Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Road to Salta - Part 8

Friday 13th Saturday 14th

We are awoken in the plaza early that morning by the sound of children playing on swings and by lorries passing by. It´s next to the main bus terminal as well so we get around 3 hours sleep. We decide shopping for food is better than riding and finally get away late.

Strange warning signs on the road.... Honest, we didn´t eat your cow...

We enter another vast valley and ride slow on aching legs before calling an early stop to catch up on sleep. Who´s stupid idea was it to ride 24 hours anyway....

Saturday we hit a new type of ripio - this is sand and gravel and sucks at the wheels. Deep sections lurk undetected; waiting to drag the bike down and we take a couple of spills. In places it degenerates so much and is so lumpy it threatens to destroy all chances of fatherhood as bike-saddle and tender bits clash repeatedly.

We climb another 500m to around 2200m and camp freezing at the roadside. Our fire does nothing to keep out the cold and I measure minus 10 inside the tent. It´s colder outside! Michael who´s sleeping bag is made for sunnier climes, buries the fire in sand and pitches his tent on top of it to stay warm. Tents set solid in ice and water bottles freeze. It´s an ominous sign of what´s to come. If this is 2200 metres of altitude - what is in store at Bolivia´s more lofty 4000 metre altitudes. That kind of thinking keeps a cyclist awake at night....


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