Chasing Hewby around Peru

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by huzar, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Darnestown, MD
    Did the lift the "No Photography" ban inside the church, or did you have to sneak the pictures?

    [​IMG]

    Enjoying your report...
    #21
  2. MoxieGirl

    MoxieGirl Wannabe Adventuring

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
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    Bellevue, WA
    Awesome!!!!! Really enjoyed the pics and hearing about your adventure. Sounds like so much fun. Safe journey.
    #22
  3. ProZac235

    ProZac235 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    62
    Wicked RR. Really enjoying reading.
    #23
  4. xymotic

    xymotic Long timer

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    Marcin, I've decided we are not friends anymore. In fact I'm pretty sure I hate you. It started when your damned bike was so much prettier than mine.

    And now this.

    :ddog
    #24
  5. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    The day starts for me with a trip to the motorcycle shop where I got the battery last night. I got the terminal nuts and headed back. Hewby had in the meantime packed up the room, so that all that needed to be done was to button up the KLR and we could be on our way.

    We head out to Ollantaytambo, bypassing Sacsayhuaman. The road is nice, and as we near Urubamba we drop down to the valley via some pretty twisties. We stop at a mirador and soak in the view before us. The brown river, the green valley and lower slopes, and for the first time on this trip for me, rocky, glacier-clad pinnacles.

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    DSC00869 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

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    IMG_2400 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The mirador above the town of Urubamba:
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    IMG_2402 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Hewby looking lovely as ever:
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    IMG_2403 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    As we approach the bridge, we see traffic get very heavy. Lots of stopped minibuses, trucks, people with wheelbarrows. We soon see why. When we get to the bridge, we are told we cannot pass. Only pedestrians. They have put in bollards to keep vehicles from getting on the bridge. I think I’d have had to remove my side bags to fit between them. Eventually we are informed that if we’re going to Ollantaytambo, there is a road that heads out of Maras that will get us over the river.

    The closed-off bridge:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2406 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Snow-covered peaks:
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    IMG_2407 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We retrace our steps, and soon find ourselves in Maras. We head out on what we think is the road – a reasonable dirt tract – then turn around and head back, as we realize we’re riding in not quite the right direction. We then spot what we think is the right road, but it looks kind of muddy and tracked out. Hewby wants to go down it, I want to get gas, as the KLR has already done 165 miles since the last fillup. I think I can get gas in Huayllabamba, which is the road Google Maps had routed us through this morning. Only I didn’t see any other paved roads split off the 3S that we were on… Odd.

    The nice dirt track heading out of Maras. I'm still not sure why I didn't want to go this way:
    [​IMG]
    DSC00888 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    With my limited Spanish and bullheaded conviction that I want to get has in Huayllabamba, I pull a reluctant Hewby with me. There is a little village in which the tract to Huayllabamba originates, but we get conflicting inputs on which of the roads out of the village actually leads to Huayllabamba. We finally encounter a friendly man who first draws us a map, and then offers to show us the way. I ask him to hop on the back of the KLR, and we go where he points. He gets us out of the village, points down the tract, and tells us it is only about 8 kilometers. He assures us that the bridge in Huayllabamba is just fine, and we will have no problem getting across. We thank him profusely and start down the tract.

    Hewby getting written directions from a local, before he hops on the back of my bike to show us the way:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2410 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The road is mostly a dual-track clay road. Given that this is the rainy season, some of the mud and clay is slick. Occasionally there are slides and small washouts, as well as lots of evidence of recent repairs. This gives us confidence that this is the right road, and that people actually use this. Somewhere we miss a turn.

    The not quite as nice dirt track:
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    IMG_2412 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Me piloting Hewby's bike through a rougher section. Long legs FTW!
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    DSC00890 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Somewhere here we begin to lose the track, I think:
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    DSC00897 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    More rought stuff:
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    IMG_2414 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Hewby's relieved to have made it down that:
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    IMG_2416 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We find ourselves on an ever rougher, ever narrower path. Hewby drops her bike a couple of times. With my longer legs, duck walking is the one type of motorcycle riding where I do better than she does. The single track eventually ends at the ruins of an old house, effectively cliffing out. Crap.

    Scenic place for a dirt nap:
    [​IMG]
    DSC00900 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    At the house remnants where the track cliffed out:
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    DSC00906 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Bringing the KLR around:
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    DSC00916 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Yay, backtracking:
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    DSC00918 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Riding past Hewby's downed bike:
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    DSC00921 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    At least the views are still pretty:
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    DSC00926 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    I look back, and see that way back there is a dual-track that heads down to the valley, and realize this is the turn-off we missed. I bring the bike around, help Hewby with hers, and we head back. We’re not looking forward to this, as the Pirelli MT60s on the KLR are not the best for wet clay, and Hewby’s front is getting kind of bare. We came down what seemed like some steep, slick stuff, and coming back up it would be a bear.

    The ride back to the turn we missed actually starts to let me understand why the KLR is beloved by so many. Yeah, it’s not the perfect bike for anything, but five days earlier it did 85 on the pista, it did the twisties in the mountains, and now it is kind of managing the rough tract. My V-Strom would have schooled it on the road, my Husky would have schooled it in the dirt, but I can’t very well carry a trailer full of bikes. The geometry sort of fits me. I’m starting to like the bike. It just sort of chugs along. I point it, and like a tractor it goes.

    [​IMG]
    IMG_2417 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Unfortunately, Hewby’s heavily loaded (and lowered) F650GS has a harder time of it. Hewby has a particularly unfortunate fall where she breaks the mirror mount (yet again), and shatters her newly installed windscreen. D’oh! I offer to ride her bike through the more difficult sections, and we move some of her luggage to my KLR. Riding her lowered bike I get a couple of painful reminders that duck walking a heavy bike with panniers through rocks is fraught with peril, as I nearly get my ankle trapped.

    Man down, man down:
    [​IMG]
    DSC00927 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We find the missed turn, walk it a bit to confirm, and then head down. The road is once again a nice dual-track with sharp switchbacks. Hewby has another small get-off, but otherwise things are going well. We realize we’ve now been on this tract for over three hours, as we can see the shadows getting longer on the peaks across the river. Part of me does not care, as the view is gorgeous, with new snow-capped crags emerging from the mists.

    Back on track:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2418 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Walking Hewby's bike down a section that has been torn up by a tractor or excavator:
    [​IMG]
    DSC00951 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    I notice that the KLR is starting to handle like a pig, not tracking straight, sliding sideways on the switchbacks. Uh oh. My front is flat. Hewby offers to air it up, but I think I’ll be fine just kind of slowly rolling down the hill. Only now I try not to use the front brake, only the rear one, which is much harder to modulate. I have to fight the bike to go straight, but somehow we make it down to the bottom of the tract. There we have one last surprise. The tract ends in a stream. We can sort of skirt the left side of it through a rocky shelf, and then cross it and go up the dirt on the other side, and we’ll finally be in Huayllabamba. I take the KLR over, and Hewby asks me to take her bike across the rocks and the stream. We’re in town.

    Bringing the KLR down to the crossing:
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    DSC00969 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The actual crossing. Looks pretty wimpy now, but we have had lots of practice since. Also, we were kind of knackered after our little ordeal, so it seemed biger than it was:
    [​IMG]
    DSC00971 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    I use Hewby’s compressor to inflate the front tire, as we find out there is no llantaria in town. The nearest one is in Urubamba, right near the bridge (the same bridge that we had tried to cross much earlier in the day). The air holds for a bit, letting me get through the village. I have to reinflate again, which gets us to the pista and on to Urubamba. We find a shop that’s still open, and the man tells me he can fix it for 10 soles. Music to my ears. We find out that part of the support for the bridge has collapsed, and while they’re putting up a new one, the old one cannot support vehicle traffic. Of course there is absolutely no signage anywhere indicating that a major bridge on a major road is out.

    We have another 13 miles to Ollantaytambo, which we risk in the dark. At one point a white dog runs out, I swerve to avoid him, but I’m pretty sure that the pickup that was tailgating me mowed him down. We get to town, to be greeted by Hewby’s favorite road surface – cobblestones. Hewby has the name and address of some Hostel, an we try to find that. We soon come to the realization that a lot of the “roads” are actually pedestrian-only alleys. We ask a policeman about the street, and he says it too is pedestrian-only. Hewby had previously spotted another Hostel, right by the little bridge in town. 60 Soles for the night, with nice, hot water, but somewhat weak wifi that only exists in the common areas. Given we feel pretty beat, we take it. They have room for our bikes in the courtyard. We shower, and go to the pizzeria next door for dinner. We’re tired and hungry and not really caring about an authentic experience – we just want some food. The place works.

    I never did need the gas. I switched on the reserve a couple of miles outside of Ollantaytambo. Which probably means my gas worries about the dirt tract out of Maras were unfounded. It likely would have been easier to navigate than the one we went on, and would have gotten us here sooner. So I dragged Hewby through some rough stuff, causing her to break a few things on her bike for no good reason. Sometimes I can be a pretty pig-headed boyfriend.
    #25
  6. chabon

    chabon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    309
    Location:
    Carpinteria, CA
    Oh man, don't stop now. What a cliffhanger. I will keep hitting refresh until you post again. Liking your report......
    #26
  7. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
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    Sorry, didn't mean to turn this into a literal cliff-hanger. I think ADV chopped off the end of the post. I've fixed it and added the last couple of pictures
    #27
  8. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
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    We had the best of intentions of hitting the road to Santa Teresa this morning, so that we could catch a bus to Agua Caliente tonight. We would spend the night there, and have Machu Picchu mostly to ourselves before the hordes of day tourists arrive.

    Right next to the hotel we stayed at was a nice place called the Hearts Café, which through its Living Hearts foundation does a lot of good work here. They also had a nice menu and good wifi. So we lingered. It got hot. We were dressed to ride, but the magnificent ruins that tower above the town would not be denied. Eventually we hatched a plan that would have us stay one more night in town, do the run to Santa Teresa tomorrow, and today see the ruins.

    The market below the ruins:
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    IMG_2422 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The pre-Inca terraces leading up to the Inca temples at the top:
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    IMG_2425 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

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    IMG_2432 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Looking down at the town and ruins across the other side. Also, note the "face" just up and left of center of the picture. That's a natural formation supposedly representing the face of Wiracocha, the Quechua god:
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    IMG_2457 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Tight fit and polish. The knob sticking out was for tying ropes to the stone for transport:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2466 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

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    IMG_2472 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The stones of the Temple of the Sun. They weigh 70-80 tons each, and were transported over 4 miles from the quarry up the hill to here:
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    IMG_2474 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Someone's taking all of this lying down:
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    IMG_2476 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The terraces at Ollantaytambo were only used to farm produce for use by the priests and for sacrifices, not for commoners' food:
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    IMG_2483 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    A storehouse, undergoing reconstruction:
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    IMG_2493 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    A restored storehouse roof:
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    IMG_2496 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Stones carved for baths, where people would purify their bodies before entering the temples:
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    IMG_2502 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The "Princess" baths:
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    IMG_2507 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Oh, hello again Mr Dog:
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    IMG_2508 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Young Quechua women in costume:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2520 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    I’m glad we did that. The ruins are meant to be the second most impressive ruins in Peru, right after Machu Picchu, which means Machu Picchu is going to be jaw-dropping, ‘cause these were very, very imposing. We got tickets for 70 soles each just for this site (they also sell a ticket for 130 soles that gives admission to this place, Pisac, and two other ruins, but is only good for two days). They don’t take plastic, but there’s a BCP ATM that dispenses up to 700 soles at a time, rather than 400 soles for the GlobalNet ATM in the plaza, so this is a reasonable place to stock up on cash. We also sprung for a guide for the two of us – an hour and a half-long completo tour cost S70, and I thought it was well worth it.

    My knee was tweaking after the tour – it feels unstable, and my muscles are having to work overtime to stabilize it, so I lay down for a while, and now I’m back at the Hearts Café, as the Hotel has really crappy, on and off internet with almost unusable wifi. Hewby is exploring the town, and she’ll probably come back in an hour all excited about the people she met and the new friends she made.

    Hewby makes a new friend:
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    IMG_2444 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We’ve got a chill evening tonight, and tomorrow we ride to Santa Teresa. I will stash my stuff and the bike there and catch a bus to Aguas Calientes, and Hewby will ride on to Hidroelectrica and walk the train tracks. The luggage will come with me. I wish I could join her on the walk, but I don’t think my knee would like it and I want to conserve it for the expected walking around Machu Picchu.
    #28
  9. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    No, they definitely did not lift the "No Photography" ban -- these were taken on the sly
    #29
  10. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer

    Joined:
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    Healing up well, thanks! I'm positive that wonderful brown elixer helped immensely :freaky. Shelly and I both agreed that it tasted as much like candy as it did whiskey.

    The deep valleys, monstruous peaks, very interesting terraces, etc, are awesome, indeed :clap. And you say the next day is better at Machu Picchu?
    IN!
    #30
  11. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    We set out this morning at the crack of 10 for Santa Teresa. Unlike the previous day’s morning downpour, the weather was gorgeous. First thing we did was head out of town, expecting to find a gas station, as I had tapped my reserve coming in to town. No such luck. We found a place advertising they had gasoline, but no one was there to open it, and wouldn’t be there for a while. As we’re standing, talking to the local, we see Bryce (Ulyses) and Mike pull up. They had come in from Cusco that morning. After a brief chat, Hewby and I decided to turn around to find gas before Ollantaytambo, and Bryce and Mike headed to Santa Teresa.

    We had to backtrack 9 miles, but got filled up and headed towards our goal once more. Once we got past Ollantaytambo, the road got very pretty. It climbed in serpentines up out of the valley, its curves folding over themselves almost like one folds pasta when making it. There was little traffic, the sun was out, the pavement was good – it was glorious. Having started at about nine thousand feet, the road brought us to fourteen thousand feet in the span of maybe 20 miles, and they were some of the best miles I have ever ridden.

    Old terraces climb up the steep hillsides:
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    IMG_2526 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Twisties galore:
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    IMG_2530 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Whoever laid out this road was a genius:
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    IMG_2531 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The pass at the top was a sharp demarcation line. On the other side, the road fell back down in sharp switchbacks, but the weather became unpleasant. Thick fog turned to drizzle, which turned to rain. The surface was not as good. The cliffs on the side of the road were covered with moss, not cacti. The fog, drizzle and rain pestered me for almost 30 miles before I finally broke back out into sunshine. The road was now following a raging river. Finally, about 70 miles out from Ollantaytambo, we reached Santa Maria, which is the turn-off for Santa Teresa and the road to Machu Picchu. On a day with nice weather, those 70 miles have to be some of the most magnificent anywhere.

    Turning off for Santa Teresa:
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    IMG_2535 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We turned onto the dirt track to Santa Teresa. At times it was muddy and torn up, at others smooth and wide. It followed along the roaring Urubamba river, now flowing fast and furious due to the near-daily rains in the mountains. Slowly the road climbed higher up the cliff. Most of the traffic consisted of taxis or tourist mini busses. All in all, a nice road.

    The Urubamba:
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    IMG_2536 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The road hugs the cliffs:
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    IMG_2538 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    More dirt:
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    IMG_2540 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Hewby doing a water crossing:
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    IMG_2545 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

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    IMG_2550 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    After about 14 miles of this, we found ourselves in Santa Teresa. There’s little to this town other than that it is the launching point for many coming to see the ruins. As we stopped and looked around for a place to store our bikes overnight (Hewby had decided not to ride to Hidroelectrica, but to take the train with me), we were spotted by Mike and Bryce, who had parked in the hostal across the street from where we were. We decided to join them. They had already secured their gear, and were about to head out, so they offered to pick up tickets for the train for us (which requires passports or other photo ID, so we gave them ours), so that it was one less thing for us to worry about. We hustled about, securing our gear, selecting what to bring with us, and when we were finished, we were directed to a waiting taxi that would take us to Hidroelectrica and the train station.

    The guy driving the taxi obviously knew the road like the back of his hand. Exactly which line to take, exactly where to pull over if there was opposing traffic, or where to continue knowing that opposing traffic had a pullout. We got to the train about 30 minutes before departure, the taxi ride having cost us 10 soles per person. Mike and Bryce were there with our tickets and passports, and there was a multitude of vendors selling all sorts of things, so while I got our things from the guys, Hewby found someone who would make us some trucha frita. Not having eaten since breakfast, it was a tasty snack.

    The train (the last one for the day) left Hidroelectrica a tad after 4:30. It climbs out of the valley in sharp switchbacks, reversing direction at each one. The views become more and more impressive. The Urubamba River flowed past one side, red, swollen and very angry. The mountains, already towering over us, seemed to rise even higher. We could spot the occasional glimpse of distain ruins. Parallel to the train tracks ran a footpath, at times filled with tourists walking up or down enjoying the amazing scenery, at other times filled with gringo hippies and drum circles.

    Hewby admires the views:
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    IMG_2551 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Sharkfin-like towers:
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    IMG_2552 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The pedestrian path to Aguas Calientes, for those wanting a 12-mile walk:
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    IMG_2555 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    More stunning scenery:
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    IMG_2558 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The Urubamba, a little angry:
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    IMG_2567 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Aguas Calientes does not make a good impression. The town is garish. Its only purpose in life is to suck as much money away from tourists on the way to Machu Picchu. There are signs and neons everywhere, like a very tiny Vegas. Hostels are expensive, and one has to be careful looking at some of the prices, as there’s a big difference between S50 and $50. We finally found a place with (weak) wifi and (nonexistent) hot water for 50 soles per double room. After getting settled in, Hewby and I headed for dinner, and then briefly chatted with Mike and Bryce to see what their plans were. Sounds like we’re all getting up very early to try and catch the 5:30am bus to the ruins, which open at 6am, so we turn in early for the night.

    Hewby and Ulyses conferring:
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    IMG_2575 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Lots of pedestrian bridges criss-cross the town:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2576 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr
    #31
  12. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    15,153
    Location:
    Orchard Park,NY
    :clap

    This gets better and better.
    #32
  13. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    We wake up this morning at 4:30 am to the sound of rain. Crap. So much for going up early to enjoy the sunrise. We sleep for another hour, wake up again to more rain. And again. And again. By 7:30 we decide to wake up and start the day, hoping that the rain will stop soon. And it does. The clouds and mists still linger on the mountain tops, however.

    We realize that we’re probably going to have to spend another night in Aguas Calientes as a result of our weather-delayed start, as Hewby wanted to spend a good few hours up there. We check out a few hostels, but none sound thrilling, so we finally head up to the Sanctuario around 9, catching the first bus out of town.

    Woman outside the Mercado de Abastos:
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    IMG_2578 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The town, viewed from the base of the ruins:
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    IMG_2581 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    When we get there, the clouds are lifting a bit. Wayna Picchu is visible. We get a guide, Jose, who takes us on a two+ hour tour around the entire city. The guide was not cheap at 150 soles, but knowledgeable and I thought he did a good job. The tour took us all over, starting at the viewing point that is in all of the photos of the ruins, through the Inka’s palace, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple to Pachemama underneath it, the Observatorio, many houses, the main plaza – pretty much everywhere. We did not go to Wayna Picchu as it has a quota, and tickets sold out a week in advance. The ruins are very interesting, and well-preserved.

    Low-hanging clouds:
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    IMG_2582 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The walls of the city:
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    IMG_2583 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The famous view of the ruins:
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    IMG_2585 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    And once more, this time with us (well, me) spoiling the picture:
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    IMG_2589 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Guard house/observation post outside the city walls:
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    IMG_2594 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    And a great view of the city from the guard house:
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    IMG_2597 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    All this work went into these terraces, and the city was only occupied for about 70 years:
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    IMG_2599 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The entrance gate into the city, viewed from the inside. The protrusion above the door, and the recesses on either side of it, were used as part of a hinge and locking system:
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    IMG_2602 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The letters and numbers on these stones mean they have been reassembled during reconstruction:
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    IMG_2605 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Terraces everywhere:
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    IMG_2606 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Marks from the hematite chisels used to split the boulders. They look like piton scars to me:
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    IMG_2609 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Some of the rocks used in the walls had protrusions for anchoring the roof:
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    IMG_2611 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    A holder for a torch:
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    IMG_2613 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Chinchilla:
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    IMG_2618 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Even more terraces:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2619 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The temple of the sun above, and the temple to Pachimama in the cavern below. Notice how the sun temple incorporates existing rock formations in its construction:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2621 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Close-up of the temple to Pachimama:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2622 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Transition on a wall, from temple to housing for nobility. On the left, the finer, more precisely shaped and fitted stone of the temple. On the right, the rougher stone used for housing:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2633 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    These narrow terraces were not used for farming, but merely for hillside stabilization:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2638 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Unfinished construction:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2641 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    They use llamas for groundskeeping:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2649 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The temple of the condor. The wings are on either side, and the head is the pointy boulder on the ground:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2657 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    A little before noon, just as the tour is wrapping up, I notice that clouds are starting to move in, and gray curtains of rain are beginning to obscure adjacent peaks. I do the math, and come to the conclusion that it might just be possible to catch the bus back to town, hustle, and catch the 12:35 train back down to Santa Teresa. The clouds don’t look like they have any intention of departing soon, so I don’t think anything will come of Hewby’s plans to linger longer. We head down, and are in town with 10 minutes to spare. I go to the station to buy tickets, Hewby runs back to our hostel to grab our other bag.

    At the station I am told that this is a local station, and I am not a local, so I have to go to the main station. It takes a while to find, and when I finally do find it, there’s a long line of people to one window, and the world’s slowest ticket seller servicing it. I kid you not, 10-15 minutes per person. Eventually we find out there are no more tickets for today. I’m frustrated, and ready to walk 20km down the hill back to Hidroelectrica, just to get out of here. Hewby eventually agrees. As we’re walking out, we hear someone calling our names – it’s Bryce and Mike again. They’re in a hostel one more night, with actual, working hot water and wifi. We decide to stay one more night as well, and take the 6:44am train the next day.

    Instead of going out to the overpriced restaurants of Aguas Calientes once again, we go to the Mercado de Abastos. First we have some tasty sopa de fideo while we chat with the old lady who runs the stall. Then we find a Jugeria, where we split a jugo especial. And for dessert, we have some tasty arroz con leche, which Hewby had spied on the way in to the market. Aguas Calientes does not have to be expensive.
    #33
  14. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    We head out this morning on the 6:44 am train. We get in to Santa Teresa after catching a collectivo from Hidroelectrica. Bryce and Mike start packing for their ride back to Cusco. Hewby and I go off in search of breakfast. We don’t have to look far. After breakfast we pack up the bikes, and I notice my front is once again flat. We air it up just before departing and go.

    The road from Santa Teresa back to Santa Maria seems different this time. The raging Urubamba river is still there, but the road feels smoother, or something. There’s mud, potholes, some water crossings, and lots of decent track. We make good time out to Santa Maria, and turn left towards Quillabamba.

    Riding out to Santa Maria:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2659 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Hewby getting more practice crossing streams:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2662 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    IMG_2664 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    I had expected the road to be paved, but most of that section is mud, with occasionalt construction zones. Quillabamba itself is the largest city in the region, with plenty of options for fuel and food. We gas up, and I check the pressure in my front tire – 27lbs, down from 34 two hours ago. OK, time to get this fixed. We find a llantaria, and conveniently enough next door is a place that has sudado on the menu. We get it, and it is delicious once again. My tube is patched and remounted, and we’re soon ready to go.

    Deep puddle crossing:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2665 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    My front tire getting some vulcanizing love:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2667 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    A man and his dog:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2669 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr


    The road out of Quillabamba is in pretty good shape, even given that this is the rainy season. Suprisingly, stretches of it are paved, and we make good time. We encounter more construction and road closures as we near the place where the Yakatali River joins the Urubamba, and are directed up a small side track that climbs in switchbaks to the top of the ridge. It then drops down the other side and backtracks to the bridge across the Yakatali, in Quellouna.

    Waiting at a construction zone with some locals:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2670 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Nice, fast road:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2671 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We rejoin the main road here, and continue our drive east to Quebreda Honda. At this point in the day we still have hopes that we can make it to Lares. Those hopes are dashed, however, when we encounter a road closure due to emergency construction. We chat a bit with the folks waiting to go across, and then someone puts out the word that motos can go. We go maybe 200 feet, only to be stopped by the actual construction. The crew is putting in a new culvert, but bikes have been climbing up and to the left around them. We get the idea to try this with the KLR after dropping the side bags. I run out of momentum about midway up, and tweak my right knee a little. Fortunately, a couple of friendly folks push, and with a little throttle, the KLR is up and over. Hewby hopes I can do the same with her GS, but after the incident with my knee, I would rather not try. Also, the crew foreman tells us they’re almost done and will let us cross soon.

    Waiting for the culvert to be filled in:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2673 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Making friends with the locals:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2675 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The Yakatali river:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2676 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Bringing the KLR past the construction -- steeper and slipperier than it looks:
    [​IMG]

    True to their word, about 15 minutes later, they let the motos through, though all others have to wait. We ride a few hundred feet, and encounter another crew finishing covering up a culvert. Again we wait, but maybe only 5 minutes, before the motos are motioned through. After that, no more closures. The road is in pretty good shape, and we try to make up the near hour that these construction closures cost us. At this point, we know we’re not making it to Lares tonight, so the goal becomes Quebreda Honda, where we arrive a little after five.

    It’s a small town, with a few restaurants and only one hotel that we could spy. For 30 soles we get secure parking, but no internet and no hot water in the rooms. We’re welcome to come up and use the shower in their house if we want to, however. We wander a bit, looking at our food options, and decide to get some pollo a la brasa from the restaurant next door. It’s pretty tasty, and comes with a pitcher of chicha morada. The dogs that wander through the restaurant and beg for scraps get the chicken bones, and we go back to the hotel to do laundry.

    Tomorrow, we should make it up to Lares, and then down to pick up the pista at Calca. From there, on to Pisac.
    #34
  15. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,758
    Location:
    Mt Hood mud flow
    Yep. Wow. Better photo coverage than a TV documentary!
    #35
  16. Plasterman

    Plasterman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    64
    I wish I had a Hewby. You are one lucky guy.

    Tom
    #36
  17. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    :nod

    She's fearless, adventurous, an amazing cook, and rides motorcycles... quite an amazing catch for a guy like me
    #37
  18. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    :rogue
    #38
  19. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    I wake up relatively early today. Not hard to do, given that the construction work has started outside already. I try to rouse Hewby from her birthday slumber, but she’s even less of a morning person than I am. Finally, we go out for breakfast, to a place whee the only two dishes are either liver, or chicken. I get the liver. Hewby finds the chicken to be too much this early in the day, and asks a blind beggar to join us and gives him her meal.

    We saddle up after breakfast and head on out. The road continues to climb, with the Yakatali river down below. We cross a few smaller streams, and then get to a whopper. This tributary looks fast and deep. I wade across, with the water easily spilling over the top of my Crossfires. I’m not confident that we can walk the bikes across, but we seem to have no other choice. Hewby mentions something about a road that split off a bit earlier and went down, but I look at the GPS, which tells me we’re on the right road, and push ahead. We slowly walk the KLR into the river. We’re about mid-stream, me on the upstream, Hewby on the down, when we hear a honk. A pickup has pulled up, and the driver mentions for us to turn back. We try, but have a hard time backing the bike up, so he pulls up his pants and hops in the river to give us a hand. We manage to bring the KLR back to dry land, and he tells us that we should have taken the road that went down – that has a bridge. This is way too dangerous, etc. We thank him for his help, and head the way he suggested. He, meanwhile, points the truck into the river and heads across.

    The road out of Quebrada Honda:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2680 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The pedestrian bridge we were directed to after our unsuccessful river crossing attempt:
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2681 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    More river crossings:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0544-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We follow the road… it is a good track, with a good mix of clay and rocks. There are the occasional stream crossings. Some of them are nice and simple, others require that I ride across, then walk back and ride Hewby’s bike across as well, as they’re a little tricky for her to find footing. After gaining some confidence, I come to a crossing where Hewby has already stopped, as has a local. I hardly slow down, point the KLR into the river, and go. What started out as a very simple looking crossing gets suddenly deeper, with a steep lip on the other side. Somehow I get the KLR across. The local goes next, but needs help from me and Hewby mid-stream. He waits on the other side as I bring Hewby’s bike across and gives us a hand with it.

    A waterfall crossing:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0549-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Climbing higher:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0553-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    And higher:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0554-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Hewby decides to give her bike a quick wash:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0558-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The road climbs ever higher. We had started the day at maybe 3400 feet, but I had read that Lares was at over 10K. We finally make it to Lares and lunch – a quick stew of potatoes, carrots and some meat, followed by a second course much the same. We eat for 8 soles total. After we come out, we see a bunch of hippies in the town square. One points out a dangling hose at my front wheel. Turns out that the speedo pickup cable has unthreaded from the bike. He threads it on, but I have no speedo/odo for the rest of the day. Fortunately, the GPS can handle those duties.

    It got a little muddy at times:
    [​IMG]

    Approaching Abre De Lares:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0560-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    This guy seemed more interested in the grass than anything else:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0561-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The road is great:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0565-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Curves:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0567-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    And sheep:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0570-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The road out of Lares really starts to get pretty. It climbs higher still, and the landscape becomes alpine, with craggy, snow-covered peaks visible on the horizon. Sheep and llamas graze by the side of the road. There are a few road work crews trying to keep up with the pot holes in the dirt. The road tops out over Lares pass at 14,500 feet, and drops down the other side. Not much further now. We lose elevation quickly, and pick up nice pavement which looks like it will take us straight into Calca. Great! Nice turns and twists are interspersed with rock and debris fall on the road. There is little traffic. As we descend, the pavement goes away inexplicably, and the last couple of miles into Calca are dirt.

    I think this is the back side of those snow-covered peaks we saw a few days earlier, when we got stuck in the dirt on the way to Ollantaytambo:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0573-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    The weather is cooperating:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0576-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Back on pavement:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0585-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Cute objective hazard:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0587-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Just because it is paved doesn't mean it's smooth:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0588-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    More rock slides:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0589-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Approaching Calca:
    [​IMG]

    Once in town, we pull over to mount up Hewby’s mirrors again, which have been off since Santa Teresa to keep them from breaking in a spill on dirt. We’re back on pavement, so on they go. We figure out where we’re aiming for in Pisac – the Pisac Inn. We head out, and within 20 or 30 minutes are at our destination. They don’t look like they’d have secure bike parking, but they call and steer us to a private house a block away where we can leave the bikes. We do laundry, nap, and grab a birthday dinner for Hewby, and that’s about it.

    She was just too cute not to photograph, even if it did cost me 1 sol:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130123-0593-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr
    #39
  20. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    Today is going to be a long transit day. We need to cover about 240 miles, to give us a day in Puno to see Lake Titicaca. Fortunately, the road obliges. It is not terribly interesting, but it is pretty fast. Well, as fast as a winded KLR at fourteen thousand feet can manage. We climb from about nine thousand feet, up to the pass at a little over fourteen thousand, and then slowly, slowly descend down the altiplano. Puno itself is at almost thirteen thousand, so we give up little in elevation. While cruising on the altiplano, I spot a large bike heading towards me in my shoulder. I pull over to see if there’s anything wrong… turns out he’s the first of about seven Chilean big bikes just out for a day ride. We chat for a bit, and go our separate ways.

    The Pisac Inn was a nice place to stay at:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0596-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    A little roadside repair on Hewby's turn signals:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0600-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    We ride along a river for a while:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0601-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Aproaching the midway point, now up on the Altiplano:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0602-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Sheep and pretty straight roads:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0603-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Hewby and some of the Chileans:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0605-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Before getting to Puno, we have to pass through the shithole that is Juliaca. The city has nothing going for it – unfinished buildings and street-choking traffic are all it has to offer. Unfortunately, we have to go through it.
    When we get to Puno, it turns out to be another crowded town somewhat lacking in scenery. Fortunately, Hewby finds mention of a place called the “El Inti” Hostel, which we track down. It takes a bit of doing, but we get the bikes into their lobby to secure them. Their hot water sort of works, and their wifi signal is usable only in the lobby, but it will do the trick.

    More straight roads:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0607-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    A lunchtime stop. The dogs seem intrigued by whatever it is that Hewby is holding:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0609-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Random local:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0614-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Old tires as art:
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0615-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

    Juliaca :puke1
    [​IMG]
    Porwit-20130124-0616-Orig by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr
    #40