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Old 01-27-2013, 09:04 PM   #946
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
Day 103 (January 26, 2013)
La Paz, Bolivia to El Camino de la Muerte
Day's Ride: 149

I went down to the hostel lobby this morning to check my email and found the night clerks hard at work:


Great to see that its not just us Canadians that are happy the NHL strike is over and the teams are back on the ice. One of these Bolivians is proud to wear his team colors. Go Habs Go! It's probably a gift from a canadian mining contractor or from a retired canadian couple doing the adventure tourism thing.

Great pics! Always looking forward to your daily posts.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:48 PM   #947
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Originally Posted by Super Dave Hawaii View Post
Aloha Ulyses,
Check your chain adjustment and make sure it's not too tight. Also lube it up good and ride to see if noise goes away. I've got 97,000 on my XRL and the chains will make noise if not lubed and adjusted. properly. If too tight there is a chance of bearing failure, but you don't have enough mileage on it for that. Great report and photos.
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Thanks Dave! I have been checking my chain every day and I measure the play with a ruler. I thought that surely that wasn't the problem until I took off my luggage this evening, went for a ride, and found that it wasn't making the noise anymore. So, I guess that the chain is looser without the luggage, meaning that my chain was too tight to begin with! Thanks!

Bryce
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:21 PM   #948
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Horrible internet....where am I? The middle of Bolivia or something?

Well, I'm in Uyuni, home of the famous Salar de Uyuni. We went out and rode in the salt and mud and water today and now I have some amazing pictures to share, probably some of the best of the trip.....but the internet refuses to cooperate, so I may have to postpone my update until tomorrow.

Sorry folks.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:18 PM   #949
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Originally Posted by Kedgi View Post
Hi Bryce

I'm way behind you, hanging out in Cusco. Altitude really kicked the crap out of me but I'm feeling better now. If the weather is good tomorrow I'll be riding up into the Sacred Valley

I am hearing stories of difficulties buying gas in Bolivia. I must confess I haven't had the time to read every page of your Bolivia experience, can you tell me if you had any trouble getting fuel.

Glad to see you're still headed south successfully, ride safe.

Kedgi

Dwight

your readers can check out my rr here

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=832336
Dwight, good to hear from you! Before I get into Bolivia, make sure that you take the Santa Theresa route if you are going to Machu Picchu.

Here's the skinny on fuel: Bolivians pay about 3 Bolivianos per liter; all forigheners pay three times that amount! The Bolivian government doesn't want people crossing into Bolivia, buying a bunch of gas on the cheap, then heading into Peru or somehwere else and selling it for profit on the black market.

Now, there's a pretty easy way to get around this. You won't get it as cheap as the Bolivians do, but it won't cost three times as much either. To make this work, you kind of need to be able to speak a little bit of Spanish.

Pull into the gas station (make sure it's a small less devolped one) and ask them how much the gas is. If you are lucky, they'll just give it to you at the normal price. Most likely they won't. If they tell you it's three times as much, just laugh and tell them that you paid 5 Bolivianos at the last gas station.

If they point at the survaillance camera, just tell them it's okay and that nobody will know. Also, tell them they don't have to do all the paperwork and give you a recipt. At this point, they should be in the barganing mood. They may want you to pull out of site of the camera and fill up your bike using a jerry can or even empty coke bottles, but that's a small price to pay for the money you are saving.

Essentially, you're bribing them. You get gas cheaper than you normally would, and they get to skip the hassle of filling out paperwork, plus they get to pocket the difference in price. I'd say that's pretty win win. This little proccess has worked every time with me so far.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:37 PM   #950
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Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
Essentially, you're bribing them. You get gas cheaper than you normally would, and they get to skip the hassle of filling out paperwork, plus they get to pocket the difference in price. I'd say that's pretty win win. This little proccess has worked every time with me so far.


Ummmm. Is your poor Mother following this thread?

You are quite the resourceful fellow, and that is a good thing. I only wonder what other tricks you have up your sleeve that have not yet been reported. So much to look forward to these last 3,000 miles.

Stay safe.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:24 AM   #951
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To the Salar!

Day 105 (January 29, 2013)
Potosi, Bolivia to Unuyi, Bolivia
Day's Ride: 170 Miles

No map today as the internet is horrible here and I can't get on Google Maps.

We struck out from Potosi today for the relatively short ride to the town of Unuyi which is perched on the edge of the largest salt flat in the world, the Salar de Unuyi.

We had planned on staying in Potosi for the morning to take a tour of the famous mines, but decided that we more interested in getting to the Salar. On the way out of town I stopped an changed my oil at a small motorcycle shop. No mess this time, and they even took the old oil from me; how they dispose of it is anyone's guess.

Riding out of Potosi, the taillings from the mine had formed a huge strangely colored hill alongside the road. It stretched for nearly a mile along the road.



We were soon back on the Altiplano and the evidence of the presence of livestock was everywhere.



Eventually we came across a massive meadow that was totally covered by the tiny little black, brown, and white specks of Llamas and Alpacas. It reminded me of a ranch back in the states.



Eventually I saw this sign and wondered if I somehow hadn't crossed over into Africa:



After a few short hours of riding, we popped out above the Salar on a low hill. If you look closely above the bike, you can see the salt flats stretching out to the horizon.



We rolled down into Unuyi and had lunch at a pizza joint which ironically served the largest and best hamburger that I've had on this trip.

After lunch we found a hotel, stashed our gear, and went about making preparations for riding on the Salar and doing the desert crossing into Chile. I went off in search of a motorcycle shop to see if I could find some dirt tires. Mike had already purchased a set of knobbies in Lima, so he went in search of a "llanteria" (tire shop) to see if they could help him put his tires on.

I eventually found the bike shop and purchased a cheap Chinese made knobby rear tire for $50. I then hunted down a llanteria and had them do a vulcanized patch on the tube that I had pinched outside of Cusco before putting on my new dirt tire. I chose to only buy a rear tire for a few reason:

First, my front tire still has a bit of tread and I feel that it will do okay in the dirt.

Second, my Pirrelli Scorpions still have about 3,000 miles left in them and I don't want to discard them which means I have to carry them. So, instead of carrying two extra tires, I'll only have to carry one.

I'm going to call this configuration the "Skullet". Bald in the front, long in the back. With this setup I'll have plenty of traction and zero control. Just the way I like it: fast and out of control!

After swapping out my tire, I went back to the Hotel and swapped out my front sprocket for my smaller 14 tooth version to provide a little more low end for the dirt riding.

Eventually mike showed up with his new tires on and we headed out to see the Salar.



Normally the Salar is a huge barren expanse of crusted salt that stretches to the horizon. People generally jump up on the Salar and ride all the way across then down into Chile. Unfortunately, it's currently the rainy season and the Salar is flooded.

Still, we figured that we should at least go and see it. As we approached the main entrance, we began to see large piles of salt.




Mike ventured off the main road into what appeared to be a relatively dry portion of the flats. I got a little excited with my new tire and lower gearing and decided to get a little squirrelly. Unfortunately, what I thought was dry crusted sand ended up being foot thick mud. Trying to do a counterbalanced turn at 40 mph into the mud doesn't work so well....






This stuff was especially nasty. It had a thick, viscous clay like consistency and set up like concrete in a matter of seconds. It also had the added bonus of containing loads of corrosive salt. I spent about 15 min trying to clean it out of my chain and rear tire.



After cleaning everything up, we got back on the road and headed for the main entrance. As we came upon the Salar, I was totally blown away by the beauty of the scene.





Since it's rainy season, hundreds of square miles of the Salar are covered in a shallow salt lake which can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet deep. The raised road bed lead out into the Salar, which was at this point a shallow lake. About a quarter of a mile out into the water, the road bed disappeared and the water stretched out to the horizon. There were several land cruisers full of Japanese tourists at the end of the road waiting for the sunset.



We rode out into the water a little ways beyond the tourists and just sat on our bikes and surveyed the scene. There were several vehicles further out into the water; the water and the light created strange apparitions and the vehicles and people appeared to be floating on the surface of same vast, tranquil sea.






As the sun began to go down, Mike and I began to take pictures....















The last few minutes of the sunset were beautiful beyond words. I had one of the Japanese tourists snap a picture of Mike and I on our bikes. This is an Adventure Rider Sunset.....



I was lucky to get a few amazing shots of the last few minutes of light....





I just don't think I possess words potent enough to describe how beautiful, surreal, and incredible the whole experience was, so I won't even try.

We rode back to Unuyi in the dark, blasting down the dirt track at 55mph with our headlights barely illuminating the path and the last vestiges of light fading in the darkness.





Upon reaching the Hotel, I spent about an hour splashing water all over my bike trying unsuccessfully to wash off the mud and salt. Eventually I gave up, threw a bunch of oil on my chain, and decided to go hunt down the car wash in the morning.

Today Mike and I are going to be making preparations to do the crossing through the desert into Chile. I'm not sure when we will leave, but I probably will be off the grid for a few days as we have about 300 miles of fairly intense desert roads and tracks to cross before we reach proper civilization. If anyone is interested in seeing where we are, just click on the link to my blog and check out my SPOT tracker website.

Cheers,

Bryce

Ulyses screwed with this post 01-29-2013 at 06:32 AM
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:54 AM   #952
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Wow! Those pictures are truly beautiful. Must have been quite a sight in person. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:04 AM   #953
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Surreal

What an incredible experience! During the rainy season are there any dry parts of the Salar that you can open her up?
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:48 AM   #954
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
Thanks Dave! I have been checking my chain every day and I measure the play with a ruler. I thought that surely that wasn't the problem until I took off my luggage this evening, went for a ride, and found that it wasn't making the noise anymore. So, I guess that the chain is looser without the luggage, meaning that my chain was too tight to begin with! Thanks!

Bryce
I don't know why the chain would make noise only when downshifting into second... but anyway...

Forget the ruler, Set the chain to barely slack when the suspension is compressed so that the centerlines of the front sprocket, swingarm pivot, and rear sprocket centerline form a straight line.

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Old 01-29-2013, 12:48 PM   #955
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As usual, your photographs are amazing, Bryce. You are becoming quite a photographer.

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:06 PM   #956
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post

The last few minutes of the sunset were beautiful beyond words. I had one of the Japanese tourists snap a picture of Mike and I on our bikes. This is an Adventure Rider Sunset.....



I was lucky to get a few amazing shots of the last few minutes of light....



I just don't think I possess words potent enough to describe how beautiful, surreal, and incredible the whole experience was, so I won't even try.
Either one of these could go on the front page of this site.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:19 PM   #957
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Either one of these could go on the front page of this site.
Amen!

What's really amazing is this; photographs never do justice to the actual scenery. Thanks for taking the time to share your beautiful photographs with us, Bryce.

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:22 PM   #958
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Originally Posted by alvincullumyork View Post
Either one of these could go on the front page of this site.

Hope no one minds, I posted the first in the front page photo candidates. I thought the shot deserved a chance at it.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:28 PM   #959
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amaizing... images

amaizing images my amigo...........
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:34 PM   #960
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Originally Posted by DRRambler View Post
What an incredible experience! During the rainy season are there any dry parts of the Salar that you can open her up?
I don't know....but I'm about to find out. I'm pretty sure that even when it is dry you need to stay on the tracks unless you want to end up axle deep in the mud. I'm leaving tomorrow for a few days to go out and cross through some of the southern portions. I'll let you know how it goes.
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