The great salt lake of Uyuni is a highlight of the trip is long overdue. Now here I am, unfortunately this is the rainy season and it is flooded.
The 4WD goe there anyway and give an idea of the depth of water on the crust of sand.
There are about 15 inches of water on the first half mile, and then the salt crust goes back a bit to have more than 2 inches of water.
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!
South Bolivia is fantastic, but I ve been there yet, and there is no road, just tracks coming from south. The problem is it s still the rain season, ans the rains, wind, snow and mud are waiting for us. Francis tried the way from San Pedro de Atacama, but had to come back because of the snow. He will try tomorrow an other way from Calama. That s a good oportunity to join him to find the way together. The only problem at this time : I'm at 600km from here, on the optyher side of the Andes. This is a good riding day!
I start from Jujuy under the rain, and see on the way the 7 colors mountains.
It s reallt amaizing, but I didn't want to stop to take pictures. I have more and more the impression that stpping on the way, is like looking for a great movie, and stop on pictures every 3 minutes. I would be boring. There are some moments when the pleasure is just to see the movie, the landscape moving around you, toi feel to be part of the landscape.
*Maybe I will regret to not have pictures of this road, but what is important is to remember the colors of the mountains, or just to remember how well I felt at this moment?
After 2 hours riding the road comes out of the clouds...
The GPS indicates 4833m height1. Higher than any mountain in Europe!
I would like to talk a little village where I stopped.
Here, young women are real magicians and acrobats. They have the appearance of a supermodel. No, not really for a Pirelli calendar, but rather bibindom Michelin female. Perhaps it is thanks to their culbuto shape, with the center of gravity very low, we might be lucky to see them on their superb multicolored Chinese scooters, the handlebars in one hand and a baby a few weeks in the other. Real acrobats I tell you. With both hands used therefore, they can not take a helmet.
The proportion of big bellies and babies is also a concern here. I would think that they don't receive TV here for a long time to have such a birth rate.
GPS indicated numerous hotels and various accommodations. The tourist office has disappeared with its website, and is replaced by a municipal leases. The sky taking the color of concrete from the central square, where the rare trees trying to overshadow the garbage scattered, here and there in a bucolic mess, si I still prefer to find a bed rather than sleeping in the tent under the rain.
I have a preference for the hostels, as they usually offer cheap beds in dormitories, and that welcome is warmer than in the hills hotels depressing. The Hostel of the village, on the central square, is so warm that the great PANEL light that the ad was half melted years ago, following a fire, and kept his shapeless alure of barbatruc calcined.
Other smaller hotels have what a guide book would tell "old-fashioned charm of traditional simple and warm accommodation of a small picturesque village". In other words, they are glaucous to die.
It is decided, the night will be spent at the Hotel Central. A Hotel unaffordable luxury in the facade (ie clean) with dedicated staff. Their dedication, anyway, I guess just seeing them yawning all timne, sign that they worked a lot to make the customer happy. Or maybe there is a link with the high birth rate?
In the early morning through the window of the room, I discover 2 things:
a wonderful 21th century church, color tinted gray mouse (ie reinforced concrete), beautiful as an aerian parking;
Too bad, I'm off anyway, without hesitation, hoping that it is not a bad way.
Sorry, I have not taken a single photo to illustrate this article. So I offer simply to see it from far away in the space.
After crossing the Andes I arrive in Mendoza. Here I meet again Francis, travelling around the world on his motorcycle.
But Mendoza is also the capital of argentin wine. So I taste many, buy finally, even if I already drank good argentin wine, thesze ones are really not exceptional...
Hey! We know each other, right? You really look similar to my nice debtist of Buenos Aires...