I went to fill up my gas tank and reserves to find out that the pumps were empty! Shit, I thought I would be stuck in Uyuni without gas. I was told to go to another station down the road and there I would find gas. It was shocking to see the line up of 4x4 's waiting to fuel up massive barrels of petrol to take tourists down the salt flats. They make a 500 km loop tour back to Uyuni... using LOTS of petrol! I feel like I am part of our global warming using a motorbike to travel. But to see these 4x4 fill up and emptying gas station pumps everyday, I was consuming nothing compare to them! ( I burn 10L for 200 kms)
Gas tank and reserves full, I rode the bad 25 kms sandy road to Colchani, were you enter the Salar. Riding a motorbike on the Salar is heaven, you can go as fast as you want, let go your hands, close your eyes... you will always ride nothing but flat ground.
Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest and highest salt desert in the world sitting at an altitude of 3,650 meters (11,975 feet) above sea level. The Salar covers over 11 000 square km. It contains 10 billion tons of salt, which about 25,000 tons is extracted annually! Also holds half of the world's reserves of lithium, a metal which is used in high energy density lithium batteries.
65 kms later I arrived at Isla de Pescado - "Fish Island" An island full of tall cactus, some up to 30 feet tall. It's like another world. Tourist were coming in jeep loads to visit the island and continue on their journey south to different lakes and wild landscapes before returning to Uyuni. I walked around the island taking photos and enjoying the wild landscape. After a few hours, it was time to ride across the Salar south and find a camp spot on the other side. I rode 45 minutes across the salt flats. Didn't find the perfect camp I wanted to take nice sunrise - sunset photos, so I decided to ride back to Isla de Pescado, 45 minutes back the other way! ( I knew this would cost me in gas, and it was very important that I have lots of it for the long journey ahead without any stations) but also knew that the 4x4 could sell me a bit if needed - they had plenty!
I didn't quite fallow the black track on the flats (the hwy) I spotted an island, thinking it was isla de Pescado, I kept it in view. After riding half hour, (at full speed) I started to realize it wasn't the right island I needed to go for. It doesn't take long that you can get lost on the flats, even if you see land all around you. You can be going the wrong way pretty fast. Eventually I saw a 4x4 a very far distance and figured he must be coming from the island. I finally spotted the dark line of the main path, I had made a 1/2 hour detour without even noticing. Thank god for the jeeps!!!
It is prohibited to camp on Isla de Pescado, so I needed to find a good spot not to be busted. By the time I got back to the island, all the tourists in 4x4 jeeps were gone. I found the perfect corner where to set my tent with the sunset and sunrise view. I was completely alone on the island. It was a strange felling to be out there in the middle of the biggest sand flats in the world, all to myself. The night wasn't as cold I expected. Stars were bright. It was the most quietness night ever.
little salt with your meal?
The darker line is the hwy on the salar, you ride away from it... risk a chance of getting lost!
cruise control - no hand riding
alone on the salar
chilling at sunset
More stars then I ever seen.
Boiling water and enjoy the view from my tent