Finding Freedom...World Wide Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The stone carvings here are from the same era 1000 ACE to 9000 BCE as the artifacts in the museum of Belen. Walter took us around to several sites that you would never find on your own as they are out in the middle of nowhere.

    [​IMG]DSC08019 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    The plan from here had been to head OFF OFF road and drive on the Salar de Antofalla (the longest salar in the world), camp out, and then make it back to the dirt road 300 km north on the RP 51.


    The combination of the altitude, the freezing temperature, the possibility of no gas available in the next tine town, and Sara being sicker today we opted to be safe and back track 332 km to civilization and normal altitude in Santa Maria. It’s a good thing, since arriving there Sara went directly to bed and didn’t get up until the next morning.

    [​IMG]Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 6.28.02 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    [​IMG]santa maria amanche 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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  2. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    She was a bit better today so we decided to get going north. On the way out of town there is a huge statue of Pachamama. Pachamama is the goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. In Inca mythology she is a fertility goddess. After the conquest by the Spanish the figure of the Virgin Mary became united with the Pachamama for many indigenous who were forced to convert to Catholicism.

    [​IMG]Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3.27.01 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    [​IMG]santa maria amanche 9 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Just 21 km out of Santa Maria is the small village of Amaicha, which has an amazing Pachamama Museum. From here we rode north and thru Cayfate (which is a very cute town) “ on our way to Cachi up the ruta 40”.


    [​IMG]santa maria amanche 66 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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  3. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Our plan had been today to head up to Cachi, but Sara was still not feeling up to 120 km of dirt, washboard, and steep mountain roads, so we drove 25 km thru the vineyards to San Carlos after a total of only 84 km and STOPPED and actually ate lunch! Heading 19 km back to Cayfate we found a nice room in a small hostal. They have a nice square here full of restaurants.

    [​IMG]Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3.27.01 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    [​IMG]santa maria amanche 13 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    The road north from here 189 km to Salta is amazing on the RN 68.

    [​IMG]Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3.27.49 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    [​IMG]salta cachi 52 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    It looks a lot like Utah with the red rocks.

    [​IMG]salta cachi 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    We saw 4 tour busses pulled over on the side of the road so we checked it out. It was a very cool ancient waterfall from a now dry lake that created a natural amphitheatre.


    [​IMG]salta cachi 9 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    It was so nice arriving in town to be greeted by Clive (my motorcycle over lander concierge). He had rented us a great fully set up apartment with underground secure parking and with a view of the cathedral for 22$. He also of course had wine, vodka, and food for us.


    This evening we went on a walk of the area, the main square, and to see the Cathedral.

    [​IMG]salta cachi 24 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    Dan made friends with an empanada in the square.

    [​IMG]salta cachi 23 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr
  4. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We decided to do a day trip to the isolated mountain town of Cachi, since we had missed it on the way up to Salta. This is an awesome 159 km one -way ride that Google says takes 5 ½ hours, but Dan did it in 2 ½. He says this is in the top 5 roads of the trip so far.

    [​IMG]Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3.45.33 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    From Salta you backtrack on the 68 about 30km on the pavement to the turn off.

    [​IMG]salta cachi 34 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    The rest of the way is paved except a few small patches and about 30 km on the switchbacks up the mountain, but on very good gravel. You ride along the river on the valley floor to the end of the valley and then up.. up.. up to 3700m on the switchbacks.

    [​IMG]salta cachi 39 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    The view from the end of the valley as we head up the mountainside.

    [​IMG]salta cachi 57 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    The last 80 km is across the high plateau with stunning views.

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    The town itself is a tourist enclave, with shops restaurants, and wineries. We stopped for lunch at the famous Oliver wine bar.


    [​IMG]salta cachi 78 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    The locals grow a lot of peppers and dry them in the sun.


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  5. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Today we are headed to the border of Bolivia. The border town of Yavi is 391 km north from Salta.

    [​IMG]Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3.28.53 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    Gassing up on the way out we took this picture of the very cute gas girl to add to Trevor Angel’s collection of cute gas girls. There was this crazy huge armadillo sculpture on the edge of town too.

    [​IMG]pumamarca yavi 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    The ride north from Salta on the 9 is fantastic. The route thru the valley is on a very curvy paved road that is only 4 meters wide and about 30 km long.

    [​IMG]pumamarca yavi 4 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    A great stopping place for a snack is the cute town of Pumamarca in the valley of the seven colors.

    [​IMG]pumamarca yavi 17 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    There is a very old church here with a 700-year-old tree.

    [​IMG]pumamarca yavi 24 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    Arriving back at our bikes we found this police man “guarding” our bikes. He told us we had left them alone too long and they could go missing. He was not at all worried about this guy parked next to us with all his gear. He even has a long board skateboard.

    [​IMG]pumamarca yavi 28 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    Just up the road is an artisanal shop with a huge Llama and a cactus with a nice rack (Andi). This is the first time we had issues with gas and altitude. The 650 especially did not like it and several times the power failed and twice the bike died at 3900-4200 m. Phew and we have not even got crappy Bolivian gas yet.


    [​IMG]pumamarca yavi 31 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    Arriving at the border at 4 pm we had lots of time to get to the Bolivian town of Tupiza in 65 km. Driving up it was eerily quiet. This was because there was a roadblock on the Bolivian side and the border had been closed all day. They said it would open at 7 the next day. We drove 38 km to Yavi Chico because we had been told it was a nicer place to stay then Yavi, it’s not. So we headed back to town and found a hotel. Luckily there was a room with the border closure and there was also a large tour here with 12 bikes.
  6. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Today we are in for a big day with crossing the border to Bolivia (country number 16) and 210 km of dirt to Uyuni.

    [​IMG]Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3.31.48 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    In the morning we were up at 630 to make it to the border early as we expected a huge line up after the closure the day before. There was no one there and we were second in line behind one of the guides from the tour dealing with the support vehicle!!!

    [​IMG]Uyuni 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    Pulling up to the border go under the covered area and park to the right along the curb. You will see a number of windows to your right. You start at window number2, which is where you get the Argentinean exit stamp for your passport. Then you head to number 3 where you go into the office and up to the counter of the Aduana so you can get your Argentinean temporary permit cancelled. You need your passport, permit, proof of insurance for Bolivia, and bike title. In January we had bought 6 months of insurance on the net from an agent in La Falda for Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil. This avoids the previous problems we had heard of people getting hassled by the Bolivian police for insurance you cannot buy at the border.



    [​IMG]Uyuni 3 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    Pulling up to the border go under the covered area and park to the right along the curb. You will see a number of windows to your right. You start at window number2, which is where you get the Argentinean exit stamp for your passport. Then you head to number 3 where you go into the office and up to the counter of the Aduana so you can get your Argentinean temporary permit cancelled. You need your passport, permit, proof of insurance for Bolivia, and bike title. In January we had bought 6 months of insurance on the net from an agent in La Falda for Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil. This avoids the previous problems we had heard of people getting hassled by the Bolivian police for insurance you cannot buy at the border.

    [​IMG]Uyuni 7 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    Then proceed to window number 4 this is Bolivian Migration. Then wave at your riding friends back at number 2. The officer will give you a 2-part form in English to fill out and stamp your passport to enter Bolivia. Lastly go to window 5, which is the Bolivian Aduana. They will want your passport and title. They will get you to sign 2 copies of the new permit. Make sure you check the VIN carefully. This was the stumbling block as their Internet was on and off. Despite actually being the second in line the whole thing took over 90 min.

    [​IMG]Uyuni 8 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Finally they will come out and check you plate number.

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    Next head across the bridge to Bolivia, where they will check that you have completed the import process.

    [​IMG]Uyuni 11 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    We headed into Bolivia in dense fog and a temperate of 1 degree. We had planned to stop to get money in Tupiza in 110 km. Luckily the tollbooth agreed to take Argentinean Pesos (the toll is 5 Bolivianos or about .80$ to get to Tupiza). They give you a receipt to show at the next tollbooth.


    [​IMG]Uyuni 15 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    About 80 km later we came across a roadblock of several loads of rocks and dirt. Daniel went across to see what was going on. Basically the police were trying to explain to the protestors that blocking the road was unconstitutional. Their response was that blocking the road was their constitutional right. Dan finally said in Spanish “ excuse me, but I don’t understand what the problem is here. Can we pass with the motos?” The leader of the protest said “si”.

    [​IMG]Uyuni 17 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    The only way to cross was over and so Dan drove the bikes over. This took two tries for Lulu because she is so low. In between I flattened out the top and removed a few rocks. Dan’s bike was no problem.

    [​IMG]Uyuni 20 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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    After this was a tunnel and then the road was again strewn with rocks. Where they were really blocking the whole road the locals had made a 1-foot wide walking path that we could just drive up.



    [​IMG]Uyuni 35 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

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  7. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Arriving in Tupiza we found the square and an ATM that “spoke” English. Despite what we had heard about Bolivia (horrible drivers, bad food, and very unfriendly people) we found just the opposite. That good vibe continued to be true for our whole visit to this country named most unfriendly in the world by CNN.


    Just outside of town you head off road 208 km to Uyuni on the route of the Dakar. The first 104 km to the town of Atocha are very hard packed good dirt and gravel. We could travel at 80 km at least. There is actually a toll and a barrier blocking this dirt road again of 5 BS per bike. There is not too much traffic on this road, but it is still very dusty when there is some. We stopped in the town for an empanada snack. The 650 again was having some issues with power and cut out a few times on the steeper hills.

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  8. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
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    knight likes this.
  9. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
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  10. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The road after this got quite a bit worse, but the views were still stunning. The gravel got deeper in spots and there was a fair number of sand pits up to 20 meters and some mud pits too. There are a few ruins of towns also. We met this young guy who was planning to take 4 days to get to Uyuni with all this gear. Google says it’s a 10- hour drive from Yavi.


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    Shortly after this Dan noticed his front tire was flat. We pumped it up and drove a few more km to where we could get off the road to change the tire.


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  11. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    After this the road& was full of sand pits into which I did take a nap. Daniel will admit my bike with the 19-inch wheels is a lot harder to ride in sand and mud.

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    The last 50 km was even tougher since we were so tired after an 11-hour day and there was more sand and the deepest corrugation we have seen on the trip so far. I thought it would shake out teeth out. Driving directly into the sun as we approached Uyuni it was blinding especially with trucks causing tons of dust.

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    We arrived into Uyuni mentally and physically done, but still had to drive around to find a hotel. This is the worst part of any day on the road actually. Pulling up in front of the Hotel Julia we parked and just then Charlie McCormack pulled up and said “ this is the hotel with the best wifi and hot water and I know a good parking lot 1 block away”. Another Moto Concierge I’m going to get used to this. He was right and he also knew an amazing pizza place.

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  12. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The next day we all went out to the train cemetery to check out the metal. This is a major attraction here and is about 3 km outside of the town of Uyuni along the old tracks. In 1892 the tracks were completed and this town was a major hub for trains carrying minerals to the coast. The local Aymara indigenous people constantly sabotaged the route. In the 1940’s the mining industry collapsed partly from mineral depletion and many trains were abandoned here producing the train cemetery. Interestingly these same people blocked all road access in and out of Uyuni for 5 days last week to protest the mayors plan to build a “tourist only” bus station. The military finally came in to break up the blockade.

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  13. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Walking back thru town it was market day. The traditional costumes of the Bolivian women are really colorful.

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  14. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The plan for the rest of the day was to head out onto “the Salar” and camp out.

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    The Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat (10,582 square km) and is at 3700 m elevation. It formed from several prehistoric lakes and is covered by a few meters of salt crust. It is known for its extraordinary flatness with only a 1- meter change over the entire area. The salt crust covers a brine pool rich in lithium and contains 50-70% of the world’s lithium reserves. The flatness makes it ideal for calibrating altimeters of satellites and taking funny perspective photos.

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  15. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We bought our first Bolivian gas at twice the price the locals pay, but at least they sold it to us. Actually we pay the real price for gas and the locals are heavily subsidized/placated by their populist government with cheap gas.

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    There is a 20 km dirt road out of Uyuni to access the Salar of which several sections are very sandy. When you arrive at the town at the edge of the Salar there is a hard packed dirt road with tons potholes. Once you get to the salt you will see piles of salt for photo ops.

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    About 2 km farther there is the Dakar sign. The salt is very smooth and not slippery at all. We drove basically along the jeep tracks the 70 km to and around the Isla Incahuasi. On the way out we stopped for some pictures and a snack.

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  16. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Driving back about 30 km we took a right turn about 4 km out into the salar and pitched our tent, made some dinner, and set up the time lapse for the sunset. The night was not that cold at only minus 5.


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    Sara was still fighting the flue and unfortunately had some trouble with the 3700m altitude with a severe headache (brain swelling). Dan got up at 6 to set up the time lapse for the sunrise. Dan said, “ Sara if you can get up to see this you should”. She did and then promptly barfed out the tent door. Luckily some Tylenol and hyperventilation helped a lot with her oxygen level. We packed up and then set up some perspective shots. The most important task for the morning was to get the bikes washed of salt.

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    knight likes this.
  17. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Check out our Salar video. If you watch very carefully during the sunrise timelapse you might see Sara lean out of the tent to :puke1




    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NWO3100R8Vs?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" width="853"></iframe>
  18. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,231
    Location:
    Sugar Land, TX
    Great update!
    Love the sunrise and sunset time lapse on the Salar. :clap

    Sorry to hear about Sara's altitude sickness... It sucks!

    Small detail:
    Solar comes from the word "sol" (sun)
    Salar comes from the word "sal" (salt)
    Hence it's sAlar de Uyuni.

    Buen viaje!
  19. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Thanks! I noted my typo on the video banner and the flicker photo label after the upload to the net. Sorry for the mistake. I must stop doing blog reports late at night! Hope to see you in Venezuela when we come up the other side of SA in spring 2015.
  20. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,231
    Location:
    Sugar Land, TX
    Will be glad to help you with whatever you need and hopefully we can meet for a ride together or at least a get together with some more local riders.