Sorata to Achacachi: Climbing back onto the altiplano

Statistics for today
Distance 54.50 kms 34.18 miles
Climbed 1,558 meters 5,112 feet
Ride time (hours) 6.11 -
Avg speed 8.9 kph -
Avg climb 4% -
Max grade 16% -
Statistics for trip to date
Distance 9,842.44 kms 6,115.53 miles
Climbed 103,425 meters 339,321 feet
Ride time (hours) 777.39 -
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Friday, April 26th, 2013

I ended the day back on the altiplano at 3,850 meters altitude, completing the circle from La Paz down to floor of the valley and back. In 9 days I climbed 13,842 meters, an average of 1,538 meters per day, all of it on ripio except for the morning of the first day and today. This was hands down the most difficult ride I´ve ever done.

I went for breakfast at 8 and generally took my time getting going this morning. Much to my surprise on the way out of town I discovered that the road is paved! I haven´t seen pavement since a small stretch near Coroico. Good news because it was another day of tough climbing, the pavement made it much easier. I knew I was in for a climb because Sorata is at 2,700 meters and Lago Titikaka is at 3,800. The road climbed from 2,700 to 4,200 before dropping down to Achacachi. When I went to shift from the small chain ring to the middle one at the start of the descent the shifter was practically frozen from disuse. I got a glimpse of the lake during the descent, I will be headed that way tomorrow.

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Lake Titikaka, a place I´ve wanted to see since we snickered about the name back in 3rd grade.
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Back on the altiplano

In Achacachi it took me a while to find a place because everything that had an alojamiento or hotel sign was closed. Finally I saw an hospedaje that was open and took a room there for 30 Bolivianos. The sign said hot showers all day, and miracle of miracles the water was actually hot! I took my first hot shower since La Paz, enjoying every second of the 10 minutes I was in there. I went out for a dinner of fried chicken, French fries, and rice then on the way home stopped for a hamburger from a street cart.

Back at the hospedaje they are having a presentation on how subliminal messages in modern pop music are sending everyone to hell. They are playing snippets of current latino hits at full volume then explaining how the songs contain messages from the devil. I really know how to pick a place to stay in Bolivia, it seems like every night that I´m not alone in the middle of nowhere in the tent there is some kind of craziness going on. I just hope they shut up before I go to bed... I doubt they will, whether they are good little churchgoers or not it´s Friday night.