Touring by Bike South America, Africa and Europe by Bicycle

Touring by Bike
Day 37. Salar de Uyuni, Isla Incahuasi

Km today: 90

Trip odometer: 2205 km

Today I woke up very late, like 9, after the previous two days. I pack slow and leave the campsite at 12. There are 35 km to go to Isla Incahuasi and I arrive at the island at about 14:30. At the island, not at the restaurant on the other side of the island. To go around the small island I have to push the bike through the melted salt, which is not an easy task at all. Anyway, around 3 pm I´m at the restaurants, where I meet a spanish man that tells me he´s been travelling all over the world. Including a 2000 km bike trip in Spain, from the south to Camino de Santiago. He also knows Romania and even my home town there.

We chat while I have a late lunch, he takes some pictures and I hope he will send them someday. I was adviced by everybody not to go south, but to go back to Uyuni on the same road. I hate that, but apparently is the only reasonable timely way towards Argentina. I decide to give it a go and even if there are about 95 km to Uyuni I start at about 4:30 p.m. The spanish guy tells me there might be a bus heading south, from Uyuni, leaving at 1 or 2 am. I start with the plan to reach Uyuni, jump on a bus and go further South by bus, I understand the road is really bad (there is a dirt road all the way). Hoping for the same westerly wind I had yesterday. Of course, today there is no wind and it takes me some time to go closer to Colcha. With about 17 km to go until Colcha the road (eehr, the salar, there is no road) becomes very bumpy and the speed drops to 7 km/h. I calculate that I´ll reach the village at about midnight, instead of 11 pm.

Should I give up my attempt to reach Uyuni and I spend another night in the salar ? That means loosing one day. I decide to continue, and after 4-5 km it gets better and I can ride at 17-18 km/h. My ETA for Colcha is again 11 pm. From here I hope a truck will drive me and the bike back to Uyuni, the road is really unusable for my thin tires bike.

5 km to go and I´m feeling good that I can reach the village little before the ETA and increase my chances to get a bus. But I find myslef in the middle of the water, so I have to push the bike out and find a way around. Fortunately the GPS tells me where I came from yesterday, I manage to push the bike (very difficult) up to that road and reach the main street at exactly 11 p.m.

For the first 12 km the road is a hell, I have to step down the bike several times, once I even drop the bike. At 00:15 the first car goes in my direction I stop it and it stops. Despite beeing less than a truck (is a SUV, a Jeep or a so-popular Toyota) he takes me to Uyuni. Just to find out the first bus south is at 6 am

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