Atacama Desert Into Bolivia
Episode 5 of Long Way Up begins with our boys driving along the desert road. Ewan and Charley continue their journey as they start to get their first taste of a different landscape. Speaking of taste, they also check out chickens being transported and Ewan considers becoming a vegetarian. Well, there’s no time for that now as Ewan notices a TV screen playing his movie (what are the odds!) and he graciously signs some memorabilia for happy kids.
The pair set off again and this time their destination takes them through the Gorge of the Shells – named as such thanks to its gorgeous rock formations. As they continue driving, the pair get their first taste of high altitude. They’re not the only ones though, as Taylor (with the car crew) starts to feel altitude sickness and is forced to leave the trip for now. He’ll catch up with the others when they reach Bolivia.
Ewan and Charley press on, with the journey taking them to San Antonio De Los Cobres, which happens to be one of the highest altitude towns in the world. Their destination here happens to be the Cloud Train – one of the largest train rides in the world.
It’s ridiculously high up too and a ride that takes the boys high above the clouds. Only, there’s no clouds to speak of and just one unnerving and breathtaking view from a bridge.
With a feel for the heights now, Ewan and Charley vacate the train and head up to the Border Crossing. When they start driving, the pair come to a fork in the road. Which direction do they go?
It’s touch and go for a while, with large stretches of nothingness on their chosen destination. Eventually they do make it to the Argentina/Chile crossing and breathe a sigh of relief.
Breathing a sigh of relief, the duo press on for the next leg of their journey leading up to Bolivia. On the way, they stop by at the local towns to pimp up Claudio’s bike with stickers and various trinkets. Unfortunately they run into problems at the border as Ewan needs a VISA to get into the country.
Eventually the group clear up any problems and they’re back on their way. This time though the pair face a very bumpy ride through side-roads and dirt tracks in the Soleil desert.
When Ewan falls off the bike, the group are forced to re-assess their priorities. After a short break to get their bearings, Ewan and Charley realize they have a difficult stretch of road coming up. It’s very remote and if they crash here, there’s no hope of being salvaged. As the sun goes down, so too does the temperature.
With their original plan of the hotel out the question, they instead take a gamble with a place called the Red Lagoon. Thankfully there’s electricity
but with the cars heading to their same location, they cross their fingers and hope for the best. Only, they hit something on the way, leading to quite the cliffhanger ending.
The Episode Review
Much like the previous episode, Long Way Up finally embraces the journey and lets the boys enjoy the ride. There’s still the situation involving charging up the bikes of course but generally now the vistas and breathtaking views are given centre-stage.
The cliffhanger endings here a bit reality-TV-esque and not really needed. Anyone whose made it this far will almost certainly be invested in the ride and want to see this through to the end. The real joy, as mentioned before, comes from the landscapes which speak for themselves.
Quite what will happen next remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – this ride is far from over.
Expect A Full Season Write Up In A Few Weeks Time!