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

June 13, 2002.-- Past 3 years, 41 countries and counting...

Credit to to Cochabamba

-- Story by Erin --

Friday, June 07th: Spent the day in Potosi wondering around the local market – what a terrific place!  We are temporarily alone again as all of our traveling companions had moved on the day before.

Sunday, June 9th: Took the leisurely drive to Sucre on an entirely sealed road. Drove slowly in anticipation of police speed checks but saw none. Arrived mid-day to find Liam, Annet, Mark and Kfir just rising out of bed. They had partied a bit the previous nights. That night we all went to the Joy Ride Café for dinner and drank lots of caiparinhas (a potent lemony Brazilian drink).  Met Gert, the Dutch owner who also runs motorcycle and quad tours of the area.

Situated at 2,800 meters, Sucre is a very charming city.  It was designated a "Patrimonio Historico y Cultural de la Humanidad" by UNESCO in 1992.  It is sometimes called the White City because all of the buildings in the center are painted white with red tile roofs.  The central plaza is full of lush green palm trees.   The entire area enjoys an extremely good climate, which was a welcome break for us from the cold of Uyuni and Potosi.

Monday, June 10th: Mark and Kfir left for Cochabamba. Liam and Chris adjust the valves on Liam's Honda, clean the spark plugs on all the bikes, and replace Chris’ damaged fork seal. Annet and I walked around the city to see the cemetery, park, hilltop lookout, and ethnographic/textile museum (very interesting).

Tuesday, June 11th: Liam tries to leave but returns shortly when his bike is not running very well.  The plugs are fouled.  The boys find Nicki at Auto Parts, a motorbike/car repair shop, and after re-checking the valves discovered it was nothing more than dirt in the carbs.

Wednesday, June 12th: We all leave town, Annet a little ahead of us as we first ran some errands and said goodbye to Gert. We headed north-west to Cochabamba and Annet went to the east in the direction of Santa Cruz. The road was all tierra with lots of rocks, but interesting none the less. We dropped dramatically in altitude from 2,800 to 1,500 meters, and worried about our bikes overheating with the smaller main-jets. My bike experienced an electrical problem, which was related to the battery/voltage regulator. Some dirt got into a connection near the voltage regulator, preventing the battery from re-charging.  Of course this happened in the middle of the day, without no sign of shade anywhere.

Chris was able to make a new connection and we used our motorcycle jumper cables to start my bike -- the thought of trying to bump-start my bike on the flat, soft dirt in the sweltering heat.... 

Later down the road Liam had a problem with his fuel pump. Once our problems were sorted out we had nice lunch in a small village by the river. Everything along the river was lush and green.  It reminded me a bit of Morocco.

After lunch the road really turned nice. Following the town of Aguile the road was all cobblestoned (nearly 100kms) to Cochabamba. Very hard on the bikes but the scenery turned greener with lovely little farms beside the road. It was getting late in the day so we stopped for the night in a small town called Mizque and found a nice little hostal. The next morning we went to the market for breakfast and discovered the traditional Bolivian morning drink called Api. It is made of fruit juice and corn syrup and served warm. This together with the fried bread called buńuelos made for a nice start to the day. A foreign doctor from Switzerland named Esteban joined us for breakfast. He was working in town helping the locals to find cost-efficient ways of purifying their water.

Thursday, June 13th: Left town around 10am thinking we would have a short drive to Cochabamba. Discovered otherwise after we finally arrived at 3pm in the city! The road, although cobblestoned, still wound up and over some very high mountain ranges and was tricky in parts when covered with sand or the occasional waterfall crossed its path in the mountains. All in all, it was a really great two day adventure over an interesting road and through fantastic scenery that no one had told us about.

Cochabamba is fairly large and we didn’t see anything particularly charming about it. The fourth largest city in Bolivia, it is the main supplier of produce to the country's mining communities.  Because of its size we could take care of some chores there (I even got a mini-disc player) but we only stayed a day. We did meet up with two other travelers there, John from Germany on a XR600 and Cory from New Zealand on a XR650L.   We left the next day for the 365km ride to La Paz.


Liam outside the JoyRide Cafe.  The owner, Gert, offers off-road tours of the area:

Just outside of Sucre - "London Bridge" leads to a small village

Bol.Sucre.Bridge.JPG (58763 bytes)

Along the roughly 100kms of cobblestone leading towards Cochabamba

Bol.Mizque.Cobblestone.JPG (33218 bytes)

There were many farms along the way

Bol.Mizque.Countryside.JPG (31541 bytes)

After the cobblestone, we made a wrong turn while looking for the main (asphalt) road to Cochabamba

Looking for lunch in the local market

Vendor selling "conejo cuis", a type of rabbit

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