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Thread: Riding into the sky at 16,500 feet.....Altiplano, Bolivia

  1. #1

    Riding into the sky at 16,500 feet.....Altiplano, Bolivia

    What a ride.....
    right now we are in Sucre, the official capital of Bolivia, after pushing ourselves and our bikes pretty dam hard through the Altiplano region of Bolivia.....but boy was it worth it.
    The colours, the light, the scenary, the landscape.....were all like something out of a Jules Vern novel. We dreamt for so long about being in this region it felt strangely surreal to finally be here.

    Like so many of us we saw first pictures of this remote landscape when the r1100gs adventure was launched and the brochure and advertising campaign were shot here. We can tell you....its even better in the flesh! Getting to the Arbol del Piedra (rock tree) felt wonderful.

    We left San Pedro de Atacama on 8th August both a little nervous of what laid ahead. Simon's having problems with his 1100gs and we'd already spoken to several friends in Salta (Mike and John, Katrin and Ralph) who'd warned us that they'd had to turn back on one sandy section, that and the fact that neither of us have been atover 16,000 feet let alone ridden a bike that high ....the Bolivian Aduana is at 16,522 feet!

    As we rode higher the temperature was dropping by the second, and even in the midday sun our sexy black thermals were hard at work.

    By the time we'd reached Lago Verde we'd comletley forgotten about the our eyes feasted on the turquoise/emerald green waters sitting at the base of the snow capped volcano, Licancabur. The hairs on the back of our necks were stood to attention, for so many reasons the both of us there was more of a 'buzz' and sense of achievement getting here than there had been arriving in Ushuaia.

    The days came and went as did the long sandy sections of volcanic dust and grit, the rocky tracks and the flocks of candy-floss pink flamingos that call this area home. It's almost pointless to try to verbalise this incredible landscape so instead we'll let a few photographs do the explaining.

    As you know we've ridden through some pretty tough terrains over our 3 years and 3months on the road......however, the last section from Laguna Hedionda (see photos) over the mountains to the 'so called' main road before the small pueblo of San Juan was still testing we clumsily bounced our over-laden heavy machines up and down boulder-ridden tracks at over 15,000 feet.

    Sillly mistakes were made with tiring consequences. We were getting little sleep at night as temperatures plummeted to minus 20 deg C. and during the day our unconditioned lungs were struggling with the thinner air.......and still it was all worth it.

    hope you enjoy the photographs, if you want to read more our diary will be up in the next few days at along with the re-worked and NEW gallery!

    see you on the road,
    Simon and Lisa
    Ride Far, Ride Safe...

  2. #2
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    not near to you
    awesome stuff

    "If you knew when you were going to die, would you live your life differently?"

  3. #3
    Truely amazing photos - thanks for posting them


  4. #4
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    I Live In HOPE
    Great pictures. You really are dreaming with your eyes open.
    I'm not in the least bit envious.

  5. #5
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Saintfield Norn Iron
    Hi Simon and Liz

    Just picked up your post on Altiplana and will read previous posts in next few days
    Was privilaged to be in that area recently and appreciate you being lost for words to describe.I was too! Words and photos are awesome......but being there.....whow

    Thanks for reminding me (as if I needed reminding)

    Ride safe


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by simon thomas
    Like so many of us we saw first pictures of this remote landscape when the R1100GS Adventure was launched and the brochure and advertising campaign were shot here.
    Hi Simon and Lisa

    Quick, chew some coca leaves, the altitude's getting to you and you're dreaming up new models.

    In all seriousness, superb pictures , and I look forward to the full report on your website.

    Regards, Mick

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Reliving bike trips whilst sat at my desk....

    Really inspiring. Our departure for a mere 3 month jaunt (by comparison) is only 4 weeks away. We're sticking to Argentina and Chile, but we are not excluding a detour into Southern Bolivia. This sort of studd tends to tip the scales rather effectively!!

  8. #8
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Kent & Berkshire
    Hi Simon & Lisa,

    Good to hear from you guys again-we hope the heater serves you well !!

    Capetown is great although we've had the odd incident or two. including a two teenagers pulling a knife on us in the street to try and get some "change". They weren't "professionals" and I managed to get hold of his knife hand, soon after that he and his accomplice left. However, we've made some good contacts and recieved all the help we've needed.

    Apart from to say Hi, my main reason for writing is to compliment you on your photos - they are excellent. I'm glad my tuition in Salta has paid off for you !! I actually managed to buy another D70s in Buenos Aires and so am now getting back on track.

    If you're still at Sucre, please return Gerts Hi and say Hi to Lettie for me too, Gert will introduce you.

    Well, regards for now. Safe riding.

    Mike & John

  9. #9
    Rear Stab Vest Only .... Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Independent State of Burtoria ...
    Been sitting here wondering what to type
    Here goes ;

    No still stuck , looks amazing , will dream about that tonight instead of ladies honest .

    Ride safe . JB .

  10. #10
    Grumpy old B*st*rd Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Somewhere near Peterborough, England
    Awesome pictures. Chris

  11. #11
    Gear whore
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Truly incredible pictures. I can only try to imagine how great it must be to be there and to be making that journey

  12. #12
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Belfast NI
    What we need are clearly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

  13. #13

    Simon & Lisa

    Absolutely Awesome Photo's,had wondered where you pair had got to, I was begining to get worried as I have been following your adventures and was begining to think some thing had happened to you.


  14. #14
    Compulsive tinkerer........! Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Round 'n' round in circles.........
    Sorry but I cannot add anything that has not already been said!

    "You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

    Sorry, but if it hasn't got wheels, or a pair of tits or if its not covered in chocolate, then quite frankly, I'm not really that interested.....

    I'm a fiddler, I like to turn screws just because they are there.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern Ireland
    I have no superlative in my volcabulary, to describe those pictures

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Only one word:


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