Bikes, Borders, Bandits
It has been a whirlwind month for McCutchen, with multiple border crossings, an accident, an injury, and a robbery.
After reuniting with their bikes in Colombia, McCutchen and friend Kiva rode south “across some of the most beautiful countryside,” they had ever seen. Landslide closures meant some on-the-fly route changes and they took the evocatively named Devil’s Trampoline road as well as some off-road sections. Before crossing into Ecuador, they spent some time visiting a beautiful church at Las Lajas.
Once in Ecuador, they took the mountain pass between Yungay and Yanama on Highway 106, speeding up from the coast. However, the mountain road proved a tricky ride and on February 3, McCutchen reported that she had had a crash. She’s OK but the bike needed a few repairs, necessitating a stop to fix the crooked crash bars at a mechanics shop in Lima.
After the repairs it was another border crossing into Bolivia to visit the salt flats at at Salar de Uyuni. It was wet season, so riding the bikes was hard, but they got a chance to explore and stay at a “salt hotel”.
The next few days consisted of more border hops, first into Argentina and then into Chile. Unfortunately, Chile has not been kind to them so far: both McCutchen and Kiva were robbed soon after their arrival. McCutchen lost a few bags and Kiva lost pretty much everything she was travelling with. The pair are making a police report and hoping to get back on the road soon.