New Zealand is beautiful; white sandy beaches, tall majestic mountains, and crystal clear rivers around nearly every bend, so, without further ado, here it is in photos!
This green and very hilly route will take you up and over two 4,700m passes as well as over smaller ones in the almost jungle-like vegetation for a total of 10,000m of elevation gain. The people are friendly and welcoming, and the villages are picturesque as they sit atop hills for as far as the eye can see all over the various valleys. We found this route to be difficult due to the heat and humidity, though it was a nice change from the high altitude cold nights.
A typically dressed lady walking with her son.
Typical farming house.
A lady and her son walking down the road.
Little villages in the middle of nowhere!
A cyclists nightmare; tunnels.
One of the towns we stayed in.
Some of the towns throughout this area were deserted as many people are headed to the cities.
Typical green hills which make up this region.
This patchwork farming was everywhere, which really reminded us of northern India.
These guys were not happy to see us on their road! Most aggressive Turkey we have ever met.
Cycling through a stream, great way to cool down!
Though I visited the Salar de Uyuni by jeep on a trip years ago, cycling across was a whole different incredible expedience. The first eighty kilometers were busy with tourists, but after that, we had the other half and the whole other Salar completely to ourselves. It’s really easy cycling across the salars as its flat and hard-packed, though the forty kilometers of sand in between was much slower going. This is definitely a must do route for anyone cycling Bolivia as its just so unique to spend days cycling across pure white salt.
Us, our bikes, and our home! Salt flats, May 2015.
We ate lunch on the island on our second day.
This, for us, is a road. Little jeep paths such as these are what makes Bolivia so fun!
This was one of many mostly deserted villages we have passed throughout our time in Bolivia. Most of the people have left for the cities where there are more job opportunities.
Typically when we stop cycling for the day I start cooking as Kevin sets up the tent.
My four dollar Chilean cowboy hat has been a savior out here! The sun reflected off the salt and burned any exposed skin.
It’s never good when you can see your own tracks in the sand.
The hexagons of salt were so defined, we assume it has something to do with how the water evaporates because every rainy season the salt flats turn into a lake.
Dance party on the Salar!
Finally a cycling photo of both of us!
Kevin far off in the distance. The Salar de Uyuni (though not the smaller one I’ll talk about next time) has this hexagon shaped natural marks all over the whole thing.
We met an awesome Swiss duo (father and son) going the other way. We were surprised they were the only cyclists we met since we know its a popular route.
Beautiful sunset in solitude.
Contemplating the ride.
This tough but extremely rewarding route took us through the first hundred kilometers of the typical lagunas route (past Laguna verde) before taking us away from the main jeep route and onto a much less used beautiful jeep track which led us up and over multiple 4,700m+ high passes. This was my favorite route in Bolivia (and one of my favorites in all of the world), and I would highly suggest it to anyone up for a bit of a challenge!
Admiring one of the funny colored lakes: colored due to the minerals.
There was a whole lot of salt due to the mineral deposits throughout this region.
Riding through a small altiplano village.
Kevin crossing a half frozen stream barefoot as its snowing. Miserable!
Laguna verde (green).
Headed into a storm!
The mountains certainly made us feel small.
One of many river crossings, most of which were half frozen which left our feet very cold!
This is what makes all the hard climbs worth it!!
Home sweet home for the night.
Another lake along the route.
We got snowed on during one of our climbs which made the world even more beautiful!
Contemplating the ride.
Kevin far ahead.
All around was sand upon sand, though thankfully, the route wasn’t all that bad.
Pushing, we did a lot of pushing.
Headed into Bolivia, it’s just around this corner!
You can see Kevin to the left, a tiny blob cycling in a vast landscape.
Cycling into Torres del Paines, Patagonia.
The Carretera Austral is said to be the most popular cycling route in the world, and I can certainly see why! This Patagonian treasure is full of colorful clean rivers, beautiful snowy peaks, and easy wild camping opportunities around every bend. The cycling is easy, the route seems to have more cyclists than cars along it, and the fishing is wonderful for those of you with poles; overall it’s a wonderful Patagonian experience for those who love nature.
Mike and Emily showing off their hippie side!
Hiking in Torres Del Paines.
A bike packed full of food, some mountains, and a boy equals one happy girl! Torres del Paines, 2015.
The white capped mountains were also wonderful to follow.
Definitely one of our best camping spots! Especially since the fishing was great. Patagonia, 2015.
There was wonderful camping almost every night on the Carretera Austral, Patagonia 2015.
The lakes in Patagonia were simply stunning, 2015.
Headed into the peaks, 2015.
The small quaint town of El Chalten.
Team work! Patagonia 2015.
Beautiful mountains equals one happy girl!
Our favorite kind of camping!
Enjoying the mountains with friends, Patagonia 2015.
Need a tent anyone?
One of Kevin’s many fish, Patagonia 2015.
Rain, rain, and a bit more rain, Argentina 2015.
Catching a trout.
One of our best fishing rivers.
One of the bluest lakes I’ve ever seen, Patagonia 2015.
Yoga in the mountains with friends, Argentina Patagonia.
Fly fishing in Patagonia, Kevin has already dreamed of this, 2015.
The end of the paved road, it was a nice break from the washboard!
Turkey is a hospitable country with easy camping and great food, and though we found some of the country monotonous and boring, we absolutely loved the whole eastern section (after dropping in from Georgia). Snowy mountains, small quaint villages, and tea breaks whenever you please; what’s there not to love about cycling through eastern Turkey.
Cycling into the storm, Turkey 2014.
We really love the shepherds as they too understand our nomadic ways, eastern Turkey 2014.
Georgia seems to appear on nearly every world tourers favorites list, and we are no different. It’s one of our favorites too. And how could it not be? Where else are you invited to a crazy picnic nearly every night just because you were passing by? Georgia has some of the friendliest, most hospitable people on this planet, plus, their beautiful country has many small roads without much traffic, beautiful mountains, and easy wild camping opportunities next to a new river every night.
Kevin and his little catch, Georgia 2013.
Zanskar is one of the most isolated regions in the world, and for most of the year, this high altitude valley is covered in snow. The only way out in the winter is a ten day frozen trek on ice, though in the summer once the snow has melted, it is a fascinating place to visit. I loved the tiny patches of green which marked a village, and the beautiful monasteries throughout the valley. The climate and topography in this region make for some of the harshest living conditions in the world, and these Tibetan Buddhists who have been living here for thousands of years still live for the most part as they have for centuries.
We can’t post a series about our favorite routes without mentioning the famous Leh to Manali route, as well as the Kargil to Leh route in the Indian Himalayas. The region of Ladakh is a high altitude disputed territory which boarders Pakistan and China and is full of monasteries and Tibetan monks, desolate dry mountains, and a few beautiful rivers. Ladakh is a wonderful place to cycle for those of you who enjoy isolation, endless high altitude passes, and easy camping.
My first day in the Himilayas, India 2013.
Making ghee (butter) with a grandma, Spiti Valley India 2013.
Spiti valley was easily my favorite route in all of the Himalayas; I loved the feeling of immense solitude that came from going hours without seeing anything or anyone, and I had two wonderful homestays with various women which showed me a small window into what life above 4,000m looks like. The road through Spiti valley is notoriously rocky, but it’s worth every ounce of energy dispensed to be isolated in these high beautiful mountains.
Reflection, India 2013.
Camping in the rain, India 2013.
Making ghee (butter) with a grandma, India 2013.
A typical Himalayan empty road, 2024.
Herding goats! India, 2013.
Cow dung, India 2013.
One of hundreds of funny signs all over the Himalayas, India 2013.
A lovely ladie in the high Himalayas who took me in, 2013.
Monkeys, India 2013.
Lovin the snow! India 2013.