Leaving Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz seems like home. I’ve been here ten days. Each day the bellboys ask me if I’m feeling better. A couple days ago I ditched the crutches. And yesterday broke ground and left the hotel on foot. Visited the local barber down the street for a haircut and shave. It’s been that long.

I’ve been monitoring the things on my to do list:

1) fix Jesse brackets that were tweaked in the fall on the bridge.

2) get a proper and legal temporary import permit for Doc from the Aduana

3) install new clutch lever when it arrives from USA via DHL

4) find a way to Southwest Bolivia so I don’t burn time and good weather sitting in Santa Cruz.

There’s much to write regarding tackling such to-dos. Suffice to say I’m going to revisit a couple of those stories in the next few days. For now, I’m happy to say I’ve made the decision to put my motorcycle (and me) on a truck and head toward the Salar de Uyuni. My ankle is still tweaked. I sat on Doc yesterday and simply moving the ankle to shift resulted in stinging pain. I can bear weight. But trying to stay off it. There’s a pool here and I’ve been walking in the pool and swimming in an effort to retain motion.

So the truck will give me a few days more rest. The good or bad news is — it’s a big and very slow truck. So I’m told. Thinking back at my journey here and how many trucks I saw and passed, I guess it’s payback time. I’ll be sweating and riding in an old weathered beast as Doc sits securely (I’m hopeful) in the cargo area with who knows what else. Chickens? Mattresses? Soccer balls? I guess I’ll know soon.

I’d been asking for help in finding a truck since about the day Jeremiah left. Hoping to connect with him once healed, I had this truck plan in the back of my head for some days. But no matter how many people I asked, I struck out. Then yesterday I thought to call those guys who were on the Che Trail moto-caravan whom we’d met in Vallegrande. Javier, one of the motocross guys, had given me the number to his automotive repair shop in Cochabamba and told me to call if I needed any help. Cochabamba sits slightly northwest of Santa Cruz. It’s a 10 hour ride by bus. On Thursday Jeremiah rode it in nearly 8. But his email indicated it wasn’t a lot of fun. I know there are about 20 or thirty miles through mountain passes on dirt. Yet within a couple hours of calling Javier I had my truck and the plan is to leave today at 3pm. A small truck will pick up me and my motorcycle and take us to a transport terminal. Here we’ll put doc on the slow truck to Ururu. Ururu is about 4 or 5 hours from Cochabamba. However in the truck the total trip will take me two and a half days.

Good god.

The trucks don’t leave until the evening because it’s simply too hot to travel by daylight. Ururu sits on the northern tip of the Altiplano. It’ll be quite chilly there.

In Ururu I’ll have the option to hop on my bike and ride a couple days to Uyuni. Yet, if my leg still isn’t strong I have the option to put Doc and I onto a train. If all goes to plan I should be in Uyuni by the weekend.

I’m sure I’ll be staying in some seedy and scary trucker motels for the next couple nights. As such, internet access will be likely non-existent. Meanwhile, I’m sure I’ll come out at the other end with some good stories to tell.

As for Jeremiah? I’m worried! Last I heard he made it safely to Cochabamba and planned to leave the next morning (11/10/2006) for Potosi. Since then I’ve heard nothing. I’ve send four emails. Nothing. And this is rather unusual as the guy checks his email about 17 times a day when there’s internet access. And access is good in Ururu, Potosi and Uyuni. Where’s Jeremiah? I hope I don’t have to scour the hospitals or the jungle for ransom notes. I’m a bit worried. But gotta press on.

Onward.

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