PORKANDCORN: A Man & His Duck Explore South America

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

  1. mint julep

    mint julep Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    Canada
    Machu Pichu! Awesome!:clap

    Its on my bucket list.
    Looks to be a great day up there.

    I wish there were a road to ride up on bike.
    Can you camp there?

    Fantastic trip my man!
    Loving this RR.

    Be safe, keep the adventures going.

    :freaky
    Dave
  2. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    yes, a road to machu picchu would be epic, but then every schlup and their uncle would be tromping up there in their hummers. i bet if you were real crafty, you could take a sleeping bag and hide in some corner of the park. you'd probably get caught in the morning, but it would be worth it. a full moon sleepover with the spirits of the sacrificed!!
  3. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    the train back from machu picchu was a bit slower on the way back. i didn't mind. the scenery along the tracks was relaxing as we cut through the jungle and alongside the urubamba river. i had a nice chat with a korean girl that i met all the way back in san pedro de atacama, chile.

    i arrived back at hydroelectrico and señor elico escóbar held firm to his promise to guard my bike. i was in a bit of a rush to get out of there, as i knew i had a 5 hour ride and that it gets dark in these deep peruvian valleys around 6pm. i left at 2:30. i rode fast today.

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    it's still there, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    tunnel ventilator, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    hot chicks, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    wish i had less stuff, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    heading back down the dirt road to santa teresa was a lot faster downhill, and without stopping to take as many photos. i knew all the right spots to cross the rivers and streams that frequented my path back, blasting through many of them at speed whereas before i was more cautious.

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    road to santa teresa, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    at santa maria, i began the climb back up to the paso abra de malagra. from 1500 meters to 4300 meters in 20 minutes. for this kind of climb, you need gas. unfortunately, there's not a lot of it on that stretch. i remembered the two locations from a couple of days ago, and picked the one that was the least crappy looking. they both looked pretty crappy. i had my first experience with gas from a mystery bucket, so i got out the mr. funnel gas filter that i've been dragging around through 6 countries, but haven't yet used. it was satisfying, but probably unnecessary. the gas was 84 octane. i'm assuming the other 16% is banana juice or pisco sours. the bike didn't seem to notice any difference.

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    bucket gas, east of santa maria, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    in the fog on the climb, i noticed a moto pulled to the side of the road. it's almost a reflex to stop and say hello, as there aren't a lot of other intrepid motorcyclists out there. sabrina and maxime are from bordeaux, france, and traveling 2-up on a kawasaki versys. maxime has put a rear wheel and tire on the front of the bike, complete with dual disc brakes. he's running some brand of czechoslovakian tire that i can't recall, but he likes the tread and how the tire wears.

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    west side of paso abra de malagra 2, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    banana lowland, east of santa maria, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ad-frencherers!, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    yes, that is a rear wheel on the front, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i answered some questions that they had about the ride to machu picchu, and we parted ways as quickly as we met. i could have talked to them for hours, as the bond between motorcyclists on the road is instant and powerful. but we both had a limited amount of daylight, and places to get to before dark. here's to meeting the two of your somewhere else! don't be surprized if i show up at your doorstep in bordeaux at some time in the future. and of course, both of you are always welcomed to stay at my home in portland if you ever find yourselves in the american pacific northwest... here's their blog: www.maxime-barat.com.

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    mixime-barat.com, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    new buddies, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    on the subject of tires, i'm becoming less infatuated with the heidenau k60's i'm running, as the rear really seems to wear flat in the center of the tire pretty quickly. i have been shredding the tires aggressively on some pretty horrible roads, but it still feels like it's wearing too quickly. this is my second rear and i've felt the same way about both. maybe i expect too much from a tire?

    i arrived back in ollantaytambo just after dark. i returned to the same 30.00 sole (12.00 USD) hotel with garage that i used a couple days ago. it's nice to not have to search or think sometimes. i found a bucket outside my room, and immediately washed my 2 pairs of motorcycle socks with a mountain of detergent. they were both soaked from the 'over the boot' river crossings on the way in and out of machu picchu. the first pair had a full day to ferment and mature to a fragrant nose at señor escóbar's lavish villa. the second pair wasn't far behind from a day of riding wet. not sure what to do about my soaked boots. i'll figure that out after dinner. maybe i'll just chuck them in the trash and ride commando.

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    west side of paso abra de malagra 3, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    east side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    meanwhile, i'm enjoying the excellent service and home cooking of my friend dante acurio at his peruvian restaurant - inti killa. dante might be the nicest guy i've ever met in my life. his restaurant is right on the main square in town. eat here if you are ever in ollantaytambo, peru - it's very good and the wifi gets the job done if you've got time and wine.

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    dante acurio, restaurant inti killa, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  4. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    tuesday, march 26, 2013

    this afternoon/evening brought the most challenging riding, physically and mentally, of this entire trip. unfortunately, i got a late start out of ollantaytambo due to some heavy rain and needed maintenance...

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    everything is better with coffee, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    my rear brakes were completely done after i got back from machu picchu last night. i woke at 6am to a heavy rain. i knew i had to change my rear pads, so the rain gave me a good excuse to do it. i'm now on my third set of rear brake pads, while still running on the first front set with some to spare.

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    workshop, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    pile of triumph parts, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    new rear brake pads, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the rain continued, so i got caught up on a couple of other maintenance items. of course, the chain can always be cleaned and lubed - especially after dirt roads and river crossings.

    i got caught in a deep rut in the road yesterday while turning a hairpin, and the bike went down at 0 mph, this time on her left side. the bike is completely untouched, but the hand guards and the panniers took a slight beating.

    the touratech panniers have not responded very well to tip overs and are now somewhat deformed. as a result, the lids don't fit properly, and they are both letting in water. thankfully i brought heavy dry liners along to keep all my stuff dry for the next 6 weeks. i banged out some dents this morning, but getting the lids to fit perfectly again seems to be an impossible task.

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    banging back to shape, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the left-side aluminum grip guard was bent out of shape in the tip over. it protected the controls and the bike itself, but it bent enough to get in the way of the clutch lever. and the 1.5" machine screw that holds it into the bar-end got a good bend in it.

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    bent handle guards, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i found an old vice in the back parking area of the hostel, so i took advantage of this rare luck and got to work bending the guard and screw back into shape. it's not perfect, but it's much better.

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    lucky to find a vice, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    bending the screw, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    bending in the vice, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i finally got out of ollantaytambo at about 9am. i was also very low on radiator coolant, so i had to hunt some down in the next town and engineer a funnel out of a plastic bag to get it down into the reservoir. another 30 minutes down the drain.

    then the rain started up again, so i had to put on my water-logged boots at another stop - so much for letting them air dry. i also took the time to fill up my spare 7 -liter gas tank, which i used up coming out of machu picchu. another 20 minutes down. i finally began the climb up over the mountain to the south of urubamba, peru, and was on my way to nasca and the peruvian coast - which i was told would be a 6-hour ride by two separate sources. that was not the case and would prove to be very painful mis-information.

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    laguna huanypo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    river near cachora, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i climbed from 6,000 ft to 13,000 ft. i dropped down to 7,000 again. switchbacks and curved as far as the eye could see for several hours. i ascended up along an alpine river, to an altiplano (high plain) above 15,000 feet near negro mayo, peru. there was fog and drizzle throughout the day, and even though i continued to add layers of clothes, the chill crept in with great persistence.

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    up into the fog, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    mountains, route 3s, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    vista, route 3s, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    4600 meters, west of negra mayo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    by this time, i had 4 t-shirts, a hoodie, and my rain jacket on underneath my klim riding jacket, which was tight with all the extra layers and all the air vents closed. i had my heavy winter gloves on. but i was still chilled. west of negra mayo, the sun was dropping quick, and i was still 4 hours from nasca, my planned destination. this altiplano is a vast wilderness. there is nothing up there for a couple hundred miles, except vicuñas (small llamas) and wind. no cars, no nothing. not even a starbucks.

    the sun dropped, and i was shivering pretty good. kilometers were creeping by at a snail's pace. minutes felt like hours. my teeth were chattering, and my toes were frozen inside my wet boots. my fingers were cramping and stiff, even with my heavy gloves and the heated grips on high. i felt a little fear creep in as the sky turned to fire red, heralding the impending nightfall in the middle of the peruvian andeas.

    at twighlight, a very beautiful and eerie several minutes passed. and even though i didn't want to take off my gloves and make my fingers worse, i couldn't pass up the following photos - the colors were incredible and the light was other-worldly. these photos bastardize what was one of the most incredible sunsets i've ever seen. it was an odd mix of extreme beauty and "oh shit, i'm screwed-ness". my thermostat read 29 degrees before i kicked the bike out of neutral and started moving again.

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    high lake, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    high laken 2, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i had been riding nearly frozen for about 2.5 hours. my neck, shoulders, and back were burning and needed a break. my head was pounding from the sudden elevation gains, and too few water stops. but i had to keep riding, because the longer i waited, the further the sun dropped and the colder the temperatures became. there's no fuel up there to burn if i wanted to camp, and i was completely exposed to the full brunt of the andean wind howling over the pass. even if i decided to camp, by the time i got it all set up, i'd be totally frozen. and, i was barely outrunning a west-moving front of rain and sleet that was only minutes behind me.

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    high lake 3, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    so i had to push on. there was no other choice - follow the sun to stretch out the little remaining light. hope that the switchbacks would stop and the elevation would drop. soon, it was dark.

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    twighlight, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    a rising full moon was a strange companion, and gave me a boost of energy until full darkness when it's brightness was actually blinding my view of the road each time i swept back to the east on the endless curves. the roads were full of potholes, migrating animals, and patches of frozen drizzle. in general, it was not a good scene.

    it was mentally exhausting. i was in this half frozen, half freaked-out, half-fucked state for about an hour in moon-lit darkness. it seemed like an eternity. i finally arrived at puquio, peru at about 8pm. i was too exhausted to even feel relief. i saw a pair of church steeples that led me to the central plaza… and a shitty, weird room for the night.

    the floors are freezing, and i'm under all the covers still trying to warm up even after a semi-hot shower. my bike is parked downstairs inside of a pharmacy, next to a display of tampons. the adrenaline is still pumping around my system and keeping me from sleeping even though i'm completely beat…

    i'm still 2.5 hours from nazca, which i'll finish in the morning.

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    ollantaytambo to puquio by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  5. TheLorax

    TheLorax Comitted Lurker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    PacNW
    Made the run from Nazca to Abancay in one day during early April sleet once. Entered Abancay in the descending darkness on election day. That was far too much and still several hours shorter than what you attempted. The loudest street party I have ever accidentally ridden into the middle of. Probably the single most "screwed" that I've ever felt on a bike in a foreign country. :vardy

    But I ordered some chicken and rice in a fluorescent neon Chifa restaurant downtown and watched the insanely noisy festivities. Watching the majority of Abancay celebrate the fact that they COULD vote warmed me to the core. It still amazes me to this day that we take this for granted. That evening in Abancay will make me smile every time I think of it until the day I die.

    I need to compliment you. Your photos and narration make every place you go look like the best and most beautiful place on earth.
  6. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    wednesday, march 27, 2013

    a note to the concerned: don't worry too much. i won't get myself into anything that i can't get myself out of. i'm industrious, creative, smart and a survivor. and i always have the spot tracker SOS button if i ever get into any real trouble. when writing these entries, i'm not thinking about how it might be taken from a couple thousand miles away - i'm just writing unfiltered. i have a feeling that my being on another continent, in strange countries and cities, might intensify the experience for those reading this account. for me, it all seems fairly tame and normal. i am always being careful.

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    puquio to nasca by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    today was a much easier day. i was awakened by two brazilian motorcycles coming out of storefront where i parked my bike the night before. a 1200 suzuki bandit, and a cb 1300 honda. luis and rose were on the suzuki, and gilberto (a tortuga) on the honda. they were heading the same direction, to nasca, so i joined them for breakfast and we rode out together.

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    luis um brasileiro, puquio, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    parking 1, puquio, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    parking 2, puquio, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    parking 3, puquio, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    breakfast com brasileiros, puquio, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    we climbed yet another range of mountains, and found ourselves in the galera national reserve by 10am. the temperatures were cold, because it was early. but i was warm this time. we passed fields of vicuñas (smaller than, but similar to, llamas). i thought that it might be nice if the peruvian government placed a couple of taxidermy vicuñas near the road to make photos easier - they are very timid and therefore always appear very small in the background running away from you.

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    reserva nacional pampa galeras, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    bikes, reserva nacional pampa galeras, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    amigos, reserva nacional pampa galeras, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    at times we rode together, chasing each other through the curves. the entire day's ride was a blast. at times, i fell behind to take photos. the range dropped down from 15,000 to only about 2,000 feet in a series of very intense curves that lasted for about 40 kilometers. i took my time, and enjoyed the change in scenery from lush and green to dry, brown and barren. the desert and the dunes rose up out of the sea, which you could barely see through the thick air to the west.

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    vista, reserva nacional pampa galeras, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    descending into nasca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    twisties east of nasca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    yes, nasca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    moto heaven, nasca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    drop into nasca by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i told them that i was heading to the casa andina hotel in nasca, and found them parked and talking on the curb when i finally arrived 10 minutes or so after they did. later, we shared a cab out to the airport to hire an airplane to view the famous nasca lines. i was on the fence about doing it. but i went with the flow. we were told 90 USD at the hotel. we arrived to the airport and it was 90. plus 6% credit card fee. plus 25 dollar airport tax.

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    nasca airport, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    brasileiros drive a hard bargain, nasca airport, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    tiny taxi to the airport, nasca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the tax pushed luis over the line, and he insisted on a refund, feeling like we were getting gringo'ed to death. i admired his resolve and followed suit. i wish i were more often fiscally principled like this. the 'gringo' tax really ads up, and you become both accustomed to it at times, and other time disgusted by it. (like the gas in bolivia that costs three times more for foreigners). given i was on the fence about the flight, i was more than happy to enjoy a walk back to the main road to hail a cab. (the airport personnel were less than excited to call us a taxi.) it's amazing how on this trip, i'm able to take anything and everything in stride. nothing seems to bother me here. i hope i can take that back home with me.

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    too many people in the taxi, nasca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    alpaca dashboard, nasca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    would you get a massage in this hole?, nasca airport, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    tomorrow, to lima. tonight, to dine with my new friends.
  7. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,899
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    very cool. link to nazca lines.
  8. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    thursday, march 28, 2013

    all of my clothes permanently smell like mold. i'm going to have to burn them all when i get home.

    i saw some more nazca lines on the way out of town this morning. how the ancient nazcans knew that there would be a restaurant named 'la variante' and that it would be 100 meters from this hill, i have no idea. they must have been much more advanced than previously thought...

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    more nazca lines, nazca, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the ride up to lima today was pretty abysmal. 6 hours of heavy traffic with wind-blown sand and dust. a couple hours south of lima, the road finally expanded to a 4-lane freeway. i've never been so happy. the two lane highway was a nightmare. there is a center dividing line, but no one seems to care about that. the only rule for cars passing trucks, or trucks passing cars seems to be 'do it whenever it makes the least sense.' and if you are a motorcycle coming in the opposite direction, you better have an escape route and a lot of shoulder, because you don't matter to them. they just keep passing and expect you to get out of the way. i was considering that it might be better to be nearly freezing to death alone on another high mountain pass.

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    boring roads south of lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i needed a brief repose from the tedium, so i stopped off in the resort town of paracas, peru. this is the site of an in-famous andean society known for binding the skulls of children to purposefully deform them. a museum on the main drag features several of the actual skulls, pulled from buried sites discovered in the 1920's. some have suggested alien influence. i've never seen an alien skull before, but the ones i saw and held today were pretty creepy indeed.

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    paracas oblong skull, paracas, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    paracas skull, paracas, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    paracas mom, dad, and baby, paracas, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    juan the museum guy, paracas, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    riding into lima was interesting. i wish i had a shot of the traffic i was riding through, but if i tried to capture one, i wouldn't be here to write about it. again, rules don't seem to apply.

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    lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    on that topic, i am going to have a difficult time adjusting back to traffic rules in the states. i've turned into a south american in that regard. it's a survival mechanism. if you don't drive fast and crazy here, you are actually in much more danger. i've become fond of splitting lanes, speeding all the time, using both left medium and right shoulders to pass, driving on sidewalks, parking on sidewalks, ignoring police, not paying at toll-booths, and many other things that are now second nature.

    had a run on the beach to clear the head after fighting 2 hours of traffic to the hostel. off to explore the miraflores neighborhood, where i'm staying for the next day or two. lima has an un-official population of 12 million people. i hope to meet all of them.

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    house project hostel, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    sunset 2 on miraflores beach, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    sunset on miraflores beach, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  9. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
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  10. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,899
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    that is a pretty good read. i especially could relate to you describing the solitude of the travel, i think that's the part that we miss most when the trip is over. the time we get to spend inside ourselves.

    or some shit like that. :D
  11. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    saturday, march 30, 2013

    if you can't say anything nice, you are not supposed to say anything at all… but that would make fore a pretty dull, even dishonest, blog. i'm observing and stating what i see, hopefully without judgment.

    that said, i'm not crazy about lima, peru. there's an uneasiness about this place that feels different from other large cities that i've seen here in south america. it's a tension - it's in the eyes of the people you see on the streets. but i am here until monday when i can buy a new rear tire to take with me into the mountains north of here.

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    miraflores cliffs, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    since i've been traveling, i have repeatedly been told that when in lima, stay in the miraflores neighborhood. it's infrastructure is modern, and it's relatively safe. but it leaves much to be desired. at night, it takes on a more aggressive, weird character. the restauranteurs are again fighting for gringo dollars, each serving the same things. around midnight, some shady characters start to come out from under the rocks, standing around, staring, talking about who knows what as you pass by. it's not just my observation - other travelers have mentioned similar sentiments. i've been told other neighborhoods are unsafe. but what am i missing in those places?

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    miraflores beach, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    maybe i am not seeing the right places? maybe i'm just 'explored out' for the moment, and not making a good effort. but places are just places, buildings, streets. places are really only defined by their human element. my interaction here has mainly been with other travelers - australians, swedes, germans, brits, argentines, brazilians. but i have tried to connect with peruvians. despite efforts, the only contact i've been able to establish is with the owners and operators of this very nice hostel - an oasis of calm, relaxation, and laziness within the confines of the miraflores neighborhood. otherwise, the peruvians here seem not to want to interact with me. maybe i'm too tall and scary? i don't really understand.

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    miraflores waves, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i became frustrated, very frustrated looking for a tire on friday (holiday), saturday (not technically a holiday, but still a holiday.) i gave up after i finally found a motoshop yesterday afternoon, and had the front door slammed in my face because i arrived 5 minutes before they were to close. those are clearly not real motorcyclist. no true motorcyclist would ever do that to another motorcyclist in need.

    so now i'm just accepting the futile nature of my simple task on this religious holiday, this sunday, and sitting around in a hammock and staring at the sky. i've gone for a walk on the beach, laid on the pebbles and rocks that make up the 'beaches' of lima, eaten ceviche at every and any possible opportunity (it's very good here - even from the supermarket), and in general making an effort to be as lazy as possible today before i (hopefully) find a tire and ride out of here in the morning. i'm looking forward to the mountains, the huascarán national park region, that is next. this is the highest range in the andes, and is sure to produce some amazing photos.

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    lima bean, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ceviche obsession, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ceviche in the supermarket, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    this hostel, the house project, is fantastic. there is a courtyard here that is hard to leave. the people who are staying here are wonderful, nice, interactive, curious. this place alone has been worth the trip to lima.

    [​IMG]
    house project hostel, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    house project hostel courtyard, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i only have 5 weeks left to make it to cartegena, colombia. i am at the point in my adventure where there is a strong sense of and 'end' in sight and in mind. i am doing my best to keep to the here and now, but these future thoughts creep in. funny how easily such a simple thing as a thought of the future, or of the days past, can take you away from what really matters… but each of these diversions is an opportunity for growth.

    [​IMG]
    miraflores sunset, lima, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  12. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    monday, april 1, 2013

    lima, peru to huaraz, peru

    i found my rear tire in a strange industrial area of lima that was about as sketchy a place as i would ever want to put myself in. i walked out with a brand new michelin anakee 2 tire, a bit more pavement oriented than i would prefer, but better than a full-blown enduro tire (continental tkc 80) that was my alternative.

    i left the warehouse at 10am. i finally reached the northern edge of lima 2 hours later. i have never seen anything like that stretch of pavement, and never hope to again. it was the most smog-choked, chaotic, and terrifying 2 hours of traffic i've ever encountered in my life. i was sick from the exhaust of thousands of poorly-maintained engines, spewing out thick black smoke. the worst are the big, old trucks. my helmet visor had a thick film on it once i reached the clear air of the coast north of town.

    i climbed precipitously up into the andes toward huaraz. i hit some light rain at about 11,000 feet, that stuck around until i landed at the monkeywasi hostel in huaraz. the hostel was ranked #1 on tripadvisor. why, i have no idea. i would not recommend it to anyone, and might even do a rare review stating as much. but i was out of the rain.

    [​IMG]
    climb to hauraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    rock face west of huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    hill west of huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    steam on the road, huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    cordillera blanca south, huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    detour, west of huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    --------------------------------


    tuesday, april 2, 2013

    huaraz, peru to caraz, peru

    note: there is a shortage of quality photos. i haven't been feeling up to it.

    if portions of my recent posts seem a bit negative, i apologize. it reflects a generalized malaise that i've been struggling with for the last week or two. i'm not really certain what is going on, or when or where this began.

    a close friend suggested that i am being too hard on myself - expecting too much out of this journey. i'm certain that's true. it's in my nature to expect too much of myself. yet, there is so much time, money, and mental/physical effort invested into this adventure, that i get frustrated when i'm not having an epic, memorable, or blog-worthy time. i know that's ridiculous, unrealistic, and unfair to myself.

    now, having left the patio at the hostel in lima, i'm realizing how much i was enjoying that down time - and frankly the company and conversation in english with others who understand the travel fatigue that i'm clearly experiencing. i've been bordering on depressed since leaving that place - back out on the road to face the constant barrage of the unknown. i know that i am extremely lucky to be doing what i'm doing, but it doesn't feel that way to me right now. i'm tempted by thoughts of my bed, my city, my friends - and the ease of the familiar. the same familiar that, prior to leaving for this trip, tormented me in a similar manner.

    there is a veil of grey pulled over the peruvian andes, and it's not the cloud-cover. this is such a beautiful location, but i can't see what's right in front of me. i know this is a normal part of the emotional journey. i just thought that i had already been through these feelings earlier on. i wasn't expecting to feel this way now.

    i learned last night that the cordillera blanca is the second tallest mountain range on the planet, after the himalayas. there are 33 peaks over 18,000 feet. unfortunately, it is in a bit of a wet season right now, and the stunningly intense peaks are covered most of the day. there are heavy rains that start around noon and last into the afternoon. even though i wasn't feeling up to it, i faked a smile and pointed the triumph up into the mountains this morning. i got lost twice looking for the road that would take me up past the pastoruri glacier (a road that travels at over 17,000 ft.) everyone was giving me conflicting information, and i had no detailed map to consult (was kicking myself for not finding one, but i simply forgot to do it).

    so i gave up on the glacier and opted for a road that would lead me "behind" the mountain range, on a series of roads to the east and north. the hope was to do a loop around the peaks, and wind up in caraz, peru, about 90 minutes as the bird flies to the north of huaraz. however, about 45 minutes into the route, i spoke with a couple of highway patrol officers at a checkpoint, and they strongly recommended against the ride. they said the gravel was very dangerous in the rain, even for trucks, and that there are regularly ice and snow storms at the tops of the passes in the afternoon. i turned around, feeling completely defeated by the day and by my mood. one out of my control, one within my control.

    i think part of my frustration is that i want to see everything, but knowing that i can't. i spoke with some backpackers at the hostel last night who had been up on the glacier, been on epic hikes to secluded alpine lakes in the region. they didn't seem to be hampered by the weather. and i couldn't help but think to myself - "what am i doing wrong?"

    (the rains have started up again. a small, dirty boy just walked into the café where i'm typing this up… he said "buenos dias mi gringo" in a very kind, sincere manner. he wanted to sell me a local paper for 0.70 soles. i asked him about the paper, and how his sales are going today. he basically answered, "i can't complain." i bought a copy. i like his attitude.)

    i'm not sure what i am going to do, or where i am going to go next. i guess i need to find some days that are less complicated, and that allow me to relax a bit more. i suppose that means to head back out to the coast, where more hammocks and ceviche await… and move closer to ecuador.

    i feel a little ridiculous airing my pain to those of you following along. i continue to be honest in hopes that someone else will benefit from it in some way.

    [​IMG]
    downtown huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    looking for the glacier, huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    roadside doggie, huaraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    moto taxi, caraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    plaza de los armas, caraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    a content and safe moto, caraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr
  13. TheLorax

    TheLorax Comitted Lurker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    PacNW
    Hit the same April rains when I was in the mountains of Peru. Thought I would triumphantly descend into the Amazon basin on the far side. But there was just a lot of washed out roads and swollen river crossings. Best laid plans and all.

    I don't know how you loners make these rides anyway. I always travel with at least one friendly face. Yes, I probably miss some contact with the culture that way. It's a trade off and we each make our own bed. I have certainly had occasion to wish I were alone.

    I'd buy you a beer if you weren't so damn far away. Here in BridgeTown it was an unseasonably warm and sunny Easter weekend and I wished I was out wandering the world. Grass is always greener........... :lol3

    How's the bike running? Hard reset seems to be doing the job?

    K
  14. Jick Magger

    Jick Magger Exile on Main Street

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    861
    Location:
    Okanagan Valley BC, Canada/Scottsdale, Arizona
    Hey Fritz

    Thanks for posting your story and photos. I am enjoying following along with you on your journey. The loneliness you feel on occasion is to be expected. It's great that you are relaying the real story. The highs and the lows. Keep your spirits up as there are many more highs to come. If you have the chance, grab yourself a couple of beers and watch a few of this fellow travellers, short videos from the road. He is experiencing the same lows at times. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=870156 Travel safe and enjoy.:thumb
  15. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    the bike is running great. the hard reset works. it still gets confused with the extreme altitude changes, but now i have a method to remedy the problem. still in love with the tiger.
  16. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,899
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    the next time you're feeling down or stressed about making your next destination, do this.

    turn off your phone.
    sit down on a grassy knoll.
    realize that there isn't anything else you have to do at the moment.


    the rest of us will do the phone answering, the email replying, the endless meetings where we try not to fall asleep & spill coffee all over the same boring people we sit next to every meeting, staring at the cubical wall and those same papers that we've had pinned to it for years.

    we're still with ya and enjoying the ride, very much the beautiful pictures and wonderful stories.
  17. =[BAD]=TEX

    =[BAD]=TEX Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    45
    Location:
    Lindale TX
    Awesome photos brother!!:clap:clap:clap
    I may have missed it, but what camera are you using?
  18. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,060
    Location:
    RGV Texas
    Still enjoying the RR. I, for one, appreciate the honesty in your writing which allows us, the readers, to identify with your experience more fully; the highs and lows of this type of traveling.

    I second the grassy knoll idea but would add some meditation, stay in the moment and experience it fully.

    There will be days in your future when you'll look back on your trip and a smile will light up your face accompanied with feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment.

    :lurk
  19. GastonUSAChile

    GastonUSAChile Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    783
    Location:
    Miami,USA
    Dear Fritz,

    Great narrative and feelings, same as for the graphics. You have been riding since January alone and counting everyday just alone. Amplify the feeling when some language barrier make things a huge blended 'smoothie' in your mind.
    I 've just spent a week in the Georgia forest, secluded in the nature (with good company). Just a week and it felt like a month. I was living for almost 5 month in Lima (with good company) and it felt like a whole year.
    I could imagine what it feel to you being 3 month on the road and not being really in one place for more than a week. I think not even real nomads could sustain a normal life like that.
    I have just met a walker, not Johnny by the way but a guy that has been walking over the world for over 6 years. All over Europe and this time he was just ending the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia were I met him the other day. Well, an exceptional vagabond leaving on food stamps hahaha!

    Don't push your mind, try to ride with somebody else. What about a girl 2up? hahaha well, for a while..... Just slow down, see just what you most can see at a different pace, later, another story you will tell. Enjoy everyday !!!!

    Remember, everyday before you mount the bike, 'Work and routine is waiting for you up north', then ride at 55 m/hr. and smell the air.


    Be safe buddy!!!
  20. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    wednesday, april 3. 2013

    i woke up on the 'correct side of the bed' this morning and set off toward the coast. the last two days have been very full of both activity and emotion, and therefore time seems to have slowed down a bit. this brought back memories of the beginning of my trip and the odd gaps of time that seemed to take forever to pass.

    i left the hotel at 7am. just north of caraz was a place called cañon del pato (duck canyon), so i don't know how it would be possible to pass that opportunity for my yellow, rubbery companion. he seemed quite pleased to be navigating through an intense, deep ravine that cut through the corderilla blanca.

    [​IMG]
    pato deep in the cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the canyon was a serious of raw-cut mountain tunnels and steep rock cliffs. some of the tunnels were up to 100 meters long, winding, with no lights and half flooded with water seeping in through the mountain above. but only on one occasion did i encounter a big truck coming in the opposite direction. he stopped about a meter from my tire, i think to make a point that he would not be going anywhere in reverse. i had to push my bike back with my feet to the tunnel entrance about 20 meters behind me, and let the truck pass.

    [​IMG]
    a dark, scary place, cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    the light at the end of the tunnel, cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    steep cliffs 2, cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    more cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    steep cliffs, cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    into the cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    hydro plant, cañon del pato, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    as is standard protocol in the peruvian andes, the road i planned to take back to the coast was cut in half by a bridge that was closed for construction, so i rode the one hour back to caraz to catch another option that was just 5 miles south of town. this road proved to be fantastic - a one lane, entirely paved, switchback-laden masterpiece that climbed 10,000 feet in 20 miles. usually, the road was no more than 10 feet across, and perched right on the edge of very, very high cliffs that fell into nothingness. the moisture from the valley below eventually turned to clouds, and i could see the wisps of clouds racing up past me, climbing to the peaks above. a beautiful road if you are ever in the area.

    [​IMG]
    where the corderilla blanca should be, caraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    moto heaven, west of caraz, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    very deep canyon, pamparomas, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dr. suess cactus, pamparomas, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    although i was earlier frustrated by the corderilla blanca and my inability to explore the area, i now see this as an opportunity to return another time. i would like to go back, maybe with a friend, and spent 2 or 3 weeks backpacking the mountains and maybe doing a summit of one of the higher peaks. on foot would be a better way to see the area, and feel like the time spent riding to and from the mountains was worth it if only to set this plan for some day in the future.

    i hit the pass and bid farewell to the white mountains. the other side of the range was less exciting and more exhausting. 160 kilometers of very sharp curves. rounding corners for 3 hours is hell on your shoulders, back and neck. but i pushed through, knowing that there was a beach at the end of the day with waves crashing to help me sleep.

    [​IMG]
    paso chicarhuapunta, 43,14 meters, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    the descent, moro, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    after the 3 hours of curves was another 3 hours of freeway - dodging oncoming trucks and cars, fighting wind-blown sand, and keeping hydrated as i blasted through the coastal desert. i enjoyed the high speed and the straight pavement after crossing the andes for a 5th time. the freeway cut through a desert valley, with eerie and desolate mountains lapping up to either side of the road.

    [​IMG]
    near san jacinto, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    desert highway, chao, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i finally arrived in puerto chicama, peru. i had found it on my paper map earlier in the day. the map said "surf beach". when i pulled into town, 3 dudes were watching some kids play soccer on the beach. they looked like surfers. an argentine, a brazilian, and an american. they told me that i had just pulled up to the beach that had the longest left-breaking wave in the world. puerto chicama is a holy place for surfers. once i rode up the small hill to the area where the 5 or 6 hotels were clustered, i saw the famous wave. i keyed off the ignition, and watched a surfer pop up on a wave. he must have been riding it for a least 2 minutes before he dropped off either for exhaustion or to catch another. i knew i would spend the next morning in the water remembering how to surf.

    [​IMG]
    peruvian duck lover, puerto chicama, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    sunset, puerto chicama, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    sunset from el hombre, puerto chicama, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    me looking pensive, but fooling no one, puerto chicama, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr