As of my last post things were looking a little grim, we were staying in a tiny dusty town in northern Argentina where i had Betsy laying on her side overnight while the epoxy i put on the engine case dried.
Epoxy isn’t something I’d usually use to repair an oil leak, but under the circumstances it was the best (only!) option, and somehow, (so far…) it’s working.
I was sad to leave Argentina, the mountains that seem to surround us no matter where we travelled were a constant source of marvel, for a guy from South Australia where the highest mountain is only about 1000m, riding in the Andes was amazing.
The Argentinian people have also been fabulous, very big thanks to Mariano Gay from Salta who helped me out by letting me work in his workshop. Side stand relocation successful!
Prior to finding the cracked engine case, we had tried to follow a track north to the border, more amazing riding as the track we were on descended repeatedly into a river bed, lots of water crossings and stones to hop across. After about 50km the track led into the front gate of a school where we were greeted by about a dozen little kids and their teacher who offered us something to eat and glass of soft drink. We sat and chatted with them for half an hour, it was lots of fun 🙂
We finally crossed the border into Bolivia where as usual Barton had some problems, it seems no one likes Americans and they asked him for $135 to get in, which he didn’t have, so he waited it out in no mans land while i went into the small border town to get some cash.
From the border we headed to Tupiza, and from there to the salt flat at Uyuni, the biggest saltflat in the world! Apparently it’s used to calibrate the GPS satellites as it has less than 10m elevation change across 50,000 square km. I wanted to try a high speed run across it but we arrived to find it covered in water, very salty water!
The ride there was more than worth it though, 200km of gravel track that wound it’s way through rolling hills and mountains, some stunning views along the way!
A little disappointed by the water in the salt plain, we decided to head straight to Potosi where Sherri Jo and another friend Patrick were hanging out for a few days. By the time we arrived it was a 510km day with about 350 of that off road, the last hour in the dark too. Shattered.
Bolivia has so far been really interesting, it’s much poorer than Chile or Argentina, consequently cheaper to travel in too. The fuel is only about 50c a litre for locals, but $1.50 for foreign vehicles, luckily the locals are friendly though so we’ve been able to get the local price a few times now.
Potosi is a cool little town based entirely on a mine that towers over the city, actually it has a bit of a European feel to it, or possibly somewhere between a poor dusty African city, and an old Eastern European city. It has these little streets that wind their way around the city, and old buildings and lots of colour, i like it.
Sherri and Patrick were there to erect a memorial for fellow overland rider and close friend Kevin who died in an accident just outside La Paz when a truck overtook another truck on a blind corner leaving Kevin with no where to go. Barton and i hung out with Sherri and Patrick while they finished off the memorial on the side of the road at the accident scene. We toasted Kevin and blew up some dynamite to send him off. (yes you can buy dynamite sticks in toposi quite freely!). It was a sad but fitting goodbye.
Ride free Kevin.
Tomorrow we’re headed to La Paz, really looking forward to that.