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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaRider, Oct 20, 2018.
Cholitas wrestling - awesome!
I need to ride down there again. I’m really enjoying following along.
Thanks Powderzone! The Uyuni salt flats is my next destination which, this being the rainy season, is allegedly the largest “reflecting mirror” on the planet. I can almost taste it now.
Beware the SALT will not be kind to your moto and impossible to remove from all the knooks and cranny's causing potential grief down the road.
Too much salt is bad for you and your moto.
I have no plans of riding Salsa across the flats. Thanks for the warning, though!
Thanks for the intel on the ferry. We took the time to back the bikes on today. Hard work but made disembarking easy.
Glad being forewarned helped, but even so, that must have been quite a challenge to back up those ramps on a loaded bike!
certainly pissed off the bus drivers waiting to load. And I fell in the hole and wrecked my knee.
Uh oh!! Sorry to hear that.
Can you think of a safe way to take these ferries, for us riders? Backing down or up those narrow ramps seems to be the only way to get on and off them, and neither is safe.
It's a lake.
Is there no route around instead of across?
Never going to go there but just wondering.
Plan to cross on Wednesday...back it on, and watch for the holes, got it! Is it like Peru, will they try to pass me getting on the ferry, honk and give me the finger?
I doubt it.
What I faced were “mom ‘n pop” ferries, carrying 2, maybe 3 cars across the short channel. The one I took had just two narrow ramps, with no boards between them.
Perhaps you’ll have better luck?
Haha, I'm sure it'll be fine. 2 of us at least, help with the loading. Think I'll be in Uyuni maybe next Monday, perhaps you'll still be in the area
I’m just a bit ahead of you!!!
Just spent the day on the salt flats, taking silly photos.
Tomorrow will be heading back to Potosi, and eventually into Argentina.
Tierra del Fuego — A WORTHWHILE DELAY
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
7 January 2019
I delayed my departure from La Paz due to facing a wet, cold day of riding, and instead just lingered and caught-up on my posts.
The next day — 6 January — was perfect! Salsa and I, using maps.me on my iPhone (thanks Holkster, Shawnee Bill, and Bt10) fairly easily rode out of the city ad soon were on the open road, heading to the Salar de Uyuni, or Uyuni Salt Flats.
A beautiful ride, too! Soon enough we were on open plains, with the snow-capped Andes watching from a distance, and llamas (or alpacas, or vicuña?) grazing peacefully near and far.
Farmers, cleverly, strung ropes around their newly-planted fields, fluttering with plastic trash to keep the llamas away. It seemed to work, too, as I saw none inside the fields, but many grazing just nearby.
The road ran straight through wide valleys, into mirages far off in the distance.
After one village I noticed a crowd of people gathered near a stream bed, and stopped to see what was going on, chatting with a few of the men. It was a Motocross race, and soon enough around they came: leaping over the bumps, slipping around sharp curves, splashing through some mud puddles.
A fun break from the road.
Hours later, at the far end of one town, the road was blocked by a crowd of people and a band, dancing and weaving their way up the hill toward me. I stopped, took out my iPhone, and took a video of the wedding party, with a big grin on my face.
“It’s a tradition,” another onlooker told me.
I stopped for gas a few miles before reaching Uyuni. There, wearing a hat that read “Vietnam” and “Korea”, was an elderly Bolivian veteran. I introduced myself as a retired Navy Commander, saluted him while still wearing my helmet, and got a salute and a big hug in return. His friends and grandchildren looked on in surprise!
Finally, at long last: the Salar de Uyuni!
It was nearly dark by the time I rolled into town. I found a nice hotel, parked Sals 5-blocks away in a secure garage, and purchased a ticket to see the sights.
All in all, it turned out to be a worthwhile delay!
Tierra del Fuego — A DAY ON THE SALT FLATS
9 January 2019
The rather small town of Uyuni, Bolivia, is home to a large selection of hotels, hostels, and other places to stay. Roughly 200 “agencies” and their representatives are eager to assist tourists in making arrangements to visit the Salt Flats, with 1-3(+) days of adventures. And each agency has a 6-passenger, 4-wheel drive vehicle with drivers/guides to cart the eager sightseers over the vast salt plains and surrounding environs.
I arrived tired from a long ride, unloading Salsa, when Lourdes approached me with an offer.
“I’m interested,” I told her, “but let me finish unpacking first.” Later, though, I accepted her offer.
In the morning off I rode, with 5 Argentinians, to see the Salt Flats of Uyuni. Also on the road were dozens upon dozens of other vehicles, each full of eager tourists, too.
We stopped at a train graveyard first. The old rusty trains and cars were interesting, but I found the people exploring them to be the real fascination.
Then off into the vast salt flats we rode, slushing through shallow pools of water before parking and fooling around.
What’s there to do on a lake of salt that surrounds you as far as the eye can see, other than take photos of the beautiful sights, mirages, clouds, mountains in the far distances that seemed to float on their reflections, and take silly photos, too?
Finally the sun set, for some final pictures. Then back to Uyuni we raced, along with the rest of the tourist hoards.
A fun, long day!
Tierra del Fuego — BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
La Quincy, Argentina
10 January 2019
There’s a museum in the mountain town of San Vicinte, Bolivia, dedicated to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Allegedly both died there, on 7 November 1908, after robbing a pack train near Tupiza of a paltry sum of money. Unfortunately the museum, too, has been robbed of its displays, and is closed.
To the rescue: Señor Felix Chalar Miranda, Abogado, who lives in Tupiza. Fascinated by the legend of the duo outlaws, and now a retired lawyer, he has created his own personal, 1-room “museum” of the two, and of the ages.
He gave me a personal tour, mostly of the small stack of well-thumbed books on the subject. “Well-thumbed” is being kind! The books, literally, were falling apart at the seams, so much had he handled them over the years.
But if you’re ever in Tupiza, Bolivia, and want to know more about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, just ask around for Señor Miranda; or look for his nameplate on an undescript side street door, and give it a knock.
Then be prepared to find an enthusiastic, elderly gentleman, and get your ear chewed off.
You won’t regret it!
Tierra del Fuego — INTERESTING DIVERSIONS
Poso Hondo, Argentina
12 January 2019
Less than a week ago, due to torrential rains here in northern Argentina, a bridge along Routa 34 collapsed.
I’m on Routa 34 now, heading southeast to meet my good friend Lucas Pendino, in El Trebol, still hundreds of miles away.
But today I faced some interesting diversions while riding on Routa 34.
First, I turned onto it from Routa 9, without a full tank of gas. For miles I passed groomed fields , extensive and bordered by lines of trees on each side; but no villages.
Finally, when about to go on reserve, I stopped at a farmhouse and asked an elderly lady, tending to her garden, if I could buy some gasoline?
“Let me check,” she said, entering her home.
Soon a young man, Lucas, emerged; and soon he returned with 3 liters of gasoline for Salsa. All the while a horse, in a stall nearby, neighed loudly, as if challenging me. I walked over to befriend it, but it backed off, not wanting anything to do with me; or so it seemed.
Then, just a few miles later, we found a gas station.
With a full tank, Salsa and I were ready to keep on dancing down the road!
Then the road ended, abruptly!
Signs directed vehicles to head down a road to the right, which we did, for several miles; past more fields of groomed, extensive fields, until we finally came to the first village.
There I stopped, and asked a young man for directions.
“The road back to Routa 34,” he said, “begins there,” pointing to a dirt road I’d just passed. No signs indicated that!
“I’ll take you there,” he said, after getting permission from his mother; then led me through the village to the road, on a motorcycle than never exceeded 15 mph.
“You have to follow this road for about 15 kilometers,” he said, “then turn left at the next village and go for another 30 kilometers, Then at a police check-point, turn right. Then you’ll be on Routa 34.”
So I did, on bumpy dirt roads, trucks churning up dust so thick it was hard to see, until finally reaching that police check-point.
Once back on Routa 34 the road ran straight and smooth . . . through extensive, well-manicured fields, bordered by trees, reaching clear to the horizon and mirages beyond.
By this time, though, the sun was starting to set. In Poso Hondo I found a nice motel, and grabbed it for the night.
A long but interesting day, of diversions.
Those are the kind of days I like if I'm not on a time crunch. You find things you would have never found on your planned route.
Tierra del Fuego — LAST DAYS ON EARTH
13 January 2019
A late post:
RN21, a small road that runs between Uyuni and Tupiza, Bolivia, is most scenic; but a good portion was under construction when I rode it. Here though, in this part of Bolivia, is where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid met their demise — allegedly!
One long diversion, up and down a steep mountain on a winding dirt road, brought me up close with some fascinating, colorful rock formations. They’re the same ones that the outlaws saw, from mule and horseback, as they sought to evade the law back in 1908.
If indeed they met their demise in San Vicinte, as most believe, then they picked a helluva beautiful place to spend their last days on earth!
Tierra del Fuego — AN “AWWW SHIT” MOMENT
13 January 2019
A late post:
On the way to Jujuy, Argentina I passed a small Pueblo with its cemetery perched high on a cliff, overlooking the people below. It looked like a great photo opportunity!
Making a quick U-turn I found the road leading to it, and started up. Soon, what began as a “normal” dirt road became steep and narrow, with a sharp drop just at the edge.
There was no way to stop and turn around safely. At this point we were committed, so onward we rode, to the top of the cliff.
Although interesting, the cemetery became an afterthought at that point.
How in hell am I going to get down safely, I wondered? Is this where I’ll meet my demise?
Dutifully I snapped a few photos, then started back down the steep, narrow dirt road.
“Let your gears do the braking,” I remembered Lynn’s lessons. “Stay off the front brake.”
On a fully-loaded bike, my heart racing, I started down.
Finally we reached the bottom, safely, without a single slip or slide. Lynn’s lessons on riding on dirt saved me from what could have been a real “Awww shit” moment!