The Wife takes on Chlamydia. A South American Retrospective

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ChrisUK, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Foz do Iguassu and Paraguay

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    Here’s a first. The ride from Curitiba to Foz do Iguassu didn’t involve rain. But it included a snapped chain. I had a spare link but couldn’t get the effin link retainer on with the tools I had. There was a work platoon cutting the grass verges where I had rolled to a stop. Despite my 3 words of Portuguese and the guys speaking no English, but having an ax to use as a hammer, they knew exactly what I was trying to achieve and I was on my way pretty quickly. One fella was definitely a biker. The chain guard was rather mangled, but clearly had done its job.

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    Joelton owns a super hostel in Foz that welcomes bikers too: La Manga Rosa. Many asados, super craft beer and caipiroskas made the time fly. Here’s Einstein the dog helping me replace the chain guard



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    Walter, Joelton and Moritz. I rode with Moritz through Mongolia in 2012. He film the infamous “How not to cross a river” video. It was great to catch up




    Moritz’s website is at 1World2Go | father and son travel the world on motorcycle

    The 2cv belongs to Walter. It’s not just any 2cv. It’s a 2 plus 2. A motor in the front driving the front wheels and another in the back driving the rear wheels!! He’s based in Coronel Oviedo in Paraguay and runs tours. S�damerika Abenteuerreisen und Backpacker Hostel in Paraguay (Bolivien, Brasilien, Argentinien und Chile)



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    Impressive from any angle



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    And from any distance



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    An iguana at Iguassu. See what I did there!



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    Don’t let anyone tell you that Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, just over the border from Foz, is the source of cheap tyres or tubes for bikes. All you can really get is cheap Chinese made plastic tat. Eventually managed to get a couple of tyres, but the supply of tubes was close to zero, that I had to reuse my old patched tubes again. Replaced front wheel bearings too.



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    I dropped in on Walter. Little did I realise how long, hot, boring and straight the roads between Coronel Oviedo and Salta in NW Argentina would be.



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    This pub, somewhere in flat, hot Paraguay caught my eye ;-) The heat was compounded with my heated grips turning themselves on and the only way to turn them off was to cut the power feed with with a borrowed pair of scissors from a tyre puncture repairer man on the side of the road. He told me he had once fixed a German BMW traveller's puncture...

    My impression of Paraguay was of friendly people who don’t see many European or North American visitors and where every public building has a guard sporting a pump action shotgun at the door.
    #21
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  2. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    The 2nd leg: Through Paraguay, across northern Argentina to Salta and fun on Ruta 40 northbound to Bolivia


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    The red line maps my progress through Paraguay, across northern Argentina to Salta, then a fun ride along the Ruta 40 northbound to Uyuni in Bolivia. I didn’t ride the NW part of Argentina on my last trip in ‘00/01.



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    Didn’t take many pictures along the highway from the river border with Paraguay via Formosa. It was a long, hot and straight transit stretch. Many many hours. Luckily some petrol stations had free wifi and (expensive) icecream.

    I remember camping at a gas station near a big junction on my first night in Argentina. The local kids turned up in their cars or on scooters at about mighnight and one chap proceeded to play his car radio (tasteless) music really loudy. I wandered across to politely ask him to turn it down. He complied. Just as I was crawling back into my tent, the volume went up again… :-(

    Said music playing youth (and his sidekicks) of the town of Ingeniero Juarez on highway 81 now have a much better appreciation of estuary English and a greater understanding of the English for different parts the human anatomy and what can be achieved with a tyre lever. They left and I got some sleep. :-)



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    A preview of happier times to come on the famous Ruta Cuarenta.
    #22
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  3. rattis

    rattis Long timer

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    Reading this I want to go back to SA, NOW!
    Thanks for ruining my evening:D
    #23
  4. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Apologies. Further evenings might get ruined too. Sorry :-)
    #24
  5. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Salta to Cachi and the start of the best bit of the Ruta 40 heading north


    I really was glad to reach Salta, but sometimes a couple of very long slab liaison days need to be gotten out of the way to reach the good stuff. I did take some pictures in Salta, but seem to have put them somewhere safe... It was a fun city with a good vibe. A little bit off the main gringo tourist route. This added to the charm. I changed money on the "Blue" (=black) market

    The Ruta Cuarenta is now paved all the way from Cafayate to Rio Gallegos, about 3500km. I'll be whingeing in a future post about how boring that made it. However the northern 1500km to the Bolivian border is still superbly dirt. And great "out there" scenery. And as I didn't ride this bit in 00/01 made it even more special.



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    At first the road was still paved



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    Interesting scenery



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    Yes it is



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    Cachi is a pretty little village. A French GS tour was in town. I only spoke with one of the guides who seemed quite pleasant, but couldn't chat much as he had to get back to his customers. They must have been pretty needy. Or maybe it was because I wasn't wearing a shiny riding t-suit? 2 broken GSs on the backup truck



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    GSs have been said to benefit from having a truck following them.... I wouldn't like to comment, other than to say that on my Millennium trip, a truck would have been helpful



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    On FB this picture got a lot of likes. Dunno why. Moobs?



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    About 80 clicks out of Cachi on the way north up the gravel Rta 40 I got a rear (slow) puncture. Luckily near a little village a couple of km off the trail. Pumped it up and headed there. The tyre wallah did a good job. I hate fixing punctures



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    Passing traffic



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    Is that a scrambler, Mister?



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    Not many signs (of anything) up here



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    A sidetrack I would love to have explored. But having only passed about 5 vehicles all day, I didn't fancy my chances of getting myself out of trouble on my own.
    #25
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  6. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    A few more impression of Route 40 towards the border with Bolivia


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    Forgot this picture of Cachi from the previous post. Muy bonito!



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    Abra El Acay Pass. 16.000 feet above sea level



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    And the machine says so too



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    Breathtaking views! That’s the track I'm going to ride next



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    Bridge over ravine just beyond La Poma



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    I’m sure a geographer can explain the rock formations



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    More



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    I wild camped over there for the night. My cheap Brazilian camping stove turned out to be utter sh!te



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    Let’s go left then



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    Fuel stop where the R40 crosses the main paved linking northern Chile (San Pedro de Atacama) with northern Argentina (Jujuy).

    Stickers, the new caveman’s rock paintings?

    Everyone who does a vehicle trip around South America these days seems to have stickers and loves leaving their mark. I (only v v briefly) felt guilt for not having any of my own to swap/stick somewhere. Then I got over it. I did however take to adding stickers to the bike in order to hide the Chlamydiac symptoms it was displaying. Beware though of jet washes!!

    Shouldn't really take the p!ss out of people with personal stickers. I've got my name stuck to my crash helmet and on the bike a la Dakar racer. How embarrassing is it to have A positive as a blood type when your profession is school teacher. Why not B- (....must try harder)!



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    Pretty good view



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    Really useful street sign… Just as well that I had my gps!



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    The border to Bolivia. I had just ridden the most fun 1500 or so km of the Rt 40. I tried riding the other 3500 or so too, but a closed pass from Chile to Argentina later in the trip thwarted my attempt. But as I did a lot of it in 2000/01, I have actually ridden all the rt 40. Maybe I should have stickers made?
    #26
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  7. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Argentina border to Uyuni the first time

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    Welcome to Bolivia. Much more, for me, the “real” South America. Unfortunately progress isn’t just coming, but it has arrived. Hence super smooth paved roads.


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    But not always. This link between Turpiza and Uyuni town will be paved soon. A lot of construction on this stretch. When chasing the 2016 Dakar I rode the other way: Uyuni to Turpiza. There had been a lot of rain and “fun” in different ways


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    One careful owner. Never been off road. A little lay down… Note the importance to take a picture before picking bike up! Unsurprisingly, with a back tyre sporting a less bold profile and the new shock which I was about to need, the bike rode much better and allowed confidence at speed



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    Muy rapido necessito. Don’t bottle it Mr Bright!



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    In 2001 this momument hadn’t been built. Locals eating ice cream.

    Virtually the same location 2001:

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    Locals in traditional dress and young backpackpackers, the principle visitors to Bolivia. The iPhone generation. I also frequented eateries that had passable wifi. No wifi, no custom. Guilty. In 2001 internet cafes were the norm. Some were still in Uyuni, but doing no business



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    Bolivians seem incredibly positive about the Dakar race. Here a beer advert.



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    Mum and kids



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    Edwina Scissor Hands



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    Railway workers statue 2015

    Same statue 15 years earlier:

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    Train cemetery, just outside Uyuni



    In 2001 they were shooting the first BMW 1150gs Adventure brochure. Here in Uyuni. My face ended up in brochure too!! More on this in a later post:

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    The 2001 story is at Chapter 22 The Big Trip
    #27
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  8. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Revisiting an old favourite


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    The Salar de Uyuni is always worth another visit. I was there on my RTW trip in 2001. Now there’s even a Dakar monument in the middle (ish) of it. The salt pan itself was used one year as part of the racetrack, but by the end of that Stage there were a multitude of DNFs. Water, salt and electrics really don’t mix too well.



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    A pretty sight. The world’s flags at the “original” salt hotel on the Salar. There appear to be about 10 hotels with the name Salt hotel around and about now. Quite a few nowhere near the Salar.



    In 2001: the only, same as pictured above, Salt hotel:

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    A lot of hyperbole gets used these days, including rubbish words like extreme, hardcore and adventure, when actually most thing that people do are incredibly average. The Salar is definitely awe inspiring, mind-blowing. Just wow!




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    The obligatory self-indulgent picture of myself. Wooly hat and shades make me look better. The sun may be shining, but it ain’t too warm at 3650 meters above sea level!



    1990s helmet paint jobs weren’t that good were they! Surprised I wasn’t riding the bike wearing a purple shellsuit!!

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    Camping with a like minded soul. I found that meeting other (motor) bikers wasn’t easy. Contrary to my last trip (without the benefit of the internet and forums like this one to arrange meetups) I seemed to run into many more m/c riders. But I did bump into Raymon from Spain cycling around South America on his pushbike. The biggest of respects to all these pedal cyclists. I just have to park my (fat) arse on a m/c saddle, press the go button, twist the throttle and I get to where I’m going easily. These guys have to move themselves and their luggage every inch of the way.



    Isla del Pescada where we camped, in 2001:

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    A favourite picture of mine



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    Because I like it so much, here’s another. We camped next to the island, more precisely in the wind-shadow of the island as it was blowing a howling gale!



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    ¡Buenas dias!



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    Where will the road lead today?



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    Contemplating breakfast. Raymon was carrying on and I was going to return to Uyuni town to collect supplies and extra fuel before following in his tracks. I aimed to catch him up pretty quickly. I never did…



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    Raymon heads southwest. The island dog looks after him longingly. Maybe he fed him better than me



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    Always a good idea to get a thorough wash down… High pressure hoses aren’t good for stickers!!
    #28
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  9. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    History repeats itself: Another shocking tale…

    After returning to Uyuni town, stocking up on food and (expensive, over-priced) fuel (Gringos get charged twice what the locals pay) and spending the night I head off across the Salar with the intention of riding the Lagunas route south-westwards towards Chile and San Pedro de Atacama. I don’t get that far.

    After coming off the super smooth Salar, about 12km before the hamlet of San Juan, after 80 or so seriously bone-jarring washboard track I slow down to stop to admire the view (actually I’m knackered and need a breather). There’s smoke coming out from under the seat!


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    I was about to jump off the bike and run as I was expecting flames. Having a 27 litre Molotov cocktail explode next to my bollocks didn’t seem such a good idea. Conveniently there were no flames and I dismounted in a more relaxed fashion, but did back away a little distance to consider my predicament.

    The stock Kawasaki shock that I had rebuilt in Brasil had well and truly expired!

    I have form when it comes to blowing shockers. Here’s a pic from early 2001 of my Beemer shock lashed together with a tyre-lever and webbing near Gobernador Gregores in the Argentinian Patagonia:

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    What to do? Try to retrace my route or limp on to the next town on the map. The last 2 places I had ridden though were virtual ghost towns… I rode on towards San Juan. I think I even saw Raymon’s bicycle tracks in the sand. They were definitely from a pushbike and and pogo-ing along at marginally faster than walking pace I had plenty of opportunity to look closely at the dirt and sand just in front of my front tyre.

    As the shock was shagged the bike wouldn’t sit on its stand properly: so, lean it against a wall. I found a guest house and asked the owner if she knew anyone with a truck. Her husband beckons me to follow him.



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    We agreed (an admittedly generous) price, but he did have the only truck in the village and was willing to set off virtually immediately back to Uyuni town, about 200km away



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    Despite having no personal or professional connection to the South American road haulage business, I’ve probably spent more time than most people in the back of trucks in the lands south of the Panama Canal.

    Here’s a pic from ’01 when hitchhiking with a new shock back to my bricked up Beemer:

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    Truckin’ with the man and his wife… Making it into a shopping trip? Fine by me.



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    …and their very cute puppy.
    #29
  10. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Extracting myself from a pickle: With the help of good people

    Having gotten the KLR back to Uyuni town I now had to make a plan. 15 years previously I sourced a new shocker for my BMW from Germany. My parents who live in Germany ordered it from the Dutch Ohlins dealer (cheaper), drove there to pick it up and posted it to a friend in England who was flying to Puntas Arenas in Chile in order to go trekking in Torres del Paine. Wifi didn’t really exist in those days, so I had written a draft on the library computer in Gobernador Gregores, saved it onto a USB stick, hitchhiked for 3 days and emailed it from an internet café in Puerto Natales. The email to my English friend went something like: There’s a shock absorber already on its way from Germany to your address in England. Can you please bring it to Chile? PS. I don’t have a Plan B.

    This time with wifi/ skype and cell phones, things can be much easier. The hotel in Uyuni had strong wifi, not the usual for Uyuni, nor Bolivia. I fired off some messages to the Horizonsunlimited Communities in Bolivia asking for a delivery address as my previous experience of parts shipping with DH-Hell to South America wasn’t so good, to put it mildly: Chapter 17 The Big Trip I also posted my predicament on the HU Facebook group and a chap suggested a tour company in Arequipa might have one kicking around.

    I used the Skype app on my cell phone in order to call Arequipa https://www.perumotors.com/ He said, yes he had a new shock I could have, but it was for a Gen 2 bike. Then I got an email reply from Robin of the La Paz HU Community. The paraphrased email chat went something like this (remember: he’s neither met, nor ever heard of me previously…)

    Robin: Yes, you can use my address for a delivery, but I’m just at the airport and will be away for a week.
    Me: Where are you flying to?
    Robin: Miami, USA
    Me: How do you feel about me having a shock absorber delivered to your hotel in Miami and bringing it to Bolivia for me?
    Robin: Sure, no problem
    Me: Thank you very very much!!

    (Robin had also offered me the shock off his bike –different make and model, so not compatible- Also his mate Oscar had offered to lend me the shock off his Gen 2 KLR)

    Modern communications technology is great when good people use it!

    I had a shocker sent from Texas to Miami and despite Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the weekend coming up, it made its Monday afternoon plane-ride from Florida to Bolivia.

    While waiting, I took various buses to Potosi to do some tourism and Samaipata to visit an old friend. Here’s a picture to start. That’s dynamite with a fuse in my mouth!

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    More tourist pictures to follow.
    #30
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  11. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    You’re either on the bus, or off the bus (Borrowing a line from Tom Wolf’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”)


    While waiting for the shocker to wing its way from the US, I stayed busy. It was time to see how the other half lived. In my younger days I had been a bus tourist/ backpacker, until the bus I was in Namibia in 1992 was overtaken by a German on a Honda XL500 with alli boxes. Buses ain’t bad, in fact for just vegetating from place to place, they’re perfectly fine. On a bike I enjoy the journey, not just the destination. I travelled to Potosi, then Sucre, then Samaipata before heading for La Paz to collect the shock. Then another bus back to Uyuni where I had parked the bike in Mr Hotelman’s furniture storeroom.

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    Potosi was one of the principle reasons for the Spanish to invade/colonise South America. The Cerro Rico mountain that overlooks Potosi generated substantial amounts of silver. Today the mountain is a half or third of its previous size and mining still goes on. Following 100s year old ways of working. A popular tourist/backpacker activity is to take a tour into the mines to see what goes on. Everyone takes gifts for the miners: dynamite, fuses, weedkiller (propellant), cigarettes, alcohol, coca leaves

    How about this as a Tinder profile picture? Do you think I’d get many right swipes?



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    The blue face scarf I bought on the tour :-) Or this as a Tinder picture? Says a 1000 words, no? :-)



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    The miners work bloody hard!



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    Ditto



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    Ditto ditto

    I took this picture the last time I was in Potosi 15 years ago. There’s a good chance this miner is dead today as the life expectancy down the mine is 17 years. Go down the mine at 14 ish, dead by 30ish. Asbestos hangs off the tunnel roofs… industrial accidents… Work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in these conditions.

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    Checking the ore quality. With a lump hammer



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    Refining the ore. Some nasty chemicals involved



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    18th century type factory?



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    Health and Safety has arrived in Bolivia. What use it is, I don’t know



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    Welcome to The National Mint of Bolivia



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    The shoe shine business a bit slow today?

    In 2001 the portrait photo business a bit quiet too:

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    Knitting, waiting for the bus with Cerro Rico in the background
    #31
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  12. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

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    cool stuff!
    #32
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  13. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Heel kicking, bus riding, bench sleeping, good people meeting. Sucre, Samaipata and La Paz


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    Sucre was a fun town to visit. Here there’s some sort of protest. The campesinos (peasants) are often striking. As part of their civil unrest, roads get closed. I never encountered anything like that in Bolivia. In Colombia I did though



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    Whitewashed government building



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    Mika is an old biking buddy who has been around the world and in some pretty unusual places, including most recently into and out of China with his own bike, all without a guide http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ride-tales/riding-through-china-i-did-82852 He now resides in the beautiful town of Samaipata.

    The bus dropped me off at 4am, so I slept on a park bench in the main plaza for a couple of hours. At 6.30am I was welcomed by the lovely purr of a less than silenced DR650 motor :D

    Shortly there’ll be a Bolivia HU meeting that he is helping to organise. The ride there is well worth it and the destination is awesome: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/events/bolivia-2017



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    Back in La Paz I got to meet Robin, the shock mule, and Oscar. Both top blokes.



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    The offending article… Looks shiney, doesn’t it? Worked well until it started self-dismantling itself after 3 months. The only thing worse than a Progressive shock is the Progressive customer service department handling of a warranty claim. Progressive and “Customer Service” in the same sentence is an oxymoron, but more of that later
    #33
  14. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    It's been a little while since the last installment. Apologies. Things are a bit hectic and now that the weather is improving, bikes need riding...


    On the road (of the Lagunas Route across the Altiplano) again

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    It's great to be riding again. Especially with (for now) working suspension. I rode most of this route in 2001. Some journeys are definitely worth repeating! Breathtaking views. Literally and figuratively.



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    Last rays of sun at my wild camp. It got cold, but the sleeping bag did it's thing. And the stove failed again, so it was cold tuna and bread for supper



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    Nice morning for it



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    Room with a view



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    Twisters that headed my way



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    Not much pollution here



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    Undulating terrain



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    Navigation wasn't so difficult. It was knackering riding, so every so often in order to take a breather I took a picture



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    The famous Árbol de Piedra



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    And again in 2015

    Now with the Wife in 2001:

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    Similarities and differences? Answers on a postcard please.



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    Bloody flamingos! They're everywhere, turning up here and taking all our jobs. Laguna Colorada



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    Hot tub in 2015, including entry fee with changing rooms and a restaurant. And in 2001 with Lars and Tini from Germany on their Trans-Americas 2001 trip. No entry fee, no changing room, nor restaurant. But because of Health and Safety considerations in both cases it's important to wear protective head attire... :

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    Didn't encounter any pedestrians in 2001. In 2015, this (British) chap. Barkin' mad pal! Also came across a bicyclist from North America. He seemed utterly knackered, and in the spirit of helping fellow travelers I felt he needed a packet of cookies and 2 liters of bottled water more than I did...



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    Similar location to this pic from 2001?:

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    Laguna Verde 2001. 43 litre Acerbis gas tank and 2 x 4 litre oil cans strapped to it when I set off from San Pedro de Atacama towards Uyuni. 51 liters of gas for over 600km. With the altitude and the hard going my fuel economy went through the floor, but I made it.

    In 2015 on Chlamydia I set off from Uyuni towards SPdA with 27 in the tank and 6 or 8 liters in cola bottles on the back. After the fun stuff, when you hit the pavement on the Argentina to Chile road it's down hill for about 60km if I remember right. Just as well, as I free wheeled with the motor off most of the way and arrived in SPdA on fumes.

    I think the 2015 route was longer (and in ways more difficult and scenic) because it followed more high-Altiplano lakes than 2001.



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    Does this picture look like it was taken at the same place as the front cover of the 2002 BMW R1150GSA brochure, see http://www.barrierobsonbmw.co.uk/downloads/data/R1150GSAdventdata.pdf



    Funny you should mention that Mr Bright!....

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    Right place, wrong time? In 2001 I stumbled upon and into the photo shoot for the 2002 R1150GSA brochure



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    Init. In the clothing section (page 30) and on both sides of the pullout poster. The same picture 3 times. Subliminal message: You can either ride a shiney GSA and wear a shiney BMW jacket or ride an old scabby shed and wear second hand stuff bought at the BMF rally at Peterborough. The choice is yours. Make the right decision!



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    No joke... When I got home after my 99 to 02 trip I spammed all the BMW headquarters I could think of. I now have said brochure in 10 languages! "You probably think the song is about you".



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    What the brochure sezz... ;-) There's a bloke on the HUBB who likes trolling me: Lots of pointless stuff that probably makes his chest swell with indignation. He even wrote in the guestbook on my website at www.bravenet.com - A Bravenet.com Guestbook Interestingly enough, it's possible to edit others' words to make them very different, even positively sycophantic :-) Does he not realise I have wool in my flies and shouldn't be messed with?



    Another 2001 picture I like:

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    And from 2015

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    Highest Customs office in the world?



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    In no mans land between Bolivia, Argentina and Chile




    2001 trip words are at Chapter 22 The Big Trip
    #34
    Max Wedge and roadcapDen like this.
  15. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    God's Own County
    Update of local map (Leg 3)

    Here’s a map(ish) (actually screenshot of track log in Garmin Mapsource) of my route (clockwise) from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile, to Arica, then on to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon in southern Peru, to Lago Titcaca, and back into Bolivia to La Paz, the bicycle tour marketing ploy of the "Road of Death" and on to Samaipata for Christmas 2015

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    #35
  16. Spicciani2

    Spicciani2 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2015
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    mobile AL USA
    I am thoroughly enjoying delving into your current and past rides! Keep it coming!
    #36
  17. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    God's Own County
    Glad you like this RR!
    #37
  18. Nanuq

    Nanuq Aventurer by Trade

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,147
    Location:
    Point Hope, Sitka & Biorka Island- all in Alaska
    Awesome! Thank you for sharing!
    #38
  19. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    God's Own County
    Thanks buddy!
    #39
  20. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    God's Own County
    Down the Hill to Chile and then north to southern Peru

    After a brief attempt by the Chilean border officials at San Pedro de Atacama to justifying their existence (attempt to persuade me to remove all my luggage and carry it indoors to shove it through their xray machine… I explained it was too hot for me to do it and that the aduana man should unbolt everything and carry it to his machine himself or not at all… it was agreed that he could use his fancy machine to look in my small rucksack only), I entered muy muy caro Chile. European prices rule here, which if you’re a tight-arsed descendant of a Jock isn’t so good.


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    San Pedro de Atacama is rather quaint with its desert setting and colonial architecture.


    Here’s also a pic from 2001.:

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    South America is full of younger backpacking types, from North America, Europe and other far flung countries as well as local ones, in particular from Argentina. SPDA attracts more than its fair share, justifiably so. It's a pretty place and tourism central.

    A large (certainly visual) amount try to make money at traffic lights and other public places as what would loosely be described as “entertainers”, usually jugglers at traffic junctions. They were there in 2001 too, but haven’t, sadly, become more talented in the intervening one and a half decades! This guy was good though: Juggling 3 batons while standing on one leg on a heavy duty bit of webbing strung between 2 trees!



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    The border crossing from Arica into Peru is straight forward as long as the name in the passport matches that on the vehicle registration document. My paperwork was conveniently in order :-) The Pan-American Highway along the coast is 1000s of km in a straight line. Why would anyone just ride that when inland up in the Andes there are great roads, views, culture and history? I rode it a short way before turning off towards Arequipa, a city I hadn’t visited before



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    When stopped under a tree for a comfort break (it was bloody hot!), spotted this chap refilling the drinking troughs for his cattle



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    Arequipa is very pleasant. Great views around the Plaza des Armas. What a backdrop too!



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    The Cathedral



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    And again



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    Again again



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    I recall this still is a convent, as it has been for centuries. None of the resident ladies were available for a chat (up)… Probably already tucked up in bed, in order to be prepared for another dawn session of genuflection and flatulation
    #40
    joenuclear likes this.