After superb Lagunas route I cannot wait for more of Bolivia. Namely, the famous endless salt flats. But first I need to get there. And I have a few options.
Today I am deciding whether to go to San Agustin and then join another Pikes' route to the tourist town of Uyuni (technically from there I could go directly north to salar de Uyuni but given my dwindling supplies it is better to restock in a decent sized town). The other option is more direct route through San Cristobal.
In the end the direct option wins -- while the road to San Agustin is more scenic, it is also sandy road through mountains. Meanwhile, the road to San Cristobal is basically a good flat ripio. Finally, given my experiences so far, it could be quite difficult to find avena in San Agustin and I am dangerously low with breakfasts.
Before I head off I first stop by the same "restaurant" than yesterday. A sopaipillas and pasta breakfast isn't bad at all. From there finally start pedalling on the flat road. And from the morning I am welcomed by a north wind. The road surface is surprisingly good and even more surprisingly there is little traffic. I cycle through green altiplano but there are distant hills on both sides of the road.
After a while I am learning why the road is in such good condition -- they are just working on fixing the ripio. Which unfortunately means a few desvios from the main road. These are in a much worse state with enough sand to make it difficult to cycle (but it is still manageable).
After I climb the only mini-pass of the day (from which are quite decent views), the road descents to a village named "Culpina K". I wonder why would somebody name a village as a suspect in a police drama. In any case, I am finding a restaurant there so my lunch is better than the usual bread with patê.
From Culpina K I have the last 15 kilometers to San Cristobal. As I manage to get there a bit sooner than expected, I make a decision to continue. The next village is really a village because it is called "village village" (Villa Villa). Unfortunately, there I am learning a hard truth that not every village in Bolivia has a hospedaje. Fortunately, a lady from a nearby shop suggests that I can use a bus waiting room for the night. This works out quite well for me. And even though Villa Villa does not have a hospedaje, the shops are quite well stocked. I find avena there and even bananas which is quite surprising.
I am forced to quit my morning lazing because a cleaning lady arrives to clean the bus waiting room. So I quickly pack my things and get ready for the final push to Uyuni. This proves to be a not-very-exciting but good road. Basically, all day I am riding a neverending flat road. As I near Uyuni I can sometimes spot bits of salar in the distance and very diffused salts around the road. And even though riding a flat road sounds like an easy job you can bet that in reality it isn't that easy. The road heads north-east which means the usual dose of wind battling (though still better than north-west from which the wind goes).
I am spending the next two days in the town of Uyuni. You can easily feel that this is a really touristy town. There are real restaurants here. Lots of (not-so-cheap) hostals that even have (not-so-good) WiFi. Some more-decently stocked shops (although not by a big margin). And lots of tourists around.
Of course, Uyuni isn't only tourists. It's also lots of local people which I quite like -- unlike the western-style Chile and Argentina, I can finally see a bits of culture as people do not tend to wear jeans and t-shits here.
Download simplified GPX of a route here
Stats by activity:
| Pedal rotations
|May 20, 2017||70.4||0.27||12.6|
|May 21, 2017||76.4||0.03||8.6|
The next table is only for cycling activity.