Uyuni and what to do?

It is clear that Claudia’s bike is done for this leg of the ride. Mirko spent some time working on getting a new shock sent to La Paz and now what to do next? We talk to some people about the road condition to Laguna Colorda and the possibility of Germany going two-up. We met another rider, Tommy from Norway, on an HP2 that had just come from Chile on that route. He thought it was doable for some sections but would be difficult. Decision made! Shed more gear and give it a shot. Chris from Minutemen Revolutionary Pizza (in Tonito Hotel) was nice enough to store Cladia’s bike and some gear for free. Chris and his family are some great people. The pizza and all you can eat breakfast is amazing too. I spent a total of 5-6 nights in Uyuni before and after Laguna Colorado and Minutemen Pizza was where I had every meal except 1. No joke. Thanks Chris for your generosity and hospitality.

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Took part of the afternoon to check out the train museum.

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goofing off

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Meet Tommy. A really nice guy from Norway although him and his bike look straight out of Madmax.

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Out of Uyuni it is clear sailing for about 60k then my rear wheel bearings go. Ok new obstacle. Luckily I carry bearings. Not so lucky we try everything and can’t get one of the bearings out. Mirko throws my wheel on his bike and hauls ass back to Uyuni to get it popped out. It all ends up taking about 3 hours. Not awesome but all part of it. I knew they were going to need to be replaced soon. Probably should have gone with a preventive maintenance approach. oops Stayed in San Cristobal and ready to take another stab at it tomorrow.

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Typical scenery

After a distance I can’t remember, maybe 100k, on god roads we turned off into the dirt. There was sand and washboard right from the start so Mirko and Claudia had to take it pretty slow. We pushed on for a long time grabbing some snacks in Villamar. Our goal for the day was Laguna Colorada. After Villamar the road was only getting worse and now there were some hills to deal with. It was very slow going 3 in the afternoon with 70k more to go and time to make a decision.

Tough going two-up on ice

Cladia had to walk one hill and Mirko had to work really hard to navigate a big bike two-up over this terrain. It was a good effort but not meant to be. We knew the road back to Villamar and didn’t want to get caught out her in the cold at night. Back to Villamar it was to find a place to crash.

We did have some nice evening light in Villamar for some pictures.

After a discussion that night Claudia decided to just chill in Villamar for the day while Mirko and I made a day run to Laguna Colorada and the stone tree. No side bags so really light and fast. We burned up the first 50k really quickly. The terrain varied and was some really fun off-road. We then connected with the road that comes from Chile and things were looking good until this.

That’s a lot of oil on my wheel
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What ya gonna do? Both fork seals done.

Another 50k to go to the lake I decided to go see this damn red lake but just take it slow. It was really shitty running on two blown fork seals. Also very disappointing because I had the suspension redone right at the start of this trip. I was always skeptic if it was done right because it was to soft and bottomed out way to much. Problem way I didn’t leave enough time to test properly before I left the states so I just dealt with it.

We did make Laguna Colorada but not the stone tree. Some sweet pictures for our struggles.

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Abandon Flamingo egg
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My most hardened look of the trip so far. If BMW is looking for a model I figure this picture will pretty muck lock it up! haha

We were back in Villamar mid afternoon, stayed the night and got ready for an early start back to Uyuni tomorrow. It was slowing going because of injured bike but we did make Uyuni in a day. Another down day to regroup and figure out how best to attack the ride back to La Paz with two injured bikes.

My approach was just to go slow and steady. Fork seals were toast and most of the oil was gone but whatever, its all good pavement back to La Paz. Mirko found a moto shop and put a cheap small moto shock in Claudia’s bike just to keep if from damaging more stuff. At this point we also notice that one of Mirko’s fork seals is leaking. The South of Bolivia is hard on equipment!!

We went through Potosi on the way home and stayed there two nights.  I went and checked out the museum on the history of the area.  It is a big mining area and Potosi minted a lot of coins.  The museum was worth the visit I thought.  English-speaking tour guide as well.  Good to get a little culture once in a while and not just ride by everything.  If there is a big demand I can post pictures and some more information.  I am guessing it will be radio silence on requests for museum pics and discussion. haha

The two weeks around southern Bolivia went much different from planned, but that’s what makes it an adventure right? We were all tired, tired of being cold and ready for a break. I had 3 days until my flight to Maine and Claudia and Mirko had 6 days until their flight to Ecuador to meet family. Coincidently our flights back to La Paz were the exact same from Lima. Total luck with no discussion on firm dates. We used that time to rip motos apart and make parts list. The Amazon and Ebay accounts were on fire ordering stuff to my Mom’s house in Maine. My checked luggage would be interesting on the way back!

Some highlights of the vacation from the adventure.

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This guy gave me his ninja to ride while I was home. Maybe the plan was hatched this night! Haha Gotta love crazy cousins!
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I took my dad’s Harley for a spin. I will be honest, I don’t get it. Its comfortable but after that I never felt safe. Let it couldn’t get out of its own way. Sluggish and not maneuverable.

Hey sister! Get this kid a dog!!!

I wasn’t necessarily ready to go home or take a break but the timing worked out well with my bike needing some TLC. And of course it’s always nice to spend time with family. I think that’s really what it’s all about. Being surrounded by ones you love and ones that love you, friends and family. It was the most enjoyable trip back to Maine I have had in the over ten years I have been gone. I was in a great vacation groove. Only one thing I would have changed if I could, and that was having my brother there with his family. Next year. My hope is to do a close to a month in Maine every summer from here on. I was living could for my time there and the ever decreasing bank account reminded me of that. Time to get back to Bolivia and live off my $30 per day!!

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