Isn't it fortunate that I decided to turn south? If I hadn't I'd now be somewhere in the general vicinity of Guatemala/southern Mexico where the roads have either been washed away by the floods or destroyed by the earthquake.
I've had a great ride down through Peru on the PanAm. Desert and more desert, and the last 350-mile stretch from Nazca to Arequipa was simply stunning. The road hugs the coast, and at times is more or less on the beach. The snag was the strong wind off the Pacific (which has been blowing all the way down. At one point the sand was a couple of inches deep right across the road, so I was trying to stay upright on a road I couldn't see with 40-ton trucks steaming past in both directions from time to time.
The desert is the road is the beach - PanAmericana south of Nazca
So now I'm in Arequipa, the White City (nothing whatever to do with either greyhounds or Auntie Beeb). It's a rather beautiful colonial town 8,000 feet up on volcano and canyon country; in fact the two deepest canyons in the world are very near here - over 3,000 metres deep, so I'll be doing a little side trip to take a look.
But I have time to spare; the aforementioned sand isn't that nice fine soft Sahara stuff - oh no. It's coarse and gritty, and gets in everywhere especially when it's being forced in by the wind. Specifically, a large amount entered through the vents in the front engine cover, where the alternator resides. And guess what? It's wrecked both the stator and the rotor. So I have to stay here while the sainted MotoBins send me replacements, which they can't do till Monday. The learned lesson is that when in that sort of environment again I'll tape over the vents temporarily.Posted by Cynthia Milton at October 09, 2005 05:29 PM GMT
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