It's all as plain as Salt.

Trip Start Nov 26, 2007
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Trip End Nov 26, 2008


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our stay at Salinas was comfortable and had THE best hot showers that we've experienced for a while without the trailing electrical leads to the shower that we were so used to! Hopping back on the bikes we were now well in their trust zone like a good relationship we'd learnt to fire them up pretty much instantly, even Son was getting the hang of it showing her bike who wears the trousers (obviously I do in ours?!). Our mission as always first off was to get a few provisions and to find petrol. The provisions were easy and the petrol, as usual, wasn't. Being turned down by a few grumpy locals with blatently large barrells of gasoline in their shops wasn't too worrying for us, if they didn't want our money it was their loss, we were far to used to be charged a few extra we would never have noticed.
Our Journey towards the salt flats had us navigating around a massive volcano, Tanupa which was amazing to see. As we got closer the flat plains started to turn to white so we stopped to spray the bikes to give them protection only to find that we had to climb over the volcano so we were a little premature! Son's bike suddenly came to a halt and both our hearts sank but fortunately it was just because she ran out of fuel, phew. Refueled we headed over some more nightmare roads, often having to wonder why they even bothered trying to make them but our struggles and pains were lifted when we reached the other side to suddenly see the huge white expanse that everyone has been raving about, the Salar de Uyuni, and we had made it... on bikes! 
Basically, 40000 to 25000 years ago much of south west bolivia was a lake which dried up to leave two smaller lakes and two major salt concentrations, the lagest being the Salar de Uyuni. It sure was a sight to behold, an endless view of white salt against blue sky and we we going to ride across it. As we hit the edge of the lakes we sighted some pink flamingos who somehow managed to live off this salty plain. It was a phenomenal feeling as we both sped across the flats following these dark tracks that just lead off into the horizon. We knew we just had to follow them and (hopefully) we would reach the centre, Isla Incahuasi 40km into the middle of nowhere to us. The ground was perfectly flat and cold at times as winds gusted across the open space. we could see tracks heading in various directions often leading me to think whether we were going the right way especially as there was nothing to be seen ahead. Eventually a small island appeared which got only slightly bigger as we got nearer, never really getting that much closer as much as we wanted to. Finally we were there. The Island has a small restaurant on it otherwise it is only littered by cacti and had comanding views all around. We had lunch and then toured the island looking for the perfect camp spot which we found on the otherside of the island where no tours or people go. It was ideal, with a half high built house just high enough for it to shelter our tent. Son set up shop while I went to get wine and firewood, it was going to be a very special night sleeping under the stars and in such an amazing setting wine was necessary! Fire glowing, fed and watered we watched as the sunset turning the sky into layers of amazing colours and watching slowly as each star started to appear as the light faded. It was a dream come true for me as I had imagined this previously and now it was a reality. When morning came we soaked in the rising sun and took more photos of the stunning scenery. 
Heading back towards the mainland we suddenly encountered everything that we hadn't wished for, vehicle upon vehicle of jeeps and tours but fortunately all heading the other way, we even met some guys who were in the same hostel as us in La Paz, it made us realise how much we have done and how much of an experience they had not seen, places they had not been and people they had not met.
We even found many people jumping on the bikes to have their own pictures taken when we weren't there, secretly I think they would have like to have been us, we certainly felt the special ones! Content at our accomplishments we headed towards the tourist town of Uyuni to give the bikes a well earned clean up... but not before a blast across the salt flats and sandy roads. What will the tour throw at us next? We both don't know, know it won't be easy but at the same time we can't wait... I think they call it 'loco'.
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Where I stayed
Isla

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