Oruro the Cochabamba
Today's ride would be all paved, but not without excitement. After leaving Oruro at 12,200 feet, we will head up into the mountains and go over a pass at about 15,000 feet. The road over the mountains were well paved and wide. Going over the pass would require a lot of passing of trucks and buses. Double yellow lines on the road are there mainly as a caution and we passed many vehicles on our way over the pass.
Leaving Oruno there was no traffic to speak of. We rode through rolling hills with broad sweeping curves. Approaching the pass the road got steeper and the temperature dropped. Surprisingly, there were people living up near the summit. There's not much vegetation above 14,000 feet.
Nearing the pass on the way to Cochabamba
People living up near the pass, we stopped here to put no some warmer gear.
Just pass the summit, looking back.
The road on the way down from the pass. The red dirt of the mountains were really spectacular to see!
On the ride down after going over tha pass, we came across a bus accident. One bus had rear ended another bus on the road down the mountain. We also saw a third bus broken down on the side of the road. It was not a good day to be in a bus.
The highway down the mountains on the way to Cochabamba. If you closely you can see trucks and buses on the road.
Truck stop on the way to Cochabamba
Arriving in Cocabamba I was warned to stay close and not get lost. Cochabamba is a city of about 1 million people. If I lost the guide, it would be hard to find him again - not impossible because I had the address and phone number of the hotel, but it would be a PITA to find the place by myself. Traffic was crazy in Cochabamba. We were splitting lanes and passing cars and trucks on the right. I'm OK splitting lanes, but when passing on the right you really have to focus in case someone in front decide to make a right turn. Also, traffic lights were mainly cautionary - meaning people ran red lights - and the lines were not obeyed all the time.
Cochabamba was quite a bit lower altitude (9,300 feet ) and warmer than the towns we had been in previously. It was hot negotiating the stop and go traffic in the city center.
Traffic in Cochabamba
We spent 2 nights in Cochabamba with 2 planned activities, stopping by the local market and visiting the largest "Cristo" sculpture of South America. At 33 meters and 30 cm, the Cristo de Cochabamba is 30 cm taller then the famous "Cristo de Rio de Janeiro"
The market in Cochabamba - note the 3 people on the scooter on the left - helmets? - they don't need no sticking helmets. 0r any gear for that matter.
To get to the Cristo statue there is a gondola you can take for the trip up and down. It was a hot day and the gondola ride was a nice way to get there. Once at the top, you could go inside the statue and walk up to about has high as the arms. There were some small windows in the statue where you could look out.