San Juan de Rosario – Julaca – Rio Grande – Vinto – Uyuni
There are Mad Maxian echoes around pockets of South West Bolivia… at least for those with an overactive, celluloidic imagination like my own. Indeed, the ride from San Juan de Rosario to Ayuni, is almost post-apocalyptic in feel; it follows an old mining company railway line built in the 19th century, back when Bolivia bordered the Pacific.
Under bottle blue skies, the faintest of dirt roads traverses crunchy salt flats; empty, sparse, bleached canvases, where any direction goes. It crosses the frigid waters of the Rio Grande, swirling in icy slow-motion. It runs alongside forlorn railway tracks; hardened strips of shiny metal scything across the plateaux. It weaves through powdery borax mines, painting tyre tracks a sugary white. It flanks daisy chains of stencilled train carriages; empty, quiet and still. It skirts even an abandoned train cemetery, sprawling out beyond the sandy fringes of Uyuni, where hollowed out locomotives lie dull and corroded by the restless, salty winds of the Andean altiplano.
It’s a surreal, cinematic, dilapidated and sad setting… one in which our fat bikes, and the eery, electronic soundscapes of Boards of Canada, feel right at home…
If you would like to keep up with where I am between blog entries, I try and keep my While Out Riding Facebook page regularly updated – along with posting extra photos and gear ponderings. You can find it here. Occasionally, I pop some pictures up on Instagram too.