CHILECITO to SALTA

Do we enter Bolivia via Chile or Argentina?  The challenge of Paseo de Jama (4,800m) and the Atacama desert is calling us.  Should we, or shouldn’t we?  Likewise, we’ve heard the horror stories of the roads in Southern Bolivia.  Crossing the Salar de Uyuni though would be an experience of a lifetime.  There are other transport options, but should we ride and maintain the continuity of our trip…

Luckily the ride from Chilecito gave us lots of opportunity to think.  Conditions were hot and the roads long and straight.  The next cold softdrink kept us pedaling.  It was dreamlike, with dead cows on the roadside the only thing snapping us back into reality…

Against this backdrop, my turning 33 almost seemed exciting!  First, Jess spoilt me rotten with cake and biscuits that she had managed to secretly stash in her panniers.  Then after a hard days ride, we caught up with Thomas and Celine, who prepared for us a barbeque feast, complete with beer, wine and even candles to blow out!  It was a perfect birthday.

We’d decided on a couple of days rest in Cafayete.  A great little town surrounded by vineyards and nestled below the bright red sandstone cliffs of the Quedebra de las Conchas.  The Andean Pacha Mama festival was in full swing, so we kicked back and did as the locals… had fun!

The ride to Salta through the Quedebra was amazing.  Bright colours, majestic views and lots of sandstone shapes to decipher.  The “amphitheatre” was a standout, with a local busker playing haunting tunes on his windpipe making it even more special.

So now in Salta, how have we decided to enter Bolivia?  The hard way of course!  From here we join up with Thomas and Celine to ride the infamous Paseo de Jama.  Three passes over 4,000m, complete with sub zero temperatures and headwinds.  I sure hope the flamingos in Atacama are worth it!  We then split, with Jess and I climbing again to the Bolivian border and the Altiplano.  From there we take on the sandy roads and ghost towns, and rain permitting, ride across the largest salt lake in the world!

We’re a little scared but excited – a real adventure awaits.

Thanks again for all your support.  Enjoy the pics and stay tuned to see how we go.
Jules & Jess

Long straight roads

Long straight roads

Local sheep transport

Local sheep transport

Umm this way out of town?

Umm this way out of town?

Should we be scared?

Should we be scared?

Intense concentration

Intense concentration

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!

Kung fu panda in Cafayate

Kung fu panda in Cafayate

Quedebra de las Conchas

Quedebra de las Conchas

The Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre

Our trusty steeds... Tez & Matilda

Our trusty steeds... Tez & Matilda