Monday, October 8, 2012

Sure... I Am Always Willing To Help Out A Buddy...

I introduced you to Russell in my previous post. We met in Sucre and took a nice little day trip to see a colorful market in Trabuco, Bolivia. It seems that Randall had gone "walkabout" in the mountain area outside of Sucre for a few days. He had returned to Sucre, but had lost his jacket somewhere out in the wilderness. 
Well, I had been staying in Sucre for about two weeks, just seeing the sights and relaxing. I had seen and done just about everything that I wanted to do... and was ready to move on to the next destination.
Then Russell came up to me and asked if I wanted to go on another little ride. A mission to recover his jacket from the wilderness. I had already packed my bag and was ready to leave Sucre. But... I said, "Sure... I'm always willing to help out a buddy."
So I dropped my bag, filled up my tank, filled up my extra tank too... and we headed down the road.
Which after about an hour of riding turned into a winding dirt road. We would be heading through the Cordillera de los Frailes, a spectacular mountain range that runs through much of the western Chuquisaca and northern Potosí departments. We would hopefully pass by the dramatic Maragua Crater.
A...marks the village of Potolo. Russell thought that the jacket was close to Potolo. From google maps there was no road... heck, there was not even a dot to mark the village of Potolo. Sucre is on the right. The Maragua Crater is in the middle. From Sucre there was a road that headed north and west, but it ended after about 100 km (60 miles). From that point, it would be all dirt.
 Fortunately, I had brought my gps with me and was tracking our route.
 The road continued and wound through some beautiful mountain ranges.
 We would capture these glances at mountains and valleys and vistas.
 We rode for about 3 or 4 hours. There was no turning back... we were on a mission.
We finally arrived at the small one road town called Potolo.
Potolo was a village that mainly consisted of substance farming. There was one cafe in the town, but it was not open. We went to the one kiosk that was open and had lunch which consisted of crackers and a can of tuna.
 From Potolo we headed deeper into the valley.
Russell said that he thought that we were close, so we rode along this embankment further into the valley.
This photo puts it into better perspective.
 Yeah, I think we just need to follow this semi dry river bed to get to the jacket.
 OK Russell, you lead and I'll follow. Off we went down the river.
Here is a short 30 second video of riding through the dry riverbed.
I could not complain because it was fun riding in the dirt with a riding partner. So many times I have had to ride through some sketchy areas alone. At least if we were to get lost, we would get lost together. We rode on...
Yeah, I think that it is down there. We will need to leave our bikes here and go down by foot.
 Sure enough, the jacket was there. But it was just out of reach... on the other side of the canyon.
The canyon spanned from about 6 feet to about 100 feet. Russell went walkabout looking for a way to cross the canyon to the other side.
We eventually found a route that seemed approachable.
Russell just needed to climb this crevasse that was about 40 feet high, at a 60 degree angle, and consisted of loose shale. He did it.
Once he crossed the canyon, it was easy reaching the jacket.
Mission accomplished!
Oh, and then he needed to jump across the canyon back to the other side. This was possible because the right side of the canyon was higher than the left side of the canyon. It still makes a pretty dramatic photo, don't you think?
OK, now it is mission accomplished. But we still needed to return to Sucre.
It was about a 3 to 4 hour ride back to Sucre.
We rode by much of the same beautiful scenery that we had passed by on our outbound route.

It was late in the afternoon. The sun eventually set and we had to ride in the dark for about 2 hours.

On one narrow stretch, a bus came hauling around a corner on the single lane road occupying most of the right of way. He pretty much ran me into the uphill side of the mountain. Luckily, we did not make contact and I was able to recover.

We arrived into Sucre sometime after 8 o'clock. What a day!

Sure, I am always willing to help out a buddy. 

Stay warm... my friend...stay warm.


  1. wow, good friend. can't believe he remembered exactly where his jacket was!


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