Sunday, 12 February 2012
Lap Paz to Cusco
The roads were flattish as we headed along the Altiplano we had buses passing us then they would stop at the next small town then pass us again. The country side had small settlements dotted off to the side of the road. I got the impression people were just getting by.
As we got closer to LaPaz we came onto major new road being built beside the current road.A fleet of 40-50 brand new 6 wheel tip Mack trucks were lined up. The only other brand of truck we had seen in Bolivia tell then were Volvo's. The closer we got to Lapaz the worse the road got. There were depressions in the road 20-30cm deep which meant you couldn't easily change your position within the lane.
The volume of traffic about 20 km south of LaPaz started to back up and we got stuck behind buses and trucks emitting toxic diesel fumes. As we came toward the top of the LaPaz basin we had to deal with four lanes of taxi vans (Collectivos) piling up in front of us.The Police seem to control numbers of Collectives on the road by making them fill up with passengers b4 moving on.
We stopped at the top of the basin over looking LaPaz and tried to figure out where the hotel was we had been recommended to us.
We walked into the centre of the city which was only 8 minutes away. The hotel had good wifi and we managed to get the price down a little.
The next day we got going early and headed up and out of LaPaz to do the worlds most dangerous highway on our motorcycles. The signage is non existent and you have to do some route planning before you even start your journey. We climbed up to 4200 metres and we were into a cold damp cloud with minimal visibility. Fortunately we came across a guided mountain bike group and we knew we were going in the right direction.
We managed to find the start of the gravel road which wasn't well sign posted.
We came across a mountain bike group and were told about all the fatal deaths on the road in one incident a bus had gone over the cliff killing 100 people. We both rode carefully. We met one vehicle coming up the hill, The road is only used by adventurous tourists and mtb companies. The new road was completed in 2007 and took 20 years to build. The mtb trip is a 64 km of descent.15 mtb have died on the trip.
We dropped down to nearly 2000 metres and with all our insulated clothing on I was keen to get out of the tropical rain forest climate of Coroico. The tar seal trip back to LaPaz is a motorcyclist dream with nice pavement great views and lots of nice sweeping bends and switch backs.
Joe took a side trip down South Yungas road which is probably more dangerous with traffic still using it. He arrived back late after having to get extra petrol from a local.
The trip out of LaPaz caused us a head ache we had to pick up our laundry, we ended up getting a bit lost and rode through the street market following a delivery truck.We had people jammed up beside us and could barely move, some women whacked me with her fist we eventually got to the laundry. Leaving the city, we had a few problems the Bolivians don't believe in any road signs.We eventually got going and headed for Copacabana at the south end of Lake Titicaca. The usual afternoon rain came.
We had to get a small wooden barge across a small peninsular at San Pablo the barge was twisting and had a fair amount of water sitting in the bottom of it. The area reminds me of Akaroa in NZ with steep treeless hills running down to the water.
We rolled into Copacabana and booked into the first hotel we found.
The hotel was cheap and we felt like Kings with such great views.
We climbed to the top of the hill to take this photo. It was only a short climb but when your already at 3800 metres you start understand about the benefits of altitude training.