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The Most Dangerous Roads in the World


"QUANTUM SHOT" #28
Link - by A. Abrams



READ OTHER PARTS IN THIS SERIES! ->
Part 2 - Roads in China, Thailand, Italy
Part 3 - Roads in Nepal, Philippines
Part 4 - Roads in Alps, Slovenia, Norway
Part 5 - Crazy Routes in Andes, Albania & New Zealand

This is the original article, as written by Avi Abrams in November, 2006. All rights reserved, @ Ian Media.

1. Bolivia's "Road of Death"

North Yungas Road is hands-down the most dangerous in the world for motorists. If other roads could be considered impassable, this one clearly endangers your life. It runs in the Bolivian Andes, 70 km from La Paz to Coroico, and plunges down almost 3,600 meters in an orgy of extremely narrow hairpin curves and 800-meter abyss near-misses.

A fatal accident happens there every couple of weeks, 100-200 people perish there every year. In 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank named the La Paz-to-Coroico route "the world's most dangerous road."

Among the route there are many visible reminders of accidents, wrecked carcasses of lorries and trucks lie scattered around at the bottom... (read BBC article)






(images via 1, 2)

The buses and heavy trucks navigate this road, as this is the only route available in the area. Buses crowded with locals go in any weather, and try to beat the incoming traffic to the curves.

It does not help that the fog and vapors rise up from the heavily vegetated valley below, resulting in almost constant fogs and limited visibility. Plus the tropical downpours cause parts of the road to slide down the mountain.






(images via 1, 2, 3)

Apparently some companies make business on the road's dubious fame by selling the extreme bike tours down that road. "Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking" is one of them. (you can read one such biker's account here.) If you are nuts enough to consider it, please be advised that you will be only adding to the road hazards, as it's hard to spot a cyclist on the road's hairpin curves, and your shrieks (as you fall down the abyss) will disturb the peace and quiet of the villagers nearby.









(images via MarkoP, some originals unknown)


2. Russian Siberian Road to Yakutsk

This is the official federal-government highway to Yakutsk, and it is also the only one to get there. As there are no other roads, the intrepid motorists are doomed to wallow in this dirt, or wait in week-long 100 km car line-ups (they say women even gave birth there while waiting).

This can turn into a major humanitarian disaster during rainy spells, when the usual clay covering of the road turns into impassable mud blanket, swallowing trucks and tractors alike. In the meantime the city has to partly airlift food products.









(images credit: Pasik's Journal)

Here is an aerial shot of this road in winter:


(image via)


The "Haunted Road" in Russia

There are also rumors of seemingly quite normal 30 km stretch of Russian country road, which nevertheless gets an unexplained amount of car accidents; the locals suspect underground gas seepage which causes motorists to fall asleep...

This creepy tale is supported by the evidence of car crash statistics and the tales of survivors, who do not remember anything prior to the crash and act strangely "drugged" afterwards. Hopefully this will be properly investigated before the road claims more victims.


3. Russian-Georgian "Military" Mountain Roads



Sukhumi "Military" road in the former Soviet Georgia, in Caucasus mountains, which truckers and wine-drunk crazy "Lada" drivers navigate with the utter abandon, typical of the local mountain people... but we could not locate any photos of it. Only this old postcard... If you have any more pics, send them in.

First sent in pic (photo by V. Krasnogolovy) -




4. Nepal, Tibet & Bangladesh Roads

Those bound for Mount Everest will know what we talk about. There are some hair-raising, hardly maintained roads in the area - which bus and truck drivers have to negotiate to get to small villages. A road in Nepal, leading from From Katmandu to Everest Base Camp:



A typical India-Nepal Road:


(originals unknown)


5. Most Dangerous Tourist Hiking Trail (China)

Not a car road, but the most hair-raising experience you can have on your own two legs. This is a heavy-tourist traffic area in Xian (Mt.Huashan); this link explains more about the area.

The hanging wooden planks are a real tourist hike path, which hundreds of daredevils navigate - with no safeguards in sight. Try to step on them in slippery / snowy conditions... or better not.










(images via)

And when you're finally through with all this excitement, here is an outhouse for you (but do not make any false moves):



CONTINUE TO NEXT PART! ->

Read Whole Series Here: 5 Parts!

Part 2 - Roads in China, Thailand, Italy
Part 3 - Roads in Nepal, Philippines
Part 4 - Roads in Alps, Slovenia, Norway
Part 5 - Crazy Routes in Andes, Albania & New Zealand

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YOUR COMMENTS::

76 Comments:

Anonymous EL34i said...

Let's see the Lexus LX tackle this!

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Anonymous autofan said...

U just need a good driver, the car in no.2 in the equation.

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Anonymous BMW530i said...

That's not a road to me.

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Anonymous will said...

Let's see an X5 "magically feel" its way down this road...

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Anonymous rupert said...

i don't think a land rover could do this....(and you all know how much i love land rovers).

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Anonymous Carboy said...

Holy shit!!! Nothing can tackle this. Not even a Land Rover.

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Anonymous mstangpny07 said...

Did you see the 9th picture?? Hilarious!
Here's the link:
http://static.flickr.com/121/295090600_7d78481e51_o.jpg

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Anonymous delan said...

The Lord is my Shepherd.....

I will be having nightmares about this tonite. Kinda takes me back to my years growing up in the Caribbean.

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Anonymous Mark said...

Disagree......

Detroit. Los Angeles. DC.

Very nice pictures though, I won't complain so much when 95 is backed up again.

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Anonymous kart1 said...

Wait isn't that a LandCruiser in the 3rd picture.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... where does the hole from the outhouse lead? I mean, how careful do you have to be as you climb up the mountain?

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Blogger El Jefe said...

More photos of biking down the World's Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia can be found here: http://www.gravitybolivia.com/gallery/
PhotohighlightsfromtheWorldsMostDangerousRoad

This is a regularly scheduled biking tour (when its not rainy season) and actually not that dangerous if done with a reputable tour operator.

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Anonymous FPOON said...

#5 made my testicles go up into my pelvis.

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Blogger Omar said...

U.S. Highway 60 through the Salt River Canyon outside Phoenix, Arizona, provides some pretty striking views. But the two-lane highway is paved and has guard rails, though there are some scenic views with unprotected walking trails. I almost slipped down one myself.

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Anonymous Jim said...

Ashpalt?

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Blogger Lawrence said...

Yeah I've been on some of those roads in Peru, but these seem a little bit worse....

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Blogger PacoVMS said...

Perhaps you want to take a look at 'el caminto del rey' in Malaga, Spain : http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caminito_del_Rey

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Blogger Rufus said...

El Camino del Rei, in Spain pictured here should get a look-in on this list. It is a 2 foot wide cement catwalk, travelling along high cliffs, with no barrier, previously used by engineers to service a hydroelectric scheme. Absolutely lethal, especially since huge sections have collapsed.

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Blogger Anders said...

And I thought the Prekestolen ( Norway ) was quite an adventures trail...

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Anonymous Andi said...

I went down the Bolivian Death Road with a public bus about two years ago. It was very foggy in between and all people were scared to death. The bus had to reverse several times (one time one of the wheels was hanging over the cliff) and the locals were screaming. Quite an experience. Especially because you could see a lot of crashed cars, busses an trucks when you were looking down the cliff.

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Blogger Thorofin said...

The Bolivian bike trip is amazing, and Gravity Assisted is the most reputable company to go with. Even flying along at 30-40mph, I never once felt threatened or unsafe.

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Blogger zebulonsmith said...

Makes me want to fire up my Triumph Tiger and go for a spin.

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Anonymous albinoal said...

A friend of mine had an accident while biking down the Bolivian road, and had to undergo surgery in a bolivian public hospital: you might want to reconsider your positive opinion on how safe the ride is.

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Anonymous Bill said...

Very Nice! I live in the Himalayas, and relate well to the pictures.

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Blogger ChinaLawBlog said...

I get scared just looking at this roads and I am a veteran of car accidents in China (twice in one day!) and Russia. Glad to be sitting in the office today.

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Anonymous Valerie said...

I was holding my breath the entire time just sitting here looking at the pictures...Yikes!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Super Fotos !
Da soll sich bei uns noch mal jemand über schlechte Strassen aufregen !
Conni
www.ii-tv.de/2 Bikes

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very Interesting Web seit ,specially for thos who want travel in dangerous roads safly with websurfing from there office.
B.Majnonian

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Blogger Cèsar Llamborda said...

Great blog... Some of this roads goes direction to Tarragona, in Catalonia?

Thanks!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot a coastal road in south-eastern Maui. It curves its way around bends and ridges, just like many of the roads described, similarly without any edging or protection for a slipping or sliding car. However the worst part of this road is that it is 1 lane. It is a few miles long, and if you happen to meet someone head on in the middle of this road, one of you (one who's closer to their end) has to back up and navigate this road in reverse!! Only locals and insane tourists go there. none of the rental companies will come rescue you on that road, a taxi cab won't go to pick you up, and 911 (except for extreme emergencies) will not respond. Rental insurance also does not work there. Something happens on that road, and you pay for the whole value of the car repair or replacement out of pocket.

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Blogger The Unicycle Guy said...

riding your bike on the World's Most Dangerous Road was one helluva experience....

check out the blog from the ride!
World's Most Dangerous Road

here are the fotos from it

cheers

jp

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get butterflies in my stomach just looking at some of these roads, great pictures.

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Anonymous Dato said...

I've been on one of those! Number 3 to be exact. I'm from the Rep of Georgia, and I've been to Sukhumi on that "military" road. It is indeed insane, but I've seen worse in Georgia as well.

It's especially fun when rocking a lada with doors that swing open on turns. hahahahahahhaha

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Blogger FiKaLo said...

that is soooo interesting!! and scary.... suddenly the windy cliff roads back at the ol' family farm don't seem so bad!

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Anonymous cee said...

"No sane road from Kathmandu to Everest would go near Tibet, since both are in Nepal and there are very large mountains between. I think the entry on Tibet needs some modification..."

Mt. Everest creates the border of Nepal and Tibet. The South side is in Nepal, and the North side is in Tibet. There are no roads to Everest from the Nepal side. If you want to reach it, it's about a 10 day walk up a few mountains from the closest road (I've hiked it.. in the winter..)

If you want to drive to Everest, the only way to do so is to cross the border into Tibet, and reach it from the other side. That's the road shown in the picture. And it's nowhere near as steep as that one in Bolivia. But then again, there's the ice. :)

I have pictures from the drive here:
http://photos.00ff00.com/tibet/drive/

Another neat fact, China boasts that this road is the highest elevation highway in the world.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i know the last photo with the toilets, it is actually in Slovakia, High Tatras (not so dangerous, but still great place for treking)

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Anonymous Empresa Peruana said...

I'm oficially terrified of driving as of today! I thought I'd seen some dangerours roads before, but some of your pictures are simply too cruel...

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Anonymous letter said...

Well seeing those sunken cars will make me think twice next time I'm stuck in traffic on the I95.

Hahha imagine being stuck in traffic and suddenly your car starts to sink into the ground.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAS ANYONE DRIVEN THE MT WASHINGTON ROAD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of those pics looked like the roads in the country in Jamaica. I always wonder how they do it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been through Toroko Gorge highway several times. It isn't as bad as the old Suao-Hualien Highway or "Death Highway". 2000 foot drop directly into the ocean. One lane, constant mudslides and the bus drivers and truck drivers drive way too fast, (they toss "ghost money" to appease ghosts and improve their luck and feel more invulnerable than they should).

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Blogger Scooter said...

I got vertigo from looking at some of those pictures! I'm glad I live near sea level. :)

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Anonymous Concentration Face said...

I went on the extreme mountain bike ride along that road. Pretty scarey in some ways, especially because I was really hung over, it was pissing it down and you had to stay on the left (ie. right next to the edge) because cars were coming at you. A few days before I did it, an Israeli girl had gone over the edge and died. Although I can see it happening, it would take quite a concentration lapse or extreme fatigue to go over the edge...reckon she just killed herself.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!! I saw the Bolivia road either on the National Geographic tv show or the Discovery Channel, and seeing the still pictures of this horrific road had my hairs standing up again, just like static electricity. I drove through,well, as a passenger and not on purpose, on the Cordillera Central's road in Puerto Rico. This road runs right smack the center of the island, and it is not nearly as high, only 4,389 feet, but let me tell you, bring a barf bag and wear a heavy duty pamper. It is very curvy and very narrow, and no guard rails. Yes, the view is beautiful, mango trees down below, which clearly will stop your car on the way down the cliff. I guess is less intimidating because is like a forest, but I'll keep on the freeway, thank you very much!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic Webpage, the most interesting site I have ever been to, even beats the porn sites !

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Blogger Aung Ye Woo said...

I've been to the most dangerous Chinese hike and it's not true. That dangerous hike in China is actually just a side trek off the main walk. That trek takes you to some of the temples build by monks whom use to live up there. The mountain mention is Hua Shan near Xian.

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Blogger James said...

I just wanted to mention that I made a listening comprehension resource based on this road and a video on youtube. Please feel free to check it out at: http://www.jamesabela.co.uk/intermediate/TV.html

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Blogger Allsad's said...

I'ts a very nice places,but I don't think I like the higher places, cause I'm afraid!!!!

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Anonymous Patrol King said...

kart1 said...Wait isn't that a LandCruiser in the 3rd picture.
Well yes it is, You can tell it isn't a Patrol, if it was a Patrol, it would have been pulling the trucks out not just a van !

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Blogger MedStudentWife said...

holy crap !!!

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Anonymous a visitor said...

someone was so impressed, he felt the need to let his own readers about it... without credit..

http://thecontaminated.com/the-most-dangerous-road-in-world/

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Anonymous Fanatic said...

To drive on these one must complete his will first.

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Blogger Tom said...

This is wicked stuff. There's a post similar to this but more comprehensive which you might find interesting http://www.juicemag.co.uk/40-most-dangerous-roads-in-the-word

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Anonymous kane said...

I was just in bolivia and did the gravity assisted bike tour. It was the most fun adventure I've ever had. But it's really not as dangerous as the books make it sound. A bypass has been constructed so cars and trucks no longer use that road for routine travel. It's basically just tourist craziest enough to mountain bike down the road.

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Blogger roy said...

WWWWWoooooWWWW, Great collection man.
No one can believe these roads. Fantastic road gallery, really great collection ........

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Anonymous Donate a car said...

I wonder how many car fall over the edge? No second chances on these roads...

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Blogger Kyra said...

sukhumi military road:
http://www.radiosoma.com/mil_road/road.htm

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Blogger Kate said...

wow thats real scary i'd never drive on those roads

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Anonymous Michael said...

What the name of that dangerous road in Russia? I'm very curious about this road. I'd be content for as much information as possible! Thanks.

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Anonymous Najman said...

These photos remind me of my travels in Indonesia many years ago.


I was with a group of tourists in a bus traveling up to the top of Mount Probolingo. The width of the roads are really narrow and winding; dirt tracks would be a more accurate description.


Somewhere along the way up the treacherous road, while we were muttering prayers for safety's sake, it came as a shock to me: A man's face looking downwards into the bus appeared on the windscreen. He was shouting and warning the driver.


All this time, he had been lying prone on top of the bus and was looking out for vehicles coming towards us! Well I never!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

An honorable mention has to be the Karakoram highway between Pakistan and China. One of the highest and most spectacular roads in the world it is also not one for the faint hearted! 900 people died building it!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karakoram_Highway

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy crap that wood board path would be so much fun! ;)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did any of you see Jeremy Clarkson in Top Gear go down the Bolivian road of death? Funniest thing EVER!

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Anonymous John Taylor said...

Trying to beat incoming traffic to the turn? Wooops and you're out. Man, the curves on those mountains can't be tamed by an F1 driver! I'm talking about the Bolivia's "Road of Death". And just to think you're seeing clouds underneath, woops... not me!

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Anonymous Soğutma Büyüsü said...

Did any of you see Jeremy Clarkson in Top Gear go down the Bolivian road of death? Funniest thing EVER!

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Anonymous Tuvie said...

I really don't understand why people would risk their life using those roads. I prefer walk.

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Blogger Vedant said...

In that last picture showing a WC on that trail in China, I burst out laughing. Wonder where all the crap ends up. No need for piping. Just let it go down the hatch! There must be a mountain sized pile of crap down somewhere.

Eric

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Anonymous Ondrej from Good Reading said...

Looks like something especially attractive for adrenalin seekers.

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Anonymous Roads said...

I've travelled in Bolivia using that road that you picture here. Just like the author of the note says, this is one hell of a road!

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Anonymous Noa Noa said...

Having spent some time in South America, India, Nepal and Tibet I have seen my life flash past me as over confident drivers hurtle up these little beaten tracks at excessive speeds and still wonder why I am still alive today!!

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Anonymous Dennise Pinley said...

Oh wow, it's as if these roads are open invitations for a road accident or worse! How could they ever live with that?! Every single time passengers take those ridiculously dangerous roads, they're starring in their own reality show. Let's hope they take road accidents seriously and do something about those roads. "Road of Death." Yipes.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanna travel all these roads. But lacl money. Any sponsors? Thanks

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

really breathtaking pics!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Охуеть!!!

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Anonymous Daniel McBane said...

I've been on some pretty bad roads in Nepal and China, but nothing like the "Road of Death" in Bolivia. That looks insane...

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Blogger David Otunga said...

I read your blogs regularly. Your humoristic way is amusing, continue the good work!

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