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Old 10-27-2012, 02:11 PM   #16
xs400 OP
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Oddometer: 225
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

Downtown 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.
IBA #14938

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own." - No.6; The Prisoner
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:19 PM   #17
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Salinas, Santa Elena, Ecuador
Oddometer: 918
Keep it up!
The white powder being ingested with the coca leaves was likey quinoa ash, not cocaine. That gets smelled, not tasted
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Originally Posted by OnandOff
I'd rather be riding a 200 in Ecuador than any dream bike here.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:21 PM   #18
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 86
Great report there Mr.xs.Hell of a way to see a very far away place ,get some great experiences and hopefully not break the Bank at the same time.Some of those village don't look like they have changed in hundreds of years.Thanks for taking us along.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:34 PM   #19
xs400 OP
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Oddometer: 225
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.
IBA #14938

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own." - No.6; The Prisoner
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