Ｂｏｌｉｖｉａ - tour from Salar de Uyuni to the Yungas road of death
Since i'm addicted to travel, , I used the winter to start another adventure with the help of Hein-Gericke - Feel the ride, Motorrad - Europas biggest Motorcycle Magazine and Touratech - New Ideas for Motorbikes and Mitas.
Here, it was very cold and I found a total different type of plants. Many huge cactus plants were growing towards the sky and made me feel like an ant.
Luckily, I never had problems to get petrol every 150 km along the main road. I found a nice place to pitch my tent at the house of funny students.
In the evening I reached a big crowd of people and suddenly I was in a big Rhodeo event. Different cowboys were trying to stay on a wild, jumping horse for as long as possible. Most of them fell down after a few seconds.
The next morning I started very early and followed the road 68 to Salta. The recommendation by Andreas' father was really good.
Here it wasn't to hot and I really enjoyed to ride my bike through the beautiful landscape.
The new build tar road followed a winding river through big canyons and past small villages. On the video controlled road blocks the police only asked where I'm from and let me go on.
There were only very little trucks but many tourists.
Many times animals crossed the road. They always seem to wait until they see a vehicle and then they started to walk in front of it. Now the Puna de Atacama ended and it became much greener again.
The nice, winding road from Salta towards San Salvador de Jujuy went past some really nice rain forest GPS S24°30'34.0" W065°20'26.4". I could hear many birds and insects.
It was stunning to see all those big trees and other plants. Some plants were even growing on the branches of other trees.
Long Liliana's tried to reach the floor. Only some monkeys were missing...
I stopped many times to watch the beauties of nature and to take a lot of photos.
Despite all the beauties, one always has to have respect for the rain forest. Specially in this tropical climate there life many snakes but there are also diseases like Colera or Malaria.
As evening came, I started to look for a place to sleep very early. I was allowed to stay at the jachtclub at GPS 24°25'52.1" W065°17'14.1" near a small lake. I was even allowed to swim in their big pool. Ke Bueno.
OK, there was no Internet and specially if you are travelling alone, you miss this way of communication, but still, I enjoyed the place.
Now the sun goes down past the lake and I will watch a documentation about the motorbike club Hells Angels instead of making a fire.
Luckily, there was electricity so I could also do some work on my web page. For dinner I had chocolate, which I was carrying since a few days.
Traveling these days isn't anymore like it was in the old days. Thanks for watching anyway ;)
When I woke up, the sun was already shining. Like every day, first thing I did was to brush my teeth.
Then I packed my sleeping bag, my air matress and my tent. Then I swapped the 12 Volt Battery charger with my GPS Navigation system to it can look for satellites, checked the Oil and put some grace onto the chain. Then I was ready to leave.
This daily routine does not take more then 15 Minutes. After Jujuy I went up the Paso de Jama towards the Chilean boarder.
The higher I went up the winding road, the more my small bike lost power. At 4170 Meters my maximum speed was only 50 km/h at 8000 turns per minute.
It did not help to give more gas. Then the engine started to vibrate and took too much petrol. It was the oxygen what was missing. The only thing I could do was to ride more slowly then usual.
Even at this altitude, it was really cold and windy, I saw many Alpacka Lamas beside the road. They did not mind the climate here.
I could feel the missing of oxygen. My heart was beating very fast and even little things like putting the motorbike on the stand made me gasp for breath.
All the effort was gone when I saw the salt lake at GPS 23°35'35.9" W065°53'17.3". On this very touristic place, many people were selling figures made out of salt. They were all wearing masks to protect them selves against the strong UV light of the sun.
I also was wearing sunglasses and long sleeves clothes and used a lot of sun lotion in my face. Carefully, I rode my bike on the white white ground. Now and again, there were places with water. That's where it was easier for the locals to take out the salt.
Back down in the valley I wanted to buy petrol for the trip towards the Bolivian boarder. But the first petrol station did not have any petrol. So I had to ride another 50km to see that the next petrol station had petrol, but there was already a a very long queue of waiting cars. I took my jerrycans and went past all the waiting cars to the front end of the queue.
Here the guy who was selling the petrol worked very slowly. Between two customers, he always disappeared for a few minutes to change money or so. I took the chance, filled my jerrycans and gave the surprised man the exact amount of money when he returned. That's what I call German efficiency.
The road to Bolivia went 180 km up to 3500 meters. A strong wind was blowing towards me, which reduced my travelling speed to 60 km/h. I saw many backpackers along the road who were traveling using the public transport.
A few kilometers later, some protesters were blocking the road. When I went past the waiting cars and tried to cross the barrier, they offered me some food. Suddenly, I found those people much more sympathetic ;)
On the boarder town La Quiaca I found a hotel with WiFi, which I was allowed to use to tell my family I'm still alive. Especially if you are travelling alone, I find it very important to have Internet to connect with my friends back home.
While I was searching for a place to sleep, I was send to a free camping place called camping Municipal GPS S22°06'31.2" W065°35'35.2". Because this place was in the middle of the town and everybody could enter it, I did not feel save there.
When I told a story about my virtual friend has being robbed in Argentina, I was allowed to camp at the police station.
In the morning I went to the boarder to Bolivia like many other people but the officer who was in charge of the export of the vehicles did not want to work. He just sat there drinking his mate and did not care about all the people, who were patiently waiting for their stamp.
After 4 hours I finally got the stamp and they accepted my insurance. I was allowed to cross the boarders over a bridge. There was already a big crowd of a few hundred backpackers patiently waiting for their entrance stamp under the hot sun.
In Tupiza I wanted to refill my jerrycans on a video controlled petrol station. Because I was a foreigner, they wanted 9 instead of 3,7 Bolivianos per Liter from me.
Because I did not want to pay more then everyone else, I asked another customer to bay the petrol for me. Then they noted his Bolivian numberplate like they always do on their list.
I quickly bought 3 buns with vegetables and salad for only 2,50 Bolivianos. That's what they call hamburger here. Then I went on. The Andes went on and I had to stay on 4000 meters altitude. Here, my small Honda did not get enough oxygen and therefore did not want to go very fast even I had screwed the "Gemischregulierschraube" all the way in wich helped a bit.
50 km outside Potosi I came past many flowering carcases and past numerous empty houses. Because I did not want to drive anymore and it started to rain, I pitched my tent in one, which still had a roof GPS S19°56'05.6" W065°34'23.0".
I always thought to own a house feels much better. To be polite, I went to my neighbors to introduce my self, but they were not interested in me and closed their door.
The people in Bolivia seemed much colder and not so hospitable then the people in Africa had been, but since I did not have visitors, I had time to write these lines :)
On the next morning, I drove from Potoso to Uyuni. The street except the last 20 km and some construction sites is all tar by now. From Uyuni I had to ride 25 km gravel to reach the salt lake at GPS S20°17'55.2" W067°37'03.4".
When I arrived a big storm started. Dark clouds were on the sky. Because I also knew it can get very cold at night, I did not feel like pitching my tent. I wanted a house.
While travelling, I got a different perspective of some things. When I reached the village, I already had seen an empty house, which was good to sleep in. I had another look through the windows: yes there was no one living in.
As the new owner I could even invite some other backpackers to stay, which I met outside.
The house must have been an old hotel. It was completely made out of salt. Even the Tables, the chairs and the beds were made of salt. There was a fireplace, where my gusts made a fire to cook spaghetti. It was nice not to be alone for one evening.
After a not too cold night, the salt lake was filled with water and had become a big mirror. Because of the beautiful light I took some photos. My motorbike had to act as my model again.
Again, my nice little Honda had to work hard to go up all those mountains back to Potosi. There even was a strong wind coming towards me, which reduced my speed to 30 km/h. When it also started to rain and then to snow, I felt really bad.
My mood did not became any better when the man at the petrol station in Potosi called the police because I did not want to pay the double tourist price. The police man insisted me to poor the petrol into the drain. Bastard.
My mood only cheered up when I found a place with Internet GPS S19°35'07.8" W065°45'22.2" and had something nice to eat beside the road. Then I left Potosi and went towards Oruro.
On the next petrol station, I tried to get petrol again, but the guy did not want to fill my jerrycans. I took the pistol and tried to fill them my self but the man blocked the machine. Then I sat on the floor waiting. All the other customers around had to wait as well. Finally I was allowed to fill up, payed the normal price because jerrycans are not foreign vehicles and went on.
A few Kilometers later, I found a place to wild camp in a mine. I was a little afraid when I heard big explosions down the hill, but still did not want to go on.
It was raining the whole night and the following day. It only stopped to start snowing. I decided to ride 550 km to La Paz, the highest capital town in the world.
Its amazing how many bad things you can handel, if you know you will have a dry place with internet to skype with your family in the evening.
It was raining and snowing again, when I went to ride the Yungas road. It's also called el Camino de la Muerte or Road of death.
Still every year up to 300 people are dying here like the bus driver Cliff Richardo on 05.01.2012.
On the next working day the company started their production again. Christian invited me for lunch into his restaurant. I got some big portions of really nice food and the people cared about me as if I would have been a king.
Christian told them to supply me for a whole week and went to a meeting after we had a view on my map. He recommended me not to ride through Venezuela into Brazil and take the Ferry from Manaus to Belem.
Here, they were selling all sorts of small things. A ritual said that you have to burn a small car or small money if you want to get a car or lots of money in the next year. They also had shooting galleries and sold nice food.
On Saturday, Christian picked me up and showed me the Plaza Murillo, where you could feed the deaf birds GPS 16°29'43.90"S 68°08'00.95"W
Later on he introduced me to his family and friends and made a really big and very nice barbecue for us. It's much nicer to stay in a big city if you have friends there!
Around midnight, Christian's friends took me to another party and introduced me to new friends. That's how I met the high society of La Paz and was amazed how hospitable everybody was :)
While staying in La Paz, I also had the chance to get new party for my bike, even hardly anyone is riding a motorbike in Bolivia.
Krad Vagabunden I think I will go to Machu Picchu now, even if the weather there will be as bad as here.
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