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Old 02-19-2013, 02:07 PM   #286
RexBuck OP
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Feb 9 - 11 Kuelap

Took a tour to Kuelap Fortress ruins which sits on top of a mountain about 3 hours by bus from Chachapoyas.

Most of the 3 hour ride is spent winding up the mountains to reach the fortress. Pass a lot of locals walking along the road.This girl hauling some grass to feed livestock.




You can see the cliffs in the far distance which on which Kulap is located. On the closer hill you can see the road we just came up.






Kulap was the home of the Chachapoya Indians who occupied it from about 500AD to about 1500AD. It is situated on the mountain top as a defense against warring neighboring tribes particularly the Indians of the Amazon rain forest noted as headshrinkers.

All the entrances were these long, narrow walkways that would allow only one person at a time to enter.




The Chachapoya could then easily overpower the enemy one at a time and then chucked them off this cliff. This farm land is at the bottom of the cliff. To get an idea of the scale, there is a guy standing just below the house at about the 7 oíclock position.




The Chachapoya lived inside the fortress in these round houses. There are about 500 of them. This one was restored.





You can see a number of original round house foundations in the foreground - the large structure at the back was for food storage. The round shape was chosen as it was the most efficient shape to offset the frequent earthquakes they have in the area.






The Chachapoya liked to keep their dead nearby. They would embalm them, fold them up and could put a few in these holes in the middle of their houses. Kind of like keeping Grandma in the basement. They guy in this pic was our guide Agosto - fluent in Spanish, English and German. I think guides make these places a lot more interesting.






The round houses were organized by hierarchy with the Shamans having distinctive designs on the outsides of theirs






The Shamans also wore special shoes and they wore distinctive ruts in the soft limestone over the centuries.





That line of rocks going across the floor of most houses was used to house a flock of Guinea Pigs or Cuyos which was a big part of their diet.





The rock wall around the fortress is riddled with little storage spaces where more bones are stored. I guess when they run out of room in the basement, somebody has to go to the wall.








This structure is huge and I couldnít capture its size in one photo. It apparently has a greater volume of stone in it than does the Cheops Pyramid. All of the stone was quarried about 10 km away and carried by hand up the mountain.

Even have a bunch of Llamas that hang around there. Pretty cool looking animals but they can be nasty with a vicious kick and are very adept spitters.







The picture I took of the fortress on top of the mountain was taken somewhere on that road in the distance.





Chachapoya people grew primarily potatoes when they occupied the fortress. The descendents still grow primarily potatoes and also corn which was introduced by the Inca.





The Chachapoya would collect rainwater in the wet season but had to haul water up the mountain from rivers in the valley bottoms in dry season. I guess after carrying all that rock up the mountain, it was a natural progression to start carrying water.

The Inca and the Spaniards showed up in the area about the same time. The Chachapoya were able to defend against both until decimated by smallpox brought over by the Spanish. The Inca finally forced the survivors to leave the fortress by cutting off their dry season water supply.


On the way back we stopped for a meal of outstanding local trout








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Old 02-19-2013, 02:11 PM   #287
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Thanks for the RR. Really enjoying reading from Alaska!

Squatch
You are welcome squatch. Thanks for joining in.

I suspect you folks in Alaska have an even shorter riding season than we do (or those that stay there in the winter do ) in Southern Canada.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:06 PM   #288
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Thank you for the RR's....I'll be heading to Copper Canyon in 3 weeks.....

I absoultly love eating trout, although I usually throw them back to catch another day! You should take a picture of your meal. Not very often we get to see a meal of fish!



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On the way back we stopped for a meal of outstanding local trout



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Old 02-19-2013, 03:33 PM   #289
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Thank you for the RR's....I'll be heading to Copper Canyon in 3 weeks.....

I absoultly love eating trout, although I usually throw them back to catch another day! You should take a picture of your meal. Not very often we get to see a meal of fish!
You are going to love Copper Canyon. I've only skirted around it on the paved roads but would love to get down inside it sometime.

Sorry about the trout. I kind of messed that picture up. Forgot how easily some of you are distracted. I'll try to be more careful in the future.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:19 PM   #290
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Feb 9 - 11 Gocta Waterfalls

Thought it would be cool to go see neighboring Gocta Waterfalls. Apparently one of the 5 tallest waterfalls in the world. Should be pretty easy. Get a ride in a bus up, snap some pics and back for a beer. So, who do you think was surprised when it was mentioned on the way out that this was going to involve a two hour hike . . . each way.

They bus us up to this little town of San Pablo where we pay our entrance fee and start hoofing it up the hill.






Spectacular vistas of the mountains and valleys.





You can see the San Pablo hotel and part of the village in the foreground.







They have done a good job of build the trail with large stones. Lots of stairs of varying height. The Geezer knees were complaining by the time we got back.









It was amazing to me to find all the vegetation essentially jungle at over 8000 feet altitude.






At first we caught a glimpse of these falls on the far side of the valley . . . didnít look that spectacular.




Then come around a corner and see the real thing. They were impressive.





Continued hiking and eventually came out at the bottom of the upper falls. They kicked up quite a mist which was quite refreshing in the heat.







Needless to say, I was bagged by the end of this.

I really enjoyed the little town of Chachapoyas. Very pretty. They have about eight blocks as a pedestrian only area which is really nice.





The church at night.





Street sweepers. These ladies seemed to be sweeping in circles but I guess they got the job done.






Pollo a la plancha or grilled chicken





Coconut cookies from a street vendor. Mmmmm.



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Old 02-19-2013, 07:42 PM   #291
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Nice ride... stay safe!
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Let's ride!!! - No offense, but there've been a lot of people over time who were just as sure, yet got it wrong. - Una necedad, aunque la repitan millones de bocas, no deja de ser una necedad. - "you know that I could have me a million more friends and all I'd have to lose is my point of view" (Prine)
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:59 AM   #292
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Quote:
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Sorry about the trout. I kind of messed that picture up.
Yeah right

Great RR
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:24 AM   #293
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Nice ride... stay safe!
Thanks, I appreciate that.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:38 AM   #294
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Very interesting looking place, thanks!
Thanks SR.

I meant to mention in my last couple of posts that geology of these areas are amazing. On the hike to Kulap they had some rock that had ocean fossils in it that were found nearby at around 10,000 feet. The layers of the earth that you can see at odd angles and many times bent in wild curves is astonishing. To consider the force it took to raise rock out of ocean beds to many times over 14,000 feet and twist it around is mind boggling. Considering the gazillions of years of history represented by those thousands of feet of layers is like trying to fathom the stars. Outside my limited mental capacity.

You might want to check it out someday. They do have a bit of mining going on down here, ya know?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:38 AM   #295
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Yeah right

Great RR
Thanks again Jeff
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:59 AM   #296
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Feb 12 Back to Jaen

Uneventful trip back to Jaen. Same relaxing ride down the river as I had a few days ago. Just saw everything is reverse. Like these great rapids.





My original plan was to go to Celenden via about 250 km of dirt roads and then on to Cajamarca which is supposed to be another neat town.

I certainly donít mind gravel roads, I certainly donít mind dirt roads and Iím ok with some mud. What gives me the heeby jeebies is doing those when they are perched on the side of sheer drop-offs when the air is so thick with fog itís difficult to see the road, much less the edge of the road. Combine that with a bit of slippery stuff when you canít see ahead and I just ainít that good. Particularly by myself. With the odd bus and truck cruising through.

Considering that along with my incident in the fog and I decided to change my plans go back the way I came over. I am greatly disappointed. This is one of the in Peru I really wanted to ride. Apparently the scenery is staggering. Hopefully there will be another opportunity in another year when it is a little dryer.

Found Hostal Mantaro on the outskirts of town. A lot more convenient than downtown where I stayed last time. Not quite as flashy an area but the hotel actually seems nicer and about half the price with parking right at the hotel.

The three wheelers would congregate outside the Hostal.





Until one of the big Cruise Liners that park next door had to back in (They were in and out a lot) then they'd jockey around to give him room.





More tasty local food


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Old 02-20-2013, 01:31 PM   #297
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Great report! Keep it coming.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:00 PM   #298
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Feb 13 Chiclayo

Left Jaen this morning dreading the tour in the fog again over the summit that surprisingly wasnít that high Ė only about 7000 feet.

As we are going through the rice growing area, come across a couple of small combines harvesting rice. Most of these fields are pretty small so they have adapted with these small combines.






Across the road was this guy plowing one field the hard way - this is a pretty common sight





All along the way we come across all sorts of varmints in the road









Was pretty warm until we eventually started to gain some altitude. Came around one right hand corner and there was one of these giant double decker tour buses coming down the hill hell bent for leather with his front wheels almost over my shoulder line. Holy Crap Batman! Damn good thing they had a shoulder here rather than one of those nasty ditches. I donít know why the idiot wasnít expecting somebody there Ė would have been nasty had it been something with 4 wheels. I could see him slowing down and checking out if I was OK . . . let him know all was ok with an ADV salute.

About 5 minutes later had one of those 16 passenger vans do the same thing. This mountain is out to get me!

Got to the top and WTF? Whereís the fog? Well, at least I get to see the great scenery I missed on the way up. What a fun road to ride when you can see.





All those great switchbacks were in the fog coming up





And of course, a little rock dandruf. I hit a small rock in the fog coming up - never saw it but sure felt it. Glad it wasn't any larger.





Back to the desert. Came across this sight . . . almost brought a tear to my eye. What a beautiful scene





Stopped at the Tķcume Pyramids along the way. Arrived in the middle of the afternoon. Go to the ticket booth to see what there is to see. One walking tour was to go look at the pyramids. Iím all for pyramids so that was it. About a 1 km walk. It was mid 80s. I was in my bike gear. Legs still beat from that walk to the Gocta Falls but ok.

Then I discovered some idiot had put these stairs in the way of where I have to get to - the viewpoint overlooking the ruins





I know he's sitting somewhere laughing because then he put another set of stairs in to get to that covered area at the top. My legs are starting to grumble . . .





There are 26 pyramid ruins at this site which were built at least a thousand years ago. They were made of adobe which is sand, clay and straw and I never thought were that durable.


These were a couple of the pyramid remains. The one in the second picture is apparently over 2000 feet long









While they are pretty beat up from the weather over the centuries (I guess they are kind of big piles of sand and clay now), I was able to sneak a peek into a sealed off area to see one of their excavations and noted the bricks that were protected from the weather were still in pretty good shape.





Well letís see, you can either say ďThey used neighboring tribes as slavesĒ or this bit of modern day double-speak:










This is a rich valley that has produced an abundance of food as the Indians learned to add water to the desert. Now there are miles of rice fields and orchards. I see why you always get a pile of rice for just about every meal. They produce a lot of it.





Arriving in Chiclayo, I realize this is a good sized city. Starts off with a huge industrial area primarily devoted to the rice industry.

I come to the conclusion these drivers are trying to win the everybody is a crazy driver award. Strangely, it has a certain rhythm. While there may be only two lanes marked on the road and four cars/trucks happen to be side by side occupying them, and somebody is still trying to make it five wide. I find just standing my ground they will leave me alone and when I need to change a lane they let me take it without trying to kill me.

Get to the hotel and the parking lot is a couple of blocks over. Kid working there to show me where it is. Rather than hop on the back of my bike, he shows up with his own. Leads me over. Holy cow those little bikes are maneuverable. Theyíll fit in spaces between cars Iíd never dream of. Finally get there after crossing four very active lanes without the benefit of a light. You just kind of slowly nose across and traffic keeps going by until you finally block them enough that they have to stop.


Drop the bike off and Iím ready to walk back and the kid says no, hop on the back. Really?


So here is a 120 pound kid on his Yamaha 125 with 200#+ el Gordo RexBuck on the back. Kid takes off and I can tell the front wheel got real light cause heís madly turning the handlebars back and forth trying to go straight. I snuggle up as close to him as I can without having to dress on the other side but that doesnít help much.


Itís ok, Iíll walk! No, no weíre fine SeŮor.


Heís tearing off down the street passing cars on the right while twisting the handlebars back and forth trying to get it to go straight Ė barely missing vehicles including a particularly attractive transitio parked on the side of the road.

Surprisingly, we made it back with no incidents and I don't know if the kid would have liked to have had a beer at that point but I know I did.


I kind of like this city. Quite the downtown. It is nuts. Cars and people. Beautiful square (Plaza de Armas) with a color coordinated Cathedral and Municipal Hall. The interesting part was the square itself. Nothing spectacular but it was full of people - particularly in the evening. I have not seen a city square used like this since Mexico. People strolling through and tons just sitting around.









At night





Went to this restaurant for dinner. Was a little put off by the name but looked to be full of locals. It was.





Had one of the best meals in Peru. Lomo Atomica. Delicious.





This waiter was great. Handled the whole place himself, quickly and efficiently and not making a big deal out of himself . This guy goes on my Great Waiter list which isnít very long.


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Old 02-20-2013, 02:01 PM   #299
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Great report! Keep it coming.
mlc
Hey midlifecry, thanks for joining in
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:27 AM   #300
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Feb 14 - 16 Huanchaco

Left Chiclayo for a short ride to Huanchaco. Just get out of town and encounter a huge traffic jam. Stuck for about an hour. Finally get moving again and discover it was caused by an accident - one of those big cruiser buses had a header with a garbage truck. I'm going to venture a guess that the bus was passing somebody and expected the garbage truck to move out of his way. Ambulances and a hearse showed up.

After seeing the adobe pyramids I really start to notice they build everything in this area with adobe. You can see the adobe buildings in this little town I stopped in.




Finally getting into some real desert.




Cop had just made this guy turn around. Suspect it was because his load of sugar cane was sticking out about 4 feet on each side of the truck.





Huanchaco is a nice beach town. Stayed at the Hostal Naylamp which is right across the street from the beach.



Great place with decent WiFi, parking in a huge locked garage and decent room.

Town has a nice beach. Lot of surf boards for rent and these reed kayaks standing on end.





They surf with these also. Looks like they just get a stick to paddle with though but they seem to move pretty quickly.





Noticed another traveler's bike next to mine one day. Turns out Ollie from England is heading north doing a Charity Trip. Nice kid. Was able to give each other some tips the trips each had done so far.


Get ready for CaŮon del Pato next . . .
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