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Jul 25, 2012:

Trip to Salar de Uyuni

Distance to Date: 5855 km, 3630 miles

We're still in Oruro and enjoying the traveling life. We have the fortune of being here, and so we are taking advantage of it. Cycling combined with traveling is the perfect recipe for a fantastic time!

La Paz is some 120 miles north of here. We are now considering taking a bus there because Tauru recently sprained his ankle pretty badly. So... there's a story behind this that needs to be told.

First, we crashed (again) last week on the dirt road near the Salar de Uyuni. The front wheel caught a soft patch of sand and threw us off. Luckily, we were not going that fast because Tauru can't navigate well over the potholes and the faint lines between packed dirt and patches of sand anyway. But when he fell, he banged his left wrist. Pause... there's another story behind this one, too.

Two weeks or so before this crash, we had another crash just north of Jujuy in Argentina. There was road construction and a high lip off the road to the shoulder. The front wheel caught that high lip and we came a-tumblin' down. That fall hurt his left wrist.

The "Fall of Salar de Uyuni," we'll call it, picked at a still-healing wound. So Tauru's left wrist is quite tender these days. He has been keeping low to not let anything else hinder him. However (here's the second part), as you may know, his vision is deteriorating, as is normal with retinitis pigmentosa. While walking around town along uneven sidewalks where potholes are common, he sprained his right ankle. Ouch!! Yes, super-OUCH!!!

What's going on? Two crashes and a sprained ankle in a month? Clumsiness? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Tauru has known about his deteriorating vision for the past couple of years, but it seems that it's either progressing faster or its deterioration is worse than he thinks.

We think about the ride ahead. There are still 12,000 miles to Alaska and we really want to get there. Tauru now pilots with more concentration and more caution while Christi co-pilots with more cues to what she can discern up ahead and around. Two blind to ride in full action.

For the past couple of weeks now, Tauru has been wanting a white cane so that he can navigate over crumbling sidewalks better. He's sprained his ankles many times already during this trip, but they were little ones; and he's bumped into people, buildings and cows (yes, cows!) simply because they were out of his peripheral vision.

But white canes are difficult to get a hold of in Bolivia. What are available are broomsticks!! He's now sporting a wooden broomstick as he walks around town. What is nice is that people do move out of his way when he meanders through the markets. A sweeper without a broom, a blind man or an eccentric?

So that's the story. We still have a lot of distance to cover and schools for the blind to visit. We'll see how we fair against limited vision over the next 12 months as we 'traverse' (yes, that's how grand this trip is for us) the rest of the Americas. Determination and perseverance are vital to the human spirit.

For the time being, we'll most likely take a bus to La Paz since it's only 120 miles away. It will be a relief for Tauru to just sit back and enjoy the passing scenery rather than constantly concentrate on the immediate ground and road ahead.

The Salar de Uyuni is a unique place on this earth.

Spread the word and help us Raise Awareness!

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