Toronto to Ushuaia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by djeady, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    More pics[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    BruceT and Max Wedge like this.
  2. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    And more[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    BruceT likes this.
  3. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Starting the New Year in Quito

    Ian and I got checked back in at the Hilton and got into our room after some merry confusion about being assigned a room with only one bed, trying to swap rooms with the Govinds so the kids could be closer to them and then the kids getting assigned a room that was already occupied.

    We let Bryan know we had arrived and he came over to the hotel to meet us and we all headed to Plaza Foch to greet the New Year.

    It was raining lightly so we each had a raincoat or umbrella.

    On the way, we stopped and picked up some skewers of meat to eat as we weren't sure how easy it would be to get food. The first one was pretty good, but the second one I got had a big sausage that was only partly cooked and it was really unpleasant so I tossed it after a few bites.

    We went to a nice bar right on the square on the second floor. All of the good tables were reserved and empty, so we managed to convince the waitress that we would be long gone before the reservees showed up. That got us a nice table by the window overlooking the square.

    We started out with a really good caipirinha, and then each had an equally good mojito.

    We then decided to head to the bar diagonally across the plaza which had artisanal beer and we welcomed the New Year playing pool and drinking beer.

    The rain continued outside and the revellers were trying to make the best of it standing around and setting off fireworks.

    We went outside just after midnight and stood around for a while. We discussed going to another bar, but Ian was really tired so he and I headed back to the hotel and Bryan went to his Hostal.

    I woke up in the morning feeling like I had swallowed a large rock and this quickly developed into stomach cramps and diarrhea. I suspect the undercooked sausage was the culprit.

    I did manage to get down some breakfast, but otherwise took it easy until it was time to check out of the hotel. Ian checked his bags and headed off to do some exploring in the old city and I loaded up the bike, reinflated my front tire which was flat again, and headed over to the Hostal where Bryan was staying.

    Mogens Pod Hostel is a neat place in a beautifully restored old house. Highly recommend it. It has both a restaurant and bar on site.

    I got settled in and had a coke, then some oregano tea to help settle my stomach.

    After a while we went out for a walk and Bryan had a burger as he hadn't had any lunch. I had some fries and another coke.

    We went back to the Hostal and finished off the day with a nice bowl of vegetable soup before calling it a night.

    The next morning I drove Bryan out to the BMW dealer to see how his bike was doing. I waited a while because they were still running diagnostics, then headed out to Bolivar Moto Service where I was having both tires and the oil changed.

    Google Maps decided to play games with me and led me to the wrong spot. Frustrating, because I knew I was within a few blocks of where I needed to be. I asked a few people, but none of them knew where the shop was. I rode around for a bit and found two police officers who knew the place and were kind enough to lead me there.

    Once there, they took the bike in quickly and started to work on it. I had a coffee at the little cafe that is attached and then I ordered the lunch special which was some really nice lasagna with garlic bread and a salad and juice.

    I monitored the work the mechanic was doing and he seemed to know his stuff so after determining he didn't didn't have a balanced I removed the wheel weights from both wheels and left him to finish the work.

    He was done when promised and I gave things a quick check and headed back to the Hostal.

    I had a rest and by late afternoon Bryan still hadn't returned. He sent a message saying it was going to be fixed but it was very expensive.

    It started to rain about 5:30 and he got back (on the bike) just before 6. They had basically transferred the entire fuel system from another bike at a cost of around $1,400 US.

    We celebrated with a coffee and rum to help both of us warm up and then went out to find dinner. We wound up at a little burger place and had an ok burger, then stopped to buy chocolate bars on the way home and called it a night. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    BruceT and Stromtom like this.
  4. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    More pics[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    And more [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Time travel on the Ruta del Spondylus

    Sometimes travel gives you not only the opportunity to cover distance but also to go back in time. This can happen in a couple of ways.

    You can visit a well preserved older place like Mompos in Columbia which is as close as you will get to the setting of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude.

    You can also visit people you haven't seen for a very long time.

    Barb Scott is my stepfather's ]second wife and mother to Debbie, Susan, Kerry and Rob, all of whom I count as brother and sisters.

    We (my other brothers and I) used to visit Barb and my stepfather in the summer when I was a teenager.

    They lived in a converted schoolhouse near Kinburn, Ontario. I have fond memories of those visits, but hadn't seen Barb since that time - over 40 years ago. She moved to Ecuador a couple of years ago.

    We'd gotten back in touch years ago via Facebook and when she learned I would be riding my motorcycle through South America she asked if I was going to drop in. Of course I said yes.

    I had the pleasure of visiting with her for a couple of days and catching up on both old times and current happenings.

    The first night Barb cooked some lovely smoke pork chops for us. We chatted about many things and when she learned I was a techie she made a list of things for me to look at.

    The next morning we went into town in the bike to have encebollado which is kind of an onion soup with fresh tuna in it. It's a very common breakfast dish in Ecuador and it was quite tasty. Bryan walked over from his Hostal and joined us as well.

    Afterwards we went for coffe and then I took Barb a couple of towns over so she could do her banking. We rode bake along the Malecon.

    Afterwards we took the dog for a walk up the beach and the in the afternoon we bicycled in to town to try and sort out her internet problem. We actually bicycled in twice as we had to go back to her place for a receipt as it appeared to be a payment record issue. We weren't convince that we'd resolved anything, but later that day the internet connection started working

    I went down to the beach for a swim and wound up trying to help some guys who had gotten a small dump truck stuck in the sand as the tide was coming in. We weren't successful in getting it free, but when I checked later in the evening they'd somehow managed to get it out.

    That evening we went on the bike to a little barbecue place for dinner. Very tasty even though it turned out we'd gone to the wrong place. We'd intended to go to the one next door.

    The next morning Barb made a nice breakfast and I went for a swim then tackled the final problem on her list - getting her Majicjack phone working. Again, we were successful, so we were able to get all of the items on her technology list sorted.

    I said my goodbyes and headed off on the bike to catch up with Bryan who had moved on to Liberador Bolivar.

    It was only a few hours away and a very nice ride. I stopped in Montanita just a bit north of Liberador Bolivar to take some pictures. It's a crazy little surfer town.

    As I pulled into Liberator Bolivar my speedometer stopped working. When I pulled up at the Hostal and had a look, the reason was obvious. When the mechanic in Quito had put the front wheel back on he hadn't properly aligned the speedometer assembly and the resulting bend in the cable had caused the inner cable to snap.

    We had a nice dinner at the Hostal and then went for a walk through the town. On the way back we saw a little fun fair setting up and stopped to have a look. It was a. I'd sad with only 1 or 2 kids on each of the rides. They had 3 foosball games set up in the middle and when we stopped to have a look, the kids all crowded around, so we paid for them to have a game, then another. It was much more fun than playing ourselves. When we headed up the street, the whole mob followed us asking to go into the bouncy castle. We asked the price and it was $1 each - no wonder they weren't getting many customers. We negotiated a rate of $5 for the whole group and they all piled in. We watched for a little bit, then quietly slipped away.

    A fun end to the evening.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Max Wedge and Stromtom like this.
  7. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    More pics[​IMG][​IMG] IMG_5188.JPG [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    roadcapDen, Max Wedge and Stromtom like this.
  8. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    And more[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    chudzikb, BruceT and Stromtom like this.
  9. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    And even more[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    fasttortoise and Stromtom like this.
  10. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Not going to Cuenca and other stories

    I woke up early and went for a walk along the Malecon and watched Liberador Bolivar wake up. One of the little booths on the beach was already open, so I sat and had a coffee before heading back to the Hostal. Bryan was just getting up and we had breakfast in the Hostal and I helped one of the other guests with a laptop that wasn't charging. Bryan and I walked up the beach for a while before heading back and packing up the bikes. The plan was to try and get to Cuenca so I could get a new speedometer cable and also to see the city.

    We rode down to Guayaquil and as we were passing through the city, Bryan's front tire went flat. We stopped and pumped it up a couple of times, but it wouldn't hold air. There was no visible damage to the tire so he suspected it was leaking where he'd had dented the rim earlier. We went to a tire repair place and they inflated the tire up to 35 pounds and it seemed to hold.

    Since we were running late I decided to try and get a speedometer cable in Guayaquil. I searched on line and the best bet seemed to be a place called Kit Racing out by the airport. We found our way there by a fairly circuitous route. It seems there is no such thing as a straight line route between two points in Guayaquil.

    Kit Racing was open, but didn't have the cable. After some discussion they said they could have the cable for me first thing the next morning for about $50. That seemed high, but there was definitely value in getting it done.

    Bryan had stayed in Guayaquil before at a Hostal called Moniquil Tu Parada which wasn't very far away so we headed there and they had rooms available and we were warmly welcomed.

    We checked in and went to the store on the corner and got some beer. I pulled the broken speedometer cable off my bike so I could easily check it against the new one the next morning.

    I also had a look at Bryan's tablet that somebody had tried to service in Colombia, but it was beyond anything I could do.

    Bryan suggested we take a cab down to the Malecon and so we headed down and wandered through the booths before walking towards Cerro Santa Anna which is a really interesting historical neighbourhood built in a hill above the river. We went partway up, but were stopped by the police who restrict access to the top part of the hill in the evening.

    We found a restaurant that looked interesting and had an ok dinner with a great view looking out over the river and city.

    We had tentatively arranged a cab back via the Hostal and the plan was to be picked up near a place called Sweet and Coffee. We each had a cappuccino and I had a chocolate muffin while Bryan had a slice of apple and nut cake. We tried to sort out our cab back, but first Bryan's phone died and then we waited quite a while without seeing our cab so we wound up taking one that was already there.

    We got back to the area of the Hostal with the aid of Google Maps on my phone. The cab driver wanted $10, but since ride down had only cost $4 we gave him $5 and he didn't protest too loudly.

    The next morning we had a nice breakfast at the Hostal and I headed over to Kit Racing. The cable wasn't there yet and they insisted on confirming the cable was the problem, even though I could show them it was clearly broken. Eventually they headed off to get the cable and were back quicker than they had said they would be.

    I took advantage of the time to tighten my shifter which was loose again. You have to remove the front sprocket cover to be able to put a socket on the shifter but.

    The new speedometer cable was quickly installed. And I headed back to the Hostal to get Bryan.

    We had decided that, since I was on a tight schedule t to get to Cuzco and I had already got my speedometer cable, we would skip Cuenca and head straight for the border.

    The ride to the border was pretty straightforward except for the last bit where all the Bryan's GPS and my Google Maps showed we were supposed to take an exit to the right. After several u-turns we finally determined the exit was on the left and made our way to the border.

    There didn't seem to be anywhere to stop as we left Ecuador which was a bit confusing. We parked in the Peru Customs area and were immediately approached by a family from Alberta! After chatting for a few minutes, they told us we had to go 11 km back into Ecuador to get the exit stamp on our vehicle document. They also said we could go ahead and do the immigration process out of Ecuador and into Peru first as we were already there. We did that and then headed off to get our stamp.

    Bryan was in the lead and he pulled into what to me was clearly the right place and then he headed out again - apparently he thought there was another customs building further back. It took a while to get him pulled over and turned around. Once back at the building our documents were quickly stamped.

    Unfortunately they didn't want to give us a copy of the stamped documents - some issue about not having enough paper. They suggested we take a picture of the stamped documents which we did. It was a good idea as Bryan was asked for proof that he had exited his bike from Ecuador. For some reason they didn't ask me.

    We went back to Peru Customs and after waiting a few minutes and showing our passports, ownership, etc. We're given our import paper. When I checked mine over everything was fine except the model year of the bike was wrong. The agent had put 2008 even though my ownership clearly says 2012 and I had told him 2012. Since having little details like this wrong can cause all kinds of problems in Central and South America I asked him to correct it. This led to a long process of giving them all of the information 4 more times while the customs agent who clearly didn't understand what he was doing tried to correct it in the system. It was very odd that he could repeatedly enter all of the other information, but couldn't change the model year. Eventually they told me it was corrected in the system, but they couldn't print out a corrected form so they manually changed the form and he put his signature and seal next to the change. All of this took an hour and a half to do.

    We had decided we were going to spend the night at a place called Swiss Wassi. We got there around 7 and they were kind enough to cobble together a meal for us while we set our tents up on the beach. After eating we went back to the tents and fell asleep listening to the waves crashing in to the shore.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Driving the northern deserts of Peru

    I got up and packed my stuff and said goodbye to Bryan who was going to stay another night at Swiss Wassi. I don't blame him -it's a nice place. We had a quick breakfast of some of the tangerines and mangos we had bought just before leaving Ecuador. The tangerines looked really ugly, but were nice in side and very sweet. The little mangos were also very good. The way they eat them here is to mush them all up inside the skin and then bite a little hole in the top and suck out the juice.

    Before I left I took a picture of the bikes next to a large overlander vehicle from France. Think of it as a Winnibego on steroids.

    I headed out down the highway. It was a beautiful morning and I was making good time. I was hoping to get to just north of Trujillo where Johnston Julao and Dan Long were staying.

    As I exited the district there was a checkpoint and I was asked to show the import papers for the bike which were checked very carefully.

    The next part of the ride was pretty nice, smooth ride and zipping past the trucks and buses that are most of the traffic on the roads here. The buses are huge double decker tour buses and they usually move along pretty well. The only problem is they stop frequently at the paradas and often stick out into the main road. The trucks are mostly transports, all underpowered as is the case throughout Central and South America. They generally get up to 70 or 80 k in the flat highway, but slow to a crawl on the hills.

    Mixed in are a herd of tuk-tuks in every town, a few motorcycles, some passenger cars and pickup trucks along with small trucks piled impossibly high with cane or other farm produce.

    Most of the time driving is spent passing trucks. Periodically a pickup truck or a passenger car will come racing by at a crazy rate of speed.

    Nobody looks or signals, and cars dart on and off the road with no notice at all. I've hear people say that Peruvians are the worst drivers in the Americas. It doesn't bother me much because it's just like trying to ride a motorcycle in rush hour in Toronto.

    After about an hour or so, the road got worse with tons of potholes and areas of torn up road. Then it got even worse with lots of loose gravel, crazy detours and lots of other construction work. This continued on until past Sullana where the Autoroute Pan American straightens out and alternates between being a 2 lane and a 4 lane highway.

    This is pretty barren country. From Sullana down to Chiclayo there's the odd small town, but otherwise its desert and sand dunes and sweeping hills with the occasional glimpse of the coast. Nothing grows here except in the odd isolated patch and the is an incessant on-shore wind that meets the road at 90 degrees and adds some excitement to passing the trucks and busses. It was very strong the day I went through - 50+ kilometres, and I actually had to close my visor because the sideways pressure of the wind on my nose was hurting.

    You pass through a bunch of little villages. The best of the houses are plastered brick and painted brightly. A larger portion are 1 or 2 room mud brick buildings with a corrugated tin or plastic roof. The majority are simple one room shacks with walls made from woven bamboo or cane panels.

    I arrived at Chiclayo just after 4 and went in to the city to find a bank machine. I found one quickly enough and withdrew the maximum which is 400 soles (about $155) - doesn't last long when a tank of gas is 60 Soles. Then I saw 5 doors away a branch of my own bank where I could have withdrawn money. Forgot they had branches here - will remember that for future withdrawals.

    I then went looking for the next item on my list which was a SIM card for my phone. After stopping in at a Claro "distributor" I learned I had to go to the main store downtown opposite the Cathedral. I found the place and parked my bike at the side of the road trusting that all would be well - it was a pretty busy place. I went in and took a number and was served fairly quickly and got the card and a reasonable amount of data. I came out and the bike was fine. It was getting late so I made a decision to stay on the outskirts of Chiclayo so I could get an early start. I found a little hospedaje with secure parking on the ground floor and got a room for the night for 30 soles (10$ us). It had hot water and wifi, but the wifi didn't reach my room so I had to go down the hall when I wanted to connect. There were a string of little restaurants across the street and I went over and had a nice chicken dinner.

    I had a reasonable sleep and then got up early and headed towards the Hostal that Dan and Johnston were staying.

    I got there mid morning and met up with them. I had a quick breakfast at the restaurant next door and then we all headed out towards Chimbote. They were going to stop there, then head back into the mountains the next day.

    After a couple of hours of riding we stopped for a break at a little roadside restaurant. We went in and sat down and this kid about 8 years old came over and started rubbing my head the did a sort of pat-a-cakes on my head. We were all laughing so hard that nobody managed to get a picture.

    Dan and I had nice ceviches and Johnston had some chicken. He asked if he could get another piece of chicken to go with the rest of his rice and wound up getting another entire meal. I had my first Inca Cola with my ceviche. Kind of odd taste - sort of like a banana flavoured cream soda. Owned by Coca Cola now. I think Coke and Nestle are taking over the world.

    We said our goodbyes and headed on to Chimbote where we parted company. I continued South on the Ruta Pan Americano.

    Pretty much rode through the afternoon except for one stop for juice and cookies where I talked with a group of Colombian bikers coming back from the Dakar Rally. I've probably seen over a hundred adventure and touring bikes heading north on their way back from the Dakar - all Colombian as far as I can tell.

    I rode through the afternoon until I was just a couple of hours north of Lima until I was in Barranca. I found a nice motel called Motel Sahara.

    I think either I have selected something in Google Maps that says "avoid paved roads" or the app just decides every now and then that I'm not having enough adventure. This time it sent me 5km Dow what looked like a farmers lane. It was mostly gravel, but there were a couple of stretches of powdery soft sand that gave me some grief and I just about lost the bike on one of them. It started swinging madly from side to side and I was pretty sure I was going to drop it, but I managed to wrestle it back under control. After a couple of jogs I arrive back at pavement and was instructed to turn left in Antigua Ruta Pan Americano. It was a nice paved road that I could easily have ridden in from the main highway.

    The Motel Sahara is a former love motel that is now run by a young family. Very secure and good wifi and hot water. I asked about nearby restaurants and was told I could order food in and they had beer which suited me fine. They even brought me a nice plate to transfer the food onto and a real knife and fork.

    I ate my dinner and then did some updates and called it a night.



    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    More pics[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    BruceT, chudzikb and Stromtom like this.
  13. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Through Lima down to Nazca

    I got up and packed and had a tangerine and a mango for breakfast. The mangos were starting to go, so I had to toss the last one.

    I needed to get money and thought I might have to go into Lima, but a quick search found a branch of my bank only 3km away. I was still able to only withdraw 400 Soles per transaction, but no fees made doing multiple transactions painless.

    I headed out keeping an eye out for a breakfast place, but either didn't like the ones I saw or saw ones that it was too late to turn in to.

    I passed lots of nice beach resorts and condominium developments along the coast. They all seemed pretty empty though.

    They were interspersed with more of the run down little towns. In these towns many of the houses were empty and derelict. I'd like to think they've all moved to the nice condos, but somehow I don't think that's what happened.

    The north end of Lima was more of the same little houses on hillsides, but as I got into the city it became more built up with continuous rows of low rise buildings along the roads. Traffic was quite heavy and at one point there was a truck on fire - it looked like it had run into a shipping container that was in the yard of a store and there was a big pool of burning fuel underneath it.

    The centre of Lima looked interesting and you could see the cathedral and some other old buildings from the highway, but I decided not to go in. The south part of the city is a modern high rises and then as you get out of the city more beach resorts until suddenly you are back in the desert. I stopped south of the city and had a nice burger and a big orange juice - hadn't had either breakfast or lunch.

    Google Maps decide I should have some fun a detoured me off on to a short stretch of Antigua Ruta Pan Americana that went through some neat hand cut single lane tunnels, then down an amazing set of switchbacks before cutting over to rejoin the main road. No idea why I was routed that way. It certainly wasn't shorter.

    My goal was to make it to Nazca, but I stopped one town short. I was feeling pretty tired and saw what I thought was a nice motel. I was told to put the bike in the lobby, even though the fenced in lot looked pretty safe, so I wheeled it in. I took my stuff up to my room and then headed out for some dinner. Had some grilled beef and some fries with a cold beer, then walked back to the hotel picking up one more beer on the way. I got into the room, sat on the edge of the bed and the next thing I knew it was a couple of hours later. Guess I really was tired.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    More pics[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Stromtom, BruceT, Dlyttle and 5 others like this.
  15. Cal

    Cal Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,092
    Location:
    Calgary
    Hey I just found your report and am about 1/2 way through. Great report. I talked to Richard on the phone in Lancaster California as I was at the same shop as his DR I was getting a chain on my v strom that I had just rode down from Calgary and he was having the whole top end done!! I offered to take him around as I know the town my son lives there but he was not interested!:dunno

    Following along now.
    Stromtom likes this.
  16. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Flying Over Nazca and Crossing the Andes

    I had kind of a strange sleep - kept seeing a flashing light every few minutes through the night. I thought at first it was some kind of reflection of car headlights as they passed on the highway, but eventually figured out it was the light fixture in the room that was flashing - no idea why.

    I got up and had my shower, but the promised hot water was not there and when I tried sliding the switch on the shower head I got a shock - don't call them suicide shower heads for nothing.

    I packed the bike and headed over towards Nazca to see the lines. I first stopped at a little place set up by the government where you could climb up a hill and see some of the lines. They looked like lines in the desert.

    When I walked back to the bike, I realized I didn't have my watch on my wrist and figured I had left it at the hotel - no success. Decided to check my bag and there it was - no idea why I packed it instead of putting it on.

    I headed back towards Nazca and into the town to book a flight to view the lines as I was told that was the only way to really see them. I paid my $70 and the had to wait a bit before following their driver to the airport. I could have left the bike in town, but figured it would be easier to leave directly from the airport. I got to the airport and had to present my passport again , then I had to go and pay a 30 Soles airport tax. The I had an hour wait before the flight. I went over to the souvenir shops and bought a couple of small charms in the shape of a couple of the Lines and a Peru sticker for the bike. Then I had a coffee at the little coffee shop.

    Finally it was time for the flight and they make you clear security just like a big airport - kind of funny. Everybody was setting off the metal detector and after you emptied your pockets again and still set it off, they let you through anyway.

    We then went outside and got into the six seater plane - the pilot, co-pilot, three guys from Cusco and me. We were seated according to our weight.

    After a few preliminaries we taxied out and took off. The plane flies over most of the major lines passing by once so the passengers on one side can see and then turning sharply and passing by on the other side. It's a swoopy, bumpy, stomach churning 25 minute flight and it's actually fairly hard to get pictures. I found my camera wouldn't autofocus through the window of the plane and there wasn't enough time to do a manual focus. It's worth it to actually see the lines though - they really are quite amazing.

    We then swung back towards Nazca swooping down to look at some ancient aqueducts.

    After we landed I rested for a few minutes and chatted with the guys from Cusco. One of them owned a hotel in Cusco and offered me a deal, but it was still out of my price range.

    I left the airport after paying 12 Soles for Cusco.

    The road over the Andes is a well paved highway that follows a twisting route up the mountains taking you to elevations of more than 4000 metres. The views are spectacular.

    As you climb, the temperature drops and you start passing through the clouds you feel a fine mist that changes to rain and even snow near the top.

    All the way you are watching for trucks and buses coming around the hairpin bends in your lane.

    When you reach the high sierra you also have to watch for animals on the road, notably llamas, but also cattle, sheep, horses and other farm animals.

    As I continued through the mountains I got increasingly chilled and finally stopped at a small roadside cafe to add layers and try and get warm. I ordered a coffee and bought a chocolate bar. The coffee came in the usual Peruvian fashion of a cup of hot water and a container of liquid coffee extract that you add to the hot water. My hands were shaking so badly I could barely hold the cup of coffee. In addition, just as I went inside the cafe, the rain got a lot heavier. I decided to wait it out a bit and had a second coffee. It was close to 5 o'clock and the nearest town wit accommodations was an hour away, so I was going to have to get going if I didn't want to ride in the dark. Fortunately the rain let up and I headed off, somewhat warmed up.

    I made reasonable time getting to Puquio and found my hotel. It was a reasonably modern structure but had kind of an odd layout. My room was nice though, and there was secure parking for the bike on the ground floor in the large storeroom of a cell phone store. You did have to ride up a couple of makeshift ramps to get in.

    When I first pulled up to the hotel there were a couple of guys who were doing the trip north in a 1931 Chevrolet. I talked with them and got my picture taken with the car.

    There were also 3 Brazilian bikers who were trying to decide whether to stay at the hotel or not. I think they went elsewhere.

    As I was checking in I met two 30ish guys who were also travelling on bikes. One was from the US and the other from Holland. They had flown into Cusco and bought cheap bikes and were planning to resell them once they got further North. The three of us went out to dinner at a pizza place and split 2 large pizzas - we were pretty hungry after our rides. They asked how old I was and I asked them to guess and they said almost 50 - made me feel pretty good. The Dutch guy said he was going to tell his father to get off the sofa.

    Had a good sleep and got up in the morning and had a nice shower. Things were pretty quiet around the hotel so I walked down the street looking for breakfast. None of the restaurants were open, but there was a little market that was busy and I went to one of the booths in there and asked what they had for breakfast. One of the options was quinoa, so I chose that figuring I was going to get some kind of porridge. What I got instead was a big mug of hot liquid that had quinoa and other things in it and was flavoured with cloves and other spices. It was very tasty and surprisingly filling. I followed it up with a coffee.

    There was a cute kid there selling flowers. He wasn't much of a salesman and just stood there staring at me. A couple of the locals gave him some coins and I took his picture and gave him some change as well.

    I walked around the town a little bit, then went back to the hotel to get ready to leave. The father who ran the place was very concerned I might leave with the room key and I had trouble explaining to him that I had to get more stuff from the room. He called his son over and he spoke pretty good English and all was clear. I chatted with the son for a few minutes as I loaded up the bike and then headed out.

    It started out as a nice morning, but as I climbed out of the valley the rain started again - fortunately it was just light rain. Late morning the road started to follow a big river valley and the riding was pretty nice. After a while I came to a little town and saw 3 adventure bikes parked in front of a little store/cafe. I stopped to say hello and it was 3 guys from Bogota who had been to the the Dakar, crossed over to Cusco to see Machu Picchu, and were heading back.

    I took the opportunity to have a little lunch - two fried egg sandwiches which were very tasty.

    I continued down the river valley to Abanco where the road once again climbed back up into the mountains.

    Today I had a new road hazard - dogs that like to chase motorcycles. For some reason I had more dogs chase me today than on the entire rest of the trip. They are the worst when they are in packs of 3 or more and I had one of a group of 3 get hit by front wheel when it chased. Fortunately I stayed upright and I think the dog was just bruised, but I didn't stop to check.

    In mid afternoon the rain turned to small hail and I rode through this for about an hour before it turned back to rain.

    The rain was pretty steady and I didn't think I could make Cusco before dark so I found a little hotel in Limatambo and stopped for the night. It was right on a very pretty village square that was a bit tricky to get to from the highway and didn't look like much from the square. Through the doorway you came into a large grassy courtyard with the house and buildings forming two sides of the courtyard and a dozen or so nice motel units forming the other. It was a nice place and had hot water, but no Internet.

    I walked into town and picked the busiest of the three chicken restaurants and went in and sat down. You could either have grilled chicken or chicken cutlets. I had the cutlets which came on a bed of nice fried rice with veggies and a bit of ham. It also came with a bowl of soup that was tasty, although the chicken foot sticking out of it was a bit disconcerting.

    I picked up a couple of beers and walked back to the hotel where I read for a while before calling it a night.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  17. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    More pics[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] IMG_5387.JPG


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  18. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    And more[​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Max Wedge, BruceT and Stromtom like this.
  19. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Pics from Nazca and first part of Andes[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    fasttortoise, Cal, Max Wedge and 4 others like this.
  20. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    279
    Cusco Day 1

    I woke up and looked out my window and it was a beautiful morning with an incredible view.

    First task was to replace the headlight bulb that burned out yesterday. You can do this on the KLR by removing the windshield which is only 4 screws so I decided to try that approach and was successful, although it would have been easier if I had smaller hands.

    I then got cleaned up and walked out to the highway to have some breakfast. I decided on caldo de gallito - a common breakfast. Here the broth had carrot, potato, yucca and another vegetable I couldn't I'd identify, along with the chicken. I've since found out the mystery vegetable is a chuño - a kind of potato that is allowed to freeze and then dried in the sun. It has a grainy texture and almost a meaty taste.

    After breakfast I went back to the hotel via brief walk around the square. I stopped and took a picture of two older ladies who were enjoying the morning sun - they were ok with the picture, but didn't want their faces to show.

    I got on the bike and headed out working my way through the maze of streets back to the main road. Just before I turned in to the highway a dog ran out and bit me on the right calf. It hurt, but I stopped and checked and the skin wasn't broken. Guess the motorcycle pants helped.

    It rained lightly off and on into Cusco and I worked my way through the traffic to the hotel getting there around noon. Reception at the hotel was on the 4th floor and I arrived huffing and puffing only to be told there was an elevator next to the stairs.

    I got settled in and then went for a wander in the city. I was really noticing the altitude, both feeling light headed and out of breath. I checked out a little craft museum and the went in to the coffee shop next door and had the best hot chocolate I've ever had.

    I also went in to a few travel offices to find out about going to Machu Picchu. It seems everyone in this city is a travel agent on the side.

    I decided to work with one of the people at the hotel who offered a package at a good price.

    I checked out the main square and stopped for an empanada and a cup of coca tea to try and get acclimatized. It helped a bit.

    I went back to the hotel and had a rest. I also contacted the person about the Machu Picchu tour, but it turned out it was too late to arrange tickets for Monday so I made plans to go on Tuesday.

    That evening I met Ian and some of his fellow Dakar followers at Norton Rats pub. I had a burger and we drank a few beer and talked about motorcycles and the ride over the Andes.

    We also made plans for the next day. Ian and I had discussed riding to Colca Canyon to see the condors, but he'd had enough of riding and turned the bike in and dumped his gear, so we agreed to meet in the morning and explore the city.

    Afterwards I walked back to hotel and called it a night. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk