Ignorance is bliss for a dirt-newbie girl in Bolivia

The rest of the story about the road to Uyuni, post-broken BMW shock... written by Pam, as Sagot is sleeping in today...

After we sent Martin and his BMW back to paved roads with his broken shock between his legs, we headed back to the start of the dirt road that stopped European behmoth to make a decision. Since we had a tent and sleeping bags and lots of water and plenty of empty calories in the form of packaged cookies, chocolate and freeze-dried soup, so we decided to give it a go. The hostal we stayed in the night before was worse than sleeping in the outdoors so that helped push us on our way.

Now, Scott has ridden dirt for many years but I am a major newbie. In fact, I only put about 1500km on this KLR before we left, and only a couple of days on dirt. Its a bit of a long story about why I am so ill-prepared. However, it bçgives me the advantage of being ignorant too, so that helps and so we started out with 7 hours of daylight and 180km of unknown dirt ahead of us.

Washboard. No problem. Intermittant sand-filled holes, no problem, you can usually see them before your on them. We hit 5km of really deep sand around a third of the way into the road, but we waded through slowly, but without much problem. I am going slow though. The KLR is not exactly the ideal dirtbike for a girl to learn on but we just keep plodding on, Sagot waiting patiently for me. You should see my moves when a doberman starts chasing me down the road. I have visions of wiping out and being mauled-what is it about these dogs that they love to chase the KLR? Probably they are seeking out the weakest of our pack of 2 and that would be me. The scenery is very beautiful but signs are scarce. And by scarce, I mean there aren´t any. We just keep asking the sheep and llama herders if we are on the right track, and telling them how "muy lindo" the area is. The crux of the trip is one hour before dusk, 40 km by GPS from our destination, Uyuni when we hit a deeply, deeply washboard road which has been covered with a goodly amount of sand and graded!! Freaking diabolical. You are either shaking the teeth out of your head or swimming and generally just wondering what is coming next. Impossible, so we abandon the road and take to the slightly-sandy-but-stuck-together-with-salt-and-strange-shrubs earth off the track. It seems like our only hope. Works well for a while until sagots DR back tire breaks through the salty crust and buries itself. Ah, but it made for a great picture with the sun setting on a cool mountain in the background (when we get home and scan some of our old school film pics, we´ll post). Anyways, we ended up riding the last 20 km in darkness, but with no traffic oncoming whatsoever, so it actually was no big deal, other than the fact that riding the road was like riding on ribs, the washboard was so bad. Thank god they hadn´t "fixed" it with some sand yet.... We arrived in Uyuni and sought out the towns "finest" hotel, bribed some restaurant serving passable food to feed us some beyond their closing time of 9 pm and passed out.

I thought that we had done pretty good to have tackled this road. It wasn´t super difficult for Sagot, just long, and I was pretty proud of getting through it with my limited dirt experience. We were so pumped after a rest day the next day that we signed up for a 3 day tour through the Salare de Uyuni and SW Bolivia, to Lagunas Colorado and Verde. The tour truck will carry all our gear and keep an eye on us and we will be free to roam. It couldn´t be harder than what we just did, right......

Ignorance is bliss, ain´t it??

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story