Of course, it is part my own doing having made arrangements the previous evening with www.prodownhill.com.
We have just arrived here after about an hour's drive from La Paz. In the distance, snow capped mountains reach for the almost cloudless skies as I inhale the crisp oxygen deprived air.
Joining the downhill pavement my shortness of breath and being cold is quickly replaced with excitement and adrenaline. The laws of physics are working nicely in my favor as this ton of mass begins to accelerate and accelerate rapidly.
Freeing myself from the captivating scenery, I test another law of physics and I am not to sure I like the results. My rear brakes did not pay attention in class or is not happy about carrying all this extra mass.
I have to make a pit stop as others race by me on a descending steep and curving hill. I watch them from above, looking like ants on wheels as my rear brakes is repaired.
Before long my tires are madly humming at over 300 miles an hour. Well, it seemed like that as the wind is ferociously whistling through my helmet. A stop at a military checkpoint and fluid is added to my brakes before I begin another downhill stretch.
BO$25 about US$3.60, a bargain.
Here, I have a fried chicken sandwich with fresh corn on the cob. I am teased that it will have me going to the bathroom more often than usual. A small price I think to pay for a taste of some local cuisine.
Recharged, we are now ready for the real challenge ahead of us. In about twenty minutes we will be where the Andes meet the Amazon. This is beginning point of “The Old Death Road”.
As our new descent begins a short distance from our briefing point I can see the road winding below us in between the breaks of the valley fog. We are now told to stay on the right side of the road although this is against Bolivian law.
However, in a strange way this and the gorgeous landscape adds to the excitement of the ride.
Coming on roadside waterfalls, I occasionally stop to relax a moment as others leave me behind in the dust.
It is tons of fun to race down the mountain but for me stopping to “smell the roses” is always a worthwhile part of any adventure.
A few hours into our ride and we have a lunch break where chips, sandwiches and a refreshing old fashioned Coca-Cola in the bottle is provided. Still full from my tasty chicken sandwich, I just quench my thirst with “The Real Thing”.
Besides a history of it's own, a sad part of world history can also be found along “The Death Road”.
Saving the best for last, we reach an area of “The Death Road” that promises to be the most challenging. Here, I take the “low road” so to speak and I am one of the last ones headed down. I will let the others “blaze” the trail for me.
In our final descent I can see “The New Death Road” that will take us back to La Paz. I am not looking forward to the four hour drive. This portion of the ride does turn out to be challenging, fun, enjoyable and ends with a cold reward.
$70 well spent!