Thursday, 27 February 2014

Puno To Copacabana ... Tarseal Blast

Leisurely start and the ride planned with Paul and Pau after they got their insurance sorted.

1.00 pm rolled around and game on, we set off at a leisurely pace enjoying the nice serving of sun.

Riding around Lake Titicaca we took in views of Bolivia and some high snowed capped mountains gracing the skyline in the distance.

Pau on her Suzuki Dr200

Paul on his XT660z Tenere

All was well until we approached Ilave, there where some scattered rocks on the road, then some more scattered rocks and some construction type debris then the line of traffic.

At this stage we were unaware of what was ahead of us, my first thoughts was some well maintained Peruvian dump truck had lost it.

There were people walking up the road towards us with bags etc s it was not a good sign.

Cruising past probably a km of traffic we came across a barrier made from grass, stones and ....coke bottles, they let us through.

Further up the road things got a little more serious, some smiles and some what the fuck are doing here looks too.

The ladies were smiling as they threw rocks under our wheels, some said come through others wanted to stop us

As we tried to cross one barrier with approval from some but not others .. the others through rock under Paul’s and Pua’s wheels, we went through and kicked them out of the way with the rear tire.

Next thing an old lady was batting Pau then turned her attention to us, Ellen snapping her photo just as she took a strike at us.

Now the protests have nothing to do with us because it was all about bus fare increases but they saw it fit to blame and take it out on us.

Thinking we had past the worst of it at the next barricade there was an older fellow there with a whip, yes a whip, he stuck out at Paul, Paul thought he was playing but when Pau when through the old bugga took an aggressive swing at her, I was starting to not see their side of the shit now.

When we approached he lifted his whip so I turned into his swing path, grabbed his collar, wrenched him towards us then threw him backwards (all while riding forward) and the look on his face was one of astonishment as he was not expecting that, I don’t mind their protest but when it starts coming at our expense by way of possible injury they cross that line of limits.

All his mates thought is was hell funny that the whitey defended himself, 1/4 of a second after this shot I had his collar

Another blockade and us listening on, discussion amongst our crew was to approach it quietly and earn our way through nicely.

The road was a minefield of broken glass, tiles, bottles, bricks, stones and any other shit they could lay their hands on, risk of tire slashing / punctures higher than anywhere else on our trip.

At the start we listened to their plight with sympathetic ears, nearing the end of some 25 - 30 blockades I was ready to punch the crap out of any of them who tried to stop us after we had been hit, slapped and whipped and running over potential punctures.

See the broken glass on the right

Finally passing the war zone we got out onto open road still having to dodge rock and even a lamp post laid across the road.

Turning off toward Bolivia only part way down the road we ran the rear tank dry, at 4000 meters, nearly 5.00 pm, quite cold we had the heated grips on etc, I flicked the off on switch a couple of times to cycle the fuel pump then proceeded to crank the bike over to have the battery give in pretty quickly.

After a few minutes we decided to push start it so push push push by Ellen and I, a quick flick of the starter to turn the engine, dump the clutch and she started ... that was lucky!!

Doing the border crossing into Bolivia on the edge of darkness we made it into Copacabana easy enough, the border crossing being simple and laid back was a nice reprieve after the elongated day due to the blockades.

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