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Touratech Travel Time 03_2011_en

25 The „spigot“ allows deep wading (top). Highspeed on the Altiplano. over the road and are a welcome show- er. We enjoy the heat which gets more intense as we climb and penetrates through our clothes, inhale the sweet forest fragrances. As soon as the track widens, we stop to get rid of some of our layers of cloth- ing. The forest is a cacophony of twitter- ing, screeching, squealing and chirp- ing – there can be little doubt – we have reached the tropical lowlands. Well, we had managed the “most dangerous road of the world“ without incurring too much stress, so what could be worse on our further travels. Feeling quite happy with ourselves we spooled off the next kilometres. A bit of gravel, then some red mud, the occasional large pothole or washout – but no major hindrances on our steady ride. Enjoying the positive flow we were not expecting the next interruption. Lorries were queueing at a river cross- ing. The bridge was unpassable. Because of the deep and fast-flowing river, the building foreman urged us to have the bikes transported across the river on one of the lor- ries. We decided to have the bikes of Herbert and Astrid transported across, but I would cross the river on the bike to test the suction spigot we had developed especially for crossing deep fords. Riding at walking pace, I steered to the middle of the river, concen- trating fully not to be distracted from my path by a big stone. The water floods the cylinders, then my knees, and finally the panniers are also underwater. In front of my face, the mouth of the spigot feeding into the air box via a waterproof conus. The boxer gasps for air through the ribbed hose and I try and keep the revs above three thousand to prevent water from entering the exhaust. Inching ahead slowly, I have to keep stopping to regain my energy in the battle against the strong current. With twenty metres to go to the river bank, I had nearly resigned to the fact that I would not be able to hang on to the machine. That was when Herbert appeared on the other side of the river. He immediately realised how critical the situation was and came to help. Together we were able