Thursday (Jueves) 3rd June, 2010
Day 447

West of Potosi, Bolivia
West of Potosi, Bolivia
Miles: 45,551
S 19.72618°
W 65.90303°

We experienced a strange coincidence this morning. At breakfast I noticed a group of guys wearing identical jackets each sporting the emblem of the Coyhaique 4x4 club - Coyhaique is a town in Southern Chile that we passed through while traveling the Carretera Austral to Villa O'Higgens. At the gas station later in the morning we bumped into them again, this time they were in their vehicles. A bunch of old FJ Toyotas. One of the guys came up to me and in Spanish told me that we had met on the Fiordo Mitchell ferry crossing (on Jan 16th - half a continent and almost half a year away). Once pointed out I recognized him - he was driving a late model Dodge Ram pickup truck and at the time we chatted in broken Spanish and English about our vehicles.

Heading east from Uyuni the road climbed to higher altitude initially giving some great views of the town and the salar. A little later we passed through a ghost town that was once a large mining settlement and still contains the remains of the locomotive shot up by Butch and Sundance in the robbery that ultimately led to their deaths. For the next 30 kms the road was a typical south america gravel road, rough but not terrible, and the scenery typical altiplano. For the remainder of the day we saw almost continual road works as gangs were upgrading the road. The work is far from finished and as a result the road varied from good quality blacktop to river beds where there were diversions. The scenery was really spectacular, big broad valleys, strange rock formations of wind/water carved sandstone, narrow and steep canyons, and even wetlands in some of the valley bottoms.


We did not want to arrive in Potosi at dusk so we found a nice flat work area beside the highway about 30 kms before Potosi. A couple of trains passed in the night but otherwise quiet.