From Uyuni we wanted to head to Chile, the most direct route was 500 kilometres of dirt, with at least one stretch of 400 kilometres with no fuel.
So, to be fair to the bikes and ourselves we decided to head back to Oruro via Potosi which had much more tarmac, and then head into Chile at its most northerly border with Bolivia. A detour of about 1500 kilometres.
The road to Potosi still had stretches of dirt, however this was made enjoyable by some fantastic canyons and gorges. One section, soon to be bypassed and cut off for ever was idyllic.
After Potosi, which unusually had no road blocks, the road surface and vistas improved, I was having a bonus "Big Sky" day in the Andes.
As we approached in Oruro, despite a ten hour riding day, we were relaxed, until we saw the long line of trucks, buses and cars.
We filtered past them, but they started to fill both sides of the road, and as we approached the front some buses were attempting to turn around and it was getting a little dangerous stuck between them and the trucks.
It soon became apparent that we had encountered a classic Bolivian road block. When they want to protest about something (usually transport or tax related) they seal off all roads in and out of a city (there are usually only a maximum of 4, so not a big task).
Suddenly there were some load bangs and people started running away form the blockade shouting "Gas gas".
The military had launched tear gas in an attempt to disperse people.
We then tried to follow the local car drivers over some dirt track back roads, but a deep river with an already sinking car blocked that route.
The gas cleared and people started to get off buses and walk around the blockade.
We contemplated going back down the road about an hour to the last town we had seen an hotel in, but talking to some locals they reckoned we would be able to cross the blockade with the walkers.
So we rode along behind people on the dirt track around the blockade, and as other locals were concerned for us getting caught between the army and protesters they directed us to use the foot path following disused railway line, which eventually brought us out at the main barrier. Here the people just smiled at us, said hello, and encouraged us to pass through.
Once in the city, all was normal, but it was late and Jean had damaged her side stand cut out sensor crossing the rails, we decided to stop for two nights so that I could attempt to repair it.
Chile would have to wait.
Every one says that the best beef is in Argentina, I'll judge that when I get there. I have had a few steaks here, and they have been of the highest quality. Better than the USA. Melt in your mouth. Succulent.
The people know how to have fun, on our first visit to Oruro it was a city wide fiesta, on the second they were getting ready for another. If they had kept it going all week, I don't think anyone would have be bothered to have a protest.
The Bolivians have found a solution to the coke bottle/straw length issue. It is simple, sell coke in smaller bottles. The normal size here is 190ml.
Effects of altitude
Apart from the headache at first, the loss of appetite and the excess fluid loss, it appears that I also get wind. I have been a fart machine these last 2 weeks.
I don't think I will ever manage to breath properly at altitude.
Drinking Cocoa has helped, but only in the morning as it seems to induce weird dreams.Posted by Bruce Porter at February 18, 2011 11:44 PM GMT
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!