Monday, 12 December 2011

The Salar and Archer's Post

The Salar and Archer's Post

Somedays capture all the elements of long travel on a bike. Yesterday was one of those days. We woke up to a brilliant sunrise across the dried lake bed we camped on the night before. We'd set up shelter behind the adobe walls of an abandoned farm. The lake had been dry for sometime, apparently.

We made an early start, as we knew we had a tough ride to get to the top of the Salar de Uyuni, the massive salt lake in the south east of Bolivia. The ride was harder than expected, as it amounted to either deep washboard or deep sand. As the road was under construction, it also had several unpredictable drops and ledges. I almost lost control rather seriously on two occasions, but managed to stay upright. Sam cratered in a large hole, and despite having to rearrange some luggage, kept everything in check. It was similarly good riding from Nathan and andrew. Along the way. A small leak in my tire became a serious one, so I had to repair it before reaching the Salar.

After five hours to travel 150 kms, we reached the lake. There, we rode as fast as we wanted, wherever we wanted. I suppose it's not much like the moon, but it certainly felt like it. It was about a 120 km ride to Uyuni, where we took some lunch and found a place to wash the bikes.

While we were waiting for the Iunch to arrive, fellow ran in and told me someone had knocked over my bike with their car. I ran out to the bike, which had only minor damage (these stroms are tough), and got on to give chase. Everyone around was pointing out the direction of the car and giving descriptions. Sam joined in. We couldn't find the chap. To be honest, I am not sure what I would have done had I found him, much like the puzzled dog that finally catches a car. But I did daydream about it on our ride out.

Until I got another flat. And then another. We were riding perhaps the roughest gravel road I've ever been on. When it wasnt washboard, it was deep sand, as a result of the frequent sandstorms. So, by the time we got going on a repaired tire, it was dark. We rode 50 kms in the pitched black, eventually descending 600 meters into a nice mining town. We've spent the morning here getting my tire fixed, and are soon to depart for the argentine border.

It was, I must say, the hardest day of riding I've had since the time I blew out my back suspension in northern Kenya, and had to ride 70kms in the sand to Archer's Post. Sam and I made that ride, and we remind ourselves of it in the dark last night. We'll reference this one too for years to come.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow. You ARE on another serious adventure. Such fun. Such challenge. All the flats remind me of Mer's bicycle trip through Central America: so many flats they finally ran out of spares and had to wait while I couriered them more tubes!