PORKANDCORN: A Man & His Duck Explore South America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by porkandcorn, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,850
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    adjust your clutch play at the lever, the triple uses up a fair amount of clutch being so torquey and make sure you're using the proper oil, use diesel not car oil.

    love the report!
  2. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,624
    Location:
    Oregon
    Exactly, I have this same bike. Two issues to consider when riding on dirt: 1) make sure you have an air pre-filter, as this bike has a tendency to accumalate debris on the air filter - it is a way to avoid cleaning it too regularly, in its difficult access; 2) clean and lube stepper motor swing arm. Chances are you don't need to install a new stepper motor. WD40 would do, but on those threads you've linked they offer better suggestions.
  3. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    friday, march 15, 2013

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    santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    a bit of a gap since my last post. this was on purpose to help you realize how addicted you are to this continuing adventure.

    yesterday was a good day for my tiger. turns out that there is a full-blown, brand new triumph dealer and service location right here in santa cruz, bolivia - 5 minutes from my hotel! today, i was their second foreign customer ever. (first would have been better, but a brazilian beat me to it.)

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    window, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i can't tell you how happy i was when michi (the service tech) and eduardo (the owner) pulled up to the hotel yesterday to gather me and the bike. i followed them to a veritable motorcycle wet-dream - campo motors triumph of bolivia. it is bolivia's first official triumph dealer. interesting that when i called triumph USA approximately one week ago from san pedro de atacama, chile and in distress asked - "where is the closest triumph authorized service technician?" - they told me, "only in são paulo, brazil." i guess the wheels of change are slow moving in big companies.

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    michi and eduardo, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    first the tiger got a bath. i was happy to help out.

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    washing the beast, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    next, michi got to work diagnosing the problems that i wrote about in the last post. we hooked the bike up to the triumph diagnosis software. turns out that the issue was that the throttles were imbalanced. a check of the idle stepper motor proved that it was functioning fine. remember when i said i got a bad tank of gas in mendoza? i didn't write about it, as it was only a blip on the radar, but it turns out that most likely, the computer adjusted the throttles to account for the bad gas, and then they never really came back into sync again. this is the current assessment.

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    michi, technician with computer, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    computer analysis, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    me and michi, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    michi is from a motorcycle technician family here in santa cruz. he grew up working on bikes. his brother is the tech at the ducati dealer right down the street. he attended certification for triumph in argentina, and has been helping prepare the new dealership with eduardo.

    we also changed the air filter (it was filthy), the oil and filter (because i didn't have a filter last time it was changed in mendoza), swapped out the most recent broken turn signal with another (it will break again in a week), adjusted the clutch lever (my clutch is fine, it just needed some slack in the line), and cut the end off a 3 liter coca cola bottle that fit perfectly over my tent tube (shade-tree mechanics at its finest.)

    i was treated to lunch by eduardo mid day, because we were working on the bike from 9am to almost 8pm - frankly, i was treated like royalty the entire day by everyone who works at campo motors. eduardo's entrepreneurialism is inspiring and admirable. he saw an opportunity in the lack of a triumph dealer in the region, and he took action and made it happen. i think his investment is going to pay off handsomely.

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    en la frente, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    service entrance, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    eduardo, owner, campo motors triumph dealer, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    last night, i was invited to meet up with moto club santa cruz, a group of about 50 guys who have been meeting and motorcycling together for 15 years. their space was pretty awesome. together, they purchased land, constructed a club house, built a pool. it is the ultimate man cave. makes me wonder why i don't have this same thing in oregon. maybe when i get back, i'll get started on that.

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    not the last supper, moto club santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dudes and their toys, moto club santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    pool of the dudes, moto club santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    they meet there a couple of times a week. once on wednesday or thursday, after riding enduros in the sand surrounding santa cruz on saturday, and then again on sunday with the families.

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    chow time, moto club santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dudes and their tree house, moto club santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i handed out my postcards to the group, was treated to a tasty dinner, and had a great time talking to everyone about my adventure and my travels. they are a super nice bunch of dudes.

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    dudes and the gringo, moto club santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dudes and their games, moto club santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i'd like to take a moment to thank my hostess here in santa cruz - i met sylvia in portland over a year ago at a salsa club in portland. she was visiting relatives in the area, and happened to be out dancing the same night i was. at the time, i told her about the south america trip i was planning, and she said that she was from santa cruz.

    arriving here on tuesday, she had already arranged for my stay at los tojibos hotel, santa cruz's first 5-star hotel. she treated me to an amazing birthday dinner at an ajacent asian-fusion restaurant that night. later, she connected me with her toyota mechanic (thank you luis!) who told me about the triupmh dealer. she also told the santa cruz moto club about my arrival which lead to my being invited to hang out with them.

    slyvia, in general, has made me feel at home, away from home. like family. this is a valuable commodity when traveling for this duration of time.

    in addition to her elegant urban essence, she is also a cane farmer, cattle rancher, mother of two great kids, and a triathele in training. today, after her morning swim training, she toured me around her suger cane farm which lies about 30 minute north of santa cruz in montero, bolivia. she met there with her talented team to asses the crop and plan for the harvest that is coming up soon. it was interesting to see her at work, and kick around in the mud for a while. sylvia - thank you for everything!

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    please, no more food by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    sylvia, cane farmer extraordinaire, arcoiris farm, montero, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    discussing cane yield, arcoiris farm, montero, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    plan of action, arcoiris farm, montero, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    arcoiris farm, montero, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  4. Rick King

    Rick King Scruffus Maximus

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    Looks as though you've done a full 180 emotion-wise from where you were several days ago. Good to see you're back on track.
  5. burgerking

    burgerking echt bezopen

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    631
    Location:
    Holland
    non taken :D


    great ride report, been following from the start, but it is getting better and better and the pictures are truly amazing.:clap
    have fun with the rest of the trip
  6. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    i think this is my first post in the morning, before leaving a place. it's been an interesting few days here in santa cruz.

    1. i am famous here. i met a random person and they said they saw me on the news. there was apparently a story about me, telling about my journey and using photos from my blog. i'm doing everything i can to get the video to post here.

    2. i fell in love... with a kitten that lives at the hotel and looks almost exactly like my cat in portland named "mike rice." she visits my door, and because she's in heat, my door area smells like piss.

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    hotel kitten, los tojibos hotel, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    3. i got a flat tire from a tree thorn, so the fantastic people at campo motors triumph of bolivia came to the rescue again. we also rechecked the bikes computer a couple of days after the work, and all systems check out ok. i'll post more later about the complexities of maintaining a motorcycle in condition of extreme elevation changes and bad gasoline.

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    gomeria, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    4. i met a heavy metal band from santa cruz that knows how to play iron maiden, deep purple, and ozzy osbourne. they rocked very hard on st. paddy's day.

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    heavy metal boliviano, bar irlandese, santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    5. i got sick again and had another fever of about 102 degrees, but broke the fever and am feeling almost normal again. watch out for microbes - they will get you every time.

    6. i finally got my package from portland with the stepper motor that i *thought* i would need, but ended up not needing. but the part and the shipment with taxes cost about 400.00 USD, so i had to wait for the package on principle alone. plus, there was a set of rear brake pads in there, and i'm heavy on the rear brake.

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    fedex santa cruz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    so now i'm off to cochibamba, bolivia, and then tomorrow to la paz, where i will barely be able to breathe or sleep. then to lake titicaca, and into peru (country #6) on wednesday or thursday.

    more later. hasta luego amigos.

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    santa cruz to cochabambo by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  7. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    as soon as i left my little oasis in santa cruz, the tone changed. i've been waiting for the day when i'd finally meet some policia looking for an easy gringo target, and that day was today. the very first checkpoint north of santa cruz, a cop motioned for me to pull over to the side. in my normal fashion, i gave the thumbs-up and continued through the checkpoint, ignoring him. in fact - this is the recommended protocol, as they normally don't have vehicles, or the patience to chase you down. but he blew his whistle, and two more policia after the checkpoint stepped out in front of the bike and blocked my path. they had machine guns, so i figured maybe it was time to stop...

    i pulled over, and i was instructed to go into the office for a shake-down. i played dumb, and made sure my spanish was extra-terrible. on the way in, i banged my helmet on the door frame, because it was made for smurfs. i then almost knocked a wall mount tv off it's stand. it was a pretty impressive entrance. after a stern lecture about the tv, i was instructed to cough up my documents. i made copies of my passport and my bolivian entry documents, in case they were held for ransome. they all checked out and then he said i owed a 50.00 boliviano (8.00 USD) 'road tax'. well, this is really a beer fund for him and the boys, because the receipt was a standard issue receipt that you could probably buy in a supermarket. he looked like he needed a beer, and so did the other 5 guys staring at me. so i paid with a smile, knowing that if i put up any resistance, i would be guaranteeing a long, boring wait in that office. i left, and as i went out, i pretended to almost hit the door again. they laughed. they weren't bad guys, i was just an obvious payday in what is otherwise very likely a low-paying job. it's part of the adventure.

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    line for gas, yapacani, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i went through another 2 checkpoints. at one, i was not requested to stop. at the second, i was, but i continued through and there was no chase or machine-gun backup at that one. about 50 km later, i came to another checkpoint. there was no officer there, but at this checkpoint was the infamous pull-wire across the road. the pull-wire is a crowd-favorite, controlled by a dirty man that usually looks drunk or asleep or both. he pulled it tight, and it raised up blocking my path. again, i was asked to an office where - again - i was asked for documents. after the last checkpoint, i took the 'receipt' that they stapled to my immigration document and put it in another pocket. i had a feeling that this was a signal to other policia down the line that i was ripe for the picking. i asked straight-away what the fee was. they said 100.00 boliviano. i pulled out the receipt, explaining in my best spanish this time that i already paid, and that i was getting tired of paying. (a different technique.) i only ended up paying 20.00, because i said that's all i had with me in cash. they didn't take visa. i presume neither american express, diner's club, or paypal.

    a few towns after that checkpoint, there was some kind of strange commotion as i rode in. there was smoke coming from a ditch, with a lot of on-lookers. as i passed, i realized that it was a van in the ditch, on fire, with people in it and scrambling out of it. not a good scene. i continued past, not about to stop and get involved. coming toward me was a truck full of guys with machine guns looking like they meant business. after that, a military truck with more guys and machine guns. some people ran into the jungle that were next to the burning van.

    i don't know what was going down in that town, but i didn't stick around to find out. i heard route 4 from santa cruz to cochabamba referred to as the 'ruta de coca', as in - cocaine - coca. cultivation of coca is legal in bolivia, as far as i know. but i have a feeling that there are still quite a few trades surrounding that industry that are under the table. so it was a bit of a weird morning. as i drove during the day, i saw little old ladies in traditional dresses and hats drying coca leaves on big blue tarps, pushing them around in the sun to dry them evenly. i wanted to stop for a picture for the blog, but it never felt right. i behaved and was a good gringo.

    interestingly, the very apparent and sudden prosperity of santa cruz is - in part - fueled by cash from the drug trade. i found this out by asking people, and got the same answer every time. i didn't want to misrepresent the city with false information. it is not a point of pride for cruzenos (people from santa cruz), but it is commonly accepted as a fact. all that drug money then trickles down to normal people - good people - entrepreneurs, business owners, and families in the area. don't be so quick to pass judgment on those cruzenos - some of those dollars are probably from your community. the cruzenos are just trying to make a living like anyone else in the world.

    after i passed through the lowlands of farms and tropical savanna, i started to climb into the highland. there was mist in the trees, and it collected on my visor as i zipped along into the green hills. i climbed higher, and the fog became more thick. the road worsened, with deep grooves in the pavement from all the heavy truck traffic. i was like the road was melting under all those big trucks - creeping up the mountain and belching out thick heavy smoke.

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    route 4, villa tunari, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    at 3,500 meters (about 12,000 feet), the air was very, very cold and wet. i turned on the grip warmers and my fog lights, and continued on, not feeling like stopping to take so many photos. usually, there was no space to pull over that was safe. i finally crested the pass, and in the distance could see a few rays of sun peaking through. i descended a bit and as i did, the chill in the air receded some, but not much. another day of extreme environmental changes confused the bike's computer a little bit, but she did much better today. i went from 300 - 3,500 meters, and from 90 farenheit to about 35.

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    route 4, sunset, sacaba, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    foggy mountain sunset, sacaba, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    as i learned from michi, the tech in santa cruz, i will now reboot the computer every morning after i have extreme changes like this. i simply disconnect the battery for 15 minutes, turn the key on to cycle the computer, turn it off for a minute to let the stepper motor find it's tolerances, then turn it on and let it idle for 15 minutes. this is something that i was not aware i needed to do before this trip. there are pros and cons to a fuel injected motor. the pros outweigh the cons in comparison to a carbureted motor, which would probably run terribly or not run at all at the top of these passes and in these extreme changing conditions.

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    foggy mountain sunset 2, sacaba, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    tomorrow to la paz, bolivia, the highest (defacto) capital in the world, where i will likely test the pros and cons of the human body at elevation. i hope my hotel has oxygen, because with how i feel now, i think i am going to need it - i'm having a hard time catching my breath currently, and that means a lousy night's sleep.

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    cochabamba to la paz by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  8. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,624
    Location:
    Oregon
    Great stuff!

    I'm glad to know Triumph is establishing shops in South America, just in case I take my bike there some day.

    Electronic fuel injection should be an advantage on changes of altitude because the system is changing its parameters to accommodate for changes in atmospheric pressure (altitude, in your case), air temperature, gasoline, things that influence air density and the mixture of air and fuel. Carburated bikes, you needed to change the needles when changing altitude.

    The 15 minutes idle is to reset the throttle position sensor.

    I'm curious to know how things will progress on your bike. When in Brazil, you were fueling it with 15% ethanol in the gasoline. But I know it varies to up to 20% in some gas stations. I don't know what kind of fuel they have in Bolivia, but certainly your friend Sylvia would know if they add ethanol to gasoline over there as well.
  9. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    ok, cool. yes, i'm learning about these things as i go. the gas in bolivia is pretty bad. i have been warned about that by a lot of people, including the guys at campo motors triumph. there is a lot of black carbon around the end of my tailpipe, and i know it's not supposed to be like that. i wonder if buying the additives would help, or just complicate things further. anyway, she's running great at RPMs above 1500, and i'm going to try the full computer reset this morning to see what results that produces.
  10. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    i set out of cochabamba, bolivia on a motorcycle that was idling correctly. i performed the reset that i was taught, and it responded very well. i was very excited to arrive in la paz, as i've always had an interest in visiting the exotic city. to cross through the mountains on bolvian route 4 took about 3 hours. the scenery was not spectacular, but the elevation gain was significant. the roads were in good condition, and fun to ride.

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    route 4, parotani, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 4, caramarca, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 4, west of caramarca, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    it was a fairly uneventful day compared to the previous one, but i did encounter a couple of bloqueos (road blockades/protests). these blockades began back in 2006, when evo morales was elected president. before his election, he was the main organizer of the cocaleiros (the coca growers) and these blockades were used by workers unions to insist upon various demands and rights. it seems to have spread to other sectors of the economy, possibly with the encouragement of the now president morales.

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    bike on route 4, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i found the first bloqueo just as i was descending from the mountains north of ururo, bolivia. this was a miner's strike. i pulled up, and there were rocks and other barriers placed all over the road. there was a significant line of cars and buses, maybe about an hours worth. i pulled to the front of the commotion (as i usually do), and turned off the bike. bus passengers were standing about, eating, talking, and waiting impatiently.

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    miner's blockade, route 4, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    a christian missionary, rather obviously american, came up to my stopped bike. he explained in a thick north carolinan accent that it was a miners strike, and recommended i not try to cross through - even though other bolivians said motos were ok to pass. the missionary said that the strikes can turn violent quickly, and that the miners can at times carry pieces of dynamite that they will use to strengthen their 'voice.' there's a u.s. state department advisor currently issues about this area right now.

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    mineros bloqueo, near oruro, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    luckily, after only about a 5 minute wait, there was a negotiation between the miners and the people waiting that allowed for the vehicles to pass. on the south side of the same town, there were about 50 bolivian riot police kicking rocks off the road and directing traffic through the chaos. the blockade made a big mess, but it was peaceful.

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    riot police at bloqueo, near oruro, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the road from ururo to la paz was a slow, straight climb through the high plains, eventually revealing the high, snow-capped peaks that surround la paz. the roads were terrible for motorcycling, often with very deep grooves in the pavement from the heavy truck traffic. and there was a lot of construction on that stretch as well, as they are building a 4 lane highway on route 1 that leads south out of el alto. arriving into la paz about about 3pm, i found the second bloqueo in la paz's companion city of el alto, bolivia. i was descending down a long hill, and could see the impending chaos laid out in front of me.

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    trenches in road, south of la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    traffic lost all order, not that there was much to begin with. cars were going in every direction imaginable, trying to find a way around the blockade. but eventually, the traffic came to a halt and people were wandering around their vehicles. i proceeded slowly through the maze of semis, buses, cars, and people now selling items to them as they waited. i couldn't see any activity that caused concern, so i continued snaking through. i had to creep down through a couple of ditches, and around the requisite rocks and barriers, this time including some tires that were almost done burning.

    this looked like some kind of education strike, from reading what i could understand from the banners. even some of the protesters were waving me through, so i picked up my speed and continued to search for a path. i eventually reached the slow-flowing streets of el alto on the other side of the bloqueo, this time confronted by the bloqueo of some crazy traffic that continued all the way into central la paz. i used my new-found obstacle-avoiding skills to pick through the weird side streets of markets, vendors, and people. i felt like it was what james bond would do, but i was going a lot slower and there was no sexy lady on the bike with me.

    i eventually made it to the edge of el alto, where a twisty road drops down into la paz itself. it's a shocking and exciting site - the city of la paz. it's an enormous high-altitude bowl, flanked on all sides by andean peaks, and filled to overflowing with a uniform mass of red brick structures. i stood atop the overlook before i went down to the hotel, just absorbing it for a moment. i was too overwhelmed for several minutes to even take pictures. i just stood there looking at this exotic place that i'd always wanted to visit.

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    vista, avenida naciones unidas, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    bike and vista 2, avenida naciones unidas, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    self portrait, avenida naciones unidas, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    centro de la paz, bolvia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    building, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    la paz, bolivia at night by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  11. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,290
    Location:
    West Texas/Rico
    Spectacular photos P & c.
  12. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    la paz, bolivia to copacabana, bolivia

    with the help of an army of traffic control zebras (only zebras stand out in traffic), i successfully left the complete madness and chaos that is la paz, bolivia. i took nearly 2 hours to leave the city, fighting for every inch with the buses and taxis that filled the streets on the west side of town.

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    traffic zebra, avenida 16 de julio, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    traffic zebra 2, avenida 16 de julio, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    tiny lady making me juice, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    en frente de hotel rosario, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i made the decision not to head east into bolivia, into the yungas mountains and the "most dangerous" roads in the world. i had frankly had my fill of those roads upon my entry to the south of bolivia from argentina.

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    la paz to copacabana by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the drive to lake titicaca from la paz metro was very relaxed. arriving at the south end of the lake, the road moved from the lake's coastline to the interior of the mountain range. having grown accustomed to 13,000 ft of elevation in la paz, 15,000 really didn't feel like much of anything today. my lungs have ceased gasping for air, and i feel like i could ride at 20,000. just don't ask me to do much more than sit on my bike and twist the throttle, because just walking around makes you short of breath up here.

    i crossed on a ferry at the straight of tiquina, after which was 50km of motorcycle heaven - twisties that wrapped the coast of lake titicaca, with regular vistas of the massive, high-altitude body of water. oddly, today the motorcycle is idling at higher RPM than i have previously seen. it's designed to idle at 1000RPM. today it was idling at 2000. i'm not complaining, because it never died on me the whole day, despite riding at 15,000 ft+. i did reset the computer this morning before leaving la paz, so that really does work.

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    ferry 2, estrecho de tiquina, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ferry, estrecho de tiquina, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    other side, estrecho de tiquina, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 2, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    lake titicaca, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 2, west of copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i arrived in copacabana, took off my helmet, and rode around town for a half hour to get the lay of the land. i settled on a hotel on the lake shore. maybe the best room i've had yet, and for only 140 bolivianos (20 USD).

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    big fat old church, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    rua principal, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    here is where i'm working on my blog, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    lakeside hostel, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i'm back to feeling a bit of travel fatigue again. it comes and goes if you haven't noticed. it typically manifests itself in laziness and apathy. i have been laxed in my research for the coming destinations, i sleep in a bit later, start riding later, and have an attitude that is not entirely conducive to making the most out of the places i visit. but i'm used to this, so i don't really care all that much. i just accept it and keep moving forward. i'm excited to enter peru tomorrow, and work my way north toward machu picchu.

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    duckage, lake titicaca, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  13. 71tr

    71tr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    482
    Location:
    Chicago
    P&C,
    Really enjoying the ride report and particularly your photos. Can you elaborate on the photo equipment you are using? I read your trip prep thread and you only mention an iPhone 5. If that is all you are using I need to rethink my photography needs.:huh
  14. Tomaso

    Tomaso Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    71
    I've been reading with intense interest and enjoyment for the last 3 or so days, finally catching up with you since your arrival in SA. Dude, you are Everyman, plunging into the unknown with confidence, doubts and curiosity. One of the best threads I've read on Advr, and I want you know how much I appreciate your writing and pictures. I dream of doing what you're doing, but it may not happen at this late stage of my life, so I'm grateful to be along on your ride. Be safe.
  15. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    saturday, march 23, 2013

    thanks again everyone for following along, for your comments, questions, and interest. i'm really happy to know that so many people are enjoying the blog and living vicariously through my adventure...

    i enjoyed copacabana, bolivia. it's a nice little town, and i met a lot of other travelers there from all over the world. i considered the trip out to the isla de sol, but felt the pressure to keep moving. i want to ensure that i have time to sit on the beaches to the east of cartegena, columbia at the end of my journey, so i have to make some hard decisions along the way to ensure that happens.

    [​IMG]
    sunset, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    copacabana to cusco by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    it was only a 15 minute ride to the peru border, and the crossing went very smoothly. i was the only person there, and was on my way in 20 minutes. the ride along lake titicaca was beautiful, and the roads were amazing. i was planning to stay in puno or juliaca, peru, but decided to just push on to cusco, peru - the cultural heart of the country - and in some ways, the continent.

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    peru sign, kasani, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    aduanas, kasani, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    lake titicaca, pomata, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    triumph and lake titicaca, pomata, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    leaving the lake, i entered the mountains and began the climb and twist into the heart of the incan empire. the mountains here are covered in thick green grass, and have a velvety appearance. i could feel the ancient history as i passed numerous arqueological sites. in many ways, not a lot has changed in this region in thousands of years. people still farm and live off the land, herd their animals. they just all have cell phones now!

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    wild flowers, pucara, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    cusipata, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    quiquijana, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    nice donkey, quiquijana, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    triumph at quiquijana, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i wasn't expecting cusco, peru to be as enormous as it was. i came into town at nightfall, and the city was pretty intimidating. i hadn't done any research for where i would stay. i headed for the norton rats bar, a pub in the historical center that pays homage to the motorcyclist and was actually started by a guy from iowa. it was a bit of a let down, because there is absolutely no where to park anywhere near it. i walked down later than night, and it was just another stupid tourist bar - no motorcyclists, no charm, no nothing. skip it.

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    cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    some travelers in copacabana recommended the loki hostel on the hill above cusco city center. they said it was a fun party hostel, and i haven't stayed at one of those yet. it was a bit hair-raising to go up the hill to the hostel. it was a one way in the other direction, but going up saved me a 3km ride up the 'correct' way. the cobblestones are smooth, and very slippery, and i was smoking the tires getting up to the hostel and parked at their front door for the night.

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    loki hostel, cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    loki entry, cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    loki courtyard, cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i'm probably the oldest person here, and now i can leave knowing "i've done that." whoopie! i have no idea how these kids drink as much as they do at this elevation. that will catch up with them in 10 years.

    alright, now i actually need to focus on how to get myself up to machu picchu...
  16. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    just an iphone 5, and then i edit all the photo in iPhoto to optimize framing, contrast, coloring, etc. i have an olliclip lens for the iphone to get the wide angles and gather more light. there are many others that do this too.
  17. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    saturday, march 23, 2013

    i got a late start out of cusco, so i decided to only ride to ollantaytambo, peru today. cusco was a bit overwhelming, so i was happy to get on the road again. although, getting out of town was interesting given that the GPS is seriously confused by cusco - every street it routed me through was a one-way in the wrong direction. i finally just shut the thing off and started asking locals. that works a lot better sometimes.

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    cusco to ollantaytambo by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    above cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    avenue above cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i stopped off at the saqsaywaman ruins, an arqueological site to the north of cusco,. the construction of this place blew my away... i have no idea how they managed to quarry, move, size, and fit these enormous rocks into position. i will admit that i am not the most patient or qualified individual to tour historical sites. i tend to get bored pretty quickly, and usually become easily frustrated by the amount of people that one must sift through in order to experience these places. but i am here in the heart of the ancient incan empire, and i'm going to do my best to appreciate and experience it.

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    saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    nice fit, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ancient doorway, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ancient wall, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    me, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    me 2, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    me 3, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    me 4, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the ride to ollantaytambo through the sacred valley was beautiful and there were several more options for historical sites on the way. i decided that if i wasn't overloaded with big, old rocks after machu picchu, i could tour those sites on the way back.

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    near pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    canyon near pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    valley near pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    ollantaytambo is a stop off point for people going to mach picchu, and in it's own right a pretty spectacular place. it's an ancient city that is occupied and functioning. the city has the same block construction that the other sites have, but they are built up with homes, businesses, and restaurants. there is a strong tourist business here, but it's much less chaotic than the scene in cusco. i arrived as the sun was going down, so i didn't have a chance to explore. i'll do that either in the morning, or on the way back from machu picchu in a couple days.
  18. Tomaso

    Tomaso Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    71
    Machu Picchu and the ancient Inca world are at the top of my bucket list. Meanwhile . . . :thumb
  19. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    sunday, march 24, 2013

    it's rare that i get an early start, but i did this morning. i was very proud of myself for getting up at 5am. to bad that it took me an hour and a half to get out of the enclosed parking area at the hostel, which erased most of my gains. the management could not be found. i eventually found a key and unlocked the gate myself.

    i had some very sketchy coffee and and cheese sandwich from a little old lady at the central plaza before i left. i'm pretty sure she washed my coffee mug in the sewer, and then dried it with a dead rat. but my immune system is strong like an ox - it's ready for the challenges that this continent presents.

    immediately out of town, i began to climb toward the abre de malaga pass. this is the "back way" to mach picchu. most people take the train from cusco, or a bus to ollantaytambo then a train to agues calientes, peru (machu picchu village). as you know, i have a very nice motorcycle that gives me other options.

    [​IMG]
    nice morning, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    mirror, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ollantaytambo to aquas calientes by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i have become desensitized completely to these gnarly, high mountain passes. it's kind of sad actually. i hope you, the humble reader, are not tiring of them. however, as i topped the pass, the clear skies turned to an eerie, cold mist. i put on my sweatshirt, chugged some water as is required for these high passes, and dropped down into the abyss half blind.

    [​IMG]
    tiger, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    green, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the road was mostly paved until i reached the turn south at santa maria, peru. here i found the usual suspects: mud, pointy rocks, and today, some very deep river crossings. this road had a steep ascent, and i was spinning the wheels to climb in many places. this is hell on a motorcycle tire - it is like industrial sandpaper. i am wishing i held onto my first set of tires a little longer. i'm going to have to look for a new rear tire for sure once i hit lima, peru.

    [​IMG]
    dirt, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    river crossing, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    rio urubamba, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the end of the road for a motorcycle trying to get to machu picchu is at hydroelectrico, peru. it's not a town. it's actually a construction site where they are diverting the river for a power plant. in one place, they drilled an enormous tunnel through the mountain from the other side to divert a tributary into the main river. there is some serious civil engineering going on here. i wonder what the side effects are up and down stream?

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    near hydroelectrico, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    if you motorcycle to hydroelectrico, your only option to park the bike is with a guy named elico escóbar. elico has lived in a modest compound of houses since before the construction on the river began. he guards the occasional tourist car, moto, or whatever is needed. i hope that he was paid a lot of money by the peruvian government to let them destroy his backyard and set off explosions every 5 minutes. somehow, i don't think that happened. but he's a happy man, and he really seems to like his place in life. good for him. i promised elico that i would make him famous in exchange for taking care of my baby… i hope it's still there when i get back.

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    motorcycle guard, elico escóbar, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    elico escóbar, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    after i parked the bike, and packed what few things i would need into my backpack, i hiked the train tracks toward agues calientes. well, the 6 hours had taken a toll on my back, and someone mentioned a train was leaving in 90 minutes. i turned around and had a beer with some backpackers, instead of walking 2.5 hours.

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    train station, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    gringos pay 18.00 USD for the train. peruvians pay 5.00 soles (2.00 USD). it's fair. for that special price, i had an entire air conditioned car to myself, while about 50 other people crammed into a crappy old rust bucket next to the engine. i felt like a total asshole. i asked if i could ride in the other car with everyone else, and they said i could not. i tried. me and the stewardess enjoyed the 30 minute ride to machu picchu village. the train was rocking back and forth violently. i think the tracks could use some work. regardless, i have lived a long, full life, so i just kicked back and enjoyed it.

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    train to machu picchu, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    the gringo car, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    aguas calientes is the stereotype tourist town. you walk off the train and immediately everyone and their dog wants to sell you some garbage that 50 people in the place next to them are also selling. i would be lying if i said that it wasn't annoying. i have warned your about my attitudes toward hyper-tourism in general. i trekked around looking for a hostel, and was offered dinner aggressively no less than 50 times in 10 minutes.

    [​IMG]
    aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    arriving, aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the sad thing is that it really doesn't need to be this way. i have noticed a similar trend in other tourist areas of south america, now that i think about it. these places are all over-built. in this small town, there are about 200 restaurants - and each of them has 1 or 2 people dining. they fight over the gringos like wild dogs. in a perfect world, the number of businesses would be limited, the quality would be better, pollution would be less, and the experience in general would be richer. but i am a gun-toting capitalist, and i shouldn't be thinking things like that... free enterprise rocks man!! ted nugent for president!

    [​IMG]
    street, aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i was very productive after a 6 hour ride and 3 hours of arrival logistics... i bought my bus ticket to machu picchu city for 5:30am. i bought my entry pass to the park for 7am. i bought my return train ticket to hydroelectrico for 12:30pm. and i now have a hostel waiting for me about 50 meters away. this is why i am having a 3rd glass of argentine malbec with my very tasty trout fillet, peruvian soup, and second piece of chocolate cake.

    viva los incans!
  20. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    monday, march 25, 2013

    well, i can take machu picchu off the list of things to do.

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    i was here, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i was one of the first people up to the city, arriving somewhere around 6:30am. i opted for the bus, as opposed to the walk up. i felt bad as the bus passed those hiking up for 2 hours, thinking they were going to beat us there. leave earlier next time… maybe 4am would be better.

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    waiting for the sun, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    we waited for the fog to roll back for about an hour, sitting up above the guard house of the city. there were occasional glimpses as the clouds disappeared and reappeared - an incan strip-tease. i was worried that it would be like this all day, but apparently this is how most mornings start out here.

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    the lost city, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    opening skies, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    soon, the sky openings grew larger, and the scale of the place was laid out before me. almost instantly, the entire site was revealed and sun shone down strong, illuminating the green grass and lighting up the wet peak of waynapicchu that rests behind the city. i got goosebumps when it cleared, as i was standing in the right spot up above it all. there was a mad scramble for cameras and shrieks of excitement from schoolgirls. actually, the schoolgirls were running away terrified from a llama that wanted one of their bananas.

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    the gringos are coming, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    insert tourist here, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i worked my way from up top, down into the city.

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    the lost city 2, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    here, i wandered through the ancient 15th century structures, happily getting lost in the maze. of course, construction in south america was never much friendlier to the gravitationally challenged - i still would have been hitting my head on doorways all the time in 1458 or whenever emperor Pachacuti was living there.

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    inside the city, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    there goes the neighborhood, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    the field, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    don't forget the little things, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i'm back in agues calients early, having an overpriced omelette with my new friend, milo the dog. he like papas fritas, and why shouldn't he! it's about 10:45am. my train back to hydroelectrico leaves at 12:35pm. i'm hoping to get back on the bike (if it hasn't already been stolen and sold) and on the road back down the mountain around 1:30pm. that should get me back to ollantaytabmo at around 6pm, before it gets dark. i'm looking forward to spending another night walking around ollantaytambo. for my money, it's a much richer experience than aguas calientes. there, i'm like an incan high-priest, with my columbia cargo pants and my iphone 5.

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    milo, ugly - but well dressed, aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr