Monday, August 22, 2011

The Bolivian Death Road

   After arriving in La Paz, a city with a serious lack of signs, on Saturday, I struggled to reach the Northeast side of town and the route which leads to the infamous Bolivian Death Road. Following two hours of navigating city traffic, which was heavily constricted do to the vendors which had encroached onto the streets (often 3 lanes had been narrowed to 1), I was out of town and heading in the correct direction. It was getting late, but I thought I might be able to finish my ride by nightfall.
   As has oftentimes been the case during this trip, fate held alternate ideas than my own. I drove off the Altiplano and the clear weather gave way to thick mist as I descended into heavy clouds. The moisture was dense and though it wasn't really raining I was soaked. In wet darkness I saw some heavy road equipment parked to the side of an abandoned school. This seemed to be a good spot to set camp. There is always a security guard for the valuable equipment in Latin America, and the school, with its busted front doors, offered sanctuary from the abysmal weather.
    The following morning I was a bit dismayed to find that the dense cloud cover hadn´t subsided in the least. I packed up my motorcycle in a rather lethargic manner and headed out into the haze. In departing, I communicated with the fellow guarding the Caterpillars and found that the entrance to the death road was a further 10K. The fog was thick, and the going slow, but after 15 minutes of following a poorly tuned diesel truck I found a precipitously sloped road branching off to my right. It was marked "Cola del Diablo" which isn't Death Road, but Tale of the Devil was close enough.
   The path down was obscured by clouds, however, the foggy conditions had subsided for the return. This offered a better view of the deep abyss lingering beneath the road's edge. The winding route is indeed deadly if you fall. Fortunately, remaining on the road is quite easy. Overall its condition, though unpaved, was pretty good. The only tricky part was passing large vehicles.
 The remainder of the day was rather fruitful and my return trip through La Paz was more orderly than the first. Eventually, I found myself 150 miles south of the Capital with a suitable place to camp, once again amongst construction equipment.
  I have 5 days to reach Buenos Aries, about 2000 miles away. 400 miles a day isn't that much, however, there will be lots of sandy paths between here and there. East Bound and Down is playing in my head. I'm always ready for a challenge.

1 comment:

  1. I think one pass on that road would be more than enough to last a lifetime, but two? Anxious to hear another update and to know you are continuing to make progress toward Buenos Aires.