Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Road to Tupiza

Sunday 29th

We need to cover 70 kilometers to Tupiza and it´s at 2950m. We are at 3500m so it should be downhill. Easy peasy!

The ripio starts out fine as well...



And then deteriorates in to a bone crunching series of ripples, with fist sized rocks ensuring attention is focused...



Moon dust powder covers everything. Passing lorries cause white outs as it billows and hangs in the air, simulating moon like gravity as it refuses to return to earth. It´s hot too! We stop at a school in Mojo - the first village we hit to take on water. It´s "closed" on a Sunday, but not so closed we can´t get in...



And being nosy I wander in to a classroom for a look...



Once the ice has been chipped off the tap I get water. Ice! It must be 25 degrees...



Bolivian tap water can make toilet trips interesting, so to be safe we treat it with Iodine. I will introduce my system to the water to build immunity, but maybe not out on the road... and on the first day...

We take lunch in Moraya a sleepy railway town and the locals immediately surround us - their friendliness infectious. They are all smiles and nervous curiosity as they try to discover why 2 gringos would ride bikes covered in dust when they could easily take a bus.... Reason - you don´t get to meet people like this on the bus....

We wonder how it has taken 4 hours to cover 35kms. These roads are tough! We spent the morning climbing hills in bottom gear to roll over the top and hold the brakes all the way down the other side. You just can´t allow the bike to build any speed on these roads... Not if you want to stay connected to it... and it to stay in just the one piece...



15kms South of Tupiza we enter a deep canyon and the scenery dramatically changes from boring pampa, to stunning canyon valley... The Quibrada de Yamia.



Stunning views down the river valley - note dust clouds raised by passing traffic on the road...



A car emerges from the tunnel smashed through gargantuan rock formations....



We finally roll in to town after 6 hours and head for the best hotel in town. We`d be fools not to. A private room with en-suite comes in at around 8 dollars US... Maybe I`ll put the freezing tent away for a few days...