DAY 35 – 2/16/12 PEURTO GRETHER --> COCHABAMBA (WITH CRASH)
288 km / 52 kph ave / 127 kph max
7 hrs tot / 5 hrs mov / 1 CRASH!
Our sawmill shelter did a good job of keeping us dry during the previous night’s shower. The rain came around 0000 and that must have been when the blockades broke up because we started seeing westbound truck traffic around then. Too bad they didn't last another 8 hrs or so. Our whole ride was backed up with 2-3 days’ worth of trucks on a two lane mountain pass. Additionally, we were in a rain cloud for the whole mountain pass, so you can understand why our moving average is so low. The road would have been quite spectacular under different conditions. As it was, it was very frustrating. I think all 20 km of backed up trucks were on this road while we were trying to get by. Some of the trucks were going so slow in granny gear, we had to slip our clutches in 1st gear to avoid stalling. Passing was challenging, but going alright for the first two-thirds of the way. My crash happened on a stretch with no oncoming traffic. I was passing a pickup truck in the left lane, when he suddenly turned left onto a small service road. I didn't even have time to honk my horn to catch his attention. My right hand guard dug into his truck, and I lunched off the bike, slide across his hood, landed on the pavement and rolled about 15 feet until I came top a stop against a coffee table-sized boulder. My bike slid about 20 feet on it's left side hand guard and side bag. A very scary moment, but could have been a lot worse. The bike had a broken mirror and windshield, and that was it. The Highway Dirtbike hand guards worked great. I had a bruised right leg where it came in contact with the truck. After dusting off and catching my breath, we were on our way 10 minutes later.
Towards the end of the day, the traffic started to thin out and the weather improved. We found a hotel near the center of Cochabamba for $54 USD. We had dinner at a cafe near the plaza and took a walk around town. My leg hurts pretty bad and I walk with a House M.D. limp, but I should be fully recovered in a week or so.