Cochabamba to Samaipata
This would be my last day of riding. It would also be the most scenic, as far as I was concerned. We left Cochabamba early and were able to get out of the city without much trouble from the traffic. Once out of the city we rode through the suburbs - more like farming areas and not really suburbs. As we got farther from the city, the scenery opened up to rolling hills with large farming areas. The roads were wide with sweeping curves.
After about 100 miles of riding, the pavement ended in a small village where we stopped across the street from the Hilton Hotel to grab a coke and a bite to eat.
The next 100 miles would be on dirt. First we would ride through villages and over mountain passes. Eventually we would go through an area called La Siberia. La Siberia is an area where it's cold and wet almost all year. This is an area where the moist tropical air from the Bolivian lowlands is pushed up against the mountains and a cloud forest is formed along the mountain passes. I was warned in advance that we go through foggy areas where we'd only have about 50 feet of visibility.
The road to La Siberia
Panoramas of the road we took from Cochabamba to La Siberia. You can just see the dirt road on the right and then going over the pass in the distance.
The road where it followed a ridge line on the way to La Siberia
On my way to La Siberia, I had a close encounter with a rooster. We were passing through a very small village with a lot of chickens walking around. As I rode through, a rooster decided to cross in front of me. As I got close, the rooster decided to jump or fly in front of me and the rooster hit me in the shoulder as I rode by. Not a hard impact, but memorable. As I looked in the mirror after the impact, the rooster was again walking on the street. Apparently no harm done to either of us.
The fog and cloud forest of La Siberia can be seen in the distance
Sure enough, when we got up to the pass and La Siberia, it was quite cold and foggy. Luckily the dirt road was dry so we did not have to ride in the mud. As promised, the visibility was about 50 feet in places, so we rode very slowly to make sure we did not ride off the side of the mountain. There were also quite a few animals, cattle and horses along the road and slightly hidden by the fog.
Once over the pass and through La Siberia, we descended rapidly to much drier, warmer weather. Actually, the terrain we followed after going through La Siberia turned almost desert like.
The road also became paved for the last 40-50 miles as we continued on to Samaipata and the end of the tour.
I stayed one more night in Samaipata before being driven to Santa Cruz for a tour of the city and a farewell dinner before catching an early flight home.