14 Mai 2013
SUCRE - TOTORAL : 245 km
Sucre - Mataral : 93
Mataral - Aiquile : 52
Aiquile - Mizque : 50
Mizque - Totoral : 50 Sucre to TOTORAL
FROM JEFF KRUYS SITE Sucre to Mataral 93 km
this morning I had to climb through sprawl to leave the city. My unexpected presence and my slow speed led to some near-collisions with impatient drivers, but I dished out just as much verbal abuse as I received. Finally I reached the top of the climb, where a giant cement plant is perched upon a site riddled with dinosaur footprints which remain one of Sucre's big local attractions. I didn't go in to see the prints, but the dinosaur monuments were funny at least. After a few more dips and climbs around the hills, the road finally dove into a canyon and cross the bridge at the bottom.
The road went steadily downhill but with a good quantity of quick climbs thrown in. The pavement continued to the next provincial border, where we crossed the Río Arce and entered Cochabamba province, about 90km from Sucre. The road was now in quite an awful state, and would get much worse if we received the rain that was threatening to fall, but that didn't materialize. I was hoping to buy vegetables in the village here, Mataral, but nobody was selling. But I had enough food on board to feed us all for now.
Mataral to Aiquile 52 km
The bad road continued, and the road would be following the river upstream all day, then crossing a ridge over to another river where Aiquile, the next big town, sits. So we made Aiquile, a mere 50km away, our goal for today. Along the way were many dusty little villages, with varying services for passersby, mostly just shops selling crackers and Coke.
After crossing the ridge and dropping into the next valley, we rolled in Aiquile with its cobbled streets, which turned out to be the starts of a whole cobbled highway. Actually both exits from town, north to Epizana and northwest to Mizque, were cobblestone highways. Kind of a nightmare for cycling, really, especially with no suspension. Well, we ate at some restaurant. Now it was dark and too late to go hunting for a free campsite, so we stayed at the Hotel Campero for a mere B$20 each (about US$3) and cooked our own dinner out in the courtyard.
Aiquile to Mizque 50 km
We got a rather late start (especially by my standards) and then spent more time buying food at the Sunday market . Then, finally, we were off, on the cobbled highway. They used bigger rocks for the highway than they did in the town streets, so it was pretty rough. But they lined each side of the road with a 6-inch-wide ridge of concrete that was smooth riding, if you could keep your balance on it. Lots of times, this concrete was overgrown with thorny plants, or had a long dropoff to the right if you should happen to lose your balance.
There were a couple of gradual climbs along this road, but overall it was downhill to Mizque. We arrived at a junction for the road to Tin-Tin. We thought Mizque would only be a kilometer or two beyond this junction, but it was about 9km, along more of the cobblestone highway. We finally arrived in town, where the locals stared at us as though we were arriving in UFO's. And just about all the businesses were closed for Sunday, especially the restaurants. We managed to buy bread and a few other supplies.