Was the adventure worth the worry?

Imagine riding your motorcycle across a mirror, one that reflects the limitless above and beyond. It’s what happened for a pair of duo travelers on the final day of 2018, on the Bolivian Salt Flats.  Problem is, the bikes didn’t enjoy the experience quite as much as the riders.

Tim and Marisa met up with fellow KTM adventure riders Kira and Brendon—also known as the Adventure Haks. Together, they tackled the treacherous flats on two, the day before the New Year. “It was hard to tell where the land began and the sky ended,” writes Marisa of Notier’s Frontiers. “It felt like we were floating in oblivion, skating through a dream of ice and clouds, or simply soaring through endlessness.”

In the days preceding their visit, the Bolivian Salt Flats received rain. That’s what contributed to the astounding reflective effects.  It’s also water that, combined with salt, gets into every, single nook, cranny, crevice, crack, and hole of your bike, where it instantly starts to corrode—but we’ll come back to that.

Where Sky Meets Salt - Riding the Bolivian Salt Flats
Photo courtesy of Notier's Frontiers/Adventure Haks

As a precautionary measure, the two-up travelers washed their bikes in diesel grease before heading out into the peaceful panorama; it’s a protectant used by the rigs that cross the sodium plain regularly to make deliveries. In fact, the rigs that the team observed were rust-free.

On the travel day, the weather was perfect and the sharp-edged sodium provided a surprising amount of traction. That, and the most incredible, natural special effects created by the surface water against the white salt, making for a spectacular end to an adventure-filled year, all captured on camera.

The friends frolicked on the flats—cartwheeling, jumping, and riding back and forth across the amazing landscape. At the close of the day, after chipping the salt build-up off their exhaust pipe, they headed out, at times, through deep salty slush, before checking into the salt hotel for a night of rowdy revelry.

Where Sky Meets Salt - Riding the Bolivian Salt Flats
Photo courtesy of Notier's Frontiers/Adventure Haks

The next day, however, the idyllic tale became less idyllic. The Haks’ sturdy steed made it through the day. Tim and Marisa’s did not. Over the preceding days, it turned out, many bikes had responded badly to the intense and extensive exposure to salt. Though Tim and Marisa were eventually able to revive their ride, it took a lot of time and terror.

Would they do it again? They would, but we’re not sure if others would say the same. No doubt the pictures are stunning and the whole scenario spell-binding, so perhaps, in keeping with how most motorcyclists approach life, it’s worth the worry.

Check out this and other gorgeous adventures on the couple's blog. A special thank you to Kira and Brendon of Adventure Haks for allowing us to use their pictures!

Sources: Notier's Frontiers