Day 184 – Copacabana, BO to La Paz, BO

Day 184 – Copacabana, BO to La Paz, BO 02/21/11 Mileage: 102

After tracking down some breakfast, I packed the bike and split for La Paz.

One last look around town on the way to breakfast…

Low on fuel, my first stop was at a gas station in Copacabana…but it was closed…and so was the other one. It was around 10am, so it’s not like it was too early…hmmm.

A view of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca…

I pressed on towards the ferry at San Pedro de Tiquina hoping to find gas there…but no luck.

Coming into San Pedro de Tiquina to catch the ferry…

On the ferry I met a Swiss couple, Ornella and Fabian, who have been traveling around the America’s in their 4×4 VW camper….cool!

Off the ferry I again was on the hunt for gas, but like the previous gas stations, the next 4 were either out of gas or closed completely. I had no choice but to press on towards La Paz…now running on vapor.

Sure enough in a few miles the bike started to sputter and I had to switch to the reserve. The countdown was on, I had around 40 miles of gas in the reserve tank and 1 liter in my stove bottle…which would get me another 10-15 miles. I had already dropped my pace a while back to save fuel, and now I tucked in behind a slow moving mini-bus to block the wind and hopefully stretch what gas I had left. Mercifully though, around 30 miles later there was a gas station that was open and had gas…which was in the process of being delivered by a tanker! The smell of fresh, wholesome gas pouring into my tank never smelt so good! Now with a full belly of fuel I was free to make the run to La Paz, so I cracked the throttle on the KLR and whipped up the pace. Soon I was flying by minibuses and trucks like they were in a parking lot and it felt good to be able fly again. I reached the outskirts of La Paz and El Alto and my high speed flight was over…now I was in a traffic dogfight.

The view of La Paz coming down from El Alto…

Riding in cities where there are few traffic laws and even fewer adhered to, the only way to get anywhere is to ride aggressive and use the bikes acceleration and maneuverability to your advantage.

I sliced and diced my way into the heart of La Paz and made my way to the Adventure Brew Hostal. Yep, a hostal that has it’s own brewery, secure parking for the KLR and books mountain bike trips to the famous Death Road in the mountains above La Paz…sounds like a place purpose built for me! Oh, a beer and breakfast is included with your stay too…nice.

After settling in I went out in search of some spare gas cans to strap to the bike, which I planned on purchasing here anyway despite this mornings gas shortage.

Searching for spare fuel cans in the bustling LA Paz markets…

My planned route in southern Bolivia across the Atacama Desert will exceed the range of the KLR, so I’ll need to carry extra fuel. I was also told of fuel shortages in parts of Argentina, so the extra fuel will provide a safety net there as well. Of course, finding gas cans, even in a city this large has proved difficult. The closest I came was a little old lady selling used plastic containers from a street stand. Amongst the used cooking oil jugs and gallon shampoo containers were 2 gallon size 40W oil containers. Seeing as the KLR has an appetite for 40W oil anyway, I figured any residue in there wouldn’t be a problem. So, I purchased the 2 containers for 6 Bolivianos (85 cents) and a picture with her.

Back at the hostal I collected my free beer and got it on a poker game…and promptly lost my ass. Luckily for me, there was no money involved and the first man out, which was me, got a shot as a consolation prize. After some wifi and a few more beers, I stumbled down to my room, 1 floor down…convenient!

The 4th floor pub at the Adventure Brew Hostal….complete with a great view of downtown La Paz…

Tomorrow it’s off to ride the famous Death Road, not with the KLR, but with a mountain bike!

11 Responses to Day 184 – Copacabana, BO to La Paz, BO

  1. carla friedman says:

    Such adventures.. Is there a gas shortage or they just open when they want? How much is the gas in American dollars? Ours went from $3.04 to $3.17 overnight. Going to Ca. and can just imagine what it is there and you need to pump your own. As a Jersey girl I hate that but do it anyway. Have fun….love the colorful clothing on the people…and their interesting faces.

    • Lenny says:

      There was definitely a gas shortage north of La Paz, though there was plenty of gas in La Paz and points south…so go figure? Gas in most of South America so far has been pretty close to the US…perhaps a bit more in spots…around $3.50-$4 per gallon… I’m glad I get 50 mpg! 🙂

    • Lenny says:

      An update on gas in Chile….it’s EXPENSIVE! $6 per gallon! :-O

  2. Arlene says:

    WOW. No fun trying to find gas. It is up to $3.50 in north Jersey already. I guess the people who told you to fill up every chance you get weren’t kidding. It is 1:20pm, Saturday here and I am trying to figure out if yo are going straight to Argentina or not??

    As always, your writing and pictures are fabulous but I hung at the edge of the seat until I read that you got gas. You also did some fast riding that I am glad to hear all is well.

    Please stay safe and well. Love ya, Mom
    PS Going to AC today to try our luck.

  3. Arlene says:

    Tuesday morning-Sunday night when I watched the Oscar Awards, Melissa Leo won best supporting actress. She was so excited and said that her son could not be there because he was traveling in South America. Wow, join the club…….my son is traveling in South America……do you think he is on a motorcyle???

    Trying to figure where you are going because 702 doesn’t seem to go to the border?? I figure you are going to take real back roads. I am sure you will get to where you are going and you will write of your adventure.
    Be well and safe, Love ya, Mom.

  4. Arlene says:

    Sorry, just checked and I meant to write 701 not 702. Hugs, Mom

  5. Josh says:

    Hi Lenny!
    I just happened across your blog via GoPro’s facebook page. With all the time I spend on ADV forums I’m surprised I hadn’t found it before, do you have a ride report over there?

    I live in Vancouver and have ridden from the top of Alaska to mid-Mexico by v-strom, and hopefully someday soon will be on the road again, continuing on to tierra del fuego. I had a bit of a run-in with an oil-covered curve in Mexico. All I can say is never count on the road having good grip even if it’s paved, wear your armor, and have your country specific insurance! Luckily I had the insurance and armor so everything turned out great – no harm to me and my bike was paid for.

    I’ll be catchup up on everything you’ve posted so far and following along for the rest of the trip. I know how tough it is to find the time and technology to post from the road, keep up the good work. Buen viaje amigo, ride safe.


    • Lenny says:

      Hey Josh! I am cross posting on ADV which has been great…lot’s of great feedback from the other inmates. My ADV name is DirtyBones…I think you can find it that way. Your right about the armor and I always wear mine even when it’s a bloody sauna outside!

      Thanks for checking out the blog and safe travels!

  6. Melinda says:


    I have been following your blog since Dec 23rd. I’m enjoy your travels and photography very much and I feel as though I’m walking or riding beside you through your journey.
    However, when I go for a few days without seeing a post I worry … but it’s just the Mom in me.
    Will there be a book in the near future?

    You might remember I am in Boquete, Panama if you are ever here again you have a warm clean bed to sleep in, freshly cooked meals, coffee and a few beers on us.
    I’m Chad Roseman’s Mom

    • Lenny says:

      Hi Melinda! Thank you so much for all the offer and all the kind words…if my travels take me back to Panama again you can expect to hear from me for sure! Boquete is great and I would love to return there one day when I have more time.

      Enjoy all that great coffee!


  7. Melinda says:

    I also look forward to reading your post with the love and support for you son.


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