43. LA PAZ TO JUJUY

43. LA PAZ TO JUJUY

2017-09-16T05:00:44+00:00March 9th, 2016|2015-16 Ride|

La Paz sits at 3500m in a huge canyon with the dramatic snow-capped backdrop of Mt. Illimani and buildings that just cling to the side! We come down a “nightmarishly” steep and busy road into the city and have two days off while the bikes get some routine maintenance – it is good to rest!! As we leave the city, we remark once more on the contrast between the “urban” and the “rural” – as soon as you leave the city limits the people live a more peasant-style existence! The road climbs out of the canyon and levels out on a huge plateau – still at over 3000m. From Challapatta to Potosi it takes on a new level and is highly rateable with wonderful views.

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Still amazing being at these altitudes with no snow!

The llamas and alpacas roam freely and are often on the roads – with one mother llama right near the centre line feeding her baby as we come past – and even with a truck hurtling at her from the other direction, she does not move an inch!!

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Avoiding llamas on the road is a full-time job!

Because we are technically still in the wet season, we have planned our route through Bolivia on paved roads and they are definitely a worthy treat! From Potosi to Uyuni (pronounced oo-you-nee) the RN5 road seems very new and takes us through ever-changing desert scenery – no traffic and just blissful riding!

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The beautiful colours in the desert scenery.

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The town of Uyuni and the massive salt flats beyond.

We arrive in Uyuni and head out to the salt flats – the world’s largest at 10,500 square kilometres – but the wet season is still evident so we can only take the bikes to the water’s edge!

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Salar de Uyuni – it will take months to dry out!

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We will come back tomorrow in a jeep!

Uyuni is another “tourist” town and there are lots of them about but it is good to have some “normal” food and some cold beers!

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In Bolivia the women wear a “bowler” hat – sometimes a lot smaller than their heads!

We return to the magnificent salt flats on a one day 4WD tour – with the first stop on the outskirts of town.

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid met their end not far from here – maybe this is the train they robbed?!

The Salar de Uyuni is the star attraction – a place of uncommon beauty – in a country that is recognised as the poorest in Latin America. The brilliant whiteness and absolute vastness are breathtaking – it’s like a white ocean with no waves!!

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We arrive on the “flats” and it kind of looks like the Hen and Chicken Islands!

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Time for some fun!

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It just goes on forever!

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We even find a Kiwi flag!!

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Salt brick monument – the Bolivians are very proud to have the “Dakar” race in their country!

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What a memorable and totally magic day!!

The Uyuni to Potosi road is just as enjoyable in reverse – such a spectacular piece of riding – then it’s a smooth run to Tupiza where we spend our last night in Bolivia. The border crossing takes several hours at Villazon and then we are sailing down the Panamerican in Argentina! The scenery keeps changing and so does the weather as we hit a “front” which lasts all the way to our overnight stop!

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Coming past the Tilcara cemetery with it’s stunning technicolour backdrop.

We find it interesting how the geography changes at a border – but it’s more this time as we head south and feel like we’ve been “transported” – as suddenly there are “shops” at the fuel stations and toilets that actually flush, have paper and soap…!!

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If you’re really wanting the “deeds” to the ranch – make sure the track is still operational!

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“If you don’t give me the deed to your ranch, I’m gonna throw you on the railroad tracks! – And then Along Came Jones….”

On Two Wheels

Just before Potosi we meet Rolph at the “gasolina” station – he has shipped his bike from Germany to Paraguay – been down to Ushuaia and is on his way up to Panama. He tells us he has “the best bike” – and he also has “the best tyres” – and that he’s been to Africa before this and in six years he’s done 65,000 kilometres!! After 20-25 minutes of listening to “the world according to Rolph” we say adios and head off – and realise he never asked us one question – not one!!

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Rolph from Germany on his BMW 1200 GS.

Best Sign

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Story of the Week

It is March and we are on the Salar de Uyuni – our last “big ticket” attraction on our epic journey across the world on our KTM’s – and it just happens to be one year exactly since we set off in Malaysia!! We continually “pinch” ourselves and have moments of “awe” – reflecting on what we have done and what we have seen!

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BikesnBeers celebrate one year on the road at the Salar de Uyuni!

And we laugh at how much is “just holding together” – our computer leads, our clothes, bags, zips, riding gear, teeth, bodies – let alone two bikes that have nearly been around the clock!!

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23 Comments

  1. Dave March 28, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Great blog loving every minute of it!! One question when are you home? Don’t need answer!! Ha ha Looking forward to catch up it’s been to long xx

    • Lee March 28, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Certainly has Dave!! Going to be a very “wet” reunion!!! xxxxx

  2. Mary Batty March 18, 2016 at 7:51 am

    One year on the road, you two are AMAZING, apart from a book, how about a film ??

    I love the comment about everything hanging together, particularly the teeth and what a great advert for your KTM’s. I hope you remember how to drive a car 🚗 XX

  3. Vicki McLean March 18, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Hi Lee& Paul, Congratulation’s one year on, what an amazing journey you both are having! Had a good look at the flags, couldn’t make out NZ…. pretty sure we need the silver fern! Take care, can’t wait to see you both sometime this year xxx Love from your mate OKxxxx

    • Lee March 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Hey Vick!! I put the one of the N.Z. flag up on the Facebook page! Great to hear from you and thanks for your wishes – we will definitely see you sometime soon xxxxx

  4. Wayne Draper March 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    One year, Well done Guys love reading of your adventures and seeing the world through your eyes. Thanks so much. Take care on the home stretch. I will enjoy having a few beers with you when we catch up next.

    • Lee March 15, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks Wayne! Definitely a few beers will be in order – can’t wait! Love to everyone xxxx

  5. Sue Hird March 14, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    We’re back home from our mini trip so it’s a late read for me. Marvellous as always and many congratulations on the anniversary of the start of the trip. I take my hat off to you two -amazing!
    Biking New Zealand is going to be pretty boring after this last year – and sooooo easy!
    Lots n lots of love.

    • Lee March 14, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Hey Sue! The added fun in N.Z. is going to be visiting relatives!!! And it will be so good have the same language and a phone!! Arrived in Chile today – country No. 40!! Looking at the Pacific tonight from a wonderful hostel with a view – will head south for a bit of a loop before we head home. Big hugs xxxxxx

  6. Raewyn March 14, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks to Annie for fixing the link!!! Another great read and photos!!! Good to see you have Paul controlled by the palm of your hand!!! We just watched a movie “The Motorcycle Diaries”. If you haven’t already seen it, I’m sure you would enjoy it sometime during your “one year of sleeping”.

    • Lee March 14, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks Rae! I think we have seen it ages ago but probably worth another look – the places will mean more!! Overlooking the Pacific Ocean again at Valparaiso – new tyres hopefully here and head south for a bit of a loop. The wine and food in Argentina was the best!! Love to all xxxxx

  7. Gay and Rob March 13, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Congratulations on the one year anniversary! Omg don’t you go falling apart on us, the story isn’t finished yet. The pictures and stories are still a real treat to read you two, so keep it up as we are still loving the blog. Missing you, can’t wait to see you again, and to think it’s not long to go now…. Take care and keep dem eyes on the road 🙂

    • Lee March 13, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Will do blue!! Miss you too! We cross in to Chile tomorrow, skirt Santiago and head south for a bit of a loop of Patagonia! Getting quotes for freighting bikes home…feels weird! xxxxx

  8. Paddy O'Connor March 11, 2016 at 4:10 am

    I also see the Victoria, Canada sweater Dad bought has made it all the way down.

    • Lee March 11, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      It’ll probably last as long as the Bintang one!! Very special that sweater as we bought it with you! Good memories of that trip Pad xxxxx

  9. Paddy O'Connor March 11, 2016 at 4:07 am

    One year is pretty cool. well done!!

    • Lee March 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks Pad! Just three more crossings of the Andes to go…

  10. Aynsley March 11, 2016 at 2:11 am

    Congrats on one year anniversary! And for your next act ?

    • Lee March 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Sleep for a year!!! Then take the bikes to N.Z.!!! xxxx

  11. Phil and Evol Prince March 10, 2016 at 7:19 am

    Congratulations you have been on the road for a year. What an amazing journey you have shared with us. Have loved following your posts guys. I’ll enjoy a beer in celebrations!!

    • Lee March 10, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks Phil! Can you make it a cold Boags!!

  12. Annie March 10, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Oh WOW! what an amazing blog!
    With the WordPress hiccups I was worried it would be lost! That would have been a disaster!
    Some amazing photo’s – just love the one with Lee holding Paul in her hand!

    CONGRATULATIONS MY BELOVED FRIENDS – 1 year of adventure+ and you’re on the home-stretch!

    Love
    Annie

    • Lee March 10, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks BFITWWW! The photo is a pearler huh! We are on schedule for the end of the month…ready for home now xxxx

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