Retracing our tyre tracks

Trip Start Nov 26, 2007
Trip End Nov 26, 2008

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, September 28, 2008

So we were up early, packed and ready to go. Waited for about 3 hours for this imaginary petrol tanker to arrive. Discussed which route we should take and decided to go back via La Paz as we had more chance of getting petrol. We talked about all the problems we had had with the bikes and the growing political problems which were leading to road blocks, riots and no petrol across most of the country (can't believe nobody in England knew Bolivia was on the brink of civil war!). We had come to terms with selling the bikes when we got back to La Paz and bussing it the rest of the way. If we could only leave Rurre! We headed back into town from the petrol station and saw somebody filling up their bike from 2L lemonade bottles outside their house and bought some petrol at double the normal price, not enough to get to La Paz but enough to get us on the road to the next major town. So at 3.30pm with 3 hours of daylight left we hit the road, glad to be leaving Rurre but not looking forward to retracing our steps over those horrendous roads. We stopped at the melon sellers and the guy who let us stay in his garden when I had had a flat tyre and dropped off toy cars and colouring pens and paper for their children to say thank you, then seriously got our heads down and rode to Yucumo. We got there at 6.30pm to find no petrol but a very cheap hostal that smelt of mould.
Still no petrol the following day and we had to buy some on the black market at 3 times the normal price, but at least we had some! It felt good passing the places where we had broken down and the roads were actually nicer than I remembered. We stopped to put on our waterproof trousers and tom noticed a bolt holding my exhaust onto the frame had come loose. We tightened it up and headed off into the deep pebbles and sand, this was the horrid road I remembered! We stopped for a break and the bolt had gone! We gingerly (no pun intended) made our way to the next village and a īmechanicī or should I say man with some wire came to our assistance. We had 150km to do that day but it was hard work, 30km from our destination, Carnarvi, I heard a banging noise and stopped to find a rivet from one of the links of my chain had virtually come out! One link was bent and we squeezed it together with the leatherman and very slowly carried on, what else could we do? Ok so the chain could've snapped but we stopped and checked it regularly and it seemed ok. Those 30km went so slowly! We stayed in the same place next to the river we had on the way to Rurre and slept really soundly. We woke up and again discussed selling the bikes, cutting our losses, we hadnt had 1 day that had been problem free. It was wearing us down physically and mentally. But that new day brought an entirely different outlook! We found a great mechanic, a real one who fixed everything and more that was wrong with the bikes. Ok so I still needed a new rear brake disk as it had become bent (have I already told you about that?). But the mechanic assured us it wasn't a major problem; it just made a horrid noise. We drove back through town and found a petrol station, with petrol! Lovely clean legal stuff that doesn't make your engine splutter, comes out of a pump and didn't  cost the same price as British petrol. We filled up everything! Both bikes and both 10L canisters, now there was no stopping us! The road improved and so did our spirits! Twisting high above the canyon again and stopping only to allow a bulldozer to clear a land slide. We got to the river by Corrico at 4.30pm and spoke to 2 Mexicans who were doing it in style on two massive Harleys....I call that cheating! We camped up behind an abandoned building sitting round a fire tom had made looking up at a sky full of stars and trees full of fire flies.
We rode up the death road from Corrico to La Paz passing gringos on pushbikes speeding the other way looking very scared. It had been fun when we had gone down the road ourselves but much more fun going up it. The scenery truly was awesome and the bikes were loving it too. We hit tarmac at the top and rode in comfort for the last hour into La Paz.
It was nice to have a warm welcome going back to the Wild Rover Hostal. We had tearfully said goodbye to most of our friends before we left as they had headed to Peru but one friend Woody was still there and it was his birthday. 
Unbeknown to him or us was the fact that Kate and Jaqcs two very good friends we had made had come back from Peru to surprise him for his birthday. What was meant to be an overnight stop in La Paz turned into 5 days of partying with good friends. Well we are on our holidays! Also whilst we were partying a cease fire had been called until 16th October....donīt quite know how they stopped the poor people who had marched across the country to fight the rich people who were blocking ītheirī natural gas supplies, but they did. So petrol was flowing, peace, love and harmony had been restored. Whilst we were on the road we had been religiously watching the news, the funny thing was we were telling the locals what was happening as most of them didn't have a clue!
So we loved the bikes again and Bolivia loved us, time to hit the road again!
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