This article is dedicated to Gael, Val, Glop, Bilou and Eric : relative and friends left one day on motorcycle and that never came back.
I meet Francis as planned to enter in Bolivia by the south. He failed few days before from San Pedro de Atacama because of the snow, so we will try an other path from Calama. The border is 200km far (road and track), then 150km on Bolivian side to reach the first gas station of San Cristobal. The bike should have 400km range, but with the altitude, and if we have mud or sand or if we get lost, it could be difficult to reach.
We have different maps. They all give different information. We will see... We just take care to have fuel, food and water for 2-3 days, just in case, then we have fun on this wonderfull track around the volcanos!
Breakfast at 1200 feet high!
As we are travelling together, we use this oportunity for some action shots, because when we travel alone, this kind of picture is not easy to get!
But the weather becomes bad. The lightnigs are very frequents now...
As there is no tree to protect from the rain, there is no other choice to go on...
... and the storm will finally go just behind us. Ouch!
The problem is not really the rain itself, beut to have a wet track, with mud, and holes without possibility to know how deep they are.
Finally we reach the border. A small village isolated. We ask where we could buy few litters of fuel, but no positive answer.We have to try with what we have in the tanks.
At 12000 feet high, this border also take care of train crossing between Bolivia and Chile.
I told you I forgot to go to the imigration office when I entered in Chile. Now the problem is they cannot put the stamp of "exit" if I don t have the "enter" in Chile. They explain me also that I am on illegal situation in Chile at the moment. So finally they suggest that I go fast to Bolivia, and they wikll do as if Chile never saw me.
We ask about the track to the Bolivian custom officer, and how to reach San Cristobal. They explain us tghat there is a new track that goes directly to San Cristobal. I looks so simple. About the condition of the road, it depends a lot of the water falling in the previous days or hours. We will see. let's go!
The track is wonderfull Ñ Some sand but not too muchñ mud but not stickyñ rocks but we like itñ and always altitude ladscape and light... with dark clouds...
We go slow to enjoy the track and the lansdcape, and because "teuf teuf", the Yam 600TT of Francis, don t like the altitude.
As I don t want to ride by night, and we are still quite far from San Cristobal, we decide to camp in the wild, behind a big rock to avoid the wind.
It s cold. The GPS writes 14500 feet high.
We are as curious as they are!
14500 feet high.
A little bit close to the stars, and a special thought for Gael, Val, Glop, Bilou and Eric : relative and friends left one day on motorcycle and that never came back. "Hi buddies!"
Tonight (as the other) : pasta! But not easy to use a lighter with so few oxygen! By the way I start to feel a headache, and it will be worse in the night.
Finally the night is almost warm because of the clouds...
... and it s the rain that wake up us. When we go out of the tent we discover that it was snowing 500 feet higher this night.
So we start again the trip on a wet track. The mud is here, but without coregation it s not a problem.
We enjoy a moment of sun to dry the tent.
... and we finally reach San Cristobal, where fuel, lunch and church are waiting for us :
Just 60 miles more to reach Uyuni.
But just before entering in the city, I bring Francis to the train cemetary where UI ve been already 7 years agos.
I tried to give life to this train, but without success.
On this one is written : "Experimented mecanician wanted..."
Uyuni, the mythic city of South Bolivia is finally reached. It s time to enjoy it ... in the next article!