October 26, 2006 GMT
South of Lima

Zona de Arena - Panamerican south of Lima

The road south of Lima is very good and well maintained. We decided to stretch as much out of the front tyre as we could. Fine.... now where do we pack the newly purchased tyre?

We had briefly carried a tyre on the top box. This was ok however, with some experimenting we found the new tyre fitted beautifully on the front crash bar. Although it did act as a bit of a "Lean-O-Meter" on tight right handers under heavy breaking.

Piggy in the Desert

An etherial mist shrouds the Peuvian coastline. Caused by cold currents in the Pacific Ocean for eight months of the year allowing only glimpses of the rugged rocky shoreline and emerald green waters crashing on the shoreline.

South Coast of Peru

After many days travelling through this sunless environment it can be come quite gloomy and is not helped by the endless number of impoverished towns seemingly deserted and desolate.

Farming in the Desert

We set up the tent in the garden of the 3 star hotel in Nasca. Grant performed some much needed maintenance on the bike. The washable air filter and dirty spark plugs were causing her to run rougher than normal at sea level.

After new oil (not an easy find in Nasca), oil filter, change of plugs and a few other checks things were a bit better. However, the non-standard air filter is a dog at low altidutde. We decide to perservere.

Camping and Servicing - Nasca

The Nasca lines are amazing. Opting not to fly over them (after talking to many air sick passengers) we climbed the mirador for a first hand look at the famous 2000 year old lines etched into the desert. Geometric shapes, outlines of animals, plants and long straight lines are amassed upon the stoney barren desert all by various cultural groups for, as yet, unknown purposes.


Some theories include an ancient running track and an astronomical chart. The how's and why's these lines were made is a true mystery fueling speculation that the ancients had mastered the art of flight. From our vantage point it is easy to imagine this to be the case.

Heading to Chauchilla

Twelve kilometers off the Pan American, over a very sandy track is Chauchilla and the site of some of the best examples of Ancient Mummies and the funerary items found in their tombs. The area is very somber with human bones, pottery shards and cloth wrappings scattered across the dry desert floor caused by unscrupious grave robbers in times past. Some thirteen burial chambers have been exposed and placed on display.

Chauchilla Mummy Tomb

In the charming city of Arequipa tourists from all over the world converge to visit the colonial and religous heart, wandering the narrow streets and alleyways, enjoying the picturesque views of Volcán Misti, Mountains Chachani and Picchu Picchu towering above.

Camping in Arequipa

After camping for one night in the grounds of a hotel (Soles 28.00) we found a little Hostal for Soles 20.00. (Address: Hostal Lider Inn - Consuelo 429, Arequipa) It had fantastic parking for Piggy, they allowed us to use the laundry and kick back for a few days.

It was clean, had solar hot water and cable TV, no towels or loo paper were included in the price, the furniture outdated and decoration was minimal, but who can complain for $US6.00 and only five minutes walk from Centro!!

Fascade - Arequipa

With safe and clean parking space for Miss Piggy at our little hotel we decide to check the valve clearances and change the badly worn front tyre to the more dirt orientated tyre we had been carrying.

Grant, seizing the opportunity to the practice with the tools on hand lept into the job with his usual enthusiam and performed the valve clearance check with ease. The tyre change, however was a different story! Forgetting every detail that had been observed and learnt at the Creel HU meeting, it was after all a year ago.

Chachani and Picchu Picchu - Arequipa

With Jules assistance a comedy of errors played out like a Laurel and Hardy film. After some time and much effort it was decided, by both parties, to go and eat lunch. Grant always thinking better on a full stomach returned to the job with even greater enthusiasm than the morning.

Somewhere in the deep, dark and probably musty recesses of our minds we remembered that the motorcycle stand plays an important part in the changing of said tyre.

Utilising what is at hand

Several minutes later and with the assistance of a couple of pieces of timber, scrounged conveniently from the yard, Grant had levered the bead loose, using the stand and the weight of Miss Piggy (not un-substantial) and in no time the old tyre was removed from the rim. After cleaning the rim the new tyre slipped on easily, however, as it was a non-standard tyre size (100/90-19), all we could get in Lima, it proved very difficult to inflate with our wee air compressor.

Valley Scene

We eventually took the tyre and rim to a local llanteria (tyre-fixer-upperer-shop) and after lathering the rim with old engine oil, the tyre was inflated in an instant. Grant cringed and looked the other way recalling that oil should never be used to lubricate the tyre and rim. It is, however, common practice in Latin America. It was a good practice run and decided for us once and for all to purchase a front and rear tube to inflate the tyre with more ease in the event of an emergency.

Sandy Desert

Posted by Julie Rose at 05:30 PM GMT

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