The amazing photographers who took this shot are our friends Kira and Brendon Hak, the fellow KTM-riding duo called the Adventure Haks. We met up with them for Christmas in Sucre, Bolivia, and then headed south together a few days before this epic failure-of-a-ride.
Though most tourists who visit Potosí take a tour of the mine, I had a stomach bug and chose not to go. But I'm not sure how much I would've liked seeing the conditions of the workers there, since I've heard it's somewhat horrific. Luckily, the colonial center of Potosí itself turned out to be very quaint, and it was nice to walk around the pedestrian-only streets at night lit by old lamps. It almost reminded me of Paris. Ok, maybe that's a stretch, but it was nice.
After a brief stop at the Dakar Rally sign, we were soon in the vast nothingness of the salt. It's almost dizzying to see just white and sky around you, and it was hard to follow the GPS that wanted to take us down certain “roads". So we finally decided to just pick a point on the horizon, and head that way.
If I had ever stepped into the looking glass and ended up in Wonderland, then this was it.
So we headed to the closest dry land, first having to ride our bikes through deep puddles of salt water where buses and Land Rovers had dug trenches with their tires. It almost makes me cringe to write this, but I was knee-deep in the saltiest water imaginable pushing Tim out of the salt slush. This is pure motorcycle death.
And then finally the bike was just dead. The Haks' bike was fine, thankfully, but we were on the side of the road, 90 miles (140 km) away from Uyuni, wondering what in the world we were going to do. So we camped there on the highest ground we could find, and tried to sleep through a night of windstorms, rain, and hail.
In the morning the weather had cleared, and we stopped a motorcyclist on the road who said he had a friend with a flat-bed truck. Not excited to be towed for hours down a dirt road by a 4x4 with a rope, we figured the flat-bed would be best, no matter the price. It ended up being $145 to be driven all the way back to Uyuni where we knew there were amenities and fellow broken-down friends with their bikes.
Even if it does work, will it work for long, or will there need to be more cleaning and modifications done down the road? It's all just speculation at this point, but as always, we'll keep you posted.
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