Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1375, Tres Cruces – Villazón, Bolivia! That Was Cold!

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Jun - 26 - 2014

Distance: 109.81 km
Ride time: 5:59:41
Average: 18.30 km/h
Altitude: 3447 m
Total: 27282 km

My feelings that it would be a cold night turned out to be true. At midnight I woke up to -5, at 4:30 it was -10, and at sunrise a surprising -13°C. This was much colder than I had expected – I was suddenly very happy that I had bought an extra sleeping bag and warm clothes a while ago in Santiago. It certainly felt it had been worth to carry along!

There are a few tricks to camp out in very cold weather. First of all your sleeping bag must be dry, as it will otherwise lose all kind of insulation capability. In the dry climate I’m cycling in these days, this is not a big issue. Then, when you go to sleep your body must be warm. I find this is most easily done by cycling right up until sunset, then quickly put up the tent and jump into the sleeping bag. You should of course wear thermic underwear, and perhaps a couple of other layers of clothes and a hat. All this should keep you warm and comfortable.

When I realized that I could actually keep warm I thought it was pretty cool to sleep outside in these temperatures. An hour after I measured the -13 degrees the sun hit my tent, and everything was warming up nicely.

When I started to cycle I realized why it had been such a cold a night. I had only cycled a few kilometers when I climbed over a pass at 3780 m. I didn’t actually know I was that high as my map hadn’t mentioned the pass. Oh well, a nice test of my camping equipment before the altiplano!

The last couple of days I had seen a lot of ambulances on the road. I was wondering if the people here are particular violent to each other, or what was going on, Today I saw an ambulance coming out from a mining site, and I realized they must be the source of all the accidents. A seriously dangerous place to work!

After the climb in the beginning of the day I was coming into a more flat stretch of pampa. This meant I was able to make good progress, and I thought it would be possible to reach La Quiaca and perhaps even cross over to Bolivia today.

It was in December that I had just landed in Ushuiaia. Standing at the habour, I looked at a green sign saying 5171 kms to La Quiaca. I then took a left turn and started cycling… It was a special moment when I now, 6 months later finally reached the place I had seen on that sign in Ushuaia. What a ride it has been!

After a 2nd lunch break I only needed to cycle 20 km to reach La Quiaca. I was indeed running out of Argentinian roads. It was a truly emotional moment to reach the small town.

As the sun was setting I got my first view of Bolivia on the other side of the river. What kind of experiences would be waiting for me over there? I was going to cycle over to find out. After a couple of stamps I was quickly through the customs and was crossing the bridge between the two countries.

In Bolivia I changed a bit of money and went to the central square to look for a hotel. Normally I would shop around for the cheapest place around, but since this was my first night in Bolivia and I had no idea what to expect in terms of prices, I simply took the first place that I found.

I had woke up in my sleeping bag in -13 degrees in the morning. Now I was looking forward to sleep in a real bed, and to experience what Bolivia would be like.

Categories: Argentina, Bolivia
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2 Responses so far.

  1. Hendric says:

    You’re inspiring me to do a cycling trip in either Australia or Japan! glad I met you in Uyuni.

  2. Hey Hendric! Great to meet you in Uyuni. Nice travels and go for the bike trip 🙂 Thomas