We were going to wild camp for 2 nights on the salt flats, before returning to the town of Uyuni for a night to get organised for the Lagunas route. We set off in convoy and entered the salt flats at Colchani. We were a little chaotic at first and we managed to lose all of the motorbikes! Eventually-we all met by the Dakar statue and agreed that we needed to drive together so that no one got lost!
The Salar De Uyuni is the world`s largest salt flat and is over 10,000 km sq. The salt is over 10cm thick in the centre and is a complete flat expanse of dry salt.
On day 1 we headed towards the village of Coquesi to the North of the salt flats and set up camp just before the laguna with flamingos. We had a huge BBQ for our tea and sat around the fire in the evening. The alcohol was flowing, music was playing and suddenly, we were having our very own Salar disco, led by Jen! The song that set us all off was "Barbara Streisand" by Duck Sauce! We danced for about 3 hours like crazy things-I am sure the Salar had never seen anything like it before!
The next day we drove across the Salar to the island of Incahausi. This was an incredible island consisting of hundreds of giant cacti. We had a walk around and then set off for our next island. Then in the space of about 15 minutes-everything seemed to go wrong! Firstly, Dane and Penny`s van broke down. Whilst Dane was fixing it, the rest of us drove closer to the island, and the motorcyclists actually drove onto the island. Wiffie followed them in his Toyota, and told us that we had to drive over fast, to avoid the deep mud at the edge of the island. We made the huge mistake not to get out and walk it before driving it and tried to drive quickly across. You can guess what happened next! We drove across as fast as we could BUT got completely stuck in the muddy salt up to our axles at the rear! This was much to Wiffie, the Toyota driver`s delight and he quickly sprang into action to winch us out. This was the photo opportunity he had been waiting for-the Toyota rescuing the beleaguered landrover! For those who don`t know-there is a lot of (friendly) rivalry between Toyota and Land rover owners. Then the land rover gods struck! Whilst Wiffie was rushing to rescue us-he also got himself stuck in the mud! Dane and Penny looked over from their van and saw the pair of our vehicles stuck in mud up to our axles! To cut a long story short-the Toyota self recovered, towed us out and we then both slowly used sand ladders to inch across the mud. We then all camped where we were as we had had enough excitement for one day!
The following day-we all headed back to Uyuni. We got our cars washed, our laundry done and had a good feed! The following day we were heading off to do the Lagunas route-an off road route consisting of 260 miles, for 4 nights. Day 1: we followed Wiffie who took us completely the wrong way, so we all had to turn around and drive the right way; Dane and Penny`s van blew a tyre; Gudrun`s motorbike fell over on the highway; Wyatt, the dog, nearly choked on a bread roll and then proceeded to roll in another dog`s poo-but other than that we had a brilliant day and spent the first night wild camping in a canyon sheltering from the biting wind. Day 2 was almost as eventful-we followed the motorbikes whilst the other cars went ahead, as it was a much more difficult road to drive on the bikes. Along the way, almost everything fell off the motorbikes and Gav and I would stop to pick it up and pop it in the landy for them! In the end-we were carrying all of Gudrun and Florian`s luggage as it fell off their bikes! We finally reached Laguna Colarada, where the water is red due to red sediments and pigmentation of algae. It also contained hundreds of flamingos. It was a spectacular sight. We wild camped nearby, in another canyon. The next couple of days were full of great driving, superb views and great company around the camp fire at night. We saw geysers, Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde, amongst many other things. We went to the Aduana just after Laguna Colarada to sign Ruby out at over 5,000 metres., maybe the highest aduana in the world? We then exited Bolivia, getting the exit stamp in our passports, before crossing into Chile and heading to San Pedro De Atacama where we went to Chilean immigration and the Aduana for our temporary import permit.
So here we are in Chile. We need to go to the mechanics as Ruby has a broken front shock absorber and we also need to give her a good clean as there is dust everywhere!