We start our day in Villa Loza, just south of La Paz. The temperature on the Altiplano is once again 5 degrees C. and we layer on the clothing for a 7 am start with the intention of arriving in Uyuni early in the afternoon allowing time to explore the town before dark. We make good time and arrive in Huari at 11 am (a distance of 200 km) which included a stop for breakfast.
Shortly after Huari we come across a sign for Uyuni which is 164 km's and the road turns to sand. The sand has the consistency of flour and is 3 to 6 inches deep making riding difficult due to the uneven base under the sand. We try riding beside the road like other vehicles are doing but end up doing a low speed crash in the sand when the front tire sinks and we loose control. It's all Diana and I can do to upright the bike and carry on. About an hour after the first spill we take a second one at about 30 kph, this time my left leg gets caught under the bike and it takes a couple minutes for Diana to dismount and for me to pull my leg out. This time we wait ten minutes for a passing vehicle to help upright the bike.
The whole 164 km's was mostly soft sand and at times washboard gravel which prohibited getting the bike out of first gear. In the seven hour journey we saw less than 20 vehicles and while having a rest we admit to each other that we've been eyeing up the culverts as an option to a hotel room if we can't make it to Uyuni. As soon as we get to the hotel we apply ice to the knee and ankle and hope the pain subsides.
Pink Flamingo's, but not the lawn ornament variety.
Vicuna's grazing next to the road.
The knee is still not up to riding so we book a tour that will take us to the train cemetery and the salt flats on Sunday.
The Salar de Uyuni salt flats are the largest in the world covering 12,106 square kilometers and sits at 3653 meters above sea level.
Salt statues in the salt museum.
Most of the buildings were built using salt blocks in the same manner as bricks.
The salt flats look very similar to a frozen lake in late spring, dirty edges and honeycomb patterns.
Reflections in the standing water.