We’ve got a tough decision ahead of us – how will we get through Bolivia?
Bolivia will be one of the most challenging parts of our journey due to its sheer remoteness – we’ll spend days on end camping out and will have to carry our own water for up to three or four days at a time. Until now, we have been able to find water at least once per day.
We have basically two options – the high altiplano or the Amazon basin. Each route is very remote and we would pass only two or three cities each way. In between, we will be camping out and carrying gallons of water.
- There is something romantic about the notion of cycling the altiplano. After hearing stories of it for so many years, I really want to see it
- Beautiful in a lot of ways. We won’t have views of the gorgeous snow-capped mountains like around here, but the grasses swaying in the wind and wide open vistas should be gorgeous.
- Shorter than the other route by around 600 or 700 km
- Would stay high and not to have to climb up another massive pass
- Fairly flat
- Daytime temps for cycling are perfect
- It’s tough cycling at 12 – 14 thousand feet!
- Cold – really cold. At night, the temp would drop down to the low teens or single digits (farenheit, not celsius!). We would need to be snuggled into our sleeping bags by 6 every evening and wouldn’t get out again until 7 the next morning.
- Have to carry enough water for up to three or four days at a time – that’s a lot of water!
- Daily mileage would be low – we find we are exhausted after 50 km at this altitude.
- Warmer. It’s winter now, so we aren’t sure what the temps would be – pleasant or scorchingly hot??
- Easier cycling since we’ll be lower which means more oxygen in the air
- Varied scenery rather than just high desert grasslands
- Camping would be more pleasant as it’s not bitterly cold. It could be too hot for comfortable camping though – we aren’t sure.
- We could comfortably cycle more miles each day.
- Have to carry less water as there are more villages – only enough for two or three days.
- Drop down 13,000 feet and then have to climb back up to get to Salta, Argentina.
- Jungle – we’ve seen jungle in Central America and Ecuador and I have no desire to see it again!
- Longer by about 600 or 700 km
- Hillier route – it would be flat once we get down, but there are a lot of hills between here and there
Which way to go? Daryl wants to go down, Davy wants to stay high. Given the differences in daily mileage we should be able to do, we think it will end up taking approximately the same amount of time regardless of the route we choose.
There was a time in my life when I loved the challenge of winter camping – the colder, the better. But now… I dunno, I think I’m getting old and soft. Now the idea of camping out in freezing cold night after night and waking up in a frost-covered tent and having to pack my bike with fingers immobilized by cold doesn’t sound so appealing. But then I come back to the idea of cycling through the beautiful altiplano under crystal clear skies with the warm sun on my face and I think, “It won’t be that bad!”
We’ve got a week or so to decide. Wish us luck…