Mar. 2 – La Paz to Oruro

2009 March 8
by joe

Same unsatisfactory breakfast in the hotel, then we pack up, and store most of the gear with the hotel.  We then take a cab to the bike shop, to see if they are ready for us.  When we get there, we can see that both rear tires are on, but the new chain for Levi’s bike is laying on the ground.  We had bought one-piece o-ring chains, the correct length, as they are stronger than chains with master-links.  Apparently the mechanic here did not know how to install this type of chain.  So Levi explained to him how to drop the swingarm, etc., and after a bit of confusion, he got to work and soon had the new chain on.  A bit more fussing around with chain adjustment, and we were ready to get back on the road by about 1:00 PM.  We had been concerned about what the price for this work would be, as we had been unsuccessful in ever getting an estimate, but the final cost was very reasonable, and the new rear tires were a perfect choice – Pirelli M/T 60’s.  New front tires will just have to wait till Santiago, Chile, which they look good enough to do.

One more lunch in San Miguel,  back to the hotel to load up all the gear,  and Levi does a great job finding our way back to the autopista south.  Traffic is terrible for  a while, and then we are again in cold rain on a windy, high plain.  It is a pretty miserable ride.  About 2 miles from Oruro, which was our destination for the night, my bike starts flooding out again, after running fine all day, except for altitude sickness (sic).  I try to limp along into town, by keeping the RPM’s up, but just inside the town it stalls out and won’t start.  Levi rides on into town to find us a hotel, and I fiddle about a find a way to get it started and running.  He returns, and leads us to a weird old hotel, built like a YMCA, with a health club in the basement!  It is cheap, and they let us park the bikes inside the health-club locker room!  We get some dinner, after a long search, and then do the steam-room in the health club before heading off to sleep in some really terrible beds!

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