With nowhere to stay in Uyuni the plan involved getting to the town before it, staying there, and dropping down in the morning. This meant we had a relaxingly late start in the morning – rather than getting up at 6am it was closer to 8:30 by the time we left, even finding time for a cup of tea on my stove. Ticatica, like the other communities, didn’t have many options by the way of food so it was more Cremositas – small packets of 6 biscuits that cost $0.15 – and a litre of milk that would fuel me along. The geology continued to be as pretty as the day before, and the majority of the day was a relaxing ride as we almost unnoticeably climbed upwards. There was a tempting sign to a hot spring, but as it didn’t say how far it was off the road we skipped it – turned out to only be 3km.
The end of the day saw us climbing again, this time up to the mining community of Pulacayo at around 4150m . Some parts were quite steep, and near the end HJ was making very slow progress. Thankfully we didn’t have to go the rest of the way to Uyuni, as otherwise we’d have had to make the descent in the cold after the sun had gone down. I’d seen another blog about some cyclists staying at the train museum, but it was closed by the time we arrived.
When I spoke to the security guard, he spoke to an 8 year old boy and gave him instructions to lead us somewhere. We followed along, as he wandered in silence, and eventually got to the private dormitories where he told me to knock on the door and then vanished. I knocked, but there was no reply. I’d been scanning around for possible alternatives, and the school playground seemed to have a covered area, but thankfully that wasn’t necessary. A worker in his 50s, who had lived in Pulacayo all his life, showed us to another set of dorms and lead us into a dilapidated room. I could tell HJ was rather unimpressed, understandable considering how dirty it was, but it was what we had. I set to cooking pasta for the first time on my stove, and threw in a can of tuna to give it some variety. Bolivian pasta is not good, and turns to mush very quickly. This was no different, but it ended up just-about edible.