Around South America accidentally on a blue 150cc

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EvergreenE, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. twflybum

    twflybum Prodigal Biker

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    573
    Location:
    Colorado
    "..and then I found beer, and sat down on the sidewalk, and the women were selling fish, bananas and coca leaves and sharing tea and gossip, and the sun set into the ocean, and the whole village stank of fish and diesel oil, and the beer was warm, but I felt like a hero, A Conquerer of Street Corners, A Master of Incredible Speeds, A Defeater Of Nasty Sandstorms – it was the best evening imaginable, and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and life was good."

    Beautifully written..
    Definitely IN!


    ps. Great photos too!
    #61
  2. Dracula

    Dracula I don't want a pickle! Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22,589
    Location:
    recalculating
    :lurk
    #62
    PaulosGR likes this.
  3. GRIDLOCK

    GRIDLOCK No Ride, No Life

    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Philippines
    peru is somewhat has same bureaucracy as the philippines about registering a brand new motorvehicle. I bought my motorcycle new last april 2016 and till now Im still waiting for the papers and license plate I call up the dealership but they said wait for a few weeks they will call me once they arrange my paperworks and license plates.
    #63
    PaulosGR and burley like this.
  4. EvergreenE

    EvergreenE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    98
    Mollendo - Chivay

    After lazing around in Mollendo for a few days, I had a quick look on Google maps which said that Chivay – a little town in the Colca Valley – was only 280 kilometers away. It didn’t seem like a lot, so I figured I’d do it in a day.

    The fact that I would have to climb up the Andes somehow completely slipped my mind...

    I set off feeling very expertly and a little aloof about the whole thing – because that’s what seasoned adventure bikers do, and a few days of riding the Panamericana and combating sandstorms and finding hostels and beer is obviously more than enough to make you a seasoned adventure biker – and the sun was shining, and nothing was impossible.

    [​IMG]

    I reached Arequipa sometime around 4pm because Blinkin would only manage 3rd-2nd gear going up. And that’s where I was headed all day long – up, up, up…up…up again…up the endless twists and turns, among the crazy local drivers, and it was hot and dry, and Blinkin would sort of gasp for air sometimes; I remembered Ryan telling me something about a spark plug – keep an eye on the spark plug – and I thought, maybe it’s that. Only, I forgot what a spark plug did, where it was located, or what to do if it suddenly stopped working. So on one of my many smoking breaks on the side of the road, I simply kicked the tires a couple of times. I knew that kicking a tire would only roughly tell me something about the air pressure in it. I knew that it had absolutely nothing to do with spark plugs, and that it wouldn’t tell me why Blinkin was hiccupping – that it would do absolutely nothing – but somehow, it felt like some sort of a ritual that one just had to perform to appease the gods of bikes. Even if they were little bikes. You kick the tire, nod to yourself in a very cool, very I-Totally-Know-What-I’m-Doing manner, and you think you look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Even though you really only look more like this:

    [​IMG]

    But it somehow makes the bike run better. I still absolutely believe this today.

    Anyway, after passing Arequipa, I finally realized that distances were tricky. 280 kilometers straight is one thing, but the same amount of kilometers in the mountains is a very different story. I figured I’d spend the night in Yura, the next little town if need be.

    On the other hand, I still had a few good hours of sunlight left, and Blinkin was still hiccupping sometimes but I’d gotten used to it so it was sort of ok, and anyway, I had a Goal, and the Goal was to reach Chivay. I asked the local policemen whether it was still very far; oh, maybe an hour’s drive, senorita – okay, an hour sounds good, I can do an hour.

    [​IMG]

    So I didn’t stop in Arequipa or in Yura, I kept on riding, and then it was 5pm and it got a little colder, and there was nothing and no one around, and I was still climbing. At around 6pm, dusk started to set in, and I was still climbing, and there was nothing and no one around, and I was feeling a little cold and a little tired, in fact, I think I was very cold and quite tired – I was riding in my blue jeans and a simple parka jacket as I had no proper motorcycle gear – but the alternative was to turn back, and you just don’t do that.

    The road was empty except for a very few collectivos and little herds of llamas. They’re very philosophical animals, the llamas – you honk your horn at them and they look at you, mid-chew, in this sort of respectful and mindful, but very leisurely way, and they won’t move an inch for you, so you end up trying to maneuver around them and it’s a bit awkward, and they just carry on chewing and contemplating on things.

    [​IMG]

    Around 8pm the road finally stopped going up, and I thought, yay, I could go a little faster now – but then it started to rain, and I was soaked through within minutes; then, rain became sleet, and sleet became snow. I was shaking and shivering and the road was slippery and tricky, and there were chunks of rock and dirt everywhere and I couldn’t see much because Blinkin’s headlight was only good for about a meter ahead, and I was so cold and wet and exhausted, and I realized that I was not a Seasoned Adventure Biker at all – instead, I was a Shivering Mess of Snowy Dreadlocks, I was a trembling, freezing, tiny little critter on the face of a huge mountain and I was lost and the world was very dark, and there were no gas stations with hot coffee and lights, and there was no way to turn back, either, because you just don’t do that, so I kept on crawling forward.

    [​IMG]

    When I finally saw the lights of Chivay, I thought it was the most beautiful, most stunning vision imaginable. It still took me a good hour to get down to the valley, and when I finally found a little restaurant that was still open it took me a while to get off the bike because I was so cold I couldn’t move. I got a bowl of hot chicken soup, then another bowl of chicken soup, and then another one, and I was still freezing. I forced myself to go out again, get on Blinkin and find a hostel; the owner, a little round indigenous woman, brought me a heap of blankets, I took a shot from my whiskey flask, and passed out.

    I got ill and spent the next couple of days in bed underneath that heap of wool blankets, only venturing out for food, flu meds and more whiskey, and I swore to myself to not be an arrogant twat ever again, and respect the road and the Andes, and learn all about spark plugs and carburetors, and to not trust distances, only terrain. And get waterproof things. And a bigger flask.

    More on the incredible indigenous people of the Colca valley, their horses, their stories and their legends of the Andes coming soon:)

    [​IMG]
    #64
  5. Dracula

    Dracula I don't want a pickle! Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22,589
    Location:
    recalculating
    Holly smokes! What a story of an adventurer in the making. That's how the real ones are born :thumb
    #65
    FJ Fun and PaulosGR like this.
  6. Goldie05

    Goldie05 Fast George

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    Jackson, NJ
    "They’re very philosophical animals, the llamas – you honk your horn at them and they look at you, mid-chew, in this sort of respectful and mindful, but very leisurely way, and they won’t move an inch for you"

    I always thought llamas were very philosophical :lol3

    Why should they move, it's their land :D
    #66
  7. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,286
    Location:
    Steamboat Springs, COLORADO
    I'm actually a little partial to alpacas ......................................

    Great start El !!! :clap
    #67
    PaulosGR likes this.
  8. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Long timer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,732
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Your writing style is very good. It captures the reader - especially when you start with "...I set off feeling very expertly and a little aloof about the whole thing – because that’s what seasoned adventure bikers do, and a few days of riding the Panamericana and combating sandstorms and finding hostels and beer is obviously more than enough to make you a seasoned adventure biker – and the sun was shining, and nothing was impossible...."

    I was immediately hooked just to see how much that would not be the case. Mind you, most of us have been there and I recall my very early days of riding my first bike (yonks ago - 1980). I chose to ride across the Desert Road (we don't have deserts in New Zealand, we just get a little pretentious at times and feel the need to call something it is not) in the middle of winter, the day started cold and fine but by the time I got to the highest point of the road it was snowing and I was soaked through. I was wearing jeans and a raincoat. Because you do. Or in my case because I did not know better. I did after that ride. It took me 30 minutes just to be able to take my helmet off when I got to a cafe!

    Anyway, I hadn't for a very long time thought about my introduction to riding until reading you post above. Your writing evokes...
    #68
    c.peet, Ditjy, PaulosGR and 1 other person like this.
  9. Mossy87

    Mossy87 Irish inside!

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    SoCal
    Loving this RR already..

    Your writing style is awesome, must be a European thing :D
    Btw, you're lucky you picked the blue one - we all know they are the fastest!
    #69
    PaulosGR likes this.
  10. Stubanger

    Stubanger Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    44
    Location:
    South Australia
    What a report, im in! I'd love to do this myself one day....... As everyone has said, great writing style - im hooked!
    #70
    PaulosGR likes this.
  11. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze I keep blowing down the road Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    13,322
    Location:
    Tennessee
    "Around 8pm the road finally stopped going up, and I thought, yay, I could go a little faster now – but then it started to rain, and I was soaked through within minutes; then, rain became sleet, and sleet became snow. I was shaking and shivering and the road was slippery and tricky, and there were chunks of rock and dirt everywhere and I couldn’t see much because Blinkin’s headlight was only good for about a meter ahead, and I was so cold and wet and exhausted, and I realized that I was not a Seasoned Adventure Biker at all – instead, I was a Shivering Mess of Snowy Dreadlocks, I was a trembling, freezing, tiny little critter on the face of a huge mountain and I was lost and the world was very dark, and there were no gas stations with hot coffee and lights, and there was no way to turn back, either, because you just don’t do that, so I kept on crawling forward. "

    WOW!

    For whatever it's worth, you have my attention!

    :ear
    #71
  12. DadRider

    DadRider Biker Traveler Specialist

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    SP - Brazil
    More please...
    #72
    PaulosGR and SavannahCapt like this.
  13. Eigerhiker

    Eigerhiker "This is an Adventure"

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    195
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    New bike, no experience, off you go. Impressive!
    #73
    PaulosGR likes this.
  14. EvergreenE

    EvergreenE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    98
    Next post coming as soon as I lay my paws on some second hand notebook- my laptop died yesterday, and pawing at a smartphone screen just isn't my thing at all :D :D
    #74
    FJ Fun and PaulosGR like this.
  15. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,067
    Location:
    Lake Havasu City, AZ.
    Okie Dokie.
    #75
    PaulosGR likes this.
  16. Sled

    Sled n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    memphis, tn
    Did you get a bigger flask?
    #76
    PaulosGR, elcabong and thechief86 like this.
  17. lalispeed

    lalispeed Right handle addict...

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    151
    Location:
    dfw
    Hi!!! just got into u r history. Let me tell you ... I'm jelous... You went on an amazing trip on a CHINESE ...bike after 2 hrs of training , thats big cojones!.
    Any ways i just want to shate this name with you

    https://m.facebook.com/belenaimeaspiroz

    She did south to alaska on a honda 90cc so the cc's are not an issue but if you want an advise. Don't ge me wrong you might not any have issues so far but if you can switch for any japanese bike not brazilian not chinese and you will have an endless trip without many mecanical issues. Keep posting and if you need a mechanic in Bs AS let me know i can help you!!


    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
    #77
    PaulosGR likes this.
  18. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    426
    Location:
    Concord, CA
    awesome, I'm in too
    have you done Columbia yet?
    #78
    PaulosGR likes this.
  19. EvergreenE

    EvergreenE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    98
    Unfortunately, no! Couldn't find one anywhere...:)

    Thank you! All will be revealed in due course:)

    Yes. But again, all will be revealed in due course:)

    I've written this on a tiny tablet-still haven't procured a laptop-so I do apologize for all the possible fokkups in advance:)

    Carrying on where I left off...:)

    For the next couple of months, I hung around in Coporaque, a teeny tiny village near Chivay. I met the Huamani family and stayed with them - they own a little hostel called Casa de Chocolate there. Rocio keeps the hostel, cooks and takes care of the kids, the llamas, the chickens and the ducks; senor Chocolate does tours on horseback, the drinking, and the talking; and their three daughters all want to be actresses and singers when they grow up-except for the 5 year old Ruby, who wants to be either a cowboy or a bus driver.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At first, I was just another passing gringa to them, but little by little, we started talking. I'd ride to the next village of Yanque with senor Chocolate to shoe his horses, and help the local farrier to trim the hooves - they still use cold shoeing, and haven't ever seen a proper hoof knife - and I taught Chocolate's pride and joy, a little black stallion named Casco, to lift his legs and stand still while being shod; this was met with much cheering and patting on the back, especially from the farrier who could now stop fearing getting kicked. Having earned the reputation of a horse whisperer I was soon invited to train horses to a couple more neighbouring villages; I was even allocated a personal horse named Killa (meanig 'Moon' in quechua) so I could ride between the villages as well as train her to do all kinds of fancy things like jumping. Killa was very likely the tallest horse in the whole region, and the only one that could actually canter - local mixed Paso Peruano horses pace instead and wouldn't jump anything for anybody, just as a matter of principle.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Then the day of the corrida de torros and a horse fiesta came, and I rode Killa together with all the other crazy riders and horses-we started at the gate of the village and rode in front of a very bad but very cheerful marching band orchestra; people were carrying banners and icons of various saints, and singing and whistling and just generally making an awful (but again very cheerful) noise which drove the horses mad; we reached the village square and for whatever crazy festive reasons galloped up the church steps.

    [​IMG]

    At this point the horses were just barely controllable, and we ended up racing around the square, hooves and hats flying everywhere. We galloped down to the bullfighting arena, and everybody began showing their horses and skills off - making the horses 'dance'. I suffered from this crazy illusion that by 'horse dance' the locals meant somethig like the European dressage, with white fences and judges and top hats, and a strictly regulated programme; I was even secretly training Killa to do flying changes for this. I couldn't have been more wrong: making a horse dance in local terms was getting it to rear as much as possible, bolt like crazy and spin around. Before I knew it, the arena was a mad mess of bucking, bolting, rearing and stampeding horses and I realized that my only option was to just sit tight and let Killa do her thing. Which she did; she was the biggest horse there, and she could canter and jump over things, so she just hoofed it and started racing around the inner circle of the arena galloping like a steeplechase pony and jumping over the central pole wires, random bullfighting equipment and benches.

    [​IMG]

    Once the horse show was over, we rode back to the village, let the horses lose in their paddock and came back for the bullfighting. This was my first ever corrida de torros, so I cannot objectively say much about the skill and performance of the banderilleros, but the art of the Mexican matadores was impressive. They got all five bulls by one precise strike of the sword burrying it up to the handle; I know, I know, there's so much controversy about bullfighting these days-but it did seem like the bulls had a fair fighting chance, and having just read Hemingway's 'Fiesta', I have to confess I did thoroughly enjoy the spectacle.

    [​IMG]

    So did the Huamani family-Ruby even announced she would consider being a matador instead of a cowboy when she grew up-but Chocolate told me this wasn't the 'real' fiesta. The real fiesta, he said, would take place a few months later, up in the mountains, where no gringo would ever see it; and they would have the real, Inca version of a bullfight: they would starve a fully grown condor for a few days, then tie it onto a bull's neck, and let the bull lose. According to Chocolate, the condor (symbol of the Andean Incas) would eventually kill the bull (symbol of the Spanish conquistadors), and thus it would be the Incas defeating the Spaniards.

    Because of Killa's size, her miraculous jumping and cantering skills, and my flying dreadlocks, we ended up on national Peruvian TV; Chocolate was over the moon, because he now owned the most famous horse in the region, and Killa would be worth a lot more money. Chocolate gave me a beer and said I was still a gringa, but an allright one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Once the Huamani family - and some of the neighboring villages' horse owners - had decided that I was a gringa, but an allright one, they became much less guarded around me. Rocio taught me which Andean herbs were good for tea, good luck, digestion, love, and fever; she showed me how to prepare an alpaca steak and a guinea pig stew, and told me that a frog and snakeskin brew helps for stomach pains, joint ache and melancholy; she told me how to tell good alpaca wool from bad, and showed me how to painlessly extract a cactus needle from a finger.

    The local horse people introduced me to their centuries old traditions of training and testing the stamina and endurance of their animals-we would ride out for the whole day, steadily climbing the mountains, and the little horses would effortlessly negotiate steep slopes and stone steps and rocky goat paths (where most European cross country horses would either refuse to go or break their legs trying); we'd come back to the village having ridden at a steady pace for hours, the horses carrying heavy, century old wooden and metal saddles, the riders and all kinds of luggage, and they would barely break a sweat. The indigenous folk of the Andes do not keep their horses for sport, leisure, or company-they are working animals, and often the only means of transport. And while Chocolate was grateful for an old, feather-light cavalry showjumping saddle I found for Killa in Arequipa, that saddle is probably now collecting dust in some corner because it doesn't have a sturdy frame to tie the llama or sheep rope to, no space to carry avocados to the market or kids to school, and no saddlebags for the corn, chickens or babies.

    [​IMG]

    Chocolate told me numerous tales of what he callled The Days Of Old-judging by his age, that golden period was sometime in the fifties. Peru was different back then, according to him; the indigenous people of the Andes were respected, they would stick to their own, they would grow avocados and keep llamas and horses and speak in their native quechua, and nobody needed to learn Spanish at all, let alone all the fancy gringo languages like English and French; the beer and the corn moonshine tasted so much better, there were no pesky gringos in the whole valley of Colca, people lived off the land just like their forefathers before them, and all was in order. Now, he said, it was all tourism and hordes of clueless gringos and their silly demands for wi fi, hot showers and such, and you have to babysit them all the time-by gods, Ruby can handle a horse better than some fully grown gringo men! - and why do we keep coming here, anyway, this is the land of the heirs of the mighty Incas, and Colca is not the world's business, only it's own. He also told me about their gods - how the Christian tradition is just for show, and how they still sacrifice goats and llamas in the old ruins of Uyu Uyu in the valley, and how you need to pour some beer or corn moonshine over all four legs of the horse when you buy it so that the gods would be pleased and the horse would carry you lightly; he told me about the condor-bull fights.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course, I also did some very touristy things in the Colca Valley-like hiking down the canyon, watching condors lazily floating up the hot air streams at Cruz del Condor, and buying alpaca wool socks. But most of the time, I went bathing in the local thermal springs where the women do their laundry and gossip, and men sit in the upper tiers drinking beer, while the kids and dogs play in the stream below; I learned some quechua from an old man in the market of Chivay-he would sit behind his stall making cactus juice and the medicinal frog brew, and tell me stories in a barely comprehensible mix of Spanish and the local dialect; I'd ride up the mountains on Killa, help Rocio feed the animals, and teach her eldest daughter Antonella English and basic computer skills; I'd ride to the neighboring villages to help shoe horses and exchange the local news about lost sheep, fresh batch of French gringos in town, or senor Vilber's new mare. Senor Vilber lived in Yanque-a village next to Coporaque just across the river-and he was senor Chocolate's most detested rival. Senor Vilber had more horses and a smithy, so senor Chocolate had no choice but to shoe his horses at Vilber's. But Chocolate would get most tourists, because Coporaque was bigger and closer to Chivay, so senor Vilber had no choice but to keep some of his horses at Chocolate's. Both gentlemen hated each other passionately and would tell the vilest stories about one another; but whenever they would meet face to face, they would be so gallantly polite and heart-warmingly friendly you'd think they had nothing but utmost respect for each other.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So that was my life for more than two good months in the Valle del Colca. It was simple; everything had a very clear purpose, and people didn't have much, and they were tough, because the Andes are tough; but they were kind and they were happy, and despite all the local disputes and gossip and superstition you could see they would do anything and give everything for each other.

    [​IMG]

    Coming up next: Andean exploits on two wheels and my first big crash on Blinkin. More photos, less horsey stuff, and more bikey stuff next time:)
    #79
    SuperChuck, Balanda, HiJincs and 43 others like this.
  20. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,214
    Location:
    Lwr Mi
    Ridin' is ridin', but wheels are better, thanks for the pics and the update.
    #80
    Caprug, Vixen and PaulosGR like this.