a tour to the Salar, or salt lakes the next morning. The only bad thing was no internet in the rooms, so that meant no work could be done online, but I did manage to snaffle the foyer PC and check email. We shall see what happens tomorrow, as Chris had phoned and said the tyres had been released and they would arrive tomorrow arvo and the extra tyres would be bussed here as well. Things are still up in the air with me as far as the Dakar was concerned, I wanted to go via the border but needed more in info as far as directions were concerned, we had 4 different maps between us and all the roads are in different places. Not a good idea travelling though desert like that!

Day – 238 miles and 383 km
Trip – 48,317 miles and 77,759 km



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