(written 11/10 @ 10:30PM) Talk about ups and downs! Finally made it into Bolivia, but also finally had my first major mechanical issues today!
In brief… we lined up quite early outside the border, got our paperwork, and left Peru (it was not that quick or easy). Coming into Bolivia we just waved at some guards after Rob told them we were coming, no drama at all. We then promptly wailed down some highway towards La Paz for a few hours, simple as pie.
Around 30km before La Paz, Rob decided to take us on this small back road bypass to "save time" (it may have saved time, to be fair). I will summarize the following events thusly: We spent about three hours driving on some of the worst, bumpiest, rockiest roads in the world, randomly asking for directions and eventually finding our way back to the beautiful pavement of Route 1.
At which point I noticed my gas tank was leaking heavily and that what I thought was a cracked header was a cracked header, head gasket completely gone, and exhaust hanging on my rear brake pedal. Ugh. Managed to get this bolted back together, but let's just say I had to crank my mp3 player for the rest of the trip due to the insanely loud open exhaust sound.
Then, hey, we made it to Oruro before it was too dark, drove around until we found a hotel (this town is HUGE!), then crashed! I grabbed a burger from a street vendor then headed in to use this horrible internet… I left jaumoto in a garage here with a dismembered water bottle under the gas leak so I will hopefully have gas to get to a mechanic tomorrow.
The plan tomorrow: Wake up early, get breakfast, find a mechanic, get stuff fixed quick, then haul ass to Tehua. Victory will be mine!