(September 16 – written by Nancy)
Okay, this will be a very short post as we are both bushed from a long day on the bikes. We left Atocha this morning at just after 7 am and rolled into Tupiza just after 5pm. While the total kilometres today don’t seem all that much, we had a lot of up and down for the first 60k and about 25k of unpaved roads. Those things, together with the wind (wow does it blow here in Bolivia) and the river crossings we had to make toward the end of the day to get to Tupiza, all made for a long and hard day.
But here are the highlights:
- Freezing cold morning (okay, not necessarily a highlight but it’s amazing how cold it gets here overnight)
- Stunning scenery – lots of colours, rock formations, gorges, mountains
- New pavement – most of the road was newly paved over the last couple of years so was very smooth. Thank goodness, as we had so many ups and downs that I think I would have put my thumb out to hitchhike if it had all been gravel! We did have a bit more gravel than we expected though, including on one very steep hill that had me pushing for a bit.
- Lunch behind a steam roller – it was the only place out of the wind we could find to eat our PB&J sandwiches.
- River crossings – the final 20k or so into Tupiza was crazy, as we had to cross the river twice – and I mean cross it not on a bridge but in our bare feet pushing our bikes across the water. The water wasn’t too deep, but deep enough that you couldn’t just ride through it. So off came the shoes and socks twice.
- The wind – thankfully we mostly had the wind behind us today, but because the road was full of so many twists and turns we did feel the brunt of it several times. Even when it was behind us it was a force to be reckoned with. I was very glad not to be going the other way, that’s for sure.
- A nice hostel at the end of the day – we’ll write more about that tomorrow as we are taking a day off to recover before we make our final push to the Argentina border.
Junior editor’s note – too many photos today but the scenery was stunning, photo overload follows: