Big Yellow Bus
We had a feeling something was up when the road uphill from La Paz was swarmng with mob control cops all decked out in helmets and vests full of cannisters of tear gas. Seems this is a common occurance as people in the area are known for protesting and setting up road blocks with big and small boulders to block traffic. Just so happened that was our day to leave La Paz through the neighbouring city of El Alto that is up the climb form the valley that La Paz is in and at an altitude of 4,150 (hence the name) and has a population of over a million people.
With all the cyclists and their bikes packed into the big yellow bus and the small red lunch truck trying to keep together as we tried to navigate an alternate route out of the area and avoid all the protests and blocks we rode around dirt and rock roads for quite a while trying to find a safe and practical spot to let the riders off so they could get on their way to our camp site on Lake Titicaca not very far from Copacabana (a stunningly beautiful city in Bolivia where we now are).
Finally, after paying off the kids who were "manning" the four road blocks that we did manage to get through our brave leaders decided to pay a local man at one of the blocks to join us in the truck and guide us out through back roads and get us out of that area and on to the highway we needed to be on. Through dry stone riverbeds and up craggy slopes we crawled on in our trucks.
After half a day of high adventure and some stunning back road scenes that we would never have otherwise been privy to, we were all set to let the riders begin their day of cycling. All arrived safely and soundly to our bush camp in a big soccer field surrounded by potato fields on the banks of sacred and stunning Lake Titicaca (with the mountains of Peru looming just across the lake).
– Ruth Schonblum