Boulders and Barricades in Bolivia

Waking up to rain when I need to ride 3 hours is never a pleasant way to wake up. To make things worse the breakfast that I thought was I included at the hostal cost an extra 10 Bolivanos, then the breakfast was the smallest meal yet. I didn’t want to hang around as I had to find new wheel bearings (again), so I put on my rain gear and got on my bike.

I left Copacabana and rode through the mountains. Luckily it was only light rain. I had to take a short ferry across a portion of Lake Titicaca on a precarious wooden barge. If they can transport the big busses then I’ll be fine. The ferry cost 20B.

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On the other side the road went across flat plains for most of the way to La Paz. 25 miles before La Paz traffic was stopped in the road. Cars and trucks were trying to move in all directions. I rode along the side of the road and saw about 200 people marching on the road. As I started passing the procession a man with a flag saw me and started yelling something at me. I didn’t stop to find out what he wanted.

After I passed the group I thought I was in the clear but then I saw a group sitting across the road on a bridge. There was just enough room for me to squeeze by the sit in. Once I passed the group the road was covered in stones. I weaved through the mine field of rocks only to see an even larger group in the road ahead.

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They didn’t pay any attention to me so I rode along the side of the road to pass them. There were several police walking around talking to each other, probably wondering how do 2 cops manage several hundred angry people. I stopped and snapped a photo and kept going.

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I spent the next hour in La Paz traffic which meant trying to not breathe the diesel fumes from the trucks and taxis. I went to straight to Nosiglia Sport a motorcycle shop that has had a lot of happy ADVRider customers. I needed the front wheel bearings replaced and I also wanted to replace the sprockets and chain.

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Time for new sprockets and chain.

When I arrived I surprised to see Ian and Paul there. Ian needed a new fuel filter before he could head south. I met Ian back in Nicaragua and I met Paul just last week in Cusco. They are headed to Uyuni today and I’ll try to catch up to them.

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The guys at Nosiglia were super helpful. They got the bearings I needed and installed the new sprockets and chain. When I walked in there was a group of people and a photographer taking tons of photos. From the posters in the shop I learned that the guy who I met when I arrived was Walter Nosiliga who raced in the Dakar.

Front wheel bearings after only a few thousand miles. Guessing a bad seal is to blame.

Front wheel bearings after only a few thousand miles. Guessing a bad seal is to blame.

Surprisingly I rode 3000 miles in the past month since I left Quito so I wanted to change my oil and clean my air filter. I notice the clutch doesn’t have any problems when I change the oil more regularly. After they finished working on my bike I cleaned the air filter and changed the oil. My air filter was so dirty! Glad I cleaned it now as my bike needs all the air it can get up here in Bolivia.

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By the time I got out of the shop is was getting dark so I found a cheap hotel outside the city center and a cheap dinner. Hot dogs and fries with mayo and ketchup. Tasty.

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