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  #211  
Old 18 Nov 2011
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Dudes! And wo

I am in La Paz, Bolivia. I arrived at 4pm and made my way directly to the Loki Hostel. I was here in La Paz in the summer of 2008 for 10 days, and walked around a lot. 3 years later, and my memory returned. I literally drove directly to the hostel. I couldn´t believe it. But I can promise, it happened.

I spent the afternoon relaxing, truly, for the past 6 hours. Now I am going to bed. Photos and ride report to come int he morning when I wake up.

Going for a motorcycle ride tomorrow with no boxes, just tools and water. Should be good.

I´ve got about 100 photos to load, so get ready for marathon reporting to come!

--Alex
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  #212  
Old 18 Nov 2011
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Macará. Ecuador to Huanchaco, Peru

Let the marathon reporting begin!

Last thing you heard, I arrived in La Paz, alive and well, having smashed all the miles between Macará on the border of Peru, to where I am now. The following events tell you how I did it.

As I sat in my hotel room in Macará, I wondered where I would be in the next few days. Would I still be waiting on the border, or would I be somewhere in Peru? As it would end up, I’d be in Peru!



It was hot nearly every day, all day, and I was enjoying the weather.



The city streets all seemed to be undergoing construction at the same time, and the workers were busy working during the day.



You can see in the photo below all of the paving work going on, by hand, one brick at a time.



It was some pretty impressive stuff. You can’t see it in the photos, but there were designs created by different colored bricks placed in patterns. It was coming along nicely if not very slowly.



When you don’t have the money for a fiberglass or aluminum ladder, well, you make one out of bamboo. Each rung was laced into a slot in the ladder polls, and held in place with rusty tie wire. It was a ladder nonetheless.



These guys were busy laying new pipe under the city streets. It was like that for days on end. I don’t know if they were working hard or hardly working…



All of this took place on my way to the Aduanas office for the umpteenth time. The office seemed to be empty. Ahhhh damn.



Oh, nope, there’s a girl working there, but she’s on the phone with her friend from Spain, and will be for the next 30 minutes, making me wait. Normal.



So, I took a stroll outside for 20 minutes. Right next to the Customs office building is what appears to be a dirt airstrip. The mountains were a nice back drop.



Here is a view of the wonderful Aduanas office from the outside.



I was then told to come back an hour later. Right. Well. I better go get some juice or something, and so I did.



I had a pineapple juice.



Back at the Aduanas office, it looked like something was happening! And there was paperwork involved too! Hot dang!



The holy grail of all three page documents ever created on the border town of Macará, Ecuador. I am free?



Feliz Viaje. Thank you. I plan on it!



Thanks for your visit. You are welcome Ecuador. I had a nice time.



Thank you Sir Custom Officers, and GOOD BYE!



Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit.



I’M FREE!



GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!



I spent the first 20 minutes looking for a gas station. I didn’t fill the tank in Ecuador, because the lines were 2 hours long at the only gas station that had gasoline. There are 4 gas stations in Macará, but only one has gas at a time, and there is always a line until the gas is gone. And there are police officers monitoring that you don’t fill up twice… Screw that, I’ll pay $5/gallon in Peru versus the $1.48 in Ecuador. I’m OUTTA there.



All around me were small cities that I passed through one after another. I stopped to take a photo of this sight, just outside the city. Garbage, vultures, dogs, and more garbage.



Just after the garbage pile was a stream running across the road, through part of the garbage. Yum, sanitary! I kept my feet up made my way through. Water crossing!



After buying gas, I hit the road, making good time at 70mph. No one was around and I was making time. Behind me was the same as in front of me. Dry, sandy, northern Peruvian desert. The view North.



Same landscape for a couple hundred miles. The view south.



The view west. I took the opportunity to find a suitable bathroom location.



There it is! Bury it in the sand. Success!

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  #213  
Old 18 Nov 2011
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continuede

Seriously. It was like the great plains of America with no plants. Just sand. So many vehicles carry sand into the cities that even the intersections are covered.


I took this corner at about 8 mile an hour, and fell over at about 3mph as the front end washed out. Faaaack!



At this time, I was running out of money. I hadn’t seen a bank with an ATM since I left the border, and I needed gas. Where I dropped the bike is where I bought gas with my Debit Card, and minutes further down the road I found an ATM to get some Peruvian Soles. I had arrived in Chiclayo, and soon I was in my favorite type of lodging. A sex hotel. Secure parking, and cheap rates.



I hadn’t eaten much that day, so I made it a point to drop off all my crap in the hotel, park the bike, and find a tuk-tuk to take me to the nearest Polleria. 5 minutes later I was seated in a restaurant, and 15 minutes later I as eating Carne Enceballado. (Onion covered beef).



That is where things took on a change of pace. I had intended to eat some food, and head back to the hotel to get an early start the next day. However, I only planned about 2.5 hours of riding to Trujillo, to meet a fellow biker, so I was time flexible.
Thus, when the restaurant owner asked me if I wanted to attend a youth group meeting at the church with the other restaurant owners children (aged 18,19,21,22), I was glad to accept. And so it was that I ended up being the newest guy at the youth group that night.



After church, and singing songs I couldn’t sing because I didn’t know the words, I walked back with the four siblings to the restaurant where we consumed a whole chicken, a platter of french fries, and 2.5 liters of coca-cola.

You can see the mother of the 4 children in the photo. The adult male is the business partner, and the father would arrive minutes later.



When I told them where I was staying, they told me it was a dangerous area, and decided to give me a ride back to my hotel. A total of 3 blocks. But we had all 6 members of the family, and myself in that car!



With my night fulfilled, I hit the sack, and woke up the next morning ready to ride. I was on the outside of town with a full tank of gas, and money in my pocket. Vamos!



OW! I got stung by a bee through my crappy gloves. That punk! Now it’s dead though!



Some miles down the road, I came up on a bicyclist powering into the constant winds of Northern Peru. He spends 3-4 months a year on his bicycle, riding around the world in turn. This current trip was from Bogota, Colombia to Ushuaia, and back up to Rio, Brzail. He’d ride for 4 months.



I first saw him in Ecuador in the mountains. On the back of his riding jersey it says, Salamanca, so I slowed down and shouted out to ask him if he was from Spain. Indeed he was, and I took off. 11 days later he caught up to where I had made it in 3 days. He remarked that I was traveling slow… I told him why!



As he rode off, I was glad to be on a motorcycle.



Sooner than later, I arrived in Trujillo, Peru. I hopped onto an internet café computer, and found out that Frank, who I met via HorizonsUnlimited, would be in Haunchaco, on the beach that night. I made plans to park where he would see me on the way into the small beach town. It worked a charm, and he found me right on his way in.



That night, my second in Peru, was full of s and good conversation. Frank has been in South America for 5 years almost, and has ridden over 50k kilometers. He’s moving north now, with plans of Alaska and Prudhoe Bay in the summer of 2012. Hopefully he’ll find his way to my parents house for a night!

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  #214  
Old 19 Nov 2011
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Man that is an adventure on,good reading and photos.superb
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  #215  
Old 21 Nov 2011
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73 photos, and some more to go up.

La Paz, Bolivia is a dangerous city. It sucks you in and for some of the people here, refuses to easily let them go. Many people at the Loki Hostel where I am staying have been in the city for over a month. Everyone parties EVERY single night. The hostel bar is full until 2am every night, and there are 180 beds in total. Last night 140 were filled.

I´ve been in the bar, watching the scenes for the past few nigthts. It doesn´t get any calmer, and the people only get crazier. Last night was an ABC party. ¨Anything But Clothes¨

Guitar cases, garbage bags, towells, pillowcases, blankets, boxes, and hiking backpacks filled the room. It was outrageous.

All of the photos from my ride south to get here are already uploaded, I simply have to write the story. It will come,. but not tonight!

For a preview of the photos, you may see them here:

No Jobs No Reponsibilities No Better Time pictures by bigalsmith101 - Photobucket

These few are a couple of my favorites.

Overlooking Lake Titicaca with a 6k meter mountain in the background. Elevation 3500meters.



On the way west over the mountains. Elevation, over 4k meters. Temperature 52*F (19*C) The hail came and stuck.



A preview of the ride that same morning. The snow, and the sun came in the same day.



More to come guys!

--Alex
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  #216  
Old 21 Nov 2011
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So glad you finally made it across the border, hope there's no more crossings like that on your travels. Great report, as always.
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  #217  
Old 21 Nov 2011
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Great stuff!
Keep it coming
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  #218  
Old 22 Nov 2011
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Huanchaco, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia

From Huanchaco headed south, I got a late start. Drinking s until 12pm with a German means I sleep until 9am, and leave at 10:30. Dammit. Lima is not too far away, but of course it is nicer to arrive earlier than later. For me, the beginning of the day was more of the same from the day before.



Riding down the Pan-American Highway is a long straight road, broken up by small towns, and not much else besides. I was cranking out the miles in Northern Peru riding at an average of 55mph including my 5-10 minute food and drink stops. Hydration is important out in the dry landscape.

Every once in a while, I would pass trucks that seemed to be overloaded, but were likely carrying their maximum weight capacity in light weight straw. These trucks aren’t that big, but their load of hay sure is!

Make sure to look at the top center of the load of hay. You can make out the head of a working guy. When loading the trucks, they often toss the hay bales up to the worker, and then he stacks them. What better way to unload them than to leave the worker on the top of the pile?



This was the scene for the first few hundred kilometers of road.



What’s up!?



At a gas station rest stop I had a coca cola and a bag of chips. While sitting in a chair a pair of bikers rolled in on some older bikes. One was riding a 1986 Suzuki GS500 and the other was riding a 1970’s era Italian made Morini 350cc V-twin. Saweet.



Hitting the road again, it was more of the same. I even got to go through some tunnels… Neato.



Hey what is that ahead of me? Oh, right… Nothing!



An obligatory shot with bike in the frame. Hey Paul! Yeah, you over at Highway Dirt Bikes! This one is for you! My next DR650 will have this top-clamp/ hand-guard/ mirror set up. I love it.



The coast was a nice ride, but damn it was windy. I could tell when I was riding into tough wind by the speed of the bike. Going down a downhill section, with the wind would take the bike to 70+mph, riding flat roads with the wind; 70mph was the cruising speed. Against the wind? 60-62mph.



More awesomeness on the road. Sometimes I forget to take pictures with me in them!


As it got a bit later, I realized I would be arriving in Lima that night. Navigating a city of over a million isn’t that much of an easy thing in the middle of the day, let alone at night. However, there wasn’t much left in between me and Lima so I pushed it a bit that day.

This particular stretch of sand dunes caught my eye. I kept thinking that a quad or a bike with paddle tires would be quite the experience out here!



As the sun set, I stopped for a photo. Sunsets really light up the sky where I am, and remind me a bit of the sunsets I can see from the kitchen table at my parents house.



Coming up over this hilltop, I could see the lights of Lima in the distance.



Just getting to the “center” of Lima proved to be a hassle. It is a big city, and the highway runs through the center of it. It started to rain lightly as well, and I was in the middle of a massive amount of traffic trying to navigate to a place I was unfamiliar with. My destination for that night’s accommodation was The Flying Dog Hostel.

Tom, Charlie, Andy, Cass, Ty and Jill all stayed there at some point during their visits to Lima, and Tom and Charlie even stayed there twice. During the 3rd week of September when Ty and Jill on their V-Strom 1000, and Charlie and Tom, Andy and Cass were all in the same place, they all bought sets of Continental TKC 80 tires. In some sort of confusion, an extra set was purchased, and I was given first dibs on the tires rather than returning them. I bought the set for $175, with plans to hit the mountains with the guys when I caught up. Needless to say, I never caught them, but the tires were still there waiting for me.

The “Autopista” is a no motorcycle allowed area, and I was the only motorcyclist on the road for that reason. At some point, I took an exit off the thoroughfare and found myself asking locals for directions to the Mira Flores sector of Lima. At one point, I asked a motorcycle cop for directions. He waved in the direction ahead of me, and then took off. At the next stop light, he pulled up beside me and told me to follow him. He would lead the way.

The guy’s call name? FENIX!

[IMG]http://i979.photobucket.com/albums/ae273/bigalsmith101/No%20Jobs%20No%20Reponsibilitie
s%20No%20Better%20Time/IMG_0121.jpg[/IMG]

Well, following the Fenix was a task in and of itself! This guy stopped for no one, lit up the intersections with his police lights, sounded his siren at every corner, and expected me to follow as he lane split lanes that were too narrow for my boxes. He never lost me though, and I was able to keep up. In about 15 minutes, we came back to the Autopista and he began telling me how to get to the Mira Flores area, near Kennedy Park.

This is basically how it went.

“Ok, amigo. I’m going to radio my police captain and ask him for permission for you to ride on the autopista, because motorcycles aren’t allowed on the autopista. Garble garble, static static, hablo espanol, etc. Ok, he said you can use the autopista. Now, there are several bridges over the autopista, each one has a name, like, the first one is blah blah, and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, no the 5th one, yeah the 5th one is named blah blah blah. Ok. Don’t pay attention to those ones, you are looking for such and such, blah blah blah. But DON’T take such and such, blah blah blah, no, you want the one after that. Ok. So go up the one after such and such, blah blah blah, and get to the stop light at the top of the ramp. DON’T forget, the one you want is NOT the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th, but the one after such and such, blah blah blah. Ok. Now when you get to the stop light at the top of the ramp, go through it. Don’t go through when it is red. When it is red, stop. When it is green, go to the next light. Ok. DON’T take a left there, and DON’T go straight. You want to take a right at the light after the first stop light at the top of the ramp that is on the exit AFTER such and such, blah blah blah. Ok. Then you are close to the Mira Flores area with Kennedy Park. Ask for more help there.”

I consider it a testament to my honed Spanish speaking abilities, thanks to my time spent in the mountains of Ecuador where no one spoke English, that I actually understood his directions. And believe it or not, I found the place. I felt like a champion. SUCCESS.





That night was spent eating fast food from McDonalds. I ate a Big Mac meal with a coke and a McChicken burger. It wasn’t very good, but it was cheap. I finally found my tires inside the hostel as well, as they were in the storage room that no one thought about until about 3 hours after I arrived. Also, the French and Mexican couple from Panama riding 2up on a V-Strom 650 that visited me with Sean on the KTM690SM when I was in Azoques, Ecuador were staying at the hostel as well. We hung out shortly and all went to bed early.


The next day, I asked a local German guy that lives half the year in Lima, how to get out of Mira Flores and onto the highway headed south. He gave me good directions, and after getting gas, and munching on some chips, I hit the road.

On the way out of town, I say this up in the hillside. MOTOCROSS!



Alongside the highway there were many fruit stands, and about an hour after leaving Lima I stuffed a banana into my mouth and kept riding. The fruit down here is great, and really helps keep me energized on the road. I don’t find myself getting hungry, and I feel great when I stop every so often and scarf down a piece of fruit.

Another hour later I stopped again and had an apple and bottle of coke. I had ratchet strapped my new TKC 80 tires to my top box in Lima, and they were holding on well.



The landscape north and south of Lima is quite different. North of Lima it is quite dry and dusty and very sandy. South of Lima brought on more greenery and rugged areas. Less sand dunes and more rock faces.

Heading south in the direction I am heading.



Looking north in the direction I came from.



It seemed like every time I came around a significant corner or rise in the landscape I was faced with a valley full of growth. These places produce massive quantities of fruit from what I have been told by the locals. However the transportation industry isn’t that great down here, and export isn’t very high.



I was loving it!



At this fruit stand, I ate an orange and a mango. They cost me less than a dollar for the both of them, and the mango was outrageously delicious. I would have carried a bag of them with me if I knew I wouldn’t see them again!



From there on out, it was a lot more of rocky sand, and straight roads south.



As the sun began to set, I found myself looking for a hostel/hotel in all of the small towns that I passed. Once again, I ran into the beginning of the night, but damn. What a good day of riding!



I posed for a mug shot.

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  #219  
Old 22 Nov 2011
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story continued...


That night, I spent in the small town of Chala, Peru. The next day would have me riding the coast further south, and heading across the mountains to Puno, Peru. It would turn out to be one of the best days of riding in my entire adventure thus far.



With the coast line on my right side, I knew I was headed in the right direction.



Somewhere down the road, I got hungry, and stopped to have a snack of lays potato chips that I bought at the store the night before. There was a nice area that looked like it was just for locals to hang out at. It could have been a bus stop as well, but there were no buses to be seen.



This sign told me that Arequipa was 265km away. A local woman had told me that it was 5 hours. 160 miles in 5 hours? I’d have to average 32mph. Could the roads be that terrible? I decided to wait and see.



From across the street, a woman rolling a cart of fish tamales crossed the street and took advantage of a possible sale. I should have bought two of the damn things, but by the time I had opened the first and realized how damn good it was, she was across the street and down the road a ways.

They wrap them well in a type of local leave, and then tie them with strips of inner bamboo material.


It was so damn good!



As it turned out, the woman that told me it would take 5 hours to Arequipa was off her rocker. That, or she wasn’t able to look at my massive (for the area) motorcycle and realize I wasn’t driving an overloaded jalopy of a bus. It would be 3 hours of riding to Arequipa, with another hour on the side of the road either taking pictures or eating food.

The winding Pan-American Highway was kick ass. Here is a view from “whence I came”.



And a view down the road and around the corner.



Kick ass riding in 3rd and 4th gear, at about 45-55mph most of the time.



It was like that for well over 30 miles. Aaaaaawesome.



At one view point the ocean was putting up a good fight to beat down the rocks. I’m sure that some day it will win.



One of my favorite photos from the past 7.5 months. While riding this section, I was reminded of the ride that Tom and I took on our way into Cuernavaca, Mexico. We rode through Lagunas de Zampoala, and had tight windy mountain roads through a lush green temperate forest that reminded both of us of home. At the end of that ride, we had both remarked to each other that it was the best road that the last 3k+ miles had had to offer us yet. Even just thinking back on that day over 6 months ago makes me smile and feel happy. THAT is what this adventure is all about!



Near the end of my coastline run, I began to turn inland, headed east. Around at least three bends in the highway would bring me to a verdant green valley that housed a small farming town.



The farms make use of the valley rivers that run out to the ocean and form fertile deltas in an otherwise quite arid part of the nation.



Heading inland, it was more dust and dirt and rocks and sand. And, another tunnel.



Soon, I was riding around a nature preserve that claimed to be the home of Vicunas, Alpacas, and Llamas. And just like the sign said, I found myself staring at alpacas. Coooool.



After a couple of hours of inland riding, I found myself stopping every 30 minutes to adjust my fuel mixture screw, turning it clockwise to close off the fuel supply as I gained altitude. As I climbed into the mountains, the bike would begin to bog down at 85-90% throttle. The fuel wasn’t burning, as the air supply became thinner.

Then, I passed this sign. I had to double back to get a photo with it. The highest point my bike has yet been too! 4528 meters. 14,855 feet.



Believe it or not, it was still 52*F outside (11*C)



Nearly immediately after this sign, I came across an alpine lake with Flamingo’s standing in it and flying around. Cool!



I decided to take a path off the highway and go down to get a closer photo. Which is what you saw above. However… I got stuck!



Shiiiiiiiiit.

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Old 22 Nov 2011
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story continued...

So, I tried for about 5 minutes to get it “un-stuck” before realizing I was being insane, and “trying the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” So I took off the right side pannier.



Then I took off the left side pannier.



Next came the tires.



Damn you Flamingos for luring me down here!!!



However, with excess breathing and panting in the thin air at nearly 15k feet, full throttle tire spinning, and a bit of grunting, the bike was free, and I began the relatively quick process of re-installing the panniers and loading the tires on.



I had been STUCK.



Back on the road again, after riding by some locals that had been watching me from the road side, I began to see a LOT of dogs on the side of the highway. None of them looked unfit to me, and all seemed to be in good shape. This one in particular ran away from me when I tried to get close.



Then, I came to a WAY bigger lake. There was a small boat amongst the birds. The people up here in the mountains apparently fish a lot.



To the north east I could see looming rain clouds in the distance.



To the south east, the clouds looked less menacing, but still full of rain.



Rain? Nah, hail will do it!



After the hail, I found myself immediately passed the rain and hail, and into dryer weather. It was also getting late, and I was closing in on Puno, Peru, on the border of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. I found gas station on the way into the town at around 6pm, right as the sun set, and then I set about looking for a place to stay. I soon came to an area that offered the triple play I look for.

Inside of half a city block was a sign for a hostel, a sign for a polleria, and sign for internet. I had found, food, lodging, and entertainment.

The next day, I hit the road early again, at 7:30am. My goal that day would be La Paz, Bolivia! Lake Titicaca was the highlight of the day.



Here you can see many boats, and piers in the water. It looked to me to be a fish farming area.



After a few more fishing areas I was headed to Copacabana and the border or Bolivia.



And then. I made it. I went about 5 miles down the wrong road, having missed the turn about 30 miles before hand, but when I got back heading the right direction, and saw a BMW R1200GS, V-Strom 1000, and KLR650 pass me, I knew I was headed in the right direction again.

Whamo Bammo. Bolivia baby!



The border crossing into Bolivia was a very straight forward process. Visit Migracion and get stamped out of Peru. Go to Aduanas, and get the bike import canceled. Change my Peruvian Soles into Bolivian Bolivianos, and head across the border. Visit Migracion, and get stamped in after showing the 5 year visa I acquired in the summer of 2008. Go to Aduanas and get paperwork for the bike. Done. Go to town and get your boots cleaned and over pay the young guy.



In the small tourist town of Copacabana, Bolivia I had the best Empanadas of my life, for 5 bolivianos a peace. Or about $0.62/each. The town is the port city to Isla del Sol, a rather large’ish island inside Lake Titicaca. I have been there before, and hiked from one end to the other. It is a nice place to visit if you haven’t already done so. Having done so, I took off for La Paz.

On the shores of Lake Titicaca, the scenery is pretty kickass.



Close up of the mountain on the horizon of the photo above.



A bit down the road, I tried to buy gas. The gas stations in Bolivia are not meant to sell gas to foreigners for the local price of 4 bolivianos ($0.50) a liter, and are meant to charge double that price. At the first gas station I encountered exactly this, and decided to see if the next one would let it slide. And gratefully it did. I like paying $2/gallon versus $4/gallon. It saves me the price of a hostel dorm room on only 3 gallons!

Down the road was the ferry across Lake Titicaca at one of its narrowest points, saving the hours that it would take to ride down and around it.



On the way across the slight waves of the lake had the boat rocking a bit. A passenger bus was also on the ferry, and it was rocking back and forth pretty steadily.



Safely on the other side it seems like the lake just doesn’t end. I haven’t seen a larger lake in my life. Then again, I haven’t seen any of the great lakes. Lake Ometepe in Nicaragua is big though.



Heading towards La Paz, on the side of the road was parked a V-Strom 1000 and an F800GS. Three Brazilians from San Paulo were making an 8k kilometer round trip from their home town to Cusco and back to do the Inca Trail trek. A guy and his wife were two up on the F800GS and the other man was riding the VStrom. We conversed in Spanish until they told me that their English was much better. It was better for all of us.



As I pulled into La Paz, I kept seeing signs for the distance into the city. It was when I saw the sign that said 20km (12miles) to the city center, while I was already in the outskirts of the city, did I realize the size and sprawl of the place. Having been here on a bus before, I didn’t really take into the size. As I came into the city, I was in the Alto area of the city, above the center, and looking down on the valley below.



The backdrop to the city is intense!



As I wound my way down the valley walls into the city, I wondered how I would ever find the Loki Hostel that I intended to stay at that night. There is parking nearby from what I have been told, and I enjoy the Loki chain of hostels. Also, I had stayed there 3 years before, so I was happy to go back. I remember from three years ago, that from the main drag, if you look south and up the hill and see a big red building, you have found Loki Hostel, La Paz. And that is exactly what happened. I came down a hill, found myself on the opposite side of the valley/main drag, and looked up the other side to see the hostel three blocks up the hill. Damn. What luck!

After parking illegally in a Police Parking lot to check into the hostel for 5 minutes, I pulled up the hill to the next street, took a right, and pulled into the parking lot where I have parked my bike for the past 5 nights at 14 bolivianos a day. Less than $2/day for secure parking is good enough for me.



Inside the hostel, I found my dorm room, dropped off my stuff, and went down to the bar to get some food.



In the “quite area” I loaded my photos, and began my report.



Over the next few days, things would NOT slow down a second, nor would this place fail to live up to its reputation as a party hostel of the grandest nature. Not one night of the week is a slow night, and never once is someone lacking for something to do. The city itself it not much of a tourist attraction, but does lend itself well as a hub to the surrounding area. Many people travel to and from Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Rurrenabaque in the Bolivian Amazon jungle, and Huayna Potosi an 18k foot scalable mountain. Other than that, that party like there is no tomorrow, every single night.

I can’t handle this type of lifestyle personally, but I CAN and do enjoy documenting it. Being around fun people is fun, and here in La Paz, the fun never ceases.

--Alex
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  #221  
Old 22 Nov 2011
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Last few days in La Paz, Bolivia

The next few nights would prove to be entertaining in their own right as partying continued, and I met a few more friends. You’re looking at some Midwestern Canadian girls that haven’t stopped moving in 3 days.
See what I mean?



One of the days, I went out for dinner with another American guy, two Australian guys, and an English girl. We went to the “Star of India” restaurant, where one Aussie (front left) and the American (rear right) had a go at eating the “Worlds Spiciest Vindaloo”, which was said to contain the ground up entities of 40 chili peppers from the foothills of the Bolivian mountains. To finish the Vindaloo means you earn a t-shirt stating exactly that.



He was happy enough in the beginning of his attempt.



He was already sweating after the first bite, not to mention halfway through as you can see here.



He didn’t say anything verbally, but his noises made up for it.



This guy was laughing? What the hell!?



He destroyed the dish, and rose smiling!



He was having a harder time of it. But he did finish! Success!



That night would be the ABC party. Anything But Clothes. And it would prove to be a wild night of partying for what would appear to be the entire hostel. I however, didn’t drink, though I did wear two pillow cases wrapped around my waist like a loin cloth, in conjunction with a Peruvian Cowboy hat. The 2 liter bottle of water in my hand led all the others to believe I was already too far gone, and was saving the night with water. They were wrong. I was taking pictures.

Rumor would have it that this “Love Heart” would get his laid. Rumor would have it that a twenty something blonde Canadian girl would prove it true. Who can blame her?



This Aussie guy donned his backpack and didn’t stop dancing for about 2 hours. He now works at the Loki Hostel. Who can blame him?



Garbage bags, boxes, tinsel wrap, and bow ties were all in attendance.



These two French Canadian dudes used DVD covers from the Movie room and taped together a kilt and shoulder guards.



He was a… Robot? He claimed it, so it must be true. Srini would prove to an entertaining guy over the 5 days I have been here.



Half of the guys were shirtless, and the girls put on quite the show themselves.



Oh yea! Any of you guys remember that girl from the boat from Panama to Colombia? On the Stahlratte? The one that was caught in the act of making out with another girl? Well, she got her wallet stolen in La Paz at the bus station and has been here for 7 weeks. She’s still crazy!



Damn. As the bar wound down, so did the outrageous activity, and some of those that chose to go out that night leaving at 3am, wouldn’t come back until 11am the next day. Are you kidding me? I’m telling you, La Paz is dangerous to your health people!

The following night didn’t slow down either. Here you can see a body shot in process, being laid out on the bar.



From the looks on the bar tenders faces, Ronan and Ty were quite happy to see the British girl loving it just as much.



That is another girl going for the booze. Slurp slurp… Brit girl is still loving it.



This is how the night ended for me. It just doesn’t slow down here.



I left the bar to go upstairs to bed. I woke up an hour later and decided to go to the computer room where 6 desktops adorn a bench where half the hostel tries to check their email. I hopped on ADV and HU to check my Ride Reports, checked my email, and sleuthed around on Facebook. A seat to my right was an Israeli guy. Next to him, the British girl from the body shot. I was camera less as the following took place.

Ty, the bartender from the body shot was asking the British girl to politely return his shirt the following morning at the bar. I realized then that she had a grey shirt on versus a white one like previously seen. How did that happen? She didn’t respond, so he asked her again. She looked at him, and just said, “Ehhh”. So he asked one more time, to say, “Please, will you give me my shirt back tomorrow morning at the bar?” And with that, she looked at him, and in one swift movement became utterly topless in a split second through the shirt at him.

Topless British girl then proceeded to write and email, check facebook, and then look at flights all while shooing away the several people that tried to convince her to go to her room. When the last girl that tried to help her to bed explained that she was half naked. The Brit girl exclaimed, “Oooooh, wooooow, I’m naked. Sooooo whaaaaaat!?!?!” At which point she turned to the Israeli guy and leaning over, with both hands pressing her breasts towards him asked, “Does this look like I’m NAKED to you?!”

Loki Hostel, La Paz, Bolivia…. You have earned your reputation.

Onward!!!

--Alex
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  #222  
Old 23 Nov 2011
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Happy Birthday to me!

I am Uyuni, Bolivia today. I stopped short in Oruro yesterday after onñly 120 miles. 110 of which were through torrential rain.

Today I rode 420kms (260 miles) from Oruro to Uyuni, 60% of which was offroad and across part of the salt flats following a family in a 4x4 Land Cruiser.

On the road to Uyuni, the driver of the truck told me that there were road blocks halfway to Uyuni, and that passing them was impossible. He told me that I could follow them to Uyuni, as they were headed that way. There were 7 people in the 5 seater SUV.

I started with 89 miles on the tank of gas, with a MAXIMUM of 100 more to go before running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. I told the driver that, and he assured me that we could get gas in less then 60 miles. Pretty damn close for my comfort zone, but I went for it.

When we arrived where the driver told me there was fuel available to be purchased, there was NONE. No one had any.

I had to buy 5 liters of fuel from the family, which was pumped into a 2 liter bottle straight from the fuel pump! He told me we could find fuel before I ran out. OMG.

The next 80 miles were all off road, and some of it passing through sand. I slowed down to about 6mph before I dumped the bike in the sand the one and only time. I did come close about 4 other times though!

After cruising around mountain, off road for 30 miles, we came to the Salar de Uyuni, the famous Bolivian Salt Flats. And in we went. I was following the man. Had I gotten a flat tire, or had a mechanical problem... I would have been screeeeewwwwweeed.

Instead, everything went exactly according to plan. Within 5 miles of the town that had a gas station with gasoline, I went to the reserve section of my petcock, which is notoriously good for about 10-12 miles.

When we arrived at the gas station that finally had gas, I put 18.7 liters into the 19 liter tank! FAAAAAAACK! I was so close!

It was awesome.

I took a video at 55mph while riding across the Salar, and many photos as well. Today was the most outrageous day of riding I have ever done in my life.

Photos to come likely in a few days when I reach B.A., my destination for Saturday.

On a side note.

! Tomorrow I am turning 25 !

As a present to myself, I plan to cross into Argentina, and buy a big ass steak dinner, and maybe a glass of red wine or two. I probably won´t be anywhere where there are tourists, but if I am, I plan to insert myself into their plans, and have a good time.

I will have a good time no matter what I do.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, I DRIVE MY PARENTS CRAZY, I RIDE A BIG MOTO, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!


ONWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--Alex

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  #223  
Old 24 Nov 2011
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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 1
Happy birthday!!!

Happy Birthday Alex.
Have a GREAT day.
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  #224  
Old 24 Nov 2011
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 10
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Alex,
Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

Have a great day Alex. Hope all continues well for you.
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  #225  
Old 24 Nov 2011
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Location: Bedfordshire, UK
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Happy birthday dude. May your wheels keep turning for many more adventures to come.
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