Crawling out of the tent in the morning, slowly turning 360 degrees, I take a moment to appreciate this amazing place. It’s a feeling of being surrounded by nothing and everything all at once. Crossing the Coipasa and Uyuni salt flats will go down as one of the most incredible experiences of this trip.
The morning is so peaceful on the salar, the cool wind only a slight breeze. The sun is pleasantly warm, taking away the chill of the night. Though in a few hours it will have us feeling crispy, longing for shade.
Today we finished the magical 90 mile ride across the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. It’s roughly 100 times bigger than the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Last night we noticed the surface of the salar was becoming potholed. We were having a difficult time spotting them in time to swerve as it was becoming dark and we were clipping along in the tailwind. We hit a few small ones. Today I noticed they remind me of holes made for ice-fishing.
I stopped to check one out. I felt the water. Cold. I had a little taste. Very salty. I checked the depth by sticking my folding kickstand down the hole. Very deep! I’m glad we didn’t hit any of the big ones last night. They would have swallowed us up! Scott tries to comfort me by saying that we would float in the salinity of the water. He’s not so confident about the bikes though.
I’m glad I learned this at the end of our ride across the salars. Turns out the salt crust covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium. 50-70% of the world’s lithium reserves are within the Salar de Uyuni.
A sculpture made of salt blocks for the Dakar race:
We’re taking a day off in Uyuni. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I doubt we’ll find turkey, taters and gravy, but we’re going to celebrate like good Americans by eating until we pass out.
But the first thing we’re doing is bringing the bikes to a lavadero (car wash) to remove the salt. They are caked with salt and rusting before our eyes!