Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Bolivia: Day 6

by Kathy 1. December 2007 08:00

<< Day 5: LThe Sud Lípez Area | Day 7: Tupiza to Potosí

Quetena to Tupiza


Today was a wonderful day of fast, rocky roads that wound their way over multiple mountain passes. In the morning, we left the national reserve area of Sud Lípez. At the entrance and exit of each national reserve, Maurice had to provide identification information (such as passport numbers and birth dates) for all of us. Olivier and William in front of the national reserve checkpoint:

As we rode onward, I was amazed by the rock formations and vistas. The protruding rocks were enormous:

Ben and I had stopped to take the two photos above when we looked back to see Gérald’s bike on the ground. He had crested a blind rise, with speed that had not anticipated a right-hand curve and sharp drop-off to the left on the other side. Although Gérald was now standing upright and moving around, he was in obvious pain. His right shoulder was making crunching noises, and the line along the top of his shoulder had an unnatural lumpy slope to it, making his right shoulder lower than his left; his right foot was hurt too. He was very stoic, and in his usual good spirits, but he indicated that he thought that his injuries were such that his ride was over.

Gérald (in the red shirt) at the top of the blind rise, waiting to climb into the chase truck. (Hugo is on the left, and William on the right.)

Our goal at this point was to get Gérald to the nearest doctor. The next town was San Antonio, and we were hoping to find medical assistance there. We continued onward, with Gérald in the chase truck and David (our guide who usually rode in the chase truck) riding Gérald’s bike. We continued our winding path through incredible scenery:

Unfortunately, there was no doctor in the small town of San Antonio:

We continued riding to the next town. Here I am heading down the road (one of my favorite photos):

Since the bikes could go a lot faster than the chase truck, we occasionally would stop and wait. David and William taking a break:

Here I am with the town of San Pablo in the background:

Maurice had arrived in San Pablo far ahead of us and had discovered that there was a small clinic with a medic. The medic examined Gérald’s injuries and concluded that Gérald had broken his collarbone and had perhaps separated some bones in his foot. Gérald accepted pain medication but refused the offer of an ambulance ride to the nearest large town (Tupiza, which was our destination for the evening). He wanted to continue riding in the chase truck, taking photos of the scenery and being with the rest of the group at stops. We had a picnic lunch at the town square, in front of the large church:

Another view of the town:

A close-up of the church doors:

A side view of the church:

As we were leaving the town, I noticed that there was a soccer game being played in a large field at the edge of town:

Since the homes are made from mud and straw (things of the earth), they often blend in with the earth visually. Here are a few homes and a llama herd that we passed:

The rain clouds had been threatening off and on all day. During the afternoon, I had seen two bolts of lightening zip down from the sky--so long and brilliant that I had shouted “WOW” inside my helmet, grateful to have witnessed something so magnificent. We had to cross one final high mountain pass, and the dark clouds directly in front of us let us know that we were finally going to get wet.

After we started off again, I rounded a corner and found a rainbow directly in front of me, with the end stopping right on our road. What could be more perfect and true: the land of Bolivia, with all of its spectacular beauty, really IS the treasure at the end of the rainbow!

The rain then started pouring down. We started our climb up the large mountain, along a narrow dirt road with numerous switchbacks. As we climbed higher and higher, the rain turned to icy hail that stabbed our faces with painful jabs. The lightening flashes seemed very close, and the thunder boomed in my ears. I briefly wondered if anyone had even been struck by lightening while riding a motorcycle—and, if so, did they die. Finally, we crested the top and continued down the other side. It was hard for me to keep my eyes on the slippery road with all of the breathtaking views:

The hail eventually turned back into rain and then stopped completely. We took a short break to gather together and admire the view.

William, me, Maurice and Marc (notice the dark grey of my jacket from all of the rain):

Looking in the distance, I was excited to see the road we would be on soon:

Woo hoo! As we descended, we continued to enjoy the views of sculpted cliffs:

These are the canyons through which Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid rode, and they met their ultimate end not too far from here:

The canyon entrance to the town of Tupiza:

We were losing our daylight quickly, but we had to stop for one last photo of the incredible shapes surrounding us:

Tupiza was our first “big” city since La Paz, filled with cars and buses, and lots of buildings and people—it was quite a culture shock after the last few days. Our hotel was quite plush, and we were served a superb dinner of cooked vegetables and beef steaks, which I (finally) was able to thoroughly enjoy! And we had a peaceful night’s sleep.

<< Day 5: The Sud Lípez Area  | Day 7: Tupiza to Potosí

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin