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QUICK UPDATE: 11/8/2011

posted Nov 16, 2011, 3:02 AM by Matthew Gorzlancyk

23,658 kilometers and 495 days and I am now taking a breather in the beautiful Salta, Argentina. Bolivia was a tough one, but man was it a beautiful ride! From Salta I will head down toward Mendoza via the famous Ruta 40 highway. Wineries and warm weather again! Should be a treat!

Pushing, walking, panting and dragging: What a time in Southwest Bolivia!!

            On the 6th of October Matt and I set off for an adventure through one of the most remote, and probably most difficult, sections of road we would ride through on our trajectory to Ushuaia, Argentina. We filled our panniers with food and readied ourselves for some sweet isolation.

            The first day of our ride we slowly drifted from Bolivian ‘civilization’ over to an even wilder side of the country. Altiplano life was not going to be easy, but it sure would be scenic!

            Now I am going to be completely honest here. This route was NOT easy, but it is also not something I wouldn’t recommend to others. As long as you enter this section of track with a good attitude and understanding that you are going to ride hundreds of kilometers of washboard roads, deal with icy evening winds, ride through sandstorms, wake up with your water bottles frozen, and push your bike through sand sometimes, you will be just fine.

            The reason I put myself through this pain was so that I could enjoy countless natural delights as I was traversing Southwest Bolivia. From volcanoes and salt flats, to hot springs, lagoons, geysers and flamingos, I really felt rewarded on a daily basis. AND THAT’S NOT ALL! While I was riding the section from the Salar de Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama, my riding mates and I received countless gifts and amazing hospitality from many of those we met along the way (free meals, places to crash indoors, etc). Not only that, I made some great friends along the way in those whom accompanied me through this difficult route.

            If this sounds like something that would possibly interest those of you reading my blog, you may find a PDF with details as to the route that a couple of very kind bicycle tourists made a couple of years back (Cycling Southwest Bolivia by Sonya Spry and Aaldrik Mulder of www.tour.tk Take a look! Though some things have changed and are a bit different from when this was constructed, it has a great map and makes this tough route much more easily navegable. If you do take this resource, please shoot the writers a thank you message when you do.

            Also, in order to get a taste of what Southwest Bolivia has to offer, take a look at my second Bolivia photo album. It was really an UNBELIEVABLE experience. For any questions or suggestions as to what I remember of the roads and such, email me: