BOLIVIA 28 OFF-ROAD The next day reveals the truth. The linings were still OK, but the springs had burned out and lost most of their tension. As we had no spare springs with us we had only the one chance: take out the spacers , assuming the springs had some tension left. And it worked. Power transmission was far from being brilliant, but was adequate for some careful riding. My machine had dried out sufficiently overnight and starts again. All I need to do is replace the coffee-coloured oil and then we are back on track. There are still long stretches of muddy road and some slippery inclines, but the dry patches are getting more fre- quent. And the soil is changing too. Instead of red tropical clay, yellow earth and some stones start appearing. A definite sign that we are working our way out of the jungle slowly but surely. This is confirmed by the GPS. Then things went pretty fast. The forest gets lighter, gives way to yellow meadows with agaves, and suddenly we are cloaked in dense fog. Having complained bitterly about the heat in the rain forest, it was now getting to be quite cold, we had climbed nearly 3000 metres above sea level in the past hours. Our overnight stay in Sorata, our last quarters before reaching the Alitplano again, proved somewhat restless due to the unaccustomed thin air. But it was not only the thin clear air which took our breath away when we finally reached Alitplano, a pla- teau at 4000 metres lying be- tween the east and west Cordil- leras, it was the overpowering panorama of the Andes peaks covered in glaciers set against a deep blue sky. After the stress and strain of the jungle we even enjoy stretches of rutted and bumpy rock trails through this semi-desert, the main thing is, no water or mud please. The cumbersome road to Sorata (top). View of the Nudo de Apolobamba glaciers (l). Indigena girls from the lowlands (r.).