The day finally arrived for me to head out from Santa Cruz and work my way south. The first thing I needed to do was drop by the Triumph dealership to pickup Fred and say goodbye to Eduardo and his team. I was in no rush since I had decided I was only going to travel 120km to the nearby town of Samaipata. So after a couple of cups of coffee and conversation with Eduardo I headed out at 10pm.
This is when things started to become clear that this may be a long day. The first indication was when I tried to get fuel in Santa Cruz prior to leaving. To say it is a unique challenge in Bolivia is an understatement.
There are four scenarios you will run into especially as a tourist.
1) The station does not have any petrol left for sale.
4) And finally in the below picture this was one of those station that could not legally sell me fuel. But if I parked outside of the cameras view and bought a 5 litre fuel bag in the store they would fill it for me. I have bought milk and water in a bag but fuel is a first for me!
So that being said I went through everyone of these scenarios before I was able to get fuel. This nocked off the first hour of my 12 hour journey. Now I know you are asking yourself what else could take him 11 hours to get a mere 120 km.
I have one word and it is blockades. Unbeknownst to me before arriving in Bolivia I find out that various worker groups go on protest throughout the country for the whole month of May.
Blockade #1) Occurred as I approached the city limits of Sucre to leave. This first blockade was just a minor inconvenience as there was a detour available and slowed me down only 45 minutes.
Blockade #2) Was more interesting as this blockaded occurred on a bridge. But the locals assured me that since I was on a motorcycle. I could just drive down the steep river bank then along the riverbed under the bridge and then up the other side. Well lets just say that I had 100 onlookers watching the gringo to see if he could actually make it. And you guessed it I dropped Fred on the rough steep incline. So with a 100 people watching and clapping I took a bow, then asked for some help to pick the bike up and off I went.
Blockade #3) Was supposed to last 2 hours but only lasted 15 minutes? They said it was road construction yet I did not see any workers or vehicles?
Blockade #4) The big daddy of blockades. I will let the video speak for itself.