Chapter 22
Chile & Bolivia: Various Messages
The long winding road: my a***!

The long winding road: my a***!


Well buggero mi buttoxo
Hope you're well. Me?: Arrived in Santiago (a week ago), so did all my baggage, took a bus to Temuco, spent 2 days messing with the bike, getting nowhere, then paid 50 bucks to a nice man and got the bike sorted: shiny happy timing chain, no more nasty engine noises, carbs set up: great fuel efficiency: AND drove 450 very straight miles from Temuco to Santiago yesterday. Will chill today and head north tomorrow.

Plan to be in San Pedro de Atacama on Tuesday: probably just disengage brain and drive up the Panam via La Serena and Antofangasta. The passes to Argentina are snowed in and at a buck 20 a litre for fuel, they can shove it over there. Also am carrying 2 spare tyres so don't fancy off-road.


In San Pedro, will change both front and back onto Conti TKC 80 (psssst. don't tell my sponsor!); Then it's into Bolivia via Laguna Verde and Colorada across the Altiplano to Uyuni and the Salar.

Should be in Uyuni about 7 to 10 days from now. Then I plan to bimble around Bolivia for a few weeks. Precise routing unknown.

Loosely hung
CB, Ex and Norm

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White Rabbits/ The Journey has begun.

The journey has begun. Finally escaped Chile. Arrived in Uyuni, Bolivia today after 3 days of the worst 'road' I’ve been on. How do I know: snapped rear sub frame, 2 broken hand protectors, 1 fallen off indicator, 1 smashed spotlight, the biggest dent in my engine-bashplate I have ever seen, 1 shock absorber p***ing dampener oil, but NO smashed mirrors (I took them off before I left San Pedro de Atacama :-)) I already knew what burning rubber smells like; now I know the smell of burning asbestos: namely the clutch trying to get up the 4 metre bank of a dried out river.


However, the views and the experiences have been superb. The most vivid breathtaking (literally (most of the way over 4000m) and figuratively) sharp peaks, deserts, sand, rocks, sand, rocks, rocks, river crossings, a green lake, rocks, a red lake, ice covered lakes, minus 20 degrees Celsius at night, flamingos, rocks, llamas, other furry looking things, white rabbits... the ultimate -un-chemically or un-wine induced- high ever. Also, hour upon hour of grind in first and second gear (although I got into third twice today!!).

Several times I met the people doing the photo shoot for the 2002 BMW r1150gs brochure. Maybe I’ll be in it too. Kind of like 'old meets new'. Somehow I doubt it :-( (Ed: How wrong he was!!... See the Postscript to The Big Trip)


Will spend tomorrow at the welder's and then head into the Salar de Uyuni. After that it could well be to Potosi, to Sucre and everywhere else in this colourful country.

Said I wouldn't write, but thought I’d fill you in on what's new and approved here anyway.

hasta bananas,
el Brighty, Norm y Ex



Dear Darlings,
It is I, el Brightsalad. Arrived in Sucre, the nominal capital of Bolivia, but actually pants Internet noddy village of the universe. Never before have machines been sooooooooooooo slow. But at 50 cents an hour, what do you expect?

All is good here, hope you are too. Since I last communicated, much has happened, but nothing of any relevance. Read on the BBC web site that the IRA is training Colombian guerrillas. Now there's a funny story. What is less than subtly amusing is:

1. Paid a nice man 12 bucks for 5 hours of welding and tarting up the old goat. She weighs a few pounds more and her arse will never fall off again. Also affixed the spare shock. Let’s see how long that holds. So far 4 days and 350 km, which aren’t bad considering it's a BMW original.


2. Took a Landcruiser tour into the Salar de Uyuni. Just as well, because it's very salty and very damp. Superb views.

3. Drove a bit of the way into the Salar on the Goat: just for the pictures. Vanity and all that. Hopefully some nice mag publisher will give me some cash for them.

4. Paid a fellow not much to wash all the salt off the bike.

5. Drove to Potosi, the previously rich tin/silver city. On the way the bike started messing about, but after I had the fuel tank off and the air filter out and cleaned(ish), she drove like something resembling a motor vehicle.


6. Bought a stick of dynamite, a primer, a fuse, some something-or-other-nitrate, all for a buck. Instead of sending it to Lentil, I gave it to a miner who was busting his ass underground with a hammer and chisel, as did his forefathers 400 years ago. Life expectancy down the mine is 7 years. He (and all his colleagues) earns about 2 dollars for 50 kg of rock! I hope it helped.

7. Visited the Mint, cleaned and re-oiled the air-filter and drove to Sucre. Am here and now.


8. Intend to head towards Cochabamba, then La Paz, possibly the Yungas, very likely to Sorata and then to Peru, within 2 or so weeks. Am considering the Iquitos/ Peru trans-Amazon to Manaus and Belem/Brazil boat(s), rather than Ecuador/Colombia/Venezuela.

Hasta Che Guacomole
CB, Norm and Goat

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Hola Amigos

Hello, it is I once more.
This time no witty comment in the subject line. Am all witted out at present. You find me in La Paz, Bolivia. Will drive to Coroico in the Yungas tomorrow. The road there is known as the 'Road of Death'. So if I don't write again, you know what happened.

However, should I correspond again, I will head for Sorata in the Cordillera Real, which is meant to be quite scenic and pleasant. Thence onwards to Tiahunaco, the pre-Inca ruins and onwards to Copacabana on Lago Titicaca, where hopefully the priest is again on had to bless the Goat.


Norman is fine, but says he does not enjoy driving through snowstorms. Neither do I, for that matter.

Want to be in darkest Paddington bear land within 2 weeks.

Hasta lobotomiesos,
el Nevada-hombre Bricht


Hello All and Sundry,
A quick one as the net caf here in Copacabana ain't cheap:

Drank Pims with the committee at the Royal Bolivian yacht club today. Well I would have done if anybody would have been there! Did take a photo of their sign: the highest yacht club in the world.


Have visited Corioco (via the most dangerous road in the world: it is only dangerous if you drive off the edge....). I managed to stay on the dirt/gravel. Then drove to Sorata, where I met the U.S. womens' Olympic shot-put team. They were in disguise, but I could easily recognise them.

Arrived in Copacabana today (30th). Tomorrow will take a trip to the Isla del Sol/Luna and stay the night there. On Saturday will be at the hotel Gloria to watch Germany England at footy (apparently kick-off 1.30 local time).

That’s it really.

Hasta luego mi amigos, El Brighty

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