Biking Death Road, from La Paz, Bolivia to the Amazon Rainforest

I spent several months exploring South America last year and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. I had a couple of real vacations while I was there. (For me, that means I spent days without cell phone service or wifi, so I couldn’t work.) One of them began with a day of biking Death Road, which connects La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, to the Amazon Rainforest. It is about 60km/40 miles long, and from La Paz, it’s mostly downhill.

It’s called Death Road because so many people have died on it, and after biking it, I’m not surprised! I think a two wheeled vehicle is much safer than a four wheeled one on such a narrow, winding road. It’s foggy, parts of it are worn away from the waterfalls that cross it, it’s lacking guardrails, and if you get too close to the edge, the rocks fall from under your feet into the valley. It starts at an elevation almost twice as high as the minimum for altitude sickness and ends at just 1,000 km/or .6miles above sea level, which isn’t much time to acclimate when returning to La Paz. It’s an exciting enough road to have been featured in an episode of Top Gear!

There is a new road open today that’s much safer, so the majority of the traffic on this one is tourists who want to cycle or drive death road, but there is still some local traffic.

This was such a long day and it was SO hard to stop and take photos and too dangerous to hold a camera in one hand while I was biking, so I really don’t have many photos…

We chose to bike with a tour group who has led lots of tours and is known for their safety. One person in our group dislocated his shoulder during the trip, and several of us nearly went over the handlebars a few times. You an see the rocks in the road in some of the photos – it’s really hard on your wrists if you want to maintain control of the bike! (I’d still do it again though!)

 

 

 

Biking Death Road, from La Paz, Bolivia to the Amazon Rainforest


Welcome to Gypset Brunette

If I have learned anything in the last several years, it’s that life doesn’t usually go as planned, and it’s better to go with the flow than to try to control everything. I never dreamed I would travel to such far off places until I spontaneously bought a plane ticket to Finland three years ago. Before I left, I couldn’t have imagined the things that travel has taught me.

Sometimes, life turns out better than I could have imagined.

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I’m not trying to discourage you from traveling, and I don’t plan to stop. I did, however, have some recent bad luck as a result of my travels…

I’ve been home from my most recent trip to Southeast Asia for a few months. I started editing video from the Full Moon Party in late April, but by the middle of May, I wasn’t myself. My energy dwindled; my appetite disappeared. My friends thought I just didn’t want to hang out – I didn’t appear to be ill. By the first week of June, I thought I had a really bad cold, or that my flu shot from last winter hadn’t worked.

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After 23 hours on three flights I landed in Bangkok, grabbed my luggage from baggage claim, jumped in a cab, found my hostel. The doors were locked, the lights were off and the sign by the doorbell was written in Thai… Fortunately, like most times when I find myself in a bind while traveling, I had a very nice cab driver who read the sign and called the owners from his cell phone instead of abandoning me alone in a dark alley in Bangkok with all of my luggage. Finally, a bed.

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Welcome Back to Bangkok