I didn’t get much sleep last night due to the cold and concerns of someone entering the house. As soon as the sun came up I packed up my gear and headed out onto the road.

Nice sunny day

Nice sunny day

It was a beautiful sunny day but ridiculously cold. I started with a nice little up hill ride towards the Chilean border. I was pretty excited to make it to my third and final country.

Snappy little climb to 4678m

Snappy little climb to 4678m

The summit

The summit

After ascending to 4670m I rolled down into the border crossing. It is set on the side of a lake covered in pink flamingos and surrounded by volcanos covered in snow.

The border crossing

The border crossing

Little buddies hanging out at the border

Little buddies hanging out at the border

After getting my stamps I headed into the Parque National Park. I was expecting something unique but the whole park looks like a mine with dirt and rocks dug out of the side of the mountains and dumped around the place. The road hugging the lake was bumper to bumper with trucks for several kilometres.

Line up of trucks waiting to cross the border

Line up of trucks waiting to cross the border

I rode along the bumpy dirt road getting waves and thumbs up from most of the truckies. The road then ascended again which I was not expecting, taking my up over 4600m again this time on a dirt road. By this time the wind had picked up and I was looking into the heaviest head winds I have ever ridden into! It was so strong that when I finally got to roll down the other side I was doing about 10km/h in an aero position while peddling. Not what I was expecting. When I got to the bottom there was about 2km of flat. I was sitting on around 6-7km/h getting blown all over the road. The road then decided to head up to 4600m again. This took me a while with many stops to catch my breath. Every corner I got too I expected the summit but it just kept climbing. Eventually I got to the top. The wind was so Icy I had to put on almost all my clothes and it still wasn’t enough to cut out the chill. The next section was all down hill on a bumpy dirt road, still pushing, it felt like I was riding up hill.

Working hard to roll down hill into the wind

Working hard to roll down hill into the wind

I found the turn off to a small town called Putre. At this moment the wind seemed to die down and the temperature felt like it increased and I could actually feel the warm sun. I flew along the winding dirt road and rolled into a very neat well kept town. I went to the bank to get some Pasos and for some reason my card wasn’t working. I found the cheapest hostel and fortunately the women accepted some US dollars I had for just such an emergency but wouldn’t exchange any more for me, so I found the cheapest meal I could, leaving me just 1000 paces (about $2) which really sucks as I am starving and just want to eat everything. Some Germans I met at the hostel were able to exchange some small change I had in Bolivianos so I have enough for a bit of food tomorrow but Im not sure what I’ll do when I get to Arica. Might be spending the week camping and begging on the streets.