Peru

4/18/13

So we rolled into San Ignacio last night and I thought it was supposed to be somewhat “touristy” but it really isn’t. Found a “Hostal” that was more like a hotel with a small bar attached and asked the lady if we could park the bikes here. Sure no problem, “after 10 PM the bar closes and you can park inside”. Okay, great. At 9:30 she tries to change her mind after I’ve paid for the place and this puts a very sour taste in my mouth. I think she is trying to say that they bikes are too dirty. This is after she takes a bunch of pics with her on the bike and her friends and I tell her she can get fucked and give me my money back and I’ll camp in the woods. Eventually she changes her mind. After I am borderline passed out from watching Will Ferrell imitate George Bush in a terrible standup show I go outside and push the bikes into the bar area.

I slept like shit and she wanted them out at 6:00 AM sharp. I roll out of bed at 6:15 PM and struggle to find someone to open up the bar to let me get the bikes out. I knew no one would be astire at this hour but whatever. I’m married to this thing at this point so whatever it takes I will give. We depart at 7:00 AM for a quick grab at the ATM and then hit the road. Muddy gravel for 15 miles and then drop below the clouds along a river for some high speed chase along unpaved roads. Mostly 60mph through a gully in the Andes along a muddy swollen river that is just beautiful.

After this it is 100 miles through mountainous terrain with small towns spotting the Andean foothills. It was very interesting to see all of the stepped rice paddies through this area. I had no idea that rice was a staple crop in Peru.

This looked safe:

Goats were everywhere up in the mountains. Most of the time just lying in the road. Didn’t see any dead ones and I’m not sure why.

Al got this big thing wedged into his helmet…HA!

Working on getting through some shithole town. This is a prime example of how Highway systems are NOT supposed to be designed.

After scaling yet another range we dropped into an abysmal desert and onto the Pan American highway. This is no mans land in sand dunes and garbage dumps. Northern Peru is an absolute shithole. Rank with poverty, dilapidated infrastructureWe planned to go to Cajamarca but my GPS maps are garbage. When we got to a questionable intersection we opted for the coastal route which dropped us onto the PanAm. After 200 miles we landed in Chiclayo which seemed to be  dump. I hadn’t eaten today so I was bound to find something. Stopping at a restaurant we were coerced to park the bikes inside a garage and then ate some of the best fried chicken and rice and avocado with tomato I’ve seen on this side of the hemisphere.

Nice parking accommodations for a great fried chicken lunch:

Now that out plans are completely fucked….meaning we have no hostel or hotel or anything laid out for this route we just keep on trucking. Another 60 miles down the road (after 300+ already) we land in Trujilllo. On the northern side we find Huanchaco which is just great. The first thing that we have seen in Peru that seems remotely appealing. Rolling down the coastal boulevard we spot about 20 reed boats leaning vertically. I say to Alex, “I wonder if this is the place that Susan was talking about”. After we book a hostal I check my emails and sure enough this is the place we are supposed to be. This was almost a 400 mile day on the poor little DRZ so we went out for drinks and laughs. Good lord this is an Adventure. I was just about to pitch a camp right on the side of the PanAm in the sand dunes.

Today we seriously went from raining Amazonian rainforest, to the peaks of the Andean mountains, to a desert  full of sand, to a coastal town with some of the best mixto ceviche I have ever had. I sure wish life was continuously this full of mystery and adventure. I love South America more than you can imagine!!!!!!!

At the best Mixto Ceviche I have ever had:

4/19/13

Didn’t do a lot today. Checked out the reed boats and nobody was offering fishing poles so I declined. Walked around on the beach, ate some ceviche, and did a lot of internet work planning for my week ahead.

I will add that I had a fabulous dinner. Split a plate of shrimp ceviche and then got an entre of fried mixto (crab, shrimp, oyster, mussel, squid, etc…). Hands down best seafood meal since Mexico!

 

4/20/13

Started the day with some breakfast. I got “Fruit & Yogurt” as well as some French Toast because I haven’t had any since the states. Prices were low so I figured the dish would be small. The giant size bowl of yogurt and fruit was delicious but quite peculiar looking when it was served with 2 inches of dried mushrooms on top. They were like “Pops” the cereal, light and flavorless….and check out that spoon. WTF?

The french toast was great. Biscuits saturated in egg. Marvelous!

Hammered down the PanAm for a couple hours and then cut inland. Anyone that just rides the PanAm through Peru is missing the good stuff. I have yet to look around and say, “Yeah, I’m happy with this portion of the ride,” while on this highway. It is trashy, cloudy/foggy/misty, and the beach is not impressive. There are large mountains looming behind the fog but the hectic traffic and constant filth along the roads is a major turnoff. I’d like to leave the highway and get into the sand but fear of a flat tire in the first 10 ft keeps me on the pavement.

Hundred of small huts on the dunes

We did however see the Peruvian version of the Tuk-Tuk with some sheep on board. At first I thought they were dead but when I got behind this guy for a photo the sheep were turning there heads looking around probably wanting a little help….what an uncomfortable way to travel.

Finally we broke off of this terrible road and turned inland. Sugar cane fields nestled in the flatlands between the rising mounds of solid rock.

It wasn’t long before the road turned into a single lane the width of a common sidewalk. At first we snaked our way up rolling hills of cactus and rock that soon gave way to a greener vegetation filled with flowers and running water. After a few photos here the switchbacks started….switchbacks that we only dream of in the states.

A very rocky mountain:

Holy Fricken Switchbacks!!

Another hour later we were up in the clouds diving from one side of the mountain, up 50 ft, back to the other side, again and again and again. It got wet, it got cold, and at 11,000 ft. we thought that soon we would drop off the other side….we thought wrong. Crested the invisible mountain at 14,000 ft. and my hand warmers were not making up for the differential.

Twenty minutes down the backside and we dropped below cloud cover. The view opened up into a spectacular scene that my vocabulary cannot and could not comprehend. Vertical mountain walls and in the far distance a snow covered mountain, that I would later learn stands at 22,000 ft. loomed, between the lush Andean peaks.

 

Up here at this elevation the world’s largest flower grows. Apparently they grow to 100 years old, then bloom, then die. We unfortunately did not get to see one in bloom. Here is a photo of one that recently bloomed and is now dead….probably stands 20′ tall:

Absolutely incredible watching the indigenous people farm their lands up here. Men were plowing fields with cattle on slopes that I couldn’t imagine standing upright on. Women and children in their bright dress attire with tall straw top hats wandering the fields begged the question, “Where the hell do they live”. Mud/straw huts  could only be seen two ranges over it really starts to make you feel like a pussy.

As the sun soaked through my outer layers warming my skin we dropped steadily in elevation over hundreds of switchbacks bringing a smile to my face. Due to the 7’ wide road and blind corners speed was not attainable but I enjoyed every minute of it. As the glacier slipped out of view we attained the basin floor at 7,000 feet.

Just shy of Caraz the bridge had collapsed but the makeshift one over old pillings seemed adequate. Until I saw each van approach, everyone exit the vehicle, van drives across, and then the locals pile back in, it made me think twice…but what can you do.

Caraz seems like a decent little town and we found some nice cheap accomodations and settled in for the night. But first some chicken over open flame at the local Pollo shop.

Today was better than good….I am starting to have an appreciation for Peru. Can’t wait for the morning!

4/21/13

Our primary goal today was to see the Canon del Pato. Basically a very narrow road down in a canyon with thirty some odd tunnels to pass through. Only a 20 mile ride out of town and it did not disappoint. The ledge in most of the sections is completely vertical down to a small river in the bottom. Not much else to say….it was fun.

The power station at the end of the road:

Made it back to town before noon so we decided to go check out a lake that is formed due to a melting glacier. After 25 miles of off road riding up gravel switchbacks and an increase in altitude of 7,000’ (14,000’ in total) we made it to the lake. We just kept going up and up and up towards the snowcapped peaks. Lots of pigs, cattle, sheep, wild dogs, donkey, and indigenous folks working in their corn fields along the way. An interesting was of life to say the least.

The water looks like it is right at the ledge I am standing on. Trust me, it was a solid 120′ shear drop to the shallow rocky bottom:

Once we made it the lake we found the information center empty so we carried on down the walking path….it got sketchy pretty quick so we went on foot for a bit. Nice and brisk at this altitude but the wind was calm and the sun shone down. Riding up through this canyon to the foothills of the Andeas was spectacular. Small shoots of water cascading down the slate faces of the hillsides creating translucent blue streams all along the roadside. The pictures look nice but they don’t do it any justice. Absolute Epic Beauty.

 

4/22/13

Today we headed south through the mountains before cutting back west to the coastline. It was a steady climb along a river laden valley until we peaked out at 13K. Nice and scenic but nothing crazy. A little offroad but not over the top today. The Cordillera Blanca blessed us with her scenic views once again.

Then started descending over the switchbacks down into a dismal desert that only the coast of Peru can provide. It astonishes me that these people in their small huts on the sand dunes can survive. Little water, no farming, what does one do to live?

We made our destination, Barranca, by 1:00 PM and Lima is only another 100 miles….so we do what we do best, tear up the flat desert tarmac and into a bustling city. It’s like a video game; try to outrun traffic without getting smashed but here there is no automatic life rejuvenation potion. I’m running a bit low on energy and anxious to get to our hangout zone. Number one reason for coming to Lima is so that I can get some new shoes for the dizzer.

We got a hostel but of course they only have one night available and it is on the 4th floor. There is never room on the ground and carrying all my shit up and down day in and day out gets a bit old. I can’t wait to start camping again. Dropped off the gear and walked into the center of Miraflores. Saw the largest McDonald’s I have ever seen (2 stories w/ a cinema) and found the Honda Desert Racing center. Reserved a brand new set of Pirelli MT21’s that I will get installed in the morning. They should treat me nicely for Bolivia.

4/23/13

Packed my shit all the way back downstairs and set off to the Honda shop. First stopped a the massive McDonalds looking forward to a sausage mcmuffin….they didn’t have sausage. Hamburger bum, hamburger patty, with egg and cheese was one of two sandwich options. Well, now I know where the largest worst McDonalds is ever. We arrived a bit before 10AM so as we waited for them to open I greased our chains, cleaned  bug guts from the visors, and tried to clean some of the mud from my axles so the bearings wouldn’t get full of crud when they changed the tires.

Shop opened, paid for tires, brought them next door, had them installed in 45 minutes. During this I bought ever needed Peruvian stickers, Al bought a camelback, I tried on a bunch of warm gloves for Bolivia, thought of buying some new Sidi boots, and then talked myself out of everything but the stickers seeing as I am still alive with what I’ve got. Nice shop though!

Rolling through a small town by the name of Chincha I saw tons of vendors on the side of the road selling wine. Thought it might be nice to have a good bottle of red for the evening so we made a stop. The gentleman running the shop was very friendly and let me try 3 different wines; Red, White, and a dark brown. They were all very sweet. Almost like fruit juice. I really didn’t want any so I bought some homemade peanut/chocolate bar things for a couple bucks and we went on our way.

Then beat down the asphalt to the Oasis city: Huacachina. What a crappy way to break in new tires. Still have some scrubbing to do as there weren’t ANY corners.  AHHH!! Nice little town. Just a party zone with pools, cute girls, sandboarding, dune buggy rides and that is about it. Found a hostel with bunnies, turtles, and cute girls in the courtyard…..what could go wrong?

Yes, that is a large white rabbit lounging in the shade

Yes, that is a turtle trying to escape the hostel front doors

Looking over the pond that is central parque in Huacachina.

Well, you could party so hard that evening that the next day you don’t even leave your bed and still feel a bit rotten even the following day when you have to ride through the blistering desert to Nasca.

This Frenchman enjoyed his drinks

On another note, the sand dunes are incredible here. What I would give to have my ‘ol CRF450R for a day. Apparently these are some of the largest in the world at around 1,000 ft tall.

4/24/13

Yep, just laid in bed, watched 3 movies, ate some Chinese food, and then finally hiked up the stupid sand dune right outside my door at 6:00 PM and didn’t make it to the top until the sun had set so could only take 3 awful photos of the city because I don’t know how to adjust my F-stop or ISO on this camera. Damnit!

4/25/13

Alex went out and partied hard for a second night in a row and required sleep so we didn’t get out of Huacachina until about 1:00 PM. Another endlessly boring drive through the most sparse landscape I have probably ever encountered.

Two hours through the desert we are approaching Nazca, then I see a red tower on the side of the road probably 80’ high and I know we are at the “Lines.” Pay a dollar, climb the tower, look around for 2 minutes, thoroughly unimpressed we descend and depart. Maybe it is more impressive from the plane but these shapes really aren’t all that big and I was expecting the actual “Lines” to be 6’ wide and 2’ deep or something along those lines. These look like someone took a standard spade shovel and removed some of the darker gravel on top to create some odd shapes. Don’t want to be a Debbie Downer on it all but I wouldn’t go out of your way to see this one.

Hobbled into Nazca city. Mediocre place in the middle of the desert. Kind of feel like the area where the plane crashes in “ConAir”. Oh Nicolas Cage, you are such a terrible actor.

 

4/26/13

Last night was f*cked up for me. As you know I was on day 2 recovery stage; not feeling terrible but still pretty groggy. Definitely not looking forward to the 300 miles that I have to lay down the next day.

Our hostel looked decent enough; rather new, clean, etc… We just lounged and updated websites because there really isn’t anything to do in this town. Around 10:00 PM it was time for us to go to bed. First problem there is some sort of family feud going on right next door to us. Yelling, hollering, people in and out, babies crying, etc… Most of these hostels are also the homes of the owners and this is understandable but don’t put guests right next to your inlaws living quarters….SBS. Then there is an ice cream truck that honks his stupid horn outside the building every 10-15 minutes until 2:00 AM….as if all the tourists are smoking dope and will come flocking to his little horn for ice cream…SBS. At about 3:00 AM I hear some rustling right at the foot of my bed. Earlier in the evening I saw a large (50 cent piece large) bug fly in and land in that corner….crap, I get up toss things around and find a hole in one of my Topramen packets….looks like mice to me. Lay back in bed for 30 minutes and then more rustling to my left….something is trying to get into Al’s pizza box sitting next to his bed. There are literally no shelves at all in the room so I can’t set anything up high. If I put my topramen in my bag I’m afraid the damn thing will chew through my dry bags. So I lay there and listen to the mouse eat pizza for an hour. I contemplated slapping on the SIDI’s and turning on the gopro while I do a boxer MX boot dance off on top the box but I was far too lazy….now I regret it. At 4:00 AM I fall asleep. At 5:00 AM Al starts sawing logs louder than I have ever heard him on this entire trip. ALEXXXXX!!!!! “huh, what” “please breath regularly”. That lasted 30 minutes I said screw it and started checking emails. About 90 minutes of sleep and now I have to suit up and ride 300 miles through the desert.

I make granola and coffee and get Al out of bed. Hit the road and immediately dive into switchbacks with a brand new set of tires that haven’t been scrubbed. Slipping and sliding I have to take it easy for the first couple hours until slowly I get it leaned all the way out and clean up the rubber. Every 4th switch a semi tries to take us out. This is the worst I have seen it. Full on big rigs around blind corners completely in the wrong lane. Even when you make it around a corner and a bus or semi is entering it on the backside they will honk at you to move over so they can crowd your lane and get a running start at the curve…..this has to be the most unthought out plan I have ever seen…and yes there are a lot of crosses up in the hills on the corners. My middle finger saw some heavy use this afternoon.

Eventually we made it to a sort of “Plateau” around 14,000 ft. The highest we saw was 14,967 ft. There is a significant temperature difference between these two altitudes. A: Uncomfortable B: I can’t feel my fingers or toes.

Adding layers in the high ground

The elevation that the Alpacas preferred was in the 13.5K to 14.5K range. At the tip top we saw some very large black duck like things but I was too damn cold to stop for a photo.  I’ll tell you what though, those ugly furry Alpacas get really jumpy over my exhaust note when close to the rode.

These appear to be the Alpaca’s retarded cousin…not too sure but they preferred elevations just a tad lower. They were thicker than Antelope in Wyoming in all the private units you aren’t allowed to hunt in.

Anyway, a couple hours through this high plain and then we dropped into a nice river valley that took us down to 10K and warmed up quickly. I had to stop and compose myself a few times for fear of falling asleep. Made it to Abancay, not a nice place, got a room, some decent Chinese food and now I’m desperately trying to figure out how to get new sprockets and chain because this setup isn’t going to make it beyond Bolivia.

 

4/27/13

On the ride out of Abancay we drove about 20 miles, taking us 30-40 minutes, looked down and all you can see is the town of Abancay. Almost straight up from Abancay at 7,000’ to 11,000’ and you can still see the city right below you, and snow peaks just to the east.

Abancay down below after 20 miles out of town

I am starting to become immune to these majestic views of the Andean range which is really unfortunate. When the white cordillera breaks the clouds I still have to stop for a photo.

Something about bridges for me….they are all unique and seem to completely fit with their landscape or are a blemish on the countryside. Either way it is usually worth a photo to me.

Very nice blue river in a deep valley during this ride. The only other thing worth mentioning is that the last town we passed through before arriving in Cusco is having a Cuy (Guinea Pig) festival on May 1st. The only problem is that we are visiting Machu Picchu on that same day and then riding back to Cusco. Hopefully we can catch the tail end of it before all the oversized gerbils are consumed.

Dropping into Cusco:

Met our mutual friend Haley and headed out to see the town square. Nice place, forgot my camera but will get some shots later. We did get lunch and I opted for an Alpaca philly cheese steak sandwich. Take that you jumpy bastards! It was delicious.

Got settled in an Haley’s apartment and then went for dinner and drinks. I was falling asleep at the bar and didn’t make it very late at all. This altitude is getting to me for some reason. We have stayed at elevations higher than this but for some reason my throat is dry, have a headache, and a tad bit of nausea. Oh well, I’m shooting for 12 hours of sleep to try and catch up.

4/28/13

Movies, Internet, Nothing

 

4/29/13

So the biggest thing to do today was to find sprockets. Took my bike to Peru Moto Tours because the owner assured me that he could get me setup. Dropped off the bike at 9:00. I said I would come back at closing but he told me 3:00 it would be done for sure. Then he asked if a 42 tooth rear would be okay (I’m running 15/44 which is a touch low but works just fine). I said 42 is fine if you use a 15 on the front….anything lower (ie 41,40,etc…) go to a 14 in the front. I paid the man a whopping $225 USD. Expensive but I have to so whatever. Right before I walk out he asks for the keys…why? “It might be easier to do the work down the street in the shop…….okay.?. I walk away and in ten minutes I return. The rear sprocket was $60….it got me thinking that this might be aluminum because of the price. I get back and the bike is already gone…obviously this was the plan all along. He assures me that it will be “acero” (steel). Okay, then I tell him that I want the front sprocket back….just to have a back up. He asks why a bunch of times and then I finally get him to admit what is going to happen. They are going to take my sprocket, cut off the teeth, save the splined portion, cut a new sprocket to fit around this hub, and weld it together. WTF? First, I don’t like all that heat input into a hardened piece of steel right at the teeth and doubt these guys know anything about quenching steel to the appropriate hardness, etc… More assurances and at this point what the hell can I do about it.

I show up at 3:30 just to give a bit extra and no bike in sight. Something about lunch this that and the other but it will be here at 4:00. Wait around and finally some Peruvian guy with a helmet that doesn’t fit and the mouthguard is up around eye level comes rolling down the street with my ride. I got a no name rear sprocket that was just a plate until they bored the right hole patter and center hole. I got a front sprocket that is slightly inset and does not line up with the rear perfectly. But I did get an RK O-ring chain. Bottom line, if I knew what was going to happen I could have picked up some cheapy sprockets and had a fab shop do all this work for borderline nothing and walked away with an extra $100 in my pocket but atleast it is done. I hope the offset doesn’t hurt the chain too quickly. I will still make an attempt to get a Suzuki sprocket in La Paz, Bolivia.

Back to the apartment and we soon set out to buy our tickets to Machu Picchu. With that taken care of it was time to clean the air filter. First time of the trip and it was badly needed, I don’t think I have ever let a filter get this dirty.

Pretty soon it is time to go out and meet up with Stephi & Nina….some of the German girls we met on the boat from Panama to Colombia. A few beers and dinner later we end up at Nortons for more beer and then Mushrooms for more drinks. Al and I have to get up at 6:00 the next morning and I’m ready to go but the girls so no, we got one more game to play. There are about 40 cocktails of all sorts on the menu so you pick a number between 1 and 40, count down the menu, and order. I ended up with some whiskey/liquoer drink in a martini glass and Al has something like a Daquiri. At midnight we said our goodbyes and I knew morning would be trouble.

That is a 1.1 Liter Brewsky

 

4/30/13

Woke up feeling fantastically rotten and onto the road by 7:00. Not only did we have to get up early but we have a 6 mile hike ahead of us after the ride.

Riding through town it is very typical at all the red lights to split lanes up to the front. This time we were driving between the sidewalk and vehicles. Creeping along because the cars are encroaching and there is a man lying on the sidewalk with his legs in the street. He is obviously blacked out and has a pile of vomit in his crotch. I miss the legs with the front but I have to cut back to dodge a vans side mirror and sure enough…bump bump…drove over his legs. Behind me Al said he didn’t even flinch. Continue on!

First thing to hit was Maras to see the salt mines about 30 or so miles out of Cusco. Cool pools covers a mountain side where the naturally salty water flows from above and is directed into these manmade pools where the water eventually evaporates and the salt is harvested. Very original sight.

Al did not dress or pack appropriately for this venture and was soon freezing his ass off. Solution: Put wool socks on his hands for gloves, then slide into his cashmere sweater for additional leg warmth. Pretty fun watching this guy roll down the road.

From here we dropped into a river valley and followed it for a bit until the climbing began. The pass topped out just shy of 14K but it puts you right next door to an amazing snowcapped mountain. Quite chilly up here but not as bad as the Alpaca pass to Abancay. Lots of mountain bikers take tours up here to drop off the backside of this pass because the road is incredible….like most mountain roads here in South America.

Hammer down this and nearing the bottom we hit construction. I didn’t get a photo but it had times when vehicles were allowed to pass (6-7, 9-10, 12-1, and 6PM to 2AM). Luckily we showed up at quarter to noon so we didn’t have to wait long. This may pose an issue tomorrow on the return trip.

Turned off the highway for Santa Teresa where the road turned to mud. First thing I see is a hump in the dirt that I have to floor and nail, as I approach I see the mud puddle on the back side, pin it thinking I might be able to clear it, not a chance, POW!, at least 12” deep and right into the center my feet are now soaked. Screw it, it’s warm down here.

Continuing on the road get a bit sketchy. Gravel, shear drop to a river valley that has to be 800 ft or so down. Sweet!

It is hard to appreciate the below photo but this was a spectacular waterfall. However, it is manmade. Right on the opposite side of this mountain are two large green pipes (60″ diameter) that run all the way to the top of the mountain right on the backside of this waterfall. We could not figure out why they would have a hydroelectric damn that would pump water up this steep mountain side just to dump it through a hole that was cut into the rock face to create this falls. Surely this amount of water is not flowing down from this barren rock mound.?. So we found out later that there is a tunnel cut through a portion of the Andean range that collects water from various spill offs and all this pressure (head) pushing the water up to the top of this mountain where it runs down the pipeline to create electricity….the waterfall you see is just excess spill off. I can’t even imagine how long it took them to bore these ten foot diameter holes through the hard rock mountains…crazy!

Grabbed lunch in Santa Teresa and then off to Hydroelectrica. This is as close as you can get to Machu Picchu by automobile (yeah, you can’t drive there). From here we locate Elico Escobar. Fritz (Portk & Corn) told us about this guy and how you can leave your bike and gear while you hike in. He was ecstatic to see motos and I showed him a picture of himself on the internet which he loved. He showed me card of Fritz and his bike which he kept pinned on the wall. Really nice guy.

Drop the bikes, change clothes, and head for the 6 mile jaunt to Aguas Caliente. This is the town that is located at the base of Machu Picchu and caters to all the tourists (hostels, hotels, restaurants, all EXTREMELY overpriced, etc…).

Here is the train that you can opt to take if you are not interested in the hike:

The hike in is fantastic. Everyone says 2 hours but plan on 2.5 at least. We had a good pace and took very few photo breaks. You just walk along the train tracks and gawk at the mountains…..mountains aren’t even the correct term. These are skyscrapers made of stone. Flat stone faces that shoot out of the ground upwards of 2,000 feet. That is a guess but I doubt it is far off.

I felt like a kid in the movie “Stand by Me” when crossing this thing

Even got to smash some coins on the train tracks:

Al made a friend on the way:

At some point along the tracks we ran into a group of 5 hungry looking dogs. This thing appeared to be the ring leader and he was one ugly SOB. Bald except for a mohawk and a few long wiry hairs protruding from his leathery skin. Kept coming up to smell us and I just had thoughts of rabies going through my head. Really freaky. And I have now idea why he had a shirt on. None of the others did.

We arrive just before sunset….locate our hotel. They don’t have our reservation. Long story but we had to find a new place.   After killing all the enormous spiders we sacked out hard. Not even a beer.

5/1/13

Up early and given the fact that we need to be back to the bikes by 11:30 we opted for the bus up to the Machu Picchu entrance. A short bit of hiking after getting off the bus and all of a sudden you are staring out at the picturesque ruins of Machu Picchu. Surrounded by epic cones covered in a mixture of bare rock faces and enchanting jungle vegetation. You guys have seen the pictures, it looks just like it….not disappointing in the least. I would say that the only thing you really can’t grasp from photos is the shear drop on either side of the ruins. Literally straight down to the river valley floor. Gave me a bit of vertigo just standing on the edge.

They have imported some lawn mowers to hang out to tidy up the area.

Looking off the backside below:

We my back against Huayna Picchu looking up at the ruins:

I’m really not much into ruins of ancient times but I will say that the stonework is in exquisite condition.

Whoever resided in this residence had a nice view:

Made our rounds through the ruins and then headed back to the ground floor for a fast paced 6 miles back to the bikes. We actually jogged 2 or 3 of these miles and were able to finish the 6 miles in 1 hour 45 minutes.

Machu Picchu resides on top of the below mountain:

The bikes and gear were safe and sounds in the hands of Elico. He wants us to send as many motos as we can his way. Very happy to be taking part in our adventure. Super guy!

Ripped up the offroad section all the way back to Santa Teresa and then started on the pavement. I had my backpack/camelback strapped to the back of the bike (same as on the way here). We hit all the speed bumps at about 50mph but on one of the few remaining an unfortunate accident occurred. Backpack came loose and right when I landed off the bump it flipped underneath the bike, locked up the rear wheel, and I slid for about 200 feet. Kept the bike upright but it made tatters of my nice camelback. Ripped off one of the shoulder straps, tore off one of the zippers and chewed a hole through my nice Kuiu pants that I love….right in the crotch. Now I gotta “hang to the left”. Also ripped off one of the side pockets that holds my water bottle. Crap! We passed a Peruvian ADVrider so he came up on us after this incident and immediately stops, pulls out the video camera, starts shooting and speaking Spanish. I’m sure it how something to do with dumbass gringos.

Re-situated we made it to the construction zone with 15 minutes to spare. Of course nobody was working…it’s May Day! Hoodathunkit?

Hit a little offroad in the high elevations. The ground was soft like a thawed tundra.

This kid had just thrown the little black pig off this ledge and was trying to catch whitey. Not sure of the reason but I’m sure it was necessary.

Well, now as you may recall, we have a Cuy festival to get to. At 4:30 the party was in full swing. They let us drive our bikes into the carnival area and navigate through throngs of people to find a parking spot. Lots of funny looks at the only two white guys in this little village full of Cuy eating fanatics. Stumbled into a group of very drunk locals who wanted to chat us up to no end. Finally they helped us order a plate of the famous Guinea Pig and we dug in. it was served with some kind of intestine filled with vitals, a pepper filled with diced veggies and cheese, corn on the cab, and a large rat on top. Not even hungry at this point we just ripped apart the Guinea Pig and ate as much as we could and got the hell out of this party. The Cuy was delicious, not a lot of meat there, a little bit tedious with lots of small bones, but delicious none the less.

Stormed back into Cusco where we just relaxed and prepared for another big day of riding.

5/2/13

Got up and immediately checked on my sprocket/chain after the big ride out to Machu Picchu. Steel dust and the sides of the teeth are glistening. F*$%@. Shoot down to moto avenue and quickly find someone to pull the sprocket and I help to make the right space adjustment, etc… looks good for now, time will tell.

This guy helped with the sprocket removal

Rode to Puno on Lake Titicaca. Really happy to be back on the road but it was not very fun. Very cold temperatures on this elevated Altiplano with little scenery and straight roads. I didn’t even bother to take many photos.

This sign made me laugh

The only cool thing I saw was miles of fence line built from rocks. Interesting  because the width of the “fences” are a single stone.

Thus far not really impressed with the lake, or Puno for that matter, at this point and time. Hopefully it will reveal a nicer side in the morning. Of course our room is upstairs and right on the street front. What is with these people and their damn horns. Just constant honking down the street for no apparent reason. There isn’t even any traffic. If you are on the sidewalk they just blast the horn to let you know you shouldn’t blindly step out in the street because they are coming through. Multiply this by about 10,000 and you want to just start throwing rocks.

By end of day the sprocket and chain are looking much better. No more metal flakes.

5/3/13

Get out of Puno and pound pavement lakeside for a while. The lake in this section is much nicer looking but still not spectacular. Just a really big lake at 12K feet and rather chilly.

Just think Beavis & Butthead…..Titicaca!

Made it to the border by about 10:30 and exited Peru in a matter of 20 minutes. Didn’t cost a dime.

21 thoughts on “Peru

  1. Looks gorgeous thus far and a fun ride! Do the random animals ever come up to you on your bike…? When I was in Utah this winter I hiked a mountain with a thousand switchbacks- not a huge fan, wish I would have had an engine on my ass! Stay safe. Love ya

    • The random animals don’t bother too much. The worst are big cattle lying in the road and at the last minute they will jump up and freak out. Some have almost jumped off a cliff in front of us and other look like they are going to gore you with their horns. Sketchy! Yeah, the switchbacks on foot aren’t quite as appealing on foot unless your name is Tommy. Ha!

  2. Beautiful pictures andrew. I can’t believe those goats were alive in that truck. If only I could get Abby, Mae and barney to travel like that. Looking forward to seeing you in steak and wine country. Be safe and don’t drive fast! Love you buddy.

  3. Andy; I see by spottracker that you are near the junction of where you would need to turn east to hit Cusco and Macu Piccu. The ruins at machu piccu are high on most bucket lists, and I would love to hear and see your perspectives in your RR. Hey to Alex!

    • Don’t worry, you’ll get to hear my opinion on it. Stopping in Cusco for 4 days and will definitely be visiting the ruins. Had to check out the Nazca lines today.

  4. Andrew, I’m a OLD friend of Rick Rice. I ride a 1200GS and an ’06 DRZ400. I’m SOOO envious of you guys and this fantastic journey you’re on. I read your blog and check your SPOT link daily, and am disappointed when there are no new postings, but understand why….just look forward to seeing more. Wish I had gone on your trip when I was your age. Keep on having the time of your life and …..ride safe!! Jamie

    • As in you’ve known Rick for a long time or are you MUCH older than him? If it is the latter I am sorry :)….just kidding. It is awesome to have a complete stranger following along. There have definitely been some stretches of road that I would be willing to kill for the big GS….but obviously the DRZ is also a tool to be used in other environments. I felt like I was too old to do something like this when I left the sates, but I’m very happy that I have done it. Believe it or not I have met more than one 70+ year old men cruising KLR’s through the 3rd world backcountry….incredible. I’m stuck in Cusco for a bit but I think things are about to get crazy once I enter Bolivia. Time will tell. Ride Safe Jamie!!

      • I’m a young 39….or is it 65? Yup…65 : -) I have been in love with motorcycles all my life and will ride till I can’t swing a leg over one. Talked to Rick last night and told him I’d love to meet you, and sit down over a cold one with you someday upon your return. He thought that could be arranged since I live in Roseburg, OR. You made the right choice of bikes for your fantastic journey….in my opinion. Some of the places you’ve been would have been a killer on the GS, since it sounds like the DRZ was enough of a burden. Oldest guy at the BMWMOA rally in Gillette Wy. a couple of years ago was 91 and rode two up!!!! UNFREAK’N believable!!!! Hope to meet one or both of you some day……..Jamie

  5. Thanks for the report on Peru.. now I can cross the Nazca Lines off of my list!
    Hope you you love Cusco and MP… should be a great ride “down” there!
    I always take aspirin to fend off altitude in Cusco…one of the few places that it effects.
    Cheers

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t bother with it unless the flight is a million times better. Not really my thing though. Cusco was definitely hard on me as far as oxygen content goes. Not really looking forward to the even higher elevations in Bolivia.

  6. “Take that you jumpy bastards!” You crack me up. I’m enjoying following your journey. Peru looks awesome and I wish I were there. Safe travels.

    • Thanks for keeping tabs on me Rob. Glad you are following along. Hope you’ve brushed the dust off the Yammy for the summer. You are going to love what is coming up. Hasta Luego

  7. WOW!!! Bout all that needs to be said regarding your last batch of pix and Machu Picchu and the fantastic roads you’ve been riding. Hope the Mickey Mouse sprocket repair lasts until you can get a good replacement. Thanks for taking me there!
    : -) …Jamie

  8. You are definitely having a wide variety of culinary “treats” on this journey, Andrew. You really MUST whip up a nice batch of guineau pig with a lovely side of jumpy alpaca sandwiches for Wine Wednesday upon your return! The bald mohawked dog in the t-shirt was a hoot!

  9. Buddy I can’t even believe you ate the critter w the ears. Where was the rat?? Did you eat it? I’m definitely going to deworm you when you get home. I’ll put you out in the kennel with Mae and Abby:)

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