The ride was around 300km of dirt which wound its way through the mountains and through some outstanding rock formations. It took me several hours to cover the ground as I pottered along, taking in the views and singing in my helmet at the top of my voice! No one to complain here!
Uyuni is a small town, not too busy and mostly made of mud. The roads are not paved and the building are basic. The amount of dogs running around was quite distressing. They are breeding so quickly here as with so many other places I visit that they just become a pest. There are, quite frankly, fornicating dogs everywhere you look. If I ever win the lottery I vow to work my way back through South America (and most of Asia) setting up charities to deal with the problem (castrate them all, treat them for disease and parasites and let them go again).
I found myself waking early the next morning, stripping my bike down to the bare essentials and heading out on the trails in search of the white stuff! I wanted to go play. I love salt flats and these promised to be bigger and better than any I had seen before. I also hoped to meet up with a British adventure bike company while I was there. The chances may have been slim bearing in mind the vastness of the plains but I had received a message a few days previously from one of the group, telling me they would be there that day too. Not only would it be great to catch up with some bikers from my homeland but I also knew the owners of the company and so to catch up in the middle of a salt flat somewhere in Bolivia would be pretty special.
I had a quick blast around with the biggest smile on my face since the Geyser fields in the Atacama and then settled in to the serious business of posing for the camera! It really does make you just feel like playing like a child! It's a dreamy place to be.
Within half an hour I spotted some bikes in the distance. Tiny, toy like dots on the horizon, moving at the pace of what was unmistakably boys on their toys! I packed my camera, jumped on Rhonda and raced off in their direction. It had to be The Big Adventure Company. It was. Luckily they had stopped to do some posing too and soon I was amongst them. I didn't recognise anyone but soon enough they were introducing themselves (some of them where Facebook friends) and within minutes the one face I knew showed up too.
"oh about 70km that way" said Steve (the leader of the group and a guy I have worked with in the past) pointing in the direction of vast nothingness. "Apparently there is an island over there".
We jumped on our bikes and raced off together. 14 bikes blasting along the salts, playing and weaving. Some rode sideways, some with no hands, some with their eyes closed at times and some just seeing how fast they could go with their head down and their legs trailing behind them! I'm pretty sure whichever the chosen method, we were all smiling and giggling beneath our helmets.
The island was a strange site in the middle of this salt desert. It was small and covered in cacti. Big
western style cacti that you see in the films! There were also picnic benches made out of salt and even a toilet block (not many bushes in the flats!). Out of the support truck came a pile of bread rolls, cheese, ham, fruit and crisps. Before long we were having a rather civilised lunch in a rather surreal environment!
It made my day to meet up with the guys. I really enjoyed spending time with them on this wonderful playground surely designed for bikers. If there is a god then THANK YOU FOR THE SALT FLATS!! Mind you if there is a god, I doubt he reads my blog!