Prologue My girlfriend Hewbys got this crazy idea. I had hoped to be able to join her for her entire trip, but couldnt. Then for a while it looked like maybe I could join her in South America for a couple of months. That also fell through. Finally, I was able to pull together an almost 3-week trip to see her and ride with her. Airfare was easy. Arranging the motorcycle rental was a bit harder, as we werent sure where she would be when my vacation came up. It finally looked like southern Peru would be the ticket. Unfortunately, right after I committed to that, Hewby had some bike issues in southern Colombia, which resulted in her having to then haul the mail through Ecuador and northern Peru to meet me. For most of my time here I will be chasing Hewby. Shes a better, faster rider than I am, approaching the twisties with confidence where I keep thinking what ifs. Shell be doing a bit of waiting on this ride. Friday, Jan 11, 2013 South America at last My first foray into South America is off to an inauspicious start. When I disembark from the junky 757 that American flies on the Miami-Lima route, I find out that my duffle with all of my motorcycle gear did not join me. I cannot make a claim in Lima, but rather have to fly on to Arequipa, since that is where the luggage was checked through. The folks at LAN Peru also do not know where the bag is, but try hard to track it down for me. Calling American has me wait for 45 on the phone. Grumble. I finally find out that the luggage is in LAX, and will join me in AQP on Saturday. Meanwhile, the folks at Peru Motors have let me poke through their riding gear collection I find a helmet, gloves, a jacket, and some boots that actually fit me. I then do a little fiddling with the bike a recent KLR650. I wire it for my GPS, get to know it a little, and go for a short ride. Its my first introduction to riding a motorcycle outside of the US and Canada, and it is a bit like being thrown into the deep end of the pool. After a few gulps and gasps, I start to get the hang of it. I am staying at the La Gruta hotel that has been recommended to me by the Peru Motors folks. After a nap, I go and explore Arequipa. The centro historico is just a short walk away, so I head there in search of food. I find some tasty ceviche de corvine at a restaurant called Zingaro, but I am also a little surprised at how pricey the place is. The night life near the Plaza de Armas is hopping, full of Peruvians and tourists alike, but it isnt my scene, so I head back to the hotel. Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 The Search for Luggage Today was supposed to have been the day that I head out to meet Hewby. She is racing down from Ecuador to meet me, so we can spend the next 2.5 weeks riding Peru. Instead, I go out on the town early in the morning to do a little sightseeing. I get a nice tour of the cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, an imposing edifice built of sillar, the local white volcanic stone. I wander through the Mercado, taking in the sights and smells. I finish with a great tour of the Santa Catalina cloisters. Looking down on the Plaza de Armas from the top of the cathedral: IMG_2161 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr The walls of the Santa Catalina cloisters IMG_2133 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr I'm a sucker for old doors: IMG_2138 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr Silence IMG_2221 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr Courtyard at the Santa Catalina cloisters: IMG_2230 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr One of Peru's Finest, getting a jugo at the market: IMG_2207 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr I meander back to the hotel, to find that Lars from Peru Motors is back from his Chasing the Dakar trip with four of his customers. I join them for beers, and we make plans to go out for dinner in the evening. Just then my luggage arrives! Yay! Still, being a couple of beers in, and it already being 3pm, I decide to hold off on hitting the road until early the next day. The evening passes quickly over a nice dinner and drinks, and I wander Arequipa at night with some of the folks from the trip, but head to the hotel by about 11 in anticipation of a 7am departure. I then spend several fitful hours alternating between I must sleep so I am rested and Im so excited Im finally riding tomorrow, dozing off around 3am.