The next morning we walk down to the market for breakfast, and wandering down through the witches market where one could buy dried up baby llamas and such. For what purpose I did not ask!
It had been a while since we both had been in shopping mode, but it was a fun change.
We then headed off on the road north to Coroico hoping to ride the death road. Alison’s bike started to over heat in the traffic, and then in an effort to escape the crazy line ups of cars we headed into the hilly back streets. Bad plan. Packs of dogs ran at us. And the streets narrowed out to unpaved dead ends or walkways. We turned round back into the traffic.
On the way we tried stopping for gas, and the first two stations looked at our plates and refused to sell us any, as we were foreigners. We were starting to get worried and frustrated. We had heard getting gas in Bolivia required foreign plates to pay up to 3 times more for gas but to be totally refused. That was tough. We were starting to wander how long we would actually be able to stay in Bolivia.
We head over the freezing pass in fog mist and rain and wonder what we are doing. We queried whether to head back to La Paz but neither of us could face the traffic again. So we plowed on, agreeing that attempting the death road in these conditions so late in the day is madness.
Thankfully the freezing mist stops and we stop at a gas station just before we hit the entrance to the death road and the lady didn’t look twice and fills us up with fuel at the local price. Our moods start to lift. We plan to stop here again on the way back.
We pull up to the turn off for the death road and the clouds have lifted.
Just as we decide 'yes we will ride it', air down our tires and I take off my last fragile BMW mirror, the clouds roll in over the mountains and totally envelope the mountain and the valley. We decide to give the route a miss and see how it looks in the morning on our way back.
So we head over the ‘good’ road to Coroico down into the Amazon.
Its amazing to see rivers and green, green valleys. At the base of the decent the road drops out, and the road turns to dirt, and my favorite cobblestones. We are getting tired. We wind our way up the hill to the town. Traffic and our slow speeds start to take their toll on Alison’s bike. She stops as she is over heating. We get directions to the hostel where we have been told we can find camping and it’s further up the hill and far out of town. We stock up on food while the bike is cooling and tackle the steep, slippery cobblestone slopes. I go first, struggling, my back slipping, but manage to hold her. Some locals stand by in amusement watching our struggle. I make it up the hill and find the path out of town. I stop at the turn off and look behind me. No sign of Alison. Not having mirrors on I didn’t see what happened. I wait a few minutes knowing me returning down the slope would lead to further problems at this point, reasoning if she was having problems there were plenty of people around to help her. She arrives not long later, having gone down on the wet stones. We push on over the wet muddy track to the hostel. Each sign for the hostel leading us to think 'Is this it? Please let it be it!' I am so glad we didn’t choose to ride the death road today. Finally we pull into the hostel at 7pm and the camping is closed for the season. We get the cheapest room, and decide to eat at the restaurant and have a glass of wine instead of cooking in the rain as we are surprisingly exhausted.