Canada2Argentina - Going outside to play for 6 months!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by marcoue, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. NicolasR

    NicolasR Adventurer

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    Medellin, Colombia
    Hi Marc. I have been following your report. I have a question: I have no GPS either and I am planning on using my Iphone as Gps too on my trip south this December What app are you using?? Does it work without connection?? Thanks
  2. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Hi Nicolas

    I use Google Maps (iPhone App) 90% of the time, Maps.me 9 % of the time and my Garmin GPS OSM maps as a backup.

    Google Maps works better with cell coverage but it is also possible to preload maps for offline navigation.

    Maps.me is all offline. You must download the regions first.

    In most places, Garmin is much better, in others, the roads are not there, so I use Maps.me.

    In Peru (and probably many other places), it's also a good idea to validate your route choice with the locals if you plan to get off the beaten path. I nearly got stuck in a very remote area a few days ago. Took me 2 days to finally get out of it! (I'll try to post about it tonight or tomorrow).

    Hope this helps.
  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    I found a gps with http://www.perut.org/english.htm to be excellent for Peru, better than OSM, which I also had. I don't have a smart phone, and cannot compare the maps.me and google maps options. I also carry and use a paper map.
  4. RidewithAB

    RidewithAB Just Ride! Supporter

    Joined:
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    Again, very nice (awesome) report, I am learning so much from you! I'm a Chilean Inmate (although I now live in the USA) and am looking forwards to your report as you cross Chile. I have only done it in a cage but maybe my 1200 GSA may get there in the future. I have lots of Family there if you need help, just PM me. Keep up the GREAT work and travel safe my friend...AB
    stromsavard likes this.
  5. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Thanks you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it, especially from a local! Chile will come fasted than anticipated. I'll publish my recent post in a few minutes!
  6. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Day 74 to 80 – Peru – A Navigation Error into Isolation

    2016-11-24 – Day 74 – Huamachuco, PE to Pallasca, PE (176 km – 9:00 hrs)
    2016-11-25 – Day 75 – Pallasca, PE to Huaraz, PE (253 km – 6:00 hrs)
    2016-11-26 – Day 76 – Huaraz, PE to Laguna 69 (et retour) (176 km – 5:00 hrs)
    2016-11-27 – Day 77 – Huaraz, PE to Lima (384 km – 5:20 hrs)
    2016-11-28 – Day 78 – Lima (Touratech) (25 km – 1:00 hrs)
    2016-11-29 – Day 79 – Lima
    2016-11-30 – Day 80 – Lima

    Paul (the Englishman met the day before) and I awaken at sunset and dismount our respective installations under the nice sun.

    My objective for the next days is to get to Huaraz, located in Cordillera Blanca, an imposing series of snowy peaks of very high altitude but where it is impossible to get in the single day of driving. There is an easy way to get there, heading back towards the ocean and by using the Panamericana, or another that is a bit more delicate, by going thru the mountain. Of course, this is the one I must choose!

    The final route is not so obvious to decide on. In fact, you should not look at roads offered by your GPS blindly in Peru. I end up discussing route options with Paul before heading for the 119, which crosses into the mountains as wanted.

    I must go thru Huamachuco and its many construction obstacles again. The first turn that my GPS asks me to take is on a tiny dirt road. No way I’m taking this path! I have several hundred kilometres drive, therefore I must do my homework once more. I end up finding another dirt road which looks in much better shape.

    The first day will be done to get to the village of Pallasca, located about 160 km south of Huamachuco. Options of roads are numerous and the one that I chose seems interesting. From looking at it on Google Map!

    OMG…

    After about an hour of difficult driving on a bad dirt road, covering only 20 kilometres, mostly due to the presence of big rocks and sand, the situation is going to take a critical turn.

    The road becomes more and more challenging and isolated, with river crossings and bridges made of doubtful pieces of wood. At a certain point, I find myself in a very remote high altitude area, on a path where it is extremely difficult to keep the motorbike up. I come close to falling many times.

    The beauty of the place leaves me speechless, but I nevertheless think about my options. I drive in first speed most of the time, the road deteriorates more and more, I find myself more often than not, on edges of very high cliffs.

    At some point, I think about turning back but my calculations tell me that it would take the same time to backtrack as to continue on to the next village.

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    I made a short video of the first part of the itinerary, where driving was easier.



    Later, stones on the road make things very difficult, but it is especially being so often driving close to several hundred metres cliffs that is bewildering. There is no protection, of course.

    I drive very carefully but sand and big stones demand a huge amount of work and constant full concentration. The worst of all is that the more I make progress, the more it becomes difficult as conditions deteriorate even more.

    I had to go thru many river crossings or bridges in very bad shape, and I am completely alone, with some 75 km more to be covered.

    The photo does not show that this bridge is on top of a several hundred metres deep crevasse! Boards are not solid nor levelled, and there is no protection. Hesitation, tests, hesitation, tests, thinking about options, well, there is only one f… option here my friend, closing of the eyes and full throttle… I finally ended up the other side!

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    At some point, I fell into surviving mode.

    As I must drive the motorbike standing on the pegs all the time, this is to make it easier passing on rocks, in water, sand and this, for now more than 4 hours, and because I do not see improvement of conditions close by, at least for the next 3 hours, I begin getting worried.

    Besides, I must also say that I ended up staring to fear driving on the cliff side of the road. I favour the track created by the passage of the trucks which is located along the mountain side, in opposite to the one close to the cliff, even if, however, it is not always the best option.

    At some point, I’m faced with a difficult passage and I got hesitant to take the easiest line, which was on the edge of the cliff, and what had to happen, well, happened…

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    The image does not show the extent of the cliff to the right. But not too much damage. Only an auxiliary headlight is broken (that turned out to be wrong but we’ll get to it later on!) but I must work rather hard to pick up the motorbike from its bad position.

    I take a few minutes to rest, eat a little and then, back to the difficult task of driving south.

    The hours that followed were even more difficult, physically but also mentally. It was very worrying to go through such an isolated region without knowing if an obstacle or worst road conditions were going to prevent me from continuing on. To know that there is absolutely nobody around, possibly for several dozen kilometres north or south, is also worrying and impossible to forget.

    Around 15:00, 8 hours after the beginning of my driving day, I come across a man watching his sheep. What happiness! I asked him how to get out of this situation and where to find an asphalt road. He tells me to get to Pampas, where the blacktop road starts. Good news, except that I still have at least one hour on this bad road to get to the village.

    My petrol reserves are also beginning to become more and more limited. I cross a small village 30 minutes later and stop confirming the way. A very nice man draws me a tarmac route on a piece of paper, all the way to Huaraz! He asks his daughter to go to get the family camera to take a picture with me. Nice and helping character! (Do I look tired???)

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    I finally get to Pampas at around 16:00.

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    I try to fill up but no petrol station in the small village. I must buy 3 gallons from a makeshift vendor. I also have difficulties getting out of the town because the indications from my GPS are the opposite to that of the people to whom I asked for advice, and even directions from the different people go in opposite ways!

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    The road towards Pallasca is only one hour of driving and will be done on a road with pavement. A luxury which I look forward to with a lot of enthusiasm! But he was way too early to claim victory!

    Even if it is blacktop, the road is in very bad shape and narrow. It also runs along a very high cliff. It is very intimidating. Some vehicles that I come across from the opposite direction sometimes asked me (read: forced me) towards the precipice in order to make it possible to pass to my left. I still have shivers thinking about it and writing these lines.

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    I get to Pallasca around 17:00, a bit exhausted, physically and mentally. The village is under an electrical power failure, therefore I have an quick candle dinner go to bed very early, in a small and simple hotel room for 20 Sole (10$).

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    This day represents in a very concrete way, the challenges of navigating the roads of Peru, and the risks of travelling alone.

    Humbly, even if I lived a unique experience and have been stunned by the beauty and the extreme size of the landscapes which encircled me, I made a mistake to venture on this road without having verified the nature of the place, and especially, to have done it solo.

    It is a lesson which will be with me for the rest of the trip and that, unquestionably, will lead me to review some of my plans.

    I want to see many things, but I will not isolate myself and put me at risk in that way again, even if it means forgetting about some destinations in the future.

    I prefer going or multi-day trek on foot, in high mountains, to live and to see such landscapes!

    The following morning, I get on the road to Huaraz. I am unfortunately not at the end of my troubles and I still have to drive at very high altitude, on narrow and bad roads, with deep and steep cliffs to test my newly discovered fear of heights!

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    At some some point, I’m taken over by a vehicle! A first in such a long time. I love it!

    I take advantage of its presence to speed up because by following it, I am sure to see a possible vehicle coming in the opposite direction, instead of appearing out of nowhere in the very narrow corners! And it is a good idea because at the speed that this guy drives, I prefer to follow than have him come head on, in a curve, with a precipice of a kilometre down on one side!

    For the first time of my life, I am happy to smell this good burned diesel as I follow him for a while!

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    When I finally the high mountains, I follow a nice river with, as a reward, a remarkable show.

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    Just before arriving at destination, I do a quick washing of the motorbike and a tire examination. It is about time to change them!

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    Huaraz is a relatively big city, with the traffic that comes with it. There is a tremendous number of people (and a few tourists) on streets. What contrasts with the last 2 days! But it is comforting!

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    I decide to stay in this region for 2 days because first, I must go to Lima and want to arrive on a Sunday, and second, and more importantly, there are several possibilities of hiking and it would be mad to miss this opportunity.

    On Saturdays, I get back on the motorbike and go back north to get to a hiking trail at Laguna 69, located in about 100 km north. And in the high mountains. After the village of Yungay, I am, once again, confronted by a dirt road! I was not expected it at all!

    Although much larger, less dangerous and because of the fact that I was on a motorbike without any added weight (luggage), driving was difficult because there is a tremendous amount of big stones, sometimes round, sometimes very sharp, and the presence of sand. This road was very demanding on the suspension of the bike. Lots of bangs and not other not very pleasant rattles!

    The reward is nevertheless worth it. I end up doing a memorable 5-hour trek and also met many interesting people from all over the world.

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    “Hey Tim, how do you like the scenery?”

    “Well, Geoffrey, it’s a just lot like yesterday…”

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    I take a bit of time to walk in town for a few hours when the sun sets. Anyone interested in sharing my meal?

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    I leave November 27th for Lima. It is very cold but the show is, once again, very unreal and impressive!

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    After few hours of driving, I find myself in a desert region. The poverty which is present along the highway leaves me speechless.

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    For months, several persons told me to avoid Lima at all costs, because traffic is hell and because it is a polluted city of little interests. However, my arrival was, let’s say, sporty, but much easier than in Medellin or any other big cities of Colombia, especially because there are much fewer motorbikes that pass just a few centimetres on each side of you at all time.

    I quickly arrive at the flat which I had reserved for 4 nights on Airbnb. Ali, my guest, is very nice and welcomes me warmly by giving me plenty of advice and suggestions. We also go for a good cold beer. His flat, simple and modern, is comfortable and homely!

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    On Mondays mornings, I drive to Touratech Lima for an event for which I had waited for weeks. The installation of new tires!!!

    Traffic is bad but I have a good time with my motorbike which, without luggage, is so light and quick! Rapidly, La Gorda is in the workshop they start the work.

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    Unfortunately, a very bad news was waiting for me that morning. While taking off the rear wheel, we saw what I had feared for some days now, with all these bad roads… My back suspension lets some oil out, which means that it must be replaced.

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    This causes 2 major issues.

    First, there is the financial aspect.

    The part is very expensive in Canada. Here, it is a complete joke. At the BMW Motorrad dealer, the suspension goes for more than 5000$ US! At Touratech, they offer a solution for 2700$ US.

    The other aspect is that the part is not available locally, either at Touratech or BMW. I would have to wait for 2, maybe 3 weeks for a delivery from Germany if I went with one these alternatives.

    It is not necessarily a scenario that I foresee nor want, even if being stuck in Lima is not the worst of things.

    I therefore turn to social networks (Facebook and ADVRider) and my technical support team in Montreal (Thank you Geoffrey!). I end up finding a solution, in fact, 2 solutions, in Santiago, Chile.

    The first one is to have the shock reconstructed at www.pedroschile.cl for 2050 $, or have it replaced with a Wilbers, at www.motouring.cl for 900$, where Carlos Ramirez is very quick to answer and gives me all information by telephone and then by email. This is my preferred option.

    These 2 scenarios, however, come with a bit of a risk and a sad consequence.

    I must take the chance to drive the distance between Lima and Santiago, a distance of about 3500 km if I go directly and by making sure I only use the best roads, asphalted, if at all possible, in order to making sure that I don’t damage anymore than necessary the faulty suspension.

    Then, it also means that I must give up on the 1000 km detour towards Cusco, and Bolivia altogether.

    After long discussions with Geoffrey, phone calls with some suspension specialists in the United States, and from the online comments and advice, which greatly helped me (Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Adventure Travellers), I therefore decide to go as directly as possible to Santiago for this must do repairs. Once the replacement is installed, I will take a second look at my itinerary options.

    I possibly might want to come back north, on the Argentine side, before going down south towards Patagonia, perhaps the opposite. To be followed!

    After this eventful morning, I spend 4 nice days in Lima.

    I probably walked a hundred kilometres left and right. Strong points, Miraflores and San Isidro districts. The centre is also impressive, but it is necessary to endure very bad traffic and heavy noise which is omnipresent. Horns, lorries, old buses, street vendors, prostitutes, policemen’s whistles, dogs, and I probably forget more than what is listed.

    It is a cacophony in which I could never live. The extreme poverty is also present and it is easy to get trapped in less touristy streets a get a few shivers, enough to backtrack fast!

    Fortunately, in the wealthier districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, they are some parks which act as peace oasis. Even if I visited Lima 5 years ago, I am pleasantly surprised by the how the streets and sidewalks are clean, and the fact that some areas are very quiet.

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    I also use the time to try to fix a few technical issues. The auxiliary headlight, which I had broken during my fall a few days ago, is now… Repaired.:)

    Phew… Not very nice but it is out of the question for me to give BMW of Peru 1500$ for a part that cost 250$ in Canada (freaking thieves!). Thanks for your remote help Geoffrey, and in the strong qualities of epoxy glue. (You all will have gotten that I am not an artist!)

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    There is also the remote controller of my heated vest powerletproducts.com that stopped working. With the vibrations of the motorbike, a connector cable inside the box broke. There is always a good Samaritan to help out but in spite of all his efforts, my new friend was not able to make the repair.

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    After a message on Facebook, the company contacts me right away and offers to ship a new module, but in Montreal. It will be a good reason for my girlfriend to return to see me during the holidays! Thanks to powerletproducts.com.

    Finally, my friend Jean-Paul read my post and offered a simple solution using tinfoil. And it worked! Thank you JP, a true MacGyver. It remains to see if this will resist vibrations…

    And I had almost forgotten. I have new tires! What happiness!

    I am impatient to get back on the road… I hope that my back rear shock agrees with me, at least for the next… 3500 kilometres! Ouch, Santiago seems so far away now that I need to get there fast!

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    Foiler, northjack, KLRalph and 4 others like this.
  7. HBLQRider

    HBLQRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Southern California
    Kudos to you for making the recent journey solo. You'll look back on it fondly.

    Safe travels.
    marcoue likes this.
  8. NicolasR

    NicolasR Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Medellin, Colombia
    Hi Marc. Sorry to hear what happened to your shock. Same thing happened to me in January on travel to the Cordillera Blanca too. Really rough terrain there!!! I had to miss some part of Ecuador when coming back home. I am leaving on December 20 to a trip to Ushuaia. I am taking part of the route you drove trough Chacapoyas - Cajamarca - Huamachuco - Pallasca - Huaraz. Could you explain to me what route you took after Huamachuco? I dont see Pampas anywhere in Google maps!!
    I have another question regarding the heidenau tires, How many kilometers did you get from them???
    And finally, if you need something from Medellìn in order to repair you bike I will be glad to help you out. When I had the same problem I met a guy in Quito who is a racetech technician and dealer. We are now good friends his name is Diego Salvador. His email is diego_s_@hotmail.com and his ph number is +59399-970-2166. You may want to give him a call and ask him if it is possible to rebuild you shock. I mean it so you dont have to miss Cuzco and Machu pichu.
    Marc if you dont mind my whastapp number is +57 3128415699 if you need something.
    Give me te clue with the heidenau tires please. I have been told they dont last as long as before.

    Good luck,

    Nicolàs
    Dblarrow likes this.
  9. NicolasR

    NicolasR Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
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    Medellin, Colombia
    WhicheverAnyWayCan and marcoue like this.
  10. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    991
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    Brooklyn, NY
    From someone who knows the existential stress of riding in Peru, especially when your GPS takes you on the road that used to be there. Kudos for making it through. Oh yeah, the hard part is still ahead.
  11. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Jan 3, 2008
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    Montréal, Québec
    Thanks and yes, your are totally right, I will!
  12. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Holà Nicolàs!

    I suggest you take a look at my GPS data from this page http://x-plorer.ca/present-position/, and scroll to the bottom of the page for all my routes, you can find the exact very precise roads I took. If needed, I can send you the GPX file. It was about an hour from Laguna Pelagatos. The city is not present on Google Map (but is on OSM). it is here: https://goo.gl/maps/9dAfvtLpV5J2

    I will have done 18000 km with the Heidenau tires Not bad! And they probably still had a couple more thousand km left. Can't ask for more! This is what I installed again in Lima. A bit noisy, but they performed adequately in all conditions (not the best, but great).

    Let's keep in touch, maybe you'll catch up to me! I might have to go back to Montreal for a couple of weeks in December.

    Regards, Marc
  13. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    I don't think I'll be riding close to similar cliffs any time soon! So it'll be much more pleasant, even if harder!
  14. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Day 81 to 83 – Peru – Sand, Concerns and Final Thoughts

    2016-12-01 – Day 81 – Lima, PE to Ica, PE (337 km – 6:30 hrs)
    2016-12-02 – Day 82 – Ica, PE to Arequipa, PE (720 km – 9:30 hrs)
    2015-12-03 – Day 83 – Arequipa, PE


    This entry will be short and I will let the images tell the story.

    The fact to have to rush to Santiago spoils my plans and it is with regret that I leave Peru tomorrow.

    It is a country sometimes dirty, poor, loud, with a bad city traffic, but I regret not going to Cusco and after, towards Bolivia.

    I spent the last days crossing arid deserts, right by the ocean. It is ironic to see all this blue water, on the one hand, and complete dryness the other side.

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    The reason of this eagerness to get south is that I must replace my rear suspension which spills oil. It is only a question of time before I am not able to ride it anymore, and because the solutions offered in Lima were too expensive and would have required me to wait for several weeks, I decided to try my luck in Santiago, where a replacement part awaits for me.

    I must keep an eye on the problem and at the end of my long driving day of driving towards Ica, I can see the situation getting worse.

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    The road between Quito and Ica is very ordinary, and the city of Ica, even more.

    The only positive point is my visit to the Tacama vineyard, the most ancient vineyard in South America. I had a nice afternoon taking advantage of the nice and cool terrace to taste the good wine. A nice surprise!

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    But returning in town also means this sorry scene, sometimes lasting for kilometres. The smell is difficult to support in this heat.

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    Therefore, the city of Ica represents a good exemanple of the side I like a bit less about Peru. Besides the constant dirtiness, traffic is bad and noisy!

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    The town centre is correct at most. There is a serious effort to be made to recover from the last earthquake of 2007 and scars are still very visible.

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    I leave very early because I want to get to Arequipa, 700 kilometres away, and spend the weekend there.

    The road is monotonous but I must say that I nevertheless appreciate the deserted landscape because I am not used to it. Colours are sometimes very nice and the occasional oasis I come across are impressive. And the fact I can drive at good (and fun!!!) speeds on straight roads segments, sometimes for dozen kilometres is also appreciated.

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    Arequipa will only be a stop for me. I know the place, having visited it 5 years ago. The city, the second in importance in Peru, has nice white buildings, but its main attraction is Canyon del Colca, where I will not be able to go because of the bike’s bad suspension.

    Besides, this city was supposed to be my starting point for my next adventure into Cusco, and then towards Bolivia.

    Even if nice, sunny and warm, my head is elsewhere and I’m starting to think, once motorcycle is fixed, to come back to Canada for holidays to spend a little bit of time with my girlfriend, my great 80-year-old mother and my friends…

    For the moment, I must concentrate on going to Santiago. Tomorrow, another border to be crossed.

    Next post will be from Chile!

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    Coup de cœur: Laguna 69
    Disappointment: Most of the small cities I had to cross were not very nice
    Most welcoming city: Difficult to say… People are sometimes distant and I must initiate contacts most of the time. Perhaps the small city of Pallasca, to have me in after one long and difficult of motorbike day
    Best atmosphere: Miraflores, Lima
    Where I would spend a full month in winter: None
    Where I will not return: Piura
    The surprise: The impressive size of the mountains and how roads were constructed there
    The nicest road: The route north of Huaraz, along the river
    The ugliest roads: Around Piura
    If I had to do it again: A suspension change BEFORE leaving, so I would not miss Cusco!
    Next time: Planning the ride in the most isolated roads with a partner
    What I missed me most: Seen from Peru, Ecuador is a much more organized country. I missed to almost calmness of this country had to offer

    Number of days: 12
    Distance: 2800 km
    Foiler and roadcapDen like this.
  15. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    I see you went along the coast from Lima, so yeah, you missed the hardest stuff. I made the mistake of going by the shortest "route" from Puno to Arequipa, rather than going back through the most horrible town of Juliaca which sent me through deep river crossings, mountains roads where no one had been for years. Didn't see a single animal, much less a human for hours. All this riding a big Victory cruiser that I could not pick up if I dropped it so dropping it was life threatening.
    Foiler likes this.
  16. Anser

    Anser Adventurer

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    Jul 2, 2016
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    48
    Location:
    Iquique, Chile
    I live in Iquique if you need something. I will be from thursday to sunday every week. Others days i work in other place.

    Regards.

    Anser
    marcoue and Gordon like this.
  17. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Montréal, Québec
    Thanks Anser! I really appreciate the your offering. I spent a night in your town. I was really surprised by the beauty of the beach area and the old wooden houses in the center of town!

    Gracias!
  18. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Montréal, Québec
    Hello Vicmitch! I know how you must have felt! The biggest issue, or challenge, was not knowing if I would be blocked at some random point where I would have had to turn back...

    But on the other hand, it was great adventure and I learned a lot from the experience!
  19. Anser

    Anser Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Iquique, Chile
    ;)

    Anser
  20. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    526
    Location:
    Montréal, Québec
    Day 84 to 90 – Chile – Finally, I made it to Spain! Wait a minute, I’m in Chile?

    2016-12-04 – Day 84 – Arequipa, PE to Iquique, CL (742 KM – 7:50 hrs)
    2016-12-05 – Day 85 – Iquique, CL to La Serena, CL (1329 KM – 13:50 hrs)
    2016-12-06 – Day 86 – Iquique, CL to Santiago, CL (451 KM – 5:00 hrs)
    2016-12-07 – Day 87 – Santiago, CL
    2016-12-08 – Day 88 – Santiago, CL
    2016-12-09 – Day 89 – Santiago, CL
    2016-12-10 – Day 90 – Santiago, CL

    The last few days were dedicated to getting, as soon as possible, to Santiago, in Chile, where I must undertake rear suspension repairs.

    Contrary to the last border crossings, the contrast was felt later in the day and was not with landscapes, but rather with a major cultural change and a noticeable difference in the population’s physiology.

    Getting out of Peru was simply and fast. In spite of all modernity of Chile’s installations, and even with the help of the iWatch worn by one of the customs officers (wow, impressing!), I am welcomed in Chile with a series of archaic procedures and questionable verification. I had to fill a few standard forms, but it is having to take off my metal panniers from the motorbike was a bit demanding. I wonder what their X-ray scanners can see thru this metal!

    No fees, no copies, and I was not asked to produce proof of insurance for La Gorda.

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    The first surprise was the quality level of the roads. The infrastructure of Chile is very modern and so similar to what is found in Europe, that, at some point, I had a few moments thinking I was in Spain. This feeling was reinforced during my passages in Iquique, in La Serena and especially, in Santiago.

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    A few pictures of Iquique, where the architecture, the physiognomy of the people, that differs from the Peruvian population (a lot less indigenous) and where I was hit with the much higher Chilean prices for hotels and food.

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    An early start towards Santiago.

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    The arrival of major highways, several hundred kilometres north of Santiago, also meant pay tolls, for all vehicles!

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    My first mission, once arrived in the superb, huge and modern city of Santiago, is to get rid of my luggage and to entrust my motorbike to Carlos, from moutouring.cl so that he undertakes the change of the back suspension of my motorbike. I besides had to cross last 1500 km of road with a completely inoperative amortisseur, what is translated by a pitching sometimes strong and uncontrollable of the back axle assembly. The only reason why I went to the single piece is that roads in Chile are simply perfect.

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    The work was professionally done, and in spite of some communications issues, which seemed to me cultural, La Gorda was ready to hit the road the following day, even if other some work which had been promised, we’re not done.

    I, however, decided not to leave immediately and rented a flat to stay for a few days. I use this time to get back to jogging, to visit the city and even if I came here several times in the past, I’m always impressed by the modern aspect, the cleanness of the centre and the size of the city. I even discovered a couple of delightful neighborhoods never seen before.

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    « Nobody wants to play with me… Sniff sniff”

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    “How many hundreds of litres constable?”

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    The local soccer team (Universitad Catolica) was victorious against the team from Iquique. Completely mad!

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    I am also taking the time to do a bit of work on the motorbike and to add a new accessory to better protect my auxiliary lights.

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    I finally met Stephen and his son Liam, friends of Tim in Montreal. They are here for a month and are trying to purchase 2 motorbikes (KLR’s) to go to Ushuaia. They, however, got a cold shower from Chilean bureaucracy… After a week of tries, they are stuck spending the evening with me instead of driving south!

    Thank you, Stephen, for the nice dinner in an incredible restaurant. It had been months since I had such a night of eating and drinking like kings!

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    Liam, when they go on a trip for months, it is important to bring your cell phone charger!

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    Finally, I also took an important decision. I am going to come back to Montreal on December 20th, for holidays, in order to spend a little of time with my girlfriend, family and friends.

    For the first time in months, I have no plans, and this, for next 10 days.

    The next post will therefore come from… Who knows where!
    Foiler, HBLQRider, Beto and 5 others like this.