Climbing 560, meters down 540.
I was relieved when morning came to get up and move around. Fingers crossed the prednisone makes a difference as after the clinic in La Paz I don’t have a lot of confidence in the medical system as in going for medical help in Bolivia.
Very cold this morning, minus 4 degrees, and where we had breakfast was on the edge of the salt flats so quite exposed. Had a quick breakfast and got moving.
The first 70 kilometres was riding across the salt flats. Thankfully the wind does not pick up until late morning. While riding on the salt flats because it is all the same you seem to ride for ever before anything starts to become closer. I am riding with my silk balaclava over my mouth and nose to stop the cold going directly to my lungs, as this can set off an asthma attack.
Quite a few tour groups out already, apparently there are about 70 tour operators in Uyuni alone (the town we are heading towards for the rest day). Stopped and took a couple of photos of the scenery.
At 70 kilometres we got off the salt flats and the terrain turns sandy, corrugated surface, dirt and lots of vehicles coming past whipping up wind and dust (again bad with having asthma symptoms already).
Thankfully after 5 kilometres we turned right and were basically on tarmac with a tail wind most of the way to Uyuni. A few areas where there were road works but because it was Saturday there was no actual construction happening.
The town on first look was pretty bleak and uninviting looking. Lots of dust and rubbish in the streets. We are staying at the Sumaj Wasi Hotel. Most of us arrived about midday and were not able to get into the rooms until 2pm. A few people went into town but most of us milled around the reception area waiting.
Thankfully this hotel has a lift as I am on the 4th floor! After getting into the room and having a shower and sorting out the laundry (luckily just had to drop off at the hotel reception) I headed up town to check out the local supermarket which was closed (hopefully due to siesta), a number of other shops were also closed. I got some water and snacks from a small shop and decided to try again later.
About 2 hours later I went back up to town and the supermarket was open. It is the smallest supermarket I have ever been into, about the size of NZ 4Square. About 4 short aisles and a very limited range. Hopefully there are other suppliers in town otherwise TDA will struggle to feed 40 plus cyclists for the next 6 days.
Feeling pretty tired I got takeout pizza and back to the hotel for an early night.