Sacred Valley of the Incas

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by poolman, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Here is a compilation of several video clips taken as we rode from Urubamba to the Abra Malaga mountain pass. No extreme riding here, just beautiful scenery.

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    #21
  2. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Preparing for the descent to Santa Maria below, we layered up before entering the cold cloud.
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    The weather improved as our altitude diminished.
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    Juan is one pleasant man to ride with.
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    It was laundry day on the mountain side.
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    I first thought there were numerous streams crossing the road, and then realized that because of the switchbacks we were crossing the same stream time and time again as we weaved our way down the mountain. Sort of like the dogs a few days earlier.
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    Juan sported his Go Pro helmet camera (unfortunately, his memory card was lost).
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    We encountered road construction as we entered the town of Santa Maria.
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    The difference in climate was amazing; the temperature was near the freezing point just a few hours before at Abra Malaga. After descending nearly 10,000 feet into the jungle it climbed to 100 degrees F in Santa Maria. We refueled the bikes and replenished our water supplies.



    A quick video of our descent down the opposite side of the mountain. Again nothing extreme, just amazing scenery:





    More to follow...
    #22
  3. swamp

    swamp U lie&yo'breff stank

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    Good stuff ! good stuff!

    please continue . im digging the hell out of this



    :lurk:
    #23
  4. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    We were eager (but slightly reluctant) to get on with our journey. The track from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa has been listed among the most dangerous roads in the world. It is a single-lane 40 KM long slice that has been carved high into the mountainside, and in certain places a fall would mean a 2,500 foot vertical drop to the raging Urubamba River below. This road is not for the faint of heart, and would provide an excellent opportunity for me to cure my fear of heights.

    Departing Santa Maria.
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    We climbed above the Urubamba River.
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    Recent landslides added a bit of challenge.
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    Not many pictures, but we captured some video:





    Finally we reached the village of Santa Teresa. I was amazed by the warmth and friendliness of the people. It is hard to fathom that in 1998 a massive landslide buried the original town, killing a large portion of the population and destroying the bridge that was the only link to the markets near Machu Picchu. The resilient survivors reconstructed the town in a safer location, and in 2007 completed construction of a new bridge. Next time I feel sorry for myself, I will remember this amazing example of determination and perseverance.

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    We found a hostal with secure parking for the bikes.
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    Hot showers (we don't see many 220 volt shower heads at home).
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    After a quick break in Santa Maria, we were off to Hydroelectrica for a short train ride to Aguas Calientes. It had been a spectacular day of riding, and the train ride would have been a nice reprieve except for the fact that it was well over 110 degrees F in the glass-topped coach cars.
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    The railway followed the Urubamba River through the jungle, and the scenery was incredible. I found it odd that Juan couldn't ride in the same train car as us. For some reason, Peruvian nationals are forbidden to ride with international visitors. At this point I realized that a paradigm shift had occurred: Juan was not just our guide any more, he had become our friend and traveling companion. A quick 90 minutes later we arrived in Aguas Calientes.
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    The view from our hostel.
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    That night we had a delicious dinner of local pizza and fire-grilled Peruvian meat. I was happy to be feeling well again, and my stomach was proving to be incredibly robust.
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    More to follow...
    #24
  5. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    :clap
    #25
  6. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    There is one primary reason people visit Aguas Calientes; it is located near the base of Machu Picchu, and is the last stop for most travelers visiting the only major Inca archeological site that was not discovered and plundered by the Spanish conquistadors. After the spectacular riding of the past several days I honestly didn't have the highest expectations for our visit to the Crown Jewel of the Inca Empire. I considered that it may be somewhat anticlimactic.

    We had an early breakfast at the hostel and set off for Machu Picchu.
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    We reached the site just as the clouds were lifting.
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    I asked Culin to back up a few steps, but he didn't fall for it.
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    Like birds, the llamas for some reason all faced windward.
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    The sacrificial alter. The Inca were such an advanced people in many ways, yet so primitive in others.
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    A lady told me this was a chinchilla, but her husband insisted it was a “Peruvian Rat”. I'll tell my kids it was a chinchilla.
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    Anyway, this is a motorcycle trip, so enough of Machu Picchu. After a great lunch in Aguas Calientes and a quick walk around town we boarded the train for the downhill run to Hydroelectrica.
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    We retrieved our bikes from the hostel in Santa Teresa and set off to retrace our way to Santa Maria, then on to the beautiful jungle town of Quillabamba.


    Our short route for the day:
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    This young man was responsible for guarding the bikes.
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    We refueled again in Santa Maria.
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    The tracks were a bit dusty.
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    We arrived in Quillabamba just as the sun was going down.
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    Secure parking at the Hostal Don Carlos.
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    Beer issues had at last been fully resolved.
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    We walked around the town of Quillabamba until late in the night, eating delicious Pollo A La Brasa at a small family restaurant and then enjoying ice-cold Cusquenas on a bench in the Plaza de Armas in the warm jungle air. The people of Quillabamba were extremely welcoming, and wanted to learn about our travels and our "grande motos".


    More to follow...
    #26
  7. zadok

    zadok Long timer

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    Brilliant.:clap:D
    #27
  8. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    :clap:clap:clapFantastic! Keep it coming! :clap:clap:clap
    #28
  9. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Some video compiled from our ride between Santa Teresa and Santa Rosa (notice the difference in perspective between my camera mounted low on the bike and Juan's helmet camera):

    #29
  10. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    #30
  11. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Despite enjoying our first indulgent evening of the trip, we were all up early and eager to begin our ride through the most remote territory yet. We would be traveling all day through the jungle with the goal of reaching the Lares Hot Springs. We had received conflicting reports from the locals about landslides and road conditions. The consensus was that the tracks would probably be passable by motorcycle, but not by car. Perfect!

    Our route for the day:
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    The morning view from the hostal.
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    Ready to go.
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    Juan knew of a nice waterfall, so we decided to stop for a break.
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    Culin tries his best to lure monkeys out of the jungle, but to no avail.
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    We can’t reach the bananas.
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    Coffee grows naturally in this region.
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    We rejoined the main track.
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    The Giant Loop Coyote luggage has proven to be a good choice for this trip.
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    The confluence of two rivers contributing to the source waters of the Amazon.
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    Lots of water...
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    ... and water crossings.
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    Coffee is dried by the side of the road.
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    We refueled and rehydrated again in San Cristobal.
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    Incense is constantly burned at many of the above-ground cemeteries.
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    After San Cristobal we were alone on the road. The locals in Quillabamba must be correct; we had seen no vehicular traffic in many hours. We were hoping their assertion that the roads "might" be passable by motorcycle is true. If not, we would certainly have fuel issues.

    Did I mention there was lots of water?
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    The current was extremely swift in many of these rivers, and the consequences of a fall could be severe.
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    We emptied our boots and continued on.
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    We were climbing, and the vista was spectacular.
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    I stopped to view another roadside cemetery, and decisively concluded that incense burning is done for a reason.
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    We continued on the track toward Lares.
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    Despite the warnings, our mighty NX400 Falcons reached the remote Lares Hot Springs. Unfortunately, we appear to have arrived off season, and the gate is locked. After extensive negotiations with the guard, Juan was able to secure basic accommodations (no potable water, no heat, no food), and is charged double the advertised rate.

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    I had really looked forward to enjoying the Lares hot springs, but I cannot recommend it even though the property itself was quite interesting. Several natural hot springs have been tapped, and the water has been channeled to a series of pools ranging from warm to scalding hot. There are even geothermal outdoor hot mineral showers. The color of the water is somewhat disconcerting, but there is no foul odor. I soaked in a pool that was approximately 105 degrees F.

    The problem is that the owners/operators clearly did not welcome foreign visitors, and preferred catering to the locals who enjoy the facility on a day basis. It was my impression that the proprietors loathed foreigners, and then loathed themselves for accepting the foreigner’s money out of necessity to keep the place operating. In all of our travels, this was the only negative encounter we had with anyone in Peru.

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    With no food available at the compound, we decided to ride in the dark to the town proper of Lares, about 10 KM away. We had missed lunch and were happy to find a woman offering food from a small cafe operated out of her home.
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    Again, we encounter curious, friendly, and welcoming people.
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    A tribal language was spoken, so I had no idea what I was served.
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    After dinner I went into the kitchen to thank the woman who stayed late to prepare our dinner. As I was leaving, a dog lifted his leg over the large basket of potatoes stored on the floor, marking his territory.

    The overpriced accommodations were cold, dirty, and full of spiders. It was far more comfortable outside.
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    There was a nice view from my hammock in the morning.
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    More to follow...
    #31
  12. sandalscout

    sandalscout blah blah blah

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    Awesome ride, thanks for posting it up! :D
    #32
  13. donnymoto

    donnymoto Long timer

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    This is great, looks like the trip of a lifetime :thumb
    #33
  14. Moto Psycho

    Moto Psycho Adventurer

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    Ditto. What an excellent RR. Looking forward to the next installment....:lurk
    #34
  15. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Wow, I appreciate the words of encouragement; thank you for the positive remarks. In all honesty, taking time to go through the pictures and document the journey gives me a chance to re-experience the trip!
    #35
  16. AZ_ADV_RIDER

    AZ_ADV_RIDER Demons In My Helmet

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    Excellent RR Poolman! Great pics even with the blue hue - sucks having a crap camera when you're on a trip like that. Anyhow, looks like some wonderful and magical Inca countryside. :thumb
    #36
  17. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    A video from our muddy ride into Santa Maria the previous day:

    #37
  18. RockyRoads

    RockyRoads RockyRoads

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    Pat, this is such an excellent ride report! The salt pans, the small towns, the twisty roads, the water crossings . . . seems like you had an amazing adventure to celebrate your milestone birthday! :clap
    #38
  19. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Thank you RockyRoads, but my trip was just a ride around the block compared to your Peruvian adventure! For those who haven't seen it, Rocky Roads and her husband Ben posted a fantastic ride report covering their travels in northern Peru:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=541194

    Thanks,
    #39
  20. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Riding out of Quillabamba we encountered lots of trucks and bridges:

    #40