Thursday, February 17, 2011

Forty Kilometers of Dirt Road

After getting ourselves spoilt rotten in Brazil, it is only natural that we were only a little worried and anxious to return to Bolivia. The memories of tough road condition and high-altitude sickness were still too fresh to recount. Well, like it or not, we found ourselves back at Bolivia’s door step.

And we were so not ready.

First, we were told at the border that contrary to our research information, the infamous “death trains” from the border town Quijarro to Santa Cruz no longer take motorcycle cargo. “The rules recently changed.” So they used to, but they don’t any more. Fantastic. So no train break for us, off the road we went.

The road to Santa Cruz turned out to be much better than originally informed: 640 km new and empty asphalt except for only some 40 km dirt road remaining.

We had an early start from San Jose heading to Santa Cruz on our second day in Bolivia, bearing in mind that this is raining season, and we were driving through parts of Pantanal, one of world’s biggest swamp, and a most beautiful one at it.

Off to an easy start…

2011-02-08 09h13m28s DMC-TS2 P1070879

Dirt road started…

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Road condition quickly deteriorated with lorries and mud…

2011-02Then there were muddy puddles. Time for Q to shine…

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And I enjoyed the pretty scenery…

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Then there were rain showers: on and off, on and off…  Quite refreshing!

2011-02-08 11h00m00s DMC-TS2 P1070926

And of course herds of cows were having their parade.2011-02-08 11h03m45s DMC-TS2 P1070928

Just as the end of the dirt road drew close, tragedy striked: we hit a pothole and the impact broke off our right pannier (luggage case) frame…

2011-02-08 11h34m40s DMC-TS2 P1070935 marked

Luck had it that the closest village didn’t have any electricity, so for the next half an hour, I had a little taste of what Casa bears every day: I sat and held the hefty right pannier on my right leg while Q tried to drive and look for soldering equipment.

Unfortunately there was no photo evidence of my heroic struggle against strong wind, protecting our pannier from getting blown off. But trust me, when we finally pulled into the village, I could tell everyone thought it was impressive.

2011-02-08 11h33m02s DMC-TS2 P1070934

The mechanic and Q managed to work through lunch and got the frame repaired.

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2011-02-08 12h34m03s DMC-TS2 P1070938

Right after a quick lunch, we were back on the road where the pigs, cows, dogs, snakes, horses and vultures were only too happy to greet us!

Never underestimate how adventurous a trip in Bolivia can be. Even if it is only 40 km of dirt road.

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