The last two days of riding have been the most spectacular I think I have done! In an unplanned detour to my original plan, I decided to ride Salar De Uyuni, the worlds largest salt flat (12,106 sq km) at around 3660m. As time is now becoming an issue I decided to jump on the overnight bus from La Paz down to Uyuni. I arrived around 6am and after a quick deep fried pancake thing at the market I was off through the back streets of Uyuni again being chased by all the local dogs. Once on a real road again It was a 25km ride up the road to the small town of Colchani where I again met the local dogs. 

The road from Uyuni to the Salt

The road from Uyuni to the Salt

From here all I knew was that there was a 69km ride roughly in a westerly direction. I followed some old 4×4 tracks and eventually the dirt turned to salt and the horizon became an eery white reflection of its self. My goal was to camp on the island in the middle called Isla Incahuasi. As I peddled out into the unknown I couldn’t get over the spectacular scenery! Even the headwind I was peddling into didn’t bother me as I was spellbound by the beauty of the place. 

The spectacular suroundings

The spectacular surroundings 

I was able to follow 4×4 tracks through the salt as there was no other way of navigation as I was surrounded by absolutely nothing with no land marks whatsoever to navigate from. 

Following 4x4 tracks

Following 4×4 tracks

I was all alone out there with only the whistling of the wind and the crack of the salt lines as I rolled over them.

Eventually a dot appeared on the horizon. I continued towards it and after some time, found myself at Isla Incahuasi.

Isla Incahuasi

Isla Incahuasi

As I peddled around the island I saw some familiar faces. It was my old buddies from Cusco.

Reunion

Reunion

The island its self was quite beautiful. covered in cactus which apparently grow just 2.5cm each year. As I walked around the island I hoped to myself I would be able to find a protected area to camp. I spoke to the guy selling tickets to the island who said I would be fine to set up my tent at the main entrance. Once the hundreds of 4x4s left I set up camp. It was a fairly decent spot, partly protected by the ever increasing winds. I would have liked to set up camp on the salt its self but there would be no way I could get the pegs through the salt!

Camp

Camp

I made my way down to the salt flats to watch the sun set and was intercepted by the guys who work on the island for a game of soccer. We played soccer as I watched the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever seen. (I must say playing soccer at 3660m isn’t an easy task!). 

Soccer as the sun went down

Soccer as the sun went down

Sunset

Sunset

After soccer I cooked up a feed and went straight to bed. I woke around 4:30am and climbed up to the top of the Island to watch the sunrise (which was no where near as spectacular as the sunset).

Early morning

Early morning

I returned, had breakfast, said goodbye to my soccer mates and I was off on the return trip to Uyuni. As the day went on the wind picked up, this time in my favour so not much effort was required to roll along at 20km/h. The day was a little cloudier than the previous day but still a constant spectacular view.

Beautiful ride back

Beautiful ride back

I had 4x4s coming up to me as I rode sticking cameras out the windows making me feel like a bit of a celebrity. Every time I stopped I was approached by 4x4s and everyone wanted photos with me… honestly don’t know why, It was really strange. This continued all the way to the end where I was even chased by an Austrian guy snapping photos as I rode away.

Family photo - just not my family

Family photo – just not my family

I did a little bit of bush bashing on the way back to the road so as to avoid the dogs I’d met the day before and eventually made it back on the road again.

Once back in Uyuni I got a ticket to Oruro on the night train leaving at 1:20am. I went into town and sat down for a few beers with an American bloke and before we knew it 2 other cyclists rode into town and we were all drinking together.

A couple more crazy cyclists

A couple more crazy cyclists

Eventually everyone headed in their own direction and I was on my own again. So here I am, sitting in a pizza restaurant, enjoying the heat, sporadic WiFi, and hoping that this place is open until 1am, otherwise I’ll end up curled up in a ball at the train station trying to keep warm.