Day 106-114 in South America: Punta Hermosa, Peru to border with Ecuador During our time in Peru, we experienced essentially three categories of roads: - the coastal route: the straight, flat, boring Pan American Highway (for making good time) - the mountain route: a mind-blowingly curvy maze on questionable road surfaces (for causing anxiety) - the OTHER mountain route: as twisted as above but without the pavement (for the adventure) After dabbling for several weeks, we came away with varying reactions of joy, boredom, awe and horror. * Our first stop after the sand dunes was at the beach town of Punta Hermosa. Without a doubt, it was the swankiest community we saw during our entire time in Peru. Thankfully, it was nearly empty of people as it was off-season and our room overlooking the bay was only $17.00. And yes, the seafood was out of this world. * * * After lounging in the sand for a day, we headed into Lima and then East into the mountains. A word about driving in Lima: we had heard from multiple sources that it was going to be a bit chaotic, a bit frustrating and a bit downright dangerous. I can honestly say that we were mainly annoyed at the amount of traffic but I do see how it has a reputation. We encountered several huge intersections (Im talking 6-7 lanes of traffic) with no traffic lights. It was essentially a free-for-all as buses, horse-drawn carts, motorbikes and cars fought for position. I learned long ago to forget my concept of lanes and if I do say so myself; I think I can now hang with Peruvian drivers... * By heading straight East from Lima, we found ourselves in the mountains once again. Lots of passing slower traffic on curvy roads, spectacular scenery, and an infuriating amount of speed bumps. A word about speed bumps in South America: I dont know why, but the Minister for Speed Bump Application (Im sure this is a real position or at least it is in my head) is out of control in Peru. There are an amazing amount of misplaced humps of varying size and quality, all without proper signage. Im convinced the Minister for SBA (as hes undoubtable known around the office) hates the Peruvian people and maniacally laughs every time he orders another bump to be put in. Rant complete. * * During our 10 hour ride East, it got a bit nippy... * * * After hopping over the pass, we dropped down into the muggy Amazon and the town of La Merced. * * * * Kristen was not exactly thrilled to be in a Malaria zone - one time is enough! We decided to pass on stopping for lunch at a place called Moskitoo... * * We did have an amazing lunch of fried fish, plantains, rice and a side of mosquitos elsewhere, however. Not a bad view though: * After a few days in the Amazon, we headed North again and into the Peruvian Cordilleras. * * * * * Eyes on the road... * * After a cold night in Huanuco (and an hour in the morning of us being lost in town while trying to find our way out), we made our attack on a stretch of road that we knew would be a bit trying. We had been warned that the route from Huanuco to Huallanca was beautiful but equally dangerous and would require time above all else. * * * * It took all of 30 minutes to understand why we had been warned about the road. Never in my life could I have imagined that any route could be so curve-ridden. More importantly, however, was the fact that the entire road was barely wide enough for one car - the required driving style was made clear to me very early on when we came around a sharp bend to find a bus flying towards us from the other direction. I swerved off the road (away from the cliff) and into a steep, concrete ditch on the right side, smashing the bottom of the sidecar and creating a considerable crack in the floor. It was a very close call and Kristen was understandably pissed. From that moment on, I only left 2nd gear a handful of times and honked at nearly every curve to warn oncoming traffic. It was a long 11 hours of riding! * * * Along with the constant oncoming traffic of trucks and buses obviously too large for the road, animals and people made the ride even more interesting. * * * * * * * * The tiny farming communities that dot the road also made for speed bump fun... * I really wanted to stop for lunch at the "restauRAT". * To top it off there were several detours that took us through the steep backroads of the communites along the way. It really was an amazing insight into the lives of the people in the area. * * It required quite a bit of asking for directions seeing as though these roads dont exactly show up on a GPS: * * * At some point, Kristen literally had to slap this piglet out of the way: * And we had loads of people shout applause as we passed. * Weve spoken before of the large street dog population here in South America. Weve also hinted at the daily occurance of dogs coming after Kristen in the sidecar. Along this road, Kristen finally was able to snap a picture: * All in all, it was one of the most spectacular, awe-inspiring, and horrifying days of motorcycling weve ever experienced. Well worth the effort. * After La Union, we gladly embraced the road as it opened up into two lanes. * * * * * * After a night in Huaraz... * ...where Kristen found one of her favorite bits of street art of the trip... * ...we headed back to the coast and to the town of Trujillo. As we were riding around the plaza, we were followed by two suspicious looking guys (joking of course, kind of) on BMW bikes. Enter our new friends: * They kindly offered to lead us to a beach town outside of Trujillo called Huanchaco which we eagerly accepted. We ended up going out to dinner with Leandro and Fernanda, two Argentinians who were riding their bike from Miami back to their home in Mendoza. It was great to swap stories and advice (mainly coming from the exuberant Leandro) plus we ate amazingly well at an outdoor BBQ. * * After another day at the beach, we jetted North towards Ecuador. * * * Below: a common pothole. BigBoi and Kristen dislike these very much... * * * After a few more days of riding, we came to the border. It turned out to be our longest experience yet - Im assuming that they were looking for a bribe, but the Aduana (Customs) couldnt find our bike in the computer system. We had all the right paperwork, but they did not want to let us go. After an hour and a half full of phone calls and questions, we were finally released to Ecuador! * Goodbye Peru... * Hello Ecuador.