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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EvergreenE, Jul 21, 2016.
Don't know why but this RR reminds me of my summer break in college when I rode my RD350 from SoCal to Calgary, across to Vancouver Island and then down the coast back to SoCal. Completely inappropriate bike for a trip like that but what an adventure complete with tire and rear brake failures. The rest of the bike did well but those two strokes get really bad mileage when you're running wide open to barely stay with traffic at 5,000 - 7,000+ feet altitude.
Great pics, great story telling. Lines like, "Blinkin the Valiant", and, "I had my best Sligtly Startled And Benevolently Moronic Disney Bambi expression on...", priceless!
Geez this is a fun read! Looking forward to next installment!
Thank you so much for the time you invest in this report , it is being enjoyed fully !! Very interesting to say the lest.
What a great story........Thanks
"So when I finally rolled into Chala, a tiny fishing village on the coast of the Pacific, it felt like an incredible, hard won victory of extraordinary value and meaning instead of being what it was – just a day’s ride. I found a little hostel – it had no windows, but the owner let me park Blinkin inside – 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."
THANKS! - this is why we read ride reports. This, right here. Awesome. Safe future travels, and thanks for sharing your memories!
Bravo. Great ride report. You are a wonderful writer. It is rare for me to enjoy the text as much as the pictures (and your photos are swell too), but when it is this well written, it is hard not to. Looking forward to more. Keep riding and writing!
I may be a bit late but Hell yes Im in!
Love the huzpa, we all have done it. Some of us got smarter and some stopped.
I am still ticking and kickin.
Keep it up.
I'm also late to the "party" but find the story fascinating - entertaining while being educational. Thanks for putting this together and I look forward to the future updates!
You have all of us hanging in the air waiting to read the next installment!
Yup, i'm worried the extra light rail for my bike won't turn out as good as the TT $500 solution and here she just rides a 150cc bike. Got get them priorities right)))
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Great report, beautiful pictures! Ride safe!
Eager to read the next update.)
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Hi, came to your RR via that of yourself and Paul. Love your spirit of adventure. You don't have to know everything about everything to head off and have fun. Your turn of phrase is just wonderful. I look forward to reading more of your adventure.
Thanks everyone! Your support means a lot, as English isn't my first language:)
Here's what happened next...
So this time around, I wasn’t trying to get to places in one go. As mentioned previously, I’m a chronologically and topographically challenged individual, and I’m also forgetful and rather careless sometimes; but some things, like lonely mountains, snow in the dark, and freezing cold do stick in my fluffy head. And so I rode steadily until about 4pm, direction Puno, and soon after stopped in some small town, found a hostel, beer, goat cheese and bread and sat down marveling at the result. Not being a dickhead about riding paid off! Who knew!
I passed Juliaca the next day and leisurely rolled into Puno early evening. Seeing Lake Titicaca was a huge deal for me: when I was little, my dad would tell me tales of South America, Australia, and Africa. He was always obsessed with geography, Jules Verne, and faraway lands; but having been born and spent most of his adult life in the Soviet Union, dad never had an opportunity to travel himself – on our side of the Iron Curtain, that simply wasn’t an option. So he would travel in his mind – via his beloved Verne, his atlases and his geography books; and he would tell me stories of the world when I was as little as three years old. And now, here I was. Here, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, in the heart of the Andes! I was on the trail of Captain Grant…
But soon, all my sentiments and excitement were forgotten – Puno is an astonishingly ugly sprawling town; it has maybe two nice streets – the rest of the city is a foul smelling market, poverty, and hopelessly grey concrete. Still partially being your regular turistus vulgaris, I did the regular touristy thing and went to see the Islas Flotantes, or the floating islands. And while an artificial archipelago is definitely a curious thing to see, the people of the isles were obviously weary and tired of the boatloads of gringos that visit them every day; they’d sing songs and invite tourists to their straw homes, and tell stories of the lake, but the smiles were forced, the hospitality wasn’t genuine, and the tales were standard. I can’t say I blamed them – it’s just business – but the whole thing left a sickly sweet aftertaste, so when I got back to my little hostel I realized it was time for a major decision. Do I stop here, sell Blinkin, and fly back to Europe? Or do I keep on riding?
Keep on riding, of course. I wasn’t done yet, and neither was the bike. Blinkin was small; it would hiccup in higher altitudes, feel funny on bends, and had jerky brakes, but it was a worthy steed nonetheless – and I just knew there were many miles ahead still, for both of us.
Alrighty, I thought to myself; I’ll keep on going – but going where? Bolivia was right next door, and I’d heard people say good things about Copacabana (heavenly mojitos by the bucket) and Uyuni (salt flats, or some such). I reckoned that was reason enough.
So the next morning, I packed Blinkin best I could and set out to conquer Bolivia. Before leaving Puno, I stopped by the Policia Transito (road and traffic police) building and asked them to have a look at Blinkin’s papers; I just wanted to make sure everything was in order. The policemen assured me all was ok, and I was good to go; so I rode towards the Yunguyo border, listening to Springsteen and enjoying the hell out of the sun, the curvy road and the blue waters of lake Titicaca; and before I knew it, there it was: the Bolivian border. It wasn’t much of a border, really, just a tiny wooden hut and two sleepy officers in it; beaming, I gave them my passport and Blinkin’s documents, glancing at the Bolivian side impatiently; the border guy looked at my papers and said, sorry, senorita, you can’t cross here – you need to get additional documentation from the custom’s agency, and we don’t have one here, so you’ll need to go to Desaguadero instead. Desaguawhat? Yes, senorita, Desaguadero, off you go, stop bothering us and ruining our siesta.
Bloody hell. Thank you, Policia Transito of Puno, thank you so much for letting me know I’d need some additional papers! Bastards. Fuming, I hopped on Blinkin and rode to bloody Desaguadero, a 60 unnecessary kilometers, thanks very much.
I was in a vile mood when I rolled into town, and it only got worse: there are bad border towns, and there are border towns that are both bad and ugly. Desaguadero was bad, ugly, and of such remarkable dreariness and desperation that it was probably embarrassed of itself; I parked Blinkin in front of the customs building, got my passport stamped with the Peru exit stamp, and inquired what paperwork did I need for Blinkin so I could get the hell out of there and into Bolivia. The officer checked my papers and said that I wasn’t allowed to leave Peru at all: as Blinkin was registered in Peru and I was a foreigner, I could not take the bike out of the country. Ever.
Are you bloody kidding me??
I spent the next hour pleading, arguing, making the Idiot Bambi face, and pleading again; the comandante was immovable. Eventually, his superior showed up to see what all the fuss was about; I decided it was time for the Teary – Eyed Idiot Bambi, and sure enough, the senior officer took pity. According to him, his colleague had made a mistake: I was allowed to take Blinkin out of Peru after all, only I needed to obtain a temporary exportation document. Great, wonderful, awesome, where do I get that? At the customs agency – agencia aduana – but it’s already closed, senorita, come back tomorrow.
So there wasn’t anything else to be done that day except staring wistfully over to the Bolivian side for a while, turning around, finding a hostel, getting beer, and sulking until bedtime.
The next morning, I felt much better. I was actually allowed to leave Peru with Blinkin, right, so I’d just get that silly piece of paper, surely the agencia aduana people would sort it out in no time, and I’ll be downing cuba libres by the pint in La Paz by 6pm easy! Right?
Well. I located the customs agency; the lady there was very pleasant, but she very pleasantly explained that in order for her to do the temporary vehicle exportation devilry thing, I’d need to produce a paper from the registro publico and a confirmation from the Policia Transito. What fresh hell was this?? Where would I get those papers? Puno, senorita: there isn’t a registro publico office or the Policia Transito in Desaguadero.
Amazing. Seething, I jumped on Blinkin and sped off – as much as Blinkin was capable of speeding off – back to Puno. Swearing, cursing and yelling inside my helmet, I located the damned registro whateveryouhave-o office, but it was closed as it was a Sunday; Policia Transito was open; they said they’d be happy to issue the right document as soon as I paid for it in the bank – but the banks were closed as well, because it was a damned Sunday – so I went back to my hostel, emptied the whiskey flask, and blacked out.
I spent most of the Monday running around town like some crazed hamster, and finally got the paper from the Policia Transito. The registro publico people were much tougher, sending me from one window to another; eventually, I got to the right bloody window where they told me they couldn’t help me: the only people authorized to issue the document that I needed were the registry office in…drum roll…Lima. Nearly fifteen bloody kilometers away.
I probably should have given up at this point. I could have ridden north and tried the Ecuador border, or tried sneaking into Chile in the south; or I could have just stayed in Peru and explored it more. But by now, it was a matter of principle; the marvels of Peruvian bureaucracy had turned the Benevolently Moronic Bambi into a Stubborn Donkey of Spectacular Spite, and so now, it was La Paz or bust: I decided I would elbow, terrorize or bribe my way into Bolivia.
Easier said than done. Bureaucrats are immune to terror, tears, and yelling; they wouldn’t budge if you applied the bulldozer principle, either. So what else was there? Stubbornness, chance, and sneaking. It turned out that the owner of my hostel had a distant relative in Lima, who had a friend in the capital’s police force. We forwarded Blinkin’s details to him, and the distant relative’s friend came through: he got the document for me. How did he do it, or perhaps just forged it which is rather common, remains unknown.
It took a week for that precious paper to get to Puno, and another day in Desaguadero where I was pacing around nervously while the agencia aduana lady scuttled in and out of various offices, shacks and huts collecting pages and stamps. Finally, the vehicle exportation documents were ready; I went into the customs building again; the officer there leafed through the paperwork, leisurely putting a few stamps here and there, and said all was in order and I could go over to the Bolivian side.
The Bolivian side!!! I rode over the bridge separating the Peruvian and Bolivian sides, went into the Bolivian customs building, and got an approving nod from the customs officers; next up was my Bolivian visa, and that would be the end of: I’d be officially IN.
The passport people weren’t feeling generous that day, though. They glanced at my passport and said they couldn’t let me in. I had completely forgotten my Peruvian exit stamp, according to which I had left Peru on August 16th - a week ago. So technically, I’d left Peru but never entered Bolivia, which meant that I was now stuck in no man’s land: I couldn’t get into Bolivia because of the week – old Peruvian exit stamp, and I couldn’t go back to Peru because I’d never officially entered Bolivia.
I rode over the bridge again and stormed into the Peruvian customs; I explained what happened and hoped for the best, but the officer wouldn’t hear of it. I must have looked a terrifying sight, though – fluffy dusty mane, bloodshot eyes, and a hysterical incoherent monologue in broken Spanish about papers and bikes - imagine Simba on acid and add a touch of a delirious murdering maniac if you will; eventually, one of the officers probably had had enough, quietly stamped my passport with an entry and an exit stamp, and escorted me out of the building. I went over the bridge again; this time around, the Bolivian customs people stamped the visa in and wished me a pleasant journey. I asked them if I needed any additional paperwork for Blinkin; no, senorita, your papers are sufficient, buen viaje – and that was it. That was it!! I was in Bolivia!!!
Desaguadero was just as dreary and desolate, the beer tasted the same, and the hostels were just as seedy, but it was the Bolivian side. Dazed and exhausted, all I could think of was bed and rest; and yet, I vaguely remember being happy as hell – because now, Copacabana and Uyuni were ahead, and the road goes ever on, right?..
Heck, English is my first language and I only wish I could write as well as you.
I'm really enjoying your ride report. Thank you for sharing.
I even had to look up some of the words she uses ! English is my only language , guess I better stay on the home front ! lol
You are living my dream girl. Keep going!
Love your writing.
Thanks for the update.....goes well with coffee