July 28, 2014 GMT
Salar de Uyuni
July 26, 2014:
Against the advice of some local riders at the BMW dealership, I departed Santa Cruz and rode west to Cochabamba and then south to Uyuni to visit the salt flats. I was told it's going to be very cold and windy and that it would be better to visit later in the year. Well they were correct, the closer I got to Uyuni the colder it got and the wind got stronger. It was pretty much survival riding from Oruro to Uyuni. When I arrived in Uyuni on the 25th there was a sand storm going through and the village of Uyuni was not visible until I entered it. It was brutally cold.
I found a place to stay easy enough and then went out for some dinner. I put on every piece cold weather clothing I had and was still freezing. People in the restaurants were dressed like they were on an expedition to the South Pole. People were eating with gloves on. It was a long cold night.
The next morning it was clear sunny day with little wind so I headed out to the flats. At 08:00 when I started the moto it was 19 deg F but felt a lot warmer than it was in the room.
I rode out to the flats, 14 miles from town, and quickly realized I hadn't calculated how large an area they covered. Distances a very deceiving here and I figured I should get more gas and a good meal, so I headed back into town. While in town I met up with an Italian guy, Stefano, on a Yamaha 250 doing a RTW journey. We filled up on food and fuel and headed out.
Stefano running the flats:
We found a spot were someone had chopped through the salt to expose the water.
I dropped a piece of salt in an watched it sink about a meter and half before disappearing:
Cactus Island: A tourist stop with a restaurant, small store and a few buildings that people can sleep in.
A bit of celebration:
It was 4:30 when I decided to head back to town. All total, I rode 148 miles on the flats. It was really a lot of fun!
After another brutally cold night I decided to head east to warmer weather. A quick stop at the famous train cemetery south of town and then onto Sucre.
Somewhere north of Potosi:
There are a few more places I would like to visit in SE Bolivia but not during this time of year. Middle of the Andes in the middle of winter is not the best combination.
I'm in Sucre now and will start riding my way east to Brazil and Paraguay in a day or two.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 10:54 PM
July 19, 2014 GMT
La Paz to Santa Cruz via Trinidad
July 11, 2014:
The TMK's and myself departed La Paz on the 11th headed back to the "Death Road" in hopes of better weather. Didn't work out that way but it was a good ride just the same.
We decided to ride together up Ruta 3 to Trinidad and then down into Santa Cruz. It was great meeting up with Andi & Ellen again and heading into the Amazon region sounded like a good break from the cold and altitude. It was a six day ride, an extra day in Trinidad, mostly due to rough roads and construction delays however it was a great run!
The three of us agreed that the section of road from Coroico to Caranavi is the new "Death Road". The road was narrow, muddy and it was every man, woman and child for themselves.
We managed to squeeze through even though he wasn't going to give us an inch.
A bit of a delay:
Somewhere along the route:
Once in the basin things dried out some and it was quite nice:
Couple ferry crossings just before entering Trinidad:
July 18. 2014:
Andi & Ellen headed for Paraguay this morning and I'll be heading west in a day or two to see more of Bolivia before going there myself.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:48 AM
July 18, 2014 GMT
July 06 & 09, 2014
July 06, 2014:
Spent a couple days in La Paz and then headed for Coroico to ride the famous "Death Road". There really isn't much of the original road in use now and what there is used by tourists, mostly for a mountain bike run.
It's a short ride, an hour or more along the dirt section to Coroico. Views from my hotel room:
One of the main street in Coroico:
There were a lot of mountain bikers along the Death Road so I planned on getting up early the next morning and riding it again however it was raining so I just hung out. On the 8th I was packed up and riding out of town when I was stopped by a couple riders I had met on the boat crossing from Panama to Colombia, Andi & Ellen, Two Moto Kiwis. I checked back in to the hotel and we spent the day catching up.
July 09, 2014:
Headed out to ride the Death Road in hopes of good weather however it didn't work out so well.
Weather wasn't cooperating so we rode into La Paz to wait it out.
Getting an internet connection or a reliable connection has been difficult to find. Even in La Paz things haven't worked well.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:52 PM
July 04, 2014 GMT
Onward to Bolivia!
July 01, 2014:
Rode to the Bolivian village of Cocacabana just over the border on the south end of Lake TIticaca. Checking out of Peru was quick and clearing the moto and myself into Bolivia was easy, not much going on. The border personnel see quite a few motos coming through and were friendly and efficient.
Along the road to Bolivia:
July 02, 2014:
I'd heard from other travelers that Cocacabana which is located on the south shore of the lake is a nice place to hang out for a day. It's a tourist stop over spot however it's a nice village:
On the north side of town there's a hill, Cerro Calvario that has great views of the town and lake. It's only 400' elevation climb however you start at 12,650'.
It's truly amazing how big Lake Titicaca really is.
Some religious shrines at the top, there was also some along the trail and people were stopping at each one to say a prayer:
July 03, 2014:
Headed into La Paz. It's cold here and along with the wind, the ride into the city was, burrrr. Didn't take many photos.
Cocacabana is located on a peninsula separated from the main part of Bolivia.
Ferry in Tiquina:
July 04, 2014:
Decided to stay in La Paz for a day and watch some world cup. Heading out now to watch Brazil vs Colombia.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:53 PM
June 30, 2014 GMT
June 28, 2014:
Saturday, market day:
These moto-tricycles are the main taxis in most villages:
These two came running out of their produce stand all excited asking me to take their photo. Once I showed it to them on the camera the both demanded money from me. They went from cute to scammers very quickly:
Most of the people, especially the women don't appreciate having their picture taken so I had to be as quick about it as I could:
Plaza de Armas, city center. Every village & city in Peru I've visited names the center, Plaza de Armas:
Took a boat trip out to the floating islands where the Uros people have lived for centuries. Visiting the islands was on the "Bucket List". When I was young I watched an episode of "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" The Legend of Lake Titicaca, where him and his crew dove the lake and visited these islands. It's been on the list a long time.
The Uros supposedly started living in this manner centuries ago in order to isolate themselves from the aggressive Collas and Incas. There are 85 floating islands with four to six families on each. Tourism is their sole source of income and really existence now. It was still really interesting, they pretty much live the same way.
Meaning of Titicaca, Titi - Puma and caca - grey or stone.
They build this type of boat for the tourists. I heard a couple locals call them, Mercedes Benz:
Every island has a small tower on it that is used for commenting, either yelling and having it passed on or waving something. Not sure how much they use this system though, despite trying to keep them discrete, I saw cell phones.
The islands are anchored so as to keep from drifting off however they do sometimes move the island depending on water depth. Each week the inhabitants need to add more reeds as the lower layer decays:
A traditional style boat that many islanders still use.
|From June 30, 2014|
A few of the islands have wooden structures on them.
The Yavari, the ship was built in England and then shipped in 2,766 pieces to Lake Titicaca for the Peruvian Navy. It was hauled over the Andes by mule, taking six years, and then reassembled and launched in 1870. It's now a museum.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:25 PM
June 27, 2014 GMT
June 26, 2014:
It's a short ride from Putina to Puno so I decided to take short detour to the Northeast corner of Lake Titicaca. It was a great day and there was very little traffic. Amazing views!
June 27, 2014
I'm gong to hang out in Puno a few days and plan out my strategy for the first few days in Bolivia. I initially intended on spending more time in Peru however, I'm at the border now.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 09:10 PM
La Rinconada June 25, 2014
June 25, 2014:
One of the items on my "Bucket List" was to visit the town of La Rinconada. I don't remember when or how I learned about this place but it's on the list. The town was built and exists because of the gold mining in the area. It's supposedly the highest permanently inhabited town in the world. Depending on the source of information the towns altitude is from 16,700' to over 17,700'.
I spent the night in Putina and the ride up to La Rinconada was only 45 miles. The road is paved most of the way to Ananea and from there to La Rinconada, 12 miles, it's good dirt road.
La Rinconada in the distance:
Entering the village of Ananea:
A mile or so from La Rinconada, trash everywhere and it's starting to smell bad:
The town has NO, garbage, potable water or sewage systems. In recent years the growth has increased so rapidly that most housing and shops are these tin sheds. (I don't know how I got the snow effect in the photo, it just happened when I went to attach it??)
Most of the streets are steep and in very bad condition:
City center, I was told there was another center however I didn't want to ride the moto through the streets to get there:
The people seemed very skeptical of me and weren't very friendly. I don't think they get many tourist here and I don't think they want them either. When I took my camera out I heard people mention it and many went inside the shops or turned away.
This is why I didn't ride around the place. Many of the streets were just open waste water pits or they were just thick mud from the waste water.
There are a few permanent buildings, I saw a couple hotels. I was told that when you check in they supply you with a bucket:
I didn't have my GPS with me, however my SPOT has my highest point at 16'122'. It's amazing how much trash is here and how bad the living conditions are: Between the altitude and the stench it was very difficult to breath:
Aside from this town and the mining, it's a beautiful place:
I didn't ask however I got the feeling no one was interested in taking a photo of me so here's a self:
I liked this place, second story with balcony. Not much of a view though. I didn't see any Real Estate signs so I figure new construction is probably your best option:
Just outside of Ananea on the way to La Rinconada there's a check point and you're required to show ID and vehicle documentation to proceed any further, I didn't have any of it. Left everything in the hotel room in Putina. I explained everything to one of the guards and he wasn't sure what to do. Finally he said if I bought him a big bottle of Sprite in La Rinconada for him I could enter. It wasn't a problem to go back and get the documents but soda is cheap and it was a good trade.
When I returned with the Sprite he wanted me to take a photo of him and his partner with the moto:
Heading back to Putina:
I've seen a few of these shrines throughout Peru, normally near or at a pass. People stop to give an offering usually alcohol or a food item and maybe light a candle. The only issue is the areas become a trash pile of empty bottles and containers.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:32 PM
June 23-24, 2014
June 23, 2014:
The days plan was to ride to the Canyon del Colca, second deepest canyon in the world and home to some Andian Condors.
The pass before descending into the village of Chivay, 16,018':
Chivay in the valley:
On the road form Chivay to Colca:
Canyon del Colca and the Condor lookout point:
Rode back to Chivay and got settled in. This is a view from my window of the volcano Ampato coughing:
June 24, 2014:
Chivay to Putina:
Riding back over the pass I noticed volcano Ampato was still coughing:
Stopped for breakfast and to warm up and a view of Mt. El Misti
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 07:17 PM
Cusco, Nazca, Lima, Arequipa
June 15, 2014:
Departed Cusco on the 14th and rode back to Abancay for the evening. Woke up early on the 15th and headed for Nazca. Around ten miles out of Abancay the road started to climb up to a height of above 14,000' and staying there for 140 miles with a couple points above 14, 900'. It was cold and desolate.
There had been a recent dusting of snow:
Just a few small adobe villages along the way:
It was cold and barren, however it's a beautiful ride:
Descending out of the high plains towards the desert coast:
June 16, 2014:
The ride to Lima was pretty boring and dismal really. It was a grey overcast day with a lot of wet fog. The road is good however the scenery leaves much to be desired, it's desert, trash and trash fires. Lima is a mad house on on motorcycle however it didn't take long to find the dealership and get settled.
June 20, 2014:
Took a bit more time to get everything done with the moto however all is good. It felt good to get on the road and head out of Lima. Departed the hotel just before day break to get ahead of the traffic. All along the highway heading south out of the city there were trash fires, some next to bus stops. It seemed strange after all the beautiful clean villages I've seen in the mountains.
Near the village of Ica there's the small oasis village of Huacachina. It's a popular place for playing in the sand dunes, lots of sand boarding. I stopped for lunch and then was on my way back to Nazca:
June 21, 2014:
Plan, ride to Arequipa, 347 miles. It started out as a very grey overcast day, not much visibility. Just south of Nazca the road follows the coast down to the village of Camana. The temperature was in the mid 50's however with the cold wind coming off the ocean, it was a very cold ride.
Around 1pm the sun poked through a couple times:
A late lunch just before Camana. Grey sky coming back in:
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 06:45 PM
June 14, 2014 GMT
Back to Cusco
June 13, 2014:
The ride back to Cusco was fun despite the overcast weather. Traffic was light and I was pleasantly surprised how few animals there were this time.
It really wasn't that steep:
When I arrived in Cusco many of the streets were blocked or closed due to dance parades. During the month of June there's some sort of celebration everyday. Something to do with the Inkas and the sun, best I could figure out
June 14, 2014:
I'm now back in Abanacay for the night, I'm working my way towards Lima to get the moto serviced and put some new hiking shoes on her.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:00 PM
June 12, 2014:
Woke up early in Santa Teresa and took a minibus to Hidroelectrica where I caught a train to Aguas Calientes, (Machu Picchu Peublo) :30 min ride. It was a bit cloudy but it looked to be a good day.
Train to AC:
The main plaza in AC, from here I took a bus up to MP:
Song of the Day: Feel so Close, Calvin Harris (heard while having coffee in AC)
Back in AC catching the train back to Santa Teresa:
A very good day! :)
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 10:30 PM
Cusco to Santa Teresa
June 11, 2014
One of the bests rides I've done! The road runs through the Sacred Valley to Phiri and then north into the mountains over the Malaga pass to Santa Maria. It's good paved road from Cusco to Santa Maria however it's slow going due to animals and curves. From Santa Maria to Santa Teresa (14 miles) its good dirt with a couple easy water crossings, just a bit dusty.
Sacred Valley, descending into Pisac:
Song of the Day: Wild Ones, Flo Rida (stopped for fuel in Pisac and heard this playing)
Climbing out of Phiri to Malaga Pass:
Just over the pass:
Road from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa:
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 10:01 PM
June 13, 2014 GMT
Onward to Cusco
June 08, 2014, Ayacucho to Andauaylas
Very nice paved road, going is slow due to curves and obstacles however it's a great ride. Road runs along the top of the Andes and the altitude keeps around 13,500'+.
I wonder if there's anything around this corner?:
Yup, another rock:
June 09, 2014, Andahualyas to Abancay, 104 miles:
The road is paved about half way and then it turned to dirt, dust and rocks, three hours of it, however, more amazing views!
Abancay in the distance, an hour and a half more:
June 10, 2014:
Great ride from Abancay to Cuscos, twisty mountain road and only one construction stop.
GPS started mapping, road climbing out of Abancay:
Song of the Day: Sussudio, Phil Collins (this played while I was eating lunch)
Arriving Cusco, Plaza de Armas:
When I first saw Cusco I was a bit concerned about navigating and finding a place to stay however it went great. Asked directions to the Plaza de Armas twice and then a policeman directed me to a Hostal with parking. Within 15-20 minutes I was settled.
Wondered around the plaza and found a pub, Norton's Rat, motorcycle themed place and hung out there. It's tourist central however, I met a lot of fun people. Life is Good!
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:48 PM
June 08, 2014 GMT
Concepcion to Ayacucho
Jun 06, 2014:
The road from Concepcion to Ayacucho is paved for most the way, narrow mountain side road with lots of sharp corners. Luckily traffic was fairly light and even though the going was slow it was a great ride.
Another cable box crossing:
I liked the mock piece of ordnance, nice touch:
A Toyata truck can get through keeping all tires on pavement, but anything bigger is hanging on the edge. Most spots were even narrower and the corners sharper, it just wasn't safe to stop and take a photo.
I did hit a construction area and had to wait an hour and then the road turned to dust and sharp rocks. Traffic had backed up and when we got moving again I got dusted out. By the time I reached Ayacucho it was 5pm and I was filthy.
The village of Ayacucho is beautiful and the people are very friendly. Got settled in fairly quickly near the town center and then went out to find Mamma Mia Pizza. The guy was right, cold beer and good pizza, very nice place.
Decided to take the day off from riding and do some domestic chores. I sent the cloths out to laundry and then washed my riding gear, helmet to boots. Hadn't done that since Venezuela, things were bad.
Ayacucho is a great place to stop if you're ever riding through. The plan now, ride to Andahuaylas tomorrow and then onto Cusco the next day. Everyone I've talked to here has recommended it.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:40 AM
June 07, 2014 GMT
Lunahuana to Concepcion
June 05, 2014:
Woke up to a beautiful day and got an early start on 22 to back to Concepcion.
I had seen this coffee stand yesterday and planned on stopping here this morning if it was open, it was. The owner recommended his organic coffee with a squeeze of lime, very good! He was a pretty interesting fellow, had traveled a lot in Peru and had lived in Brazil for five years. I told him my planned route for the next few days and he recommended a pizza restaurant in Ayacucho that's a must, Mamma Mia Pizza.
The walk bridge looked safe enough I guess, but the climb up the cliff didn't look good at all.
Much of the road was posted at 3.2 meters wide. I heeled to toe it at one spot and it was just over ten boot lengths from cliff to ledge. Full buses and tractor trailers run this thing.
Got the bright idea of putting on a headlamp and hiking into this one, first two steps and I was six inches deep in fowl smelling mud. Ok, bad idea.
Stopped for a drink of water and met this guy, he's got small farm with parts on both sides of the river:
That's his house, lived there most of his life:
His cable box to get across the river:
He told me he has a rope in the house that he uses to throw and snag the box.
He asked a lot of questions about my moto and then insisted I look at his and take a photo. A Chinese made 125, he was sure proud of that moto, good on him.
Stopped here just to get a gallon of "that feels better" gas.
The woman had come out of one of the buildings and was very friendly and even joked that I looked like a spaceman. I asked if she had 90 octane, she did and started pouring from a big plastic jug into the gallon metal can. I noticed the gas seemed very dark in color and I asked if it was 90, the 90 I have seen was either light green or clear. As soon I a mentioned the color she got a bit testy with me. You want 90, I sell you 90, I have many tourist buy my gas, I guarantee my gas. She was actually quite upset and I had to apologize many times to get her to shut up. When the guy was pouring the gas in he told me that 90 comes in about four different colors depending on the company. He seemed to be afraid of the old woman and didn't speak very loud. Once the woman calmed down she was back to being her friendly self and was smiling and wanted to visit.
I asked about this building and man told me they had dug into the ledge and then built the face. Not sure how deep or big the inside is.
One of the few towns along the way:
Getting near the summit:
These things are everywhere however they seem to be quite shy and get out of the way quickly: I haven't asked yet, but I believe the ribbon/yarn in the ears is identify ownership:
There are lots of these stone structures scattered throughout the landscape, some have make shift roofs. I stopped and spoke with this woman and she said they are wind breaks and used when eating or just waiting for someone. Her husband was out with his horse doing something and would be back in a few hours. She pointed out some of the locations of the houses and were many of their animals would be.
The people in Peru are very friendly and hospitable. They enjoy visiting and having their pictures taken and always wish me a safe and happy journey.
The views in this country are amazing:
I've been playing with the GoPro some and was able to upload a short clip on youtubeof some cows and getting caught up in their heat of passion. The GoPro is a work in progress, it's a bit challenging taking a movie when you're not looking through a lens.
YouTube: Peru cattle (I forgot to copy the link once it was downloaded)
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:41 PM
June 06, 2014 GMT
June 04, 2014
June 03, 2014:
It was a short ride day, didn't sleep good in La Oroya due to the elevation, 12,500' and I was also quite dehydrated. I rode to the Village of Concepcion which is at 10,500' (couple k makes a big difference) and spent the day resting and rehydrating.
June 04, 2014:
Ah that's better! Felt great and headed west along road 22 or 24, (GPS listed each at different times, no listing on map) towards Tomas with Lunahuana as my destination. I was told by a few Peruvians this is a great run on a motorcycle, good road, rivers, lakes and small villages. It was a little heck tick getting through Huancayo but once on 22 it was back to animals and light traffic.
Lots of interesting side trails and roads to follow out:
House under construction. What I found interesting was the size of the mud blocks and the fact that some had been made in place while some had been made and then placed. No one was around to ask how they placed the blocks.
Looking back at the road climbing up towards the pass:
A few of the lakes at higher altitudes were utilized as trout farms:
These things were about the size of a Lesser Canadians. The eggs seem to be just starting to hatch as most birds were still sitting and I only saw a few goslings. Not sure what type of bird it is.
The pass is at an altitude of 15,570:
Canyon just south of Tomas:
It's a great ride and will go on the "must do if your ever in Peru" ride list. I had gotten a bit of a late start and didn't spend as much time exploring as I'd wanted. Arrived in Lunhuana just after 4pm, that's about as late as I like to ride.
Great ride day!
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 01:14 AM
June 03, 2014 GMT
Tarma to La Oroya
June 02, 2014:
Departed Tarma and rode north to Lake Junin, the lake is at 13,400' and supposedly has flamingos living there.
Stopped along the way for breakfast:
Song of the Day: Winchester Cathedral, The New Vaudeville Band
(Heard a traffic policeman in Tarma whistling this)
There they are:
Rode into La Oroya and then west towards Lima to the Toclio Pass:
This is supposedly the highest paved road in the world:
The map list the altitude as 15,793':
There are pigs running loose everywhere in Peru:
Saw a trail leading up into the hills so I took it:
This is the highest I've ever been on land:
Rode back into La Oroya and found a place to stay. It's amazing that people live at these altitudes. It's cold all the time here and the houses don't have heat.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 03:09 AM
Villa Rica to Tarma
June 1, 2014:
Decided to make it an easy ride day and ride to Oxapamapa, a Greman Village and then decide from there. The weather was great and the road was good.
Along the rode to Oxapamapa there are a few bridges for pedestrians and motos to use when the water is high or you just don't want to go through the water. I went through.
There was a mountain bike race happening and I arrived for the start. It's a nice village however it was early and I just felt like riding.
Decided to head into Tarma for the night;
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 02:26 AM
Pucallpa to Villa Rica
June 31, 2014:
Decided I'd ride back to Von Humboldt (one hour) and then ride south through the jungle to Villa Rica. Looked good on the map and I'd been told it's a good road, pavement dirt mix. I hadn't seen much wildlife since I entered the Amazonia here and was hoping to see some birds and a maybe a few monkeys. Got some breakfast in Von Humboldt and headed south. The road was good and cutting straight through the jungle.
There is power lines however I was told the electric it comes from a generator and not often. I didn't see any power lines along the road.
Six and half hours into the ride, 1:00 pm the road started getting worse, all dirt, washouts and mud. Then I came to this at 1:24 pm. When I arrived I was the only one and then two guys on a small moto showed up shortly after. We all looked at the ditch and then they asked me to help get their moto through. It took the three of us but it went fairly good. It's was way more challenging than the pictures show. We got the moto through:
Once we took a break they said, ok, let's get yours through now. No way, it's not going to make it. The moto is to long to make the corner on the path and the incline coming out is way to steep. If it falls over it's going to be upside down in the water. The older guy asked if I wanted to turn around or keep going, I was more than half way and after this the road would be good. Some how they convinced me. I took off the bags and down in the ditch we went. Once in the bottom it was apparent that maybe it wasn't such a good idea. The ground was giving way and the back tire slide into the ditch. I could barely reach the handle bars and keep the clutch, the ground was giving way under my feet. Some how those two guys got the back wheel back on the path and we got the moto pointed straight up the bank, no joke, 50 deg,. incline for ten feet. The older guy was in the rear ready to push and the young one in front pulling, I was hanging of the handlebars loosing footing. The older guy said, ok when I say go, you go and don't stop. It was magic, that big beast came out of there like a rocket. It spun some but somehow the rear tire grabbed and took us out of there.
Getting the bags across. In the photo it doesn't look that bad, I wish I had a photo of us in the middle, it was challenging.
After a few hand shacks, pats on the back we drank the last of my water and finished packing up. I asked why someone had not fixed it or at least made a diversion around it. The older guy then said, there is a way around it, back up the road there is a turn to the left that goes around this and comes out one kilometer further down. I started laughing and they looked at me like I was crazy. How long does it take to go around, I asked? About 20 minutes. I took us about 30 minutes to get two motos and gear across.
They told me I had five more hours to ride.
Looking down what we came up:
Song of the Day: Dirty Work, Steely Dan (not sure why this song came into my head)
The road was ok, however it didn't look like it was going to be good.
Climbing back into the jungle mountains. The road was mostly mud with lots of small brook crossings:
The water crossing got wider and deeper as I went along. Lots of round river rocks. Met this guy half way through one crossing, luckily he stopped me and told me it was to deep for me to go the way he did and to go up river and take the bridge:
Stopped and walked in for three meters and everything looked good. First gear and went for it. I dropped into the main part and the cylinders went under and the exhaust was gurgling. The bottom was good however and other than flooded boots I was fine. For a couple seconds I thought I was going to flood the intake.
Went through this and the guy in the truck told me the worst was over. Just a few more crossing and some mud holes but all would be good.
Good they're building a bridge however I would have chosen a couple other places to start building:
I still had a lot of riding to do in order to make it to Villa Rica before dark. My ass was whooped.
Great riding day!
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 01:58 AM
Huanuco to Pucallpa
May 30, 2014:
Departed Huanuco for Pucallpa on the 29th however I rode as far as Tingo Maria and decided I'd call it an early day rather than arrive late. The ride out was a bit overcast once I passed over the mountain and started dropping into the Amazon region. It rained some but it was a nice ride all the same
Settled in for the night in Tingo:
The 30th looked much better weather wise and I took my time riding to Pucallpa.
Typical jungle home:
The road was pretty good with exception of a few washouts, sometimes becoming one lane:
Where ever there was a construction stop, there was women selling something to eat and drink:
The women always seem to enjoy flirting. The one on the right joked that she wanted to have a gringo baby. When I asked what her husband would think about that, she said she didn't like him so it's ok.
Tourist spot ahead, some small waterfalls:
Another photo secession:
I'd been seeing log trucks and sheets of wood and then came across a mill that was producing the sheets. They use a giant lath to peel off sheets about 1/3 in. thick.
If it really needs to be cut, use a Stihl:
It was interesting how they centered the log in the lath with a forklift to get the most out of it.
Arriving in Pucallpa, Rio Pucallpa: People running up to me from every direction wanting to load me onto a boat and take me somewhere. Competition is fierce on the rivers for cargo and a gringo on a moto is prime cargo. It doesn't take long before word spreads that I don't need passage and I'm left alone.
This port services the villages for 125 miles up and down the river from what I was told. One guy told me they take some passengers and cargo up river to connecting boats that reach the Amazon River.
Everyone is interested in the moto and my story and they always ask before sitting on the moto. Amazing how many parents show up with their kids.
Relaxing with a beer:
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:45 AM
May 29, 2014 GMT
Huallanca to Huanuco
May 28, 2014:
The days plan, ride to Huanuco and then then decide which way to go. I'd been told by a few drivers that this section of road would be rough and even though it's only 104 miles, it was going to take most of the day. Everything was good for about 40 miles and then it got rough from the washouts and rock slides. Much of it was one lane and this is a main route, lots of getting out of the way.
The Frenchman had departed earlier and I got up to him 12 miles out of town:
Seems like every building in the area has corn hanging to dry:
All the streets in the town were dirt or mud. It's got to be terrible when it rains:
From here on out, it was slow going.
Song of the Day: Good Times Roll, The Cars
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:41 PM
Hauraz to Huallanca, Peru
May 27, 2014:
Woke up to a beautiful day and set my directions southeast for the village of La Union. Before heading out I rode north back to Yungay to take some photos of the mountains and have some breakfast in the village of Carhuaz.
Taken in the village of Yungay:
South of Huaraz in the Catac area. It's a high plain area, 13,000'+.
I believe this is Mt Pastoruri:
It was great paved road and there was very little traffic, lots of stopping and admiring:
Typical farm house of the area. I was parked at 13,880' when I took this photo. Notice there is no chimney, it's cold here all year. No running water or electricity either.
They did have a brook running through:
Dropping back into the lower lands:
Rode into the village of La Union however I couldn't find a place to stay that had a secure place for the moto so back tracked 30 minutes to Haullanca where I'd seen a couple promising places. When I arrived in the village square I was greeted by a Frenchman (I can't remember how to pronounce his name, and can't find it on his web site, it's all in French) I had met in Olmos, Peru on May 14. We had hung out and had a couple beers there sharing stories. He's doing a RTW and had arrived in Quito from Singapore. We had departed thinking we wouldn't see each other again until Ushuaia for Christmas. It was a pleasant surprise to see him and learn how far he'd traveled on his bike.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:12 PM
May 27, 2014 GMT
Yanama to Huaraz
May 26, 2014:
Woke up early hoping to catch the morning light however it was overcast with dark clouds. Oh well, I took my time and enjoyed a nice breakfast, included. Got on the trail at 8:00 am. The bus drivers were not exaggerating, it's a rough road. Lots of rocks, pot holes, washouts and more rocks. A perfect place to blow out a tire.
Forty minutes into it I had to take a break:
It doesn't look that bad, but it is:
That's what I came up and still climbing:
I reached the summit! I must be half way:
It was difficult just holding my breath to take a drink of water:
The weather looks better on this side:
That's what I've got to go down:
Beautiful views, however the road is worse on this side and it's difficult to look at anything other than the trail. Stopping and getting moving again was not fun:
Just about at the lakes and things are starting to level out some. I had to get as far over as I could and stop to let a minibus by and noticed this. I was starting to breath pretty good so I took a break:
This sign cheered me up, Peru thanked me very much for visiting their park and wished me a happy journey. Thanks, actually the road wasn't that bad, the park is beautiful and I truly enjoyed myself:
I stopped to take a photo of the lake and there was another vehicle pulled over. This little girl watched me ride up and then when I dismounted she started walking towards me with her hand out. I walked over to her, shook her hand. I asked her if I could take a photo of her and the moto and she light up, she took my hand and led me to my moto. She started to stand next to it however she let me pick her up and put her on the seat. She was so happy, waving and saying Ciao. Her parents must have taken a dozen photos of her. She was so adorable.
Before entering Yungay I stopped for some water and just to enjoy the scenery. This lady walked by me, bare foot, said hello, she liked the moto and wished me a good journey and then said she had to get the bull out of the garden.
Arrived in Yungay at 1:26pm, I had departed Yanama at 8:08am, 60 miles. I did stop often to rest but it was very slow going. Rode a few miles south of Yungay and stopped to wash the moto when I noticed that I had forgotten to return the keys to the hostal in Yanama, damn. Got it, I rode back to Yungay and found a minibus that was about to depart for Yanama and the driver said he would return the keys.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 01:26 AM
May 26, 2014 GMT
Hauraz to Yanama, Peru
May 25, 2014
Huaraz to Yanama via the Olimpica Pass, Huascaran National Park:
Got an early start at what looked like would be a great day riding into the Huascaran National Park.
A mile east of Carhuaz:
Entering the park:
Tunnel at the summit:
The road is paved all the way to Chacas, great ride:
It was a bit cloudy with some haze, however some the views were amazing:
Village of Chacas:
After some road info, water break and a dozen photos I worked my way out of town:
There's water running down off the hills in almost every gorge:
Stopped to help this guys with a flat. They had a patch but no glue or air. Within 15 minutes we were on our way:
It was hot and the road was incredible rough. When I came around a corner and saw this, it made it all fun again.
Arriving in Yanama I met a couple from Germany traveling with their two children, oh, and a sister in-law (she was visiting them). They had started in Baltimore, MD and had been on the road about the same time as me. It's always a fun meeting other over landers. They weren't Mormons, I asked.
I arrived in Yanama at 3:30pm and decided to find a place to stay, I really didn't have a choice. Talked to a few bus drivers and was informed that the road to Yungay where I was heading was very bad and would take four hours, it's 59 miles to Yungay.
View from my room:
This place was very modern, clean and had lots of hot water and a couple cold beers. When I checked in, the receptionist brought me a pitcher of water with ice in it, real ice! I don't think I've seen ice since I departed the States.
No, that's not an illusion, it's the porch:
The end of a very tough riding day, life is good!
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:57 PM
May 25, 2014 GMT
May 24, 2014
Didn't do much today. When I was out getting lunch I met this guy coming down the street. Jeff from Indonesia, six years into his RTW trip. He's heading south and plans on being in Ushuaia for Christmas as well.
I was monkeying with my GoPro today and found I did some video of the Canon del Pato. I started the camera before the construction stop and had forgotten about it.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:49 AM
May 24, 2014 GMT
May 23, 2014
May 23, 2014
Was pretty excited about going through the main section of tunnels and after a good breakfast I got on the trail around 08:30. Beautiful day and the road was good. Didn't go far before I was stopped for construction, damn. The road is closed in the direction I was going from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm, it was 9:00. I was told about this by an Aussie couple I met in Quito, John & Alanna Skillington (two up, V-Strom) however when I asked about it in town I was told it was open and I'd be fine. I think something got lost in translation. I was going to turn around and come back but people started showing up and we got to visiting and I stayed.
I walked around the corner and took these photos.
Just about everyone took a photo with the moto, some even put on my helmet. I had mounted the GoPro camera and they seemed to really like that attachment.
The flag lady said we would be able to go at 12:00 and I thought I was ready, however at 11:00 without warning she signaled us to go. It was a race, everyone ran to the vehicles and started them and was moving. I had to run ten yards, get my jacket on, didn't zip it, get my helmet on, didn't fasten it, get started and moving. It was crazy. If anyone got ahead of me I would have been dusted out. She was only letting this group through and then closing. I managed to get ahead of the pack however I didn't get the GoPro turned on and the option of stopping, impossible. It was a fun ride through the tunnels however I had a bus on my ass and there wasn't much time for sight seeing. I might try it again, early.
It was a short run but I needed to stop, get some water and adjust. What a great view.
Continued south to Huaraz looking for a place to stay that had hot water and wifi. Haven't had a shower in a few days, no hot water or the last place, no water. Went around a corner near the city center and there was a hostel with the owner standing in front. Do you need a room? Yes, I do. Do you have hot water, wifi and parking? Si seņor, tengo. I like this lady.
I'm going to explore the area for a few days so today will be a good day to take a shower, do laundry and catch up on the blog. Need to give the moto a good bath and inspection as well.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 02:36 AM
May 21-22, 2014
May 21, 2014
Got a late start, 9:00 am due to heavy fog. The plan was to back track for an hour and take 3N south to Mollebamba.
Water stop on 3N:
Mostly small farms with pigs and dairy cows in the area:
Nice entrance to a village:
The weather seemed to be holding so I decided to take a break and have lunch.
There was a couple men hanging out and I was able to get some road information. The road is good and it would take about two and half hours to reach Mollebamba if it didn't rain or rather rain heavy. One of the issues being mud slides, which are common throughout these mountain roads. Finished lunch and was riding again at 12:30. Fifteen minutes out, it started raining, heavy rain. It stayed that way for two hours except for about a ten minute period of heavy hail. Luckily there were just a couple small mud slides and other than one sort of bad wash out, all was good. An hour out of Mollebamba the rain stopped and things started drying up.
It was still looking like rain but all was good when I arrived. Found this place in the center town that had rooms. Parking in the store below
Not much going on here.
These girls kept saying, hello, they wanted to hear me speak english.
Most buildings here are made with adobe bricks. Entrance to my hostel, bathroom on the right beyond the wood pile, room up the stairs on the left.
Dirt floor, no window. It was actually very comfortable:
When this truck stopped things got pretty lively. A small grocery store on wheels, toothpaste to live chickens. Locals and local store owners get much of what they need from this truck. The couple that own it make a routine route through the mountain villages.
It didn't take long for the word to spread there was a gringo in town with a large moto. Spent the evening visiting with the locals drinking beer. Surprisingly I was told that very few motorcycle travelers take this route. Many of the people I spoke with had never seen a moto like mine. I was told that occasionally a bicyclist will pass through.
May 22, 2014
Woke up the next morning to a beautiful sunny sky. Got on the road early and stopped at the first village I came to for some breakfast:
Just need to descend down, cross a river and then ride up that road. Seems to be a common theme in this country:
That's what I descended, looks like a good road and for the most part it is, however, there where a couple washouts that were not comfortable:
This village had lots of interesting narrow streets:
Typical adobe farm house:
Village square, Tauca:
Entering the dryer climate area:
Beginning of the area known as, Canon del Pato, it's a canyon section of 3N that is famous for it's numerous tunnels:
The plan was to ride to Haullanca and spend the night before riding the rest of he canyon. It was getting late and I still had 40 minutes of riding to do. The road was fairly good here however there were a lot of sharp rocks so the going was slow.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:47 AM
May 23, 2014 GMT
20 May 14
Departed Huanchaco and headed back into the mountains for the village of Huamachuco. It's good paved road all the way and climbs up to 13,770', fantastic ride.
These were amazing, people stayed here, I could see inside a few of them and other than people sitting on dirt floors there was nothing else. Some had a dirt bed, dirt piled about 6" high, that took up a third of the floor space. Most had wind damage, obviously, and all were just one strong gust from exposing whoever is inside. There's a lot of mining, gold, in the area and this is probably where some of the workers and families stay.
Another couple miles up I reached the summit and the weather was looking worse and the temperature had dropped to 42 deg.. Once I entered the dark stuff I encountered rain and hail.
Arriving in Huamachuco was quite interesting, the roads leading into the village center are very narrow and then you end up in a grand open square, Plaza de Armas. The people here are very proud of this square and it's well taken care of.
Song of the Day: Wild Ones, Flo Rida - This played in the Plaza de Armas
Peru is my, New Favorite Foreign Country
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 10:53 PM
May 20, 2014 GMT
May 17-19, 2014
May 17, 2014
Awoke in Calendin to a beautiful day. Started the days ride a bit late, tried finding a cup of coffee however that didn't work out. They seem to like eating soup in the morning, without coffee. Even though the coffee served here is instant, getting them to boil water was difficult for some reason. A bottle of juice and I was good to go.
Saturday is market day and the local famers walk whatever they have to sell at the local market:
Arriving in the beach village of Pacasmayo:
May 18, 2014
Woke up late and decided I'd hang out for the day, do some trip planning and enjoy the hospitality. Not much going on, just few surfers around however the restaurants were good and I liked the place I was staying:
It cost .40 to walk out on the pier. Imagine the lawsuits in the USA.
The weather was great and I had a nice breeze coming through:
Not much happening on a Sunday:
May 19, 2014
Rode down the coast and stopped into the coast village of Chicama. Most times when I stop someone wants to sit on the moto and have a photo taken. This guy was doing his best to look serious.
Chicama is famous in the surf community for having the longest continues wave in the world:
Sugar cane is big in this area:
Decided to spend the night in Huanchaco, another surf spot. It's also famous for the reed rafts the local fisherman use called, caballitos (small horse, pony) or caballitos de totora
Great riding days, I really like Peru!
Song of the Day: Whistle, Flo Rida
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:45 AM
May 17, 2014 GMT
Ecuador to Peru
Departed Loja, Ecuador for Peru on 12 May. Was hoping my last day would be dry however that was not to be. The roads E35 & E50 through the mountains to the Huaquillas were nice and during clear weather I'm sure the views would be amazing. Once I got to west side and started dropping things cleared up and it got quite warm.
Weather break and water stop in Ecuador:
The border crossing was easy, took about an hour to get out of Ecuador and into Peru, felt good to enter a new country! It was a bit late in the day, however I rode on to Mancora and got settled in and then spent an extra day getting money and being dry. The northwest part of Peru is desert and nothing I care to spend time in so I decided to make a run to Olmos and then head for Chachapoyas in mountains on the 15th.
t was raining some when I departed Olmos and as I progressed into the mountains it went from light to heavy most of the ride to Chachapoyas. I did get a break passing through one of the valleys. The weather changes very quick here.
I guess they frown on fishing the fun way:
Lots of rice farms along the river valley:
Twenty minutes north of Chachapoyas is Gocta waterfall which is supposedly the third tallest waterfall in the world, 771 meters. It's a two part falls so I guess this comes into question for some so it maybe the fifth tallest. This was the best view I got of it.
Arrived in Chachapoyas about an hour before dark and didn't spend much time roaming the town. Went out for dinner, had a couple beers and ended it early. From what I did see, it's a very nice place. A cold wet day.
Got up early this morning hoping to get an early start however, it was raining. Went for a leisurely breakfast and waited in hopes it would clear. By 08:30 things looked promising and I was on the road by 9:00. The plan, ride south to Celendin. The weather held for about an hour then I was riding in the rain again. The road is single lane paved through the mountains and in many places it's very narrow, going was very slow due to the sharp curves, rocks in the road and chance of meeting traffic.
Crossed to mountain ranges, this was the first pass:
Every now and then I'd get a fantastic view:
Any break in the weather and the animals would come out to lay in the road, pigs, dogs, cows, donkeys and an occasional kid.
Just need to descend, cross the river and then get over the next mountain range. It was raining when I took this photo.
Looking back from across the river, I was somewhere along that road when I took the before photo. Weather looks great now.
It took seven hours to ride 142 miles, stopping only for short periods. Even with the wet weather it was an amazing ride.
Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:32 AM