Dicin’ with Death

T – I had been scheming all night with our maps to get past the crooked cops on the edge of town. And we found a way which would take us behind them and bring us out onto the road out of town about two blocks past them.

Lo and behold it worked. The roads were more tracks than roads but buggered if we were paying any cops a bribe. Thanks to every other traveller who passes through and pays them every time. You make it harder for the next traveller.

C – It was so fantastic to get past this checkpoint. Corruption is something that does not sit well with me and so I was pleased not to have an unpleasant encounter with the police.

T – We started our morning with a climb into some amazing mountains. The road was smooth and it wound back and forth and gave us some incredible views back over Copacabana and Lake Titicaca. Spectacular!

We had to cross a short section of the lake as we were stranded out on an isthmus. There was no bridge but luckily for us we had a selection of about 10 boats that moved vehicles across the 200 or so meters of water.

The boat we were on was the worst thing I have ever seen. As the waves picked it up and flung it around it flexed so badly that we could see the joists beneath our feet actually separating from the hull by 2-3inches. We really thought we weren’t going to make it across and figured there would be two permanent postie fixtures on the bottom of Lake Titicaca!

C – I was terrified! The boat moved so much, and definitely not in the way it was supposed to! I can not imagine having to see my poor little girl sink to the bottom of any body of water!

T – Many, many wide eyed, sphincter clenching minutes later and we were heaving the bikes backwards of the “boat” and onto firm stable ground. That was crazy! We continued our ride towards La Paz.

C – As we rode closer to La Paz, we saw the beautiful, raw Andes mountains towering above us, covered in beautiful, clean white snow. We were completely in awe of the scenery.

T – Bolivia is already proving to be quite a beautiful little place with smooth roads and happy people. We raced along and soon we were descending steeply into La Paz. The city from above looked huge! Crammed into a canyon and built right up the steep sides of it. Not a place either of us was keen to venture into. But as is usual we soon found ourselves on the main highway and we were flushed towards the centre.

Being that it was quite early we made the decision to head towards Death Road. It was only about 80 kms away and we figured we could possibly ride it today.

That turned out to be the best decision we made. But first the ride to get there. We climbed up out of the city, ever upwards. OUr bikes screaming in 3rd as they strained and gasped and rattled and groaned. More Mabel, harder Rosie, climb girls climb. We topped out at 4639 meters. The highest we had pushed the girls yet.

We had views like you wouldn’t believe. They were heart stopping and made me feel incredibly emotional. It was without a doubt the best thing I have ever seen. I stood there in silence. I had nothing to say because anything I could say or do just wouldn’t matter. There was something about the scene I stood in front of.

C – Amazing, amazing, amazing. Snow covered peaks surrounded us – raw, devoid of vegetation, rocky summits that dwarfed us. At the same time, clouds were drifting through the valley below, visibly dancing through the valley. What a beautiful spot!

T – We then raced down hill. Down down down. We found a gas station that would sell us fuel and after topping off our tanks we hit the start of Death Road. This is one of the places I had wanted to ride ever since we had decided to take on this trip. It has featured in TV shows like Top Gear and World’s Deadliest roads. It was a doozy. A narrow, mostly one lane rough dirt road that clung to high cliff tops with no barriers to stop a wayward postie from plunging hundreds of meters to sure death below.

C – This road has a lot of hype and we knew that it was now only used by tourists. The everyday traffic has a nice, proper highway to use, where the risk of death is reduced. We knew that the busiest times are from 10am to 2pm, when cycle tours descend on the road and we were so happy to be arriving late in the afternoon.

T – Clouds hung low and we couldn’t see much below us and it added to the spooky vibe of the road. Now because we had decided to get here a little later in the day it meant we had the road to ourselves. Being as it is a very touristy thing now we have been told it is inundated with cyclists, motorbikes, and tour buses every day. Not for us though. We had to share a narrow section of the road only once with an oncoming car, so we can say we had our little scary passing moment on Death Road. Woohoo!

Waterfalls cascaded from above us and smashed down onto the road. We rode through them and bounced and slid our way over rocks and washouts. The road was gorgeous and we have both rated it as possibly the best riding we have done. So gorgeous.

We rolled into the town of Corocio at the end of the road just as darkness descended and searched around for a while before finding a place to stay.

Wow. We rode Death Road. Wow wow wow. I am so chuffed with our bikes and continously am impressed with everything they do and put up with.

C – Riding Death Road is definitely the best riding we have done this trip. The road is only short and only about 15km of it was truly spectacular. But part of the draw is the history of the road – seeing so many memorials and picturing what it must’ve been like for the locals using this road. It was a two lane road, with all traffic using it – buses, cars, trucks, motos. It must of been completely terrifying.

T – Tomorrow we have to climb from 1300 meters back up to over 4600 and we will head southwards, back through La Paz, and on towards the huge salt flats of southern Bolivia.

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11 thoughts on “Dicin’ with Death

  1. Dar

    Wow is all I can say, the pictures are amazing. Mabes and Rosie are pretty badass.

    • tncpowell

      They sure are! Tough little girls

  2. Dna

    Muy muy muy impresionado !

    • tncpowell

      Muchas gracias amigos! Ustedes aprenden Espanol? Es possible nosotros hablamos en Espanol quando regresar Australia?!! Muy bien!!!

  3. Carrie

    Thanks so much for your updates. I love reading them and seeing your photos. It’s almost like everyone who reads these are traveling with you two. I get a little excited when I see a new post on facebook I have to read it straight away. 😀 Keep up the good work.

    • tncpowell

      Thankyou so much Carrie! It means alot to us and we love having people along for the ride!

  4. Dna

    Por supuesto deseamos a sus pollos el mejor

  5. Rhianna

    Wow! Just incredible!!

    • tncpowell


  6. Jax

    Putting my Jealous hat back on….

    • tncpowell

      Haha. Well don’t get too jealous. We have been riding for 4 days through a desert that hasn’t changed once, and its all been on a highway.

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