Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

May 31, 2002.-- Day 1,107, in Bolivia, our 41st country

Credit to Adventure: Day 1, The Salar

-- Story by Chris --

Wednesday, May 29th: We spent the day brushing off the previous day’s grit and dust, and began making preparations for what to do next.  In the early evening two Aussie motorbikers, Jamie and Martin, showed up on a pair of KTMs followed later by Kfir from Israel on a Transalp and Mark from Holland on a Tenere.

Thursday, May 30th: We made an agreement with Uyuni Tours, one of the many tour companies just outside our hotel. The tour companies run 4 day tours into the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Lake) and the Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa (National Park) for US$65/pp, and it is the main reason people visit Uyuni. They agreed to carry our gear and extra fuel in a trailer attached to the Toyota Land Cruiser for US$35, and we would ride our bikes without any panniers. The US$35 was to cover all expenses (food, sleeping, and park entrance), we would only need to pay for our fuel and purchase water/drinks beforehand.  In the early evening, Chris from New Mexico showed up on a DR650, and signed on as well.  Liam left earlier to ride through a bit of the salar, while Annet went on a organized tour with some other Germans.

Friday, May 31st: In typical South American fashion, our 10:30am departure slipped by nearly an hour, as we needed time to purchase the extra fuel and load up the truck/trailer. Erin decided that there would be plenty of testosterone with 6 guys on bikes in the dirt, and opted to ride in the truck and take photos. John, an American student studying in SA, and 4 Israeli’s, joined her in the truck.

Engines revving and eager to go play, the bikes raced out of town to the next village, 23kms north, and the entrance to the salar. The salar used to be a huge lake, but over time the water evaporated and left behind a flat layer of salt, looking much the same as any snow covered lake in the winter. Just as we entered the salar, we stopped to look at the hundreds of 2-foot high white mounds, all in neat rows. Workers were using shovels to scrape off the top 1" layer, making the perfect mounds that would later be loaded into trucks and transported to a processing plant. I filled an empty film canister with the rock salt, to use later on.

Our next stop, in the center of the salar was the Salt Hotel – similar in theory to the Ice Hotel in Norway. The hotel is built completely of blocks of salt cut out of the lake; similar to how Eskimo’s cut snow to make their igloos, with a tin roof covered by straw. All the furniture (including beds) are also made of the salt blocks, with the toilets, lighting, and billiard table being the only things made of contemporary materials.

As the lake stretches for more then 120kms from East to West and 100kms from North-South, there was plenty of space for us to play.  For 2 hours we rode in every direction imaginable, at speeds as fast as the bikes would go, with no fear of what lay ahead. It was an incredible feeling to move so swiftly, with no concern of obstacles, on the great expanse of the lake.

We eventually turned south and after exiting the salar, made our way to the town of San Juan where we would spend our first night in yet another hotel without heat at 3,700meters/12,100feet and electricity only from 7-9pm.

I wish you could experience what we did today, as it really was something quite extraordinary!


The BOYS:  Kfir/Transalp; Jamie/KTM; Mark/Tenere; Chris/F650; Martin/KTM; and Chris/DR650

Workers scrape a layer of salt into piles which are later shoveled into trucks and taken away for processing.

A quick game of billiards inside the Salt Hotel -- built with blocks of salt from just outside

The salar looks like a snow covered lake

There was this never ending pattern on top of the salt...

The Land Cruiser -- a.k.a. the jeep

Currently with 6 passengers and food for many days.  On Day 4 the trailer would be empty, as 4 passengers and 3 bikes would cross to Chile with all their gear.


  Previous Chapter | Next Chapter | Related Photos



TOP | About Us | Costs | FAQ | Journal Entries | Links | Motorcycles | Photo Gallery | Supporters | Guestbook | HOME

  Sure, send us an email E-mail Us

There are probably dozens of errors on this website (if not more).   
If you notice/have any problems, please send us an email: Webmaster

The goal is not the destination, it's the experiences along the way.