Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Another Bolivian Adventure~Part 2~

 Monday morning we headed out bright and early at 6 a.m. Our first stop about an hour out of the city, was to have breakfast with a super sweet family that are missionaries in that area outside of Potosi. The man told us about how he used to ride his bicycle for hours and miles into the surrounding countryside to share with the people who live out in the country. Now he has a motorcycle to help him get around. He told us that at times he still "peddles" on the motorcycle out of years of habit!! I don't remember their names or the name of the town. Maybe Rudi will remember!

Rudi and I with Missionaries outside of Potosi.

Mark and Carol Mattix, our gracious hosts!
A little further down the trail we came upon this super cool bridge/castle thing. We stopped and took lots of pictures. This bridge marks the area where we entered a new "state" or department of Bolivia, Chuquisaca.

My handsome sons, Myles and Clancy
 Our travel destination was a town called, Monteagudo. It took us about thirteen hours to get there. Mark was really good about us taking our time with stops to stretch our legs or eat.
Ruth and Paula enjoying the drive!
 One stop we made some of us hiked down into a small river bed. The kids had fun exploring for a time!
Clara strikes a pose!

Myles climbing...again!
Pretty Paula

From Sucre the roads got increasingly worse. We thought the one below was bad enough to deserve a picture...little did we know that when they really got bad we weren't even thinking of taking a picture...just surviving! This day of driving was at least seven hours on nice dirt roads.

Quaint Casita!
 The scenery was spectacular and nearly impossible to capture in a photo. But we tried to capture it anyway! This type of mountain/terrain went on and on for hours. It was sooo remote feeling and yet, every so often there would be a house right next to the road or a little village.
Spectacular Bolivia
 In the larger villages we went through it was not uncommon to see pigs, donkeys, chickens, horses, or cows crossing the road.
Pigs Crossing

Burros in the middle of nowhere!
 If you ever get a chance to look at Google earth maps of Bolivia, you will see how ridiculously curved the roads are in Bolivia. The bazillion mountains make it nearly impossible to get anywhere. To go just ten kilometers can take an hour, because of all the criss-cross backtracking you do! One thing the maps do not show is how crazy the precipices are...
Common sight, switchback curves.
Almost to Monteagudo
I will expound on the picture above. You are looking at a single lane with a couple hundred feet drop off to the right. You share this lane with oncoming traffic that includes large cargo type trucks and buses the size of a Greyhound. Thankfully, they usually honk on the super blind corners and drive slowly so that one of you can back up to a turn out area for them to pass. No big deal right!! Going to Monteagudo these roads were dry, but driving out of Monteagudo they were wet with a foot of slippery mud...but I am getting ahead of myself!!!
We arrived in Monteagudo after dark and many hours of driving on white knuckle one lane roads up and down mountains... I was MUY HAPPY to see the lights of Monteagudo. We stayed at the home of a local businessman and his wife. They also have a little chapel on their property there in the city. Rudi and the older kids along with Mark conducted another singing night with a few of the people that attend the church. I went to bed early with the younger children to make up for all the sleep I lost in Potosi!
 During the night it rained LOTS. Tuesday morning we were all a bit concerned because we had had to ford a river to come into Monteagudo and today we would have to back across... Also the roads were pure mud...fun... 
Carol, Mark, the couple who hosted us, Rudi and Me..
 We made the river crossing fine and headed to a little town called Huacareta. It was only four hours, one way, on mud and rock roads. This is an off roaders paradise. Unfortunately, our Truffi is not an off roading vehicle by any stretch of the imagination, but it held up valiantly through it all... Go, Old Whitey, Go. We did feel every bump of the road through the twenty-six year old seats!!
Our view from the front window of our car...Common sight...
 We crossed countless rivers and no matter how many pictures I took of the teeth jarring roads, I never could seem to get just how bad they were. The pictures do not show how many bumps there truly were...
My obsession with photographing bad roads continues...

Huggies and toilet paper-Don't leave home without them...need I say more!

Guiermo's house
We had lunch just outside of Huacareta with a super nice gentleman name Guiermo (probably did not spell that correctly). The kids had a blast playing and swimming in the river that went through his property. All of our kids wanted to move to this place! Unfortunately, it was a bit far from shopping and other such luxuries for me...
Clara, Clancy, Myles, and Ruth "Having a Grand Time"

Myles and Ruth

Almost to Huacareta- Myles, Clancy, and Clara rode in the back of the truck!

Our final destination for the day!

Ahh, civilization again!
Huacareta was surprisingly very civilized with its housing, markets, and hotel. It was a beautiful town. You could walk from one end of it to the other very quickly and the plaza was big and well kept. They even had internet there! It was a quiet peaceful place and we all liked it very much. 
That night we all were able to walk from the Hotel to the local Brethren church for the singing time. On the way we had some yummy street food, hamburgers/sandwiches!! A young man named, Jaime joined us in Huacareta for the sing. He plays guitar and sings music that he writes. He is very talented and it was great to be able to hear him sing and play! He plays a style that is called Chaquenyo, and it reminds me of Mexican music, but a little different. I always want to eat chips and salsa when I hear it!!!
Emily, Rudi, and Myles... The Band!

Jaime performing one of his original songs.
Each time we had a sing, Mark would ask Clancy to sing with him for several songs. Clancy has a great voice and can really belt it out! I love to hear my kids sing in Spanish!!
Clancy and Mark... The Songleaders extraordinaire! 

"Uncle Bill" taking it all in with Ruth and Paula...

Our Hotel in Huacareta
 The hotel we stayed at in Huacareta was super clean, comfortable, and quiet. A true find in the middle of nowhere! And did I mention that it cost $10 a night?...no kidding...move over Motel 6!
Hotel Courtyard

Another Courtyard outside of the rooms.
 On Wednesday we went to breakfast on our way back to Monteagudo at a Mennonite families house right outside of Huacareta. This family moved here about fifteen years back from Ohio. At least two of the ten(?)children are married to Bolivians. Three of the boys are married to Americans and live in the states. We didn't get to meet the parents of the large family, but had breakfast at one of the daughters that is married to a Bolivian. She makes the yummiest yogurt I have ever eaten...too bad the location is so far out to buy it regularly!!
Clancy, Myles, and Clara waiting to help with the morning milking!

You can tell you are in Mennonite country by the quilts you see on the line!

Juan bringing down the cows for milking

Juan and Kendra and their three children

More arriving by motorcycle
 I wish I had gotten a picture of all three of them on the motorcycle. It was so cute with the girls riding "side saddle". This is another brother with his new Bolivian wife and another younger sister. Jordan reminded us so much of Joe Mauck it was uncanny!
Naomi, Jordan, and  his wife Esther

And, of course, more music on the back porch!

These grapefruit were the largest I have ever seen... not quite soccer ball size, but close!

The road back out of Huacareta. The craggy hills were incredibly beautiful...

I just couldn't get enough pictures of how BAD the roads were...Strange huh!

Notice the cows on the left...
I am going to save this days travels to Camiri and our time in Camiri for the next blog. I hope ya'll enjoyed this one!!


  1. What a cool trip!! The scenery is stunning, and the roads... yeah they look bad. It's so neat that you guys were able to meet so many believers out there and the Mennonite family's farm looks beautiful.
    Thanks so much for doing these posts!

  2. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of the roads less traveled, Carla. Whew! Wasn't it at your wedding that the song was sung about always taking the scenic route? Well, you have taken that advice and driven on many very scenic, albeit uncomfortable, dangerous, and long, routes in Bolivia!

    The assortment of pictures in this post is, as always, telling and colorful and enjoyable.

    I look forward to the tale of Camiri!

    Much love and hugs all around!


  3. Carla, you must put all your blogs together when you get back, and publish them in book form. What a great experience! Thank you so much for making your adventures available for friends and family to see! I love that your fun personality shows through!

    I had to chuckle at how Rudi looks like a giant next to the petite couple from Huacareta. :) All the photos make your blog come alive! I don't know how you endured the roads! I would have been scared stiff!

    Love and prayers,

    Grandma B

  4. Just finished your three posts about your amazing trip/adventure. WOW!!! I know that travel in Bolivia is super exhausting and nerve-wracking, but you guys have made some real memories to take away from your time here. So glad that you've gotten the chance to see different parts of this country!