Almost stranded in Bolivia…..
About to cross the border, so here is our last Bolivian chapter. For one of the bikes is was almost the final chapter….
After some nice days in Sucre, where we met some friends, chilled out and had a great lunch at Pauls place (see his blog: effe lunchen), it was time to go again.
Paul convinced us to ride the Ruta del Che. Wednesday 15 september we left beautiful Sucre and drove to Villa Serano. A nice route, where we were subject to rockfall and very dusty roads.
Next day we reached La Higuera. This village consists of 4 houses, a hostel and about 25 pictures and statues of Che Guevara.
In 1967 he was killed here, but he is still very much alive in this village. It was a tough route to get there.
Also had to do a little river crossing, still happy the rainy season is a month away.
For one of us it came as a little suprise.
We saw a totally different Bolivia in the Eastern Andes.
It also got warmer and warmer. The Ruta del Che brings you to places where Che went to the toilet all the way to where he got killed….We did it, because it was an absolutely beautiful route. It could be a real touristy route, but the roads aren’t that accesible. We only met two other users of the road in two days time….
The day we left La Higuera, we had the second flat tyre on the ruta del Che. We changed Roels tyre on a local football field.
On the road again, Roels bike started to loose power. Nothing new for Bas and Steve, but first time for Roel. It soon turned out to be serious problems. Not much later, Roels bike died in a little village. We decided to try to get a lift to Samaipata, where we thought we would have better chances for repairing. We hitchhiked until we got a 60km ride to Samaipata. Roel in the back and Bas and Steve following.
Just before sunset we arrived in hostel Posada del sol, where we would stay for the next week.
Next morning (saturday 18th) we tried to find the cause of the problems, but couldn’t find anything wrong.
We decided to bring it to a recommended mechanic in the next village on monday. In the mechanic shop they found out that the piston and pistonrings were worn, because of a blocked exhaust pipe. Roels bike was indeed smoking like hell and using more oil than fuel, but we never thought all this carbon would block his exhaust and wear the piston.
It took only four days for these great guys to find the problem, find new parts (which was fairly difficult, because there are only three XT600’s in Bolivia…..ours) and get it all back together. In the meantime Steve already found a new bike for Roel in case his was beyond repair.
Although the workshop didn’t really look like it was one of profesionals (with chickens, dogs and cows walking around), these guys sure knew about bikes. On thursday the bike was good to go and ready for a testride. The mechanic had his own way of doing a testride.
He took us on a local tour, visiting friends, a market and bought us a lots of stuff. We got some real Bolivian used-car-tyre-sandals. This surely is gonna be a hit in Holland. Everything that’s “green” nowadays will sell.
Happy with our new Pirelli sandals (they even look great with “geitenharensokken”) we said goodbye to our new friends. The bike was back alive. We were not stranded for live in Bolivia like Paul (hehehe), who we met again in Samaipata. He was on his way back on his brand new XR650R from Santa Cruz. Took it for a ride……Nice!!!
Friday (24th) we finally left Samaipata (which was a very nice place to stay for a week, great climate!). Although Roels bike now sounds like a tractor, we are pretty sure it will bring us all the way to Ushuaia. A long day brought us to Camiri, also a place where Che once was…..we stayed in number 5.
Above the door it now says in Dutch: “The dutch Dangleberries had a shit here in 2010”.
Today we drove to Villamontes on our way to Paraguay. Tomorrow is borderfest. We are right back in summer here, with high temperatures. After 4 weeks Bolivia we are sad to say goodbye to this great country with the most friendly people. But….we are really looking forward to Paraguay too. Not many tourists go there, but the few ones we met are really positive.
Keep you posted.