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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lostmike, Nov 6, 2018.
same thing happened to gperkins. lock up everything, order some pacsafe for the bags.
Yeah. Didn’t think anyone would be interested in a filthy nondescript looking bag hanging of my crashbars. Only left the bike for an hour. Ah well could have happened anywhere. Lesson learnt.
Damn, but yeah like yokesman said we had similar bags stolen, but thankfully no tools. We are now super carefull as to where we park the bike over night and when running around town there is pretty much one of us with the bike at all times or it is at least parked within sight of the cafe we are at or what ever. Although there are really no hard and fast rules, some countries are certainly better than others. Most Islamic country's carry far less risk of theft. It's little consolation I know, but the angst wears off after a while.
Yeah thanks mate, it woke us a bit, I was bit dark about it initially but it could have happened in any town anywhere in the world. Should have been more careful. At least now I get to spend some more money on tools which is one of my favourite things to do haha.
Buenos noches chica(o)/s!
So, last time we left you we were heading from Santa Cruz to Sucre. Well now what a massive day that turned out to be! After a few photos of the bike with the owner from the Santa Cruz hotel (Veronica Hotel Boutique Equipetrol) we bid farewell and hit the road. Initially it was eerily quiet on the roads and we thought maybe this wasn’t going to be such a big deal. Once out of central Santa Cruz we passed through a number of small Bolivian towns – lots going on with markets, vendors, dogs, motorbikes, mud puddles and many, many speed bumps. We then come to a lovely piece of riding road – we start ascending and its deep green jungle on one side and a muddy river cascading along the other side of the road.
The road looked relatively new and there were lots of twists and turns. The traffic is fairly hairy at times and while I recline on the back Mike especially needs to be on his game and watching for any number of hazards – changing road conditions, kamikaze taxi/van drivers who overtake in front of you at any given second, dogs wandering across the road, people walking alongside the road etc. We hit some very muddy patches of road after the smooth tar seal and these are SLIPPERY! One of these particular patches happened to be on a corner with us on the outside with a cliff on one side and a truck on the inside who started sliding towards us. Luckily he seemed in control and slid past us while we breathed a quick sigh of relief before taking a big slide across to the other side of the road – again quick save and we were back on track. We stop in a small town called Samaipata where we think there are some helpful motorbike adventure bikers who own a shop there. This then turns into an adventure complete with a deep river crossing and a muddy uphill slippery incline. Unfortunately, we found out they were 70kms back on the main road so we returned via the downhill muddy path and the deep river crossing. No harm done.
We see some very tame carnival celebrations in Samaipata and the vibe is super fun and happy. There are brass bands, lots people dancing and singing, brightly coloured shirts, lots of water bombs and water guns for the kids. We carry on past Samaipata and the traffic thins out a bit. The landscape is now really dry and desert like which was such a change from this morning. In the small towns, we pass we see lots of families gathering for barbeques and there are streamers and balloons adorning cars, houses and people. We see a few groups of kids huddled by the side of the road armed with water bombs and as we pass they start hurling water and water bombs at us – they have a good aim! The road then turns into a series of twists and turns and the bike is so leaned over it is scraping the road – Mike is in heaven! We pass through some amazing countryside and the colours in the rocks are really vibrant, lots of red and pinks. We finally come over the pass and see Sucre in the distance – its beautiful white colonial style buildings set in the high green hills. Sucre is about 2,900m high and we could feel the effects from the altitude. We get into Sucre about 5pm after about 9 hours on the road and are feeling pretty knackered. As soon as we ride in we become part of the Sucre carnival celebrations – brass bands, people with massive flags and banners singing and clapping, people lining both sides of the narrow roads with water bombs and hurling them from one side of the road to the other and anything in between was collateral damage! It’s an intense atmosphere at the end of a long day! Unfortunately, when we reach our hostel the owners have gone partying and we can’t get into our room. By this point we are both saturated from water bombs and buckets of water and so we carry on to try and find alternative accommodation. We are thoroughly welcomed by the Sucre locals – Mike has a beer through his helmet – and we finally find a place to spend the night – El Merced du Sud. Its dinner, one beer on the rooftop to watch the celebrations continue (from above) and bed.
We start Spanish classes the next day with Carol from Sucre Spanish School. We learn a lot in the 28 hours of lessons we do over 6 days. We not only get some Spanish basics but also a great overview of Bolivian politics, education, healthcare which is really interesting. We successfully manage to navigate the bustling central markets in Sucre and order sopa de mani (peanut soup) and a few juices while we are there. Unfortunately, though we were due to do some maintenance on the bike in Sucre and had found a space to do it but the bag of tools were stolen off the bike while it was parked for a couple of hours one day outside Spanish School. This was a real blow and when we tried to replace the tools the cost was exorbitant - $150 US for about $50 worth of tools! Luckily we do find an excellent Taller de Moto (mechanic) – Nicky from Motocar in Sucre
– (MIKE, who sorts us out with a full service, stripped the front end and re welded the windscreen bracket, made up some nylon spacers for the lower shock mount which was a bit sloppy, split the case and fixed the oil leak from the alternator output (Which Honda Santiago had supposed to have done) and new rear brake pads all for a bottom dollar price.) Another Sucre highlight was the visit to the Parque Cretacico (dinosaur park) in Sucre which is excellent if you do the tour to see the footprints from 60,000 years ago.
We head out of Sucre on 13thMarch 2019 after picking up the bike from Nicky at Motocar. She is sparkling clean and ready to roll. We head out of the city about 12pm and go upwards to what we think is the road to Potosi. Alas this was not the road to Potosi and so we do a u-turn and head back to Sucre. There has been some kind of accident or incident while we’ve been gone and the traffic is absolute chaotic! We go around, up and down and through Sucre’s incredibly narrow streets trying to make our way through. Finally, we edge our way out and are on the road to Potosi. Its largely uphill with lots of twists and turns. We are skirting our way past some menacing black clouds which are to the left of us but about 5 minutes outside Potosi the clouds come over and start throwing rain and hail down on us. Potosi is at 4,060m high and the weather can change in an instant. It feels like it drops about 20 degrees in 5 minutes – we are drenched and freezing! The road starts flooding and we can’t find a gas station. Things are looking pretty grim but we finally find a gas station and then type ‘best café’ into google and come across Potocchi. The owner could not have been more friendly or helpful and we feel so much better after sitting on the gas heater (pretty much), 2 cups of cocoa tea, 2 bowls of quinoa soup and lamb for 2. It totally changed the day!
It is 4.30pm by this time and apparently, it will take us 2-3 hours to get to Uyuni so we get moving. The road from Potosi to Uyuni is stunning – flat plains, cliffs, mountains, herds of llamas and alpacas, sheep, goats. Some of the llamas have colourful tassels on their ears and around their necks to identify them from others which is pretty sweet. The afternoon light on the landscape is awesome and when we come over the hill and see Uyuni salt flats in the distance it’s pretty special. The town of Uyuni itself looks like it’s out of a Mad Max film set – dusty, flat, some hills in the distance. There is lots of Dakar signage! We fuel up and meet the happiest gas station attendant yet and find our accommodation just as the sun is going down – luckily as it gets to 0 degrees at night here! Our hotel, Casa de Sal, is awesome and has salt blocks and pictures on the walls made out of salt.
Next morning, we head from Uyuni to the train cemetery and make our way into the site for some awesome train/bike photos. (They've dug a deep ditch around the trains but you can get a bike through in the south western corner)
We then ride out to Uyuni salt flats which are incredible. There is still water over the entrance to the salt flats so we don’t risk it and stay dry.
(This is Hucan the Tucan. He guards the bike and watches our 6)
We carry on to Oruro which is an industrial town between Uyuni and La Paz. We pass lots of farmland - ?quinoa – and see lots more llamas, cows, sheep and dogs. We get into Oruro about 2.30pm and then spend the next 2 hours driving around getting stuck in carnival parades, steep streets which lead nowhere and finally end up in a fairly rubbish hotel next to the bus station. We try the local speciality of dried llama for dinner – not that delicious and head to bed about 6pm knackered.
We are keen to head out of Oruro as soon as we can and are on the road by 8am. The road from Oruro to La Paz is mainly a 2-lane highway so easy riding. We pass more shepherds with their flocks, dressed in brightly coloured shawls. We have our first ‘sin factura’ moment and get charged 7 bolivianos instead of 9 bolivianos so a small win there! We start to see the edges of El Alto and then realise that we left the gopro in the hotel in Oruro! We have ridden 200kms from Oruro to El Alto and now turn around to drive back. We are both pretty quiet on the way back. Luckily the kindly cleaner at the hotel had found our gopro (we even have a video of her trying to turn it off) and handed it in to the front desk. So, we turn around and drive back. It’s now turned into a 600kms day which isn’t exactly what we were hoping for. We carry on and start to see the urbanisation building up on the side of the road – the traffic condenses, its manic with the vendors on the side of the road, the taxi/vans are stopping and people are getting on/off at any given moment. It takes us about 1 hour to ride 15 kms into La Paz. The scenery as we come down through the hill is incredible – the town is set in a valley and the houses spread up the mountainside in all given directions and the teleferico (cable cars) are zooming above. It’s certainly the most interesting city I have seen.
We find our hotel (Qhini Boutique Hotel) and the view from the room is stunning – mountain and city scape. We are both pretty wrecked after a long day so head out for Italian food nearby and head to bed.
The next day we did a tour of La Paz via teleferico – we travelled the green, white, orange, red, grey, purple and blue lines – and had an amazing birds eye view over the city. It was incredible! The teleferico is super clean, efficient and very well staffed and we had a great time seeing the city from above – even when they gave us a personalmessage not to drink from our water bottle! We had lunch in the city and did a tour of the Iglesio San Francisco which was great. And I think that’s pretty much a wrap for now! Muchas gracias!
Oh and we are now in Peru heading North if anyone is around and wants to catch up for a beer or two. We’ve already met up with some
of the locals. Conversation was a bit dead though.
I’ve had this written for a while but didn’t really feel like posting it up due to a pretty bad stack we had. Kind of killed my motivation a little bit. Anyway without further delay here it is. (The pictures are in no particular order)
Time flies when you are having fun! We are in Ecuador now, and are resting up after some huge days and big rides. From La Paz we rode up the Desguarado border crossing which was the most organised one yet. We had a personal security guard escort us into a numbered carpark in a brand new joint border complex. Both countries aduana, police and immigration where in the same building. He remained with us while we completed the immigration paperwork then made sure we parked in the correct place outside the aduana window. I managed to score some tape to sort out my boot sole which was desperately trying to stay in Bolivia instead of coming with us. We were in and out in half an hour. During this time my driver’s licence and number plate where taken about a hundred times by several different people carrying clipboards. Most impressive.
Unfortunately, as we pulled out of the border and started heading towards Puno, Lake Titicaca the bike started running like a dog. No power, wouldn’t rev past 4k and dropping down to one cylinder. At first I thought it was a load of no Bueno fuel from Bolivia or blocked fuel filter/faulty fuel pump as we limped our way onwards. It got better with a tank of fresh fuel so problem solved. I thought…. (This problem actually turned out to be water getting into the switch housing on the handlebars and shorting out the kill circuit) Puno was pretty cool and we spent a couple of days there relaxing by the lake and sampling the local cuisine and beverages. We didn’t go on a boat trip and decided to invest the money we saved on alcohol. Once we had enough of that we hit the road to Cusco for the obligatory Machu Pichu visit. On the way, we spotted a little village across a river that looked like a good place to buy lunch. Turns out it could have been a set for every generic small town horror movie ever made. The place was absolutely derelict. Front and centre in the Plaza de Armas was a world vision sign circa 1997 advertising the new initiative they had done there. The only thing we could see was the occasional flash of movement from the inside of ruined houses. We left as discretely as you can with a big red 1000cc twin with a straight pipe to a muffler with no baffles…. We made it out alive though….
We arrived in Cusco and the plan was to do the Salcantay hike but my knee is still buggered from dropping the bike in Chile. Was hoping to catch up on some sleep but the guy who designed our Airbnb decided to put a huge skylight in the bedroom which was great for 5am wakeups when the sun came up. Instead of hiking we took the civilised option and caught the train. Had an awesome time exploring the ruins and soaking in all the history and jazz. As well as few of the local beers when we got back to Machu Pichu town. While we were of exploring, the bike was getting a new set of tires fitted. TKC70 on the rear and I was looking from grip on the front off-road, couldn’t find any of my beloved MOTOZ and the local hire outfit (who run Africa twins recommended the Pirelli MT60. Which has been okay but I wouldn’t fit again. Keep reading to find out why! I also did a mission to find some replacement tools and managed to get a bit of a kit together. Still can’t find any tyre spoons.
A quick ride over to Abancay was epic. Huge passes rain, sunshine, crazy taxi, bus, and truck drivers. Abancay was a funny little town characterised by the amount of huge uncovered drains to dodge. Some of them would have swallowed us and the bike without leaving a trace. They even threw in a few surprise open manholes in the middle of the road to keep you on your toes. We witnessed the locals trotting out their best dance moves in the Plaza de Armas before having some Parilla for dinner. Well it got the better of us and we were both feeling like death the next day.
The next ride to Ayacucho was brutal. We decided to get of the seal and hit the ripio over to a lake I saw on the map. It was a gorgeous ride snaking our way over the passes but ultimately it was Mistake 1. I figured it would take about an extra hour but it turned out to be three when the road turned to mud around the lake. We stopped for some food which was nice but Mistake 2. Another hour added to our already tight timeframe. We ended up getting caught in the rain at about 4500m. Instead of being a quick up and down over the pass it turned out to be about 40 minutes riding along the top. As it was getting dark. The temp gauge on the bike reckoned it was about 4 degrees. The rain continued and we started making our way off the mountain towards the town. Then the lightning storm and torrential rain really started. As we got onto the main drag into town what was left of a huge outdoor street market was getting washed down the hill. Literally stalls, tarpaulins, rubbish, small children etc etc…. Everything in town is under about 3 feet of water. It’s the first time I’ve ridden down a river of rubbish… Google maps decides to lead us on a wild goose chase, and I eventually have to pull over and navigate the old-fashioned way. We were both pretty knocked around when we got the hostel but the room was clean and we had enough emergency supplies to barricade ourselves in until the morning when we emerged into town. Daylight didn’t do it any favours so we loaded up and got the hell out of there and headed to Huancayo. Another amazing ride through the mountains, huge elevation changes and every type of corner and road service imaginable including some pretty deep river crossings.
The ride turned out to be a lot nicer than the town which gave both of us pretty bad vibes. We got settled into our hostel then hit the town for dinner and few drinkies (the only reasonable course of action in such circumstances) The next morning after a crap sleep and average overpriced breakfast, I fired up the bike to warm her up as we were putting our gloves and helmets on. Now our bike is pretty well toilet trained but on this occasion, she decided to pee oil all over the driveway. Meg noticed it which prevented a complete environmental disaster. Fearing the worst I dropped the bashplate to see what the go was. While I was doing that all the worst-case scenarios rushed through my head as the oil. Turned out the oil filter was looser than my brother in law after a few shandys . Happy days. Stopped at a lubricentro for a top up and we were outta there, destination Reserva Paisajistica nor yauyos cochas national park.
I can’t really put into words how scenic the ride was so when you’re in the area you’ll have to go and see for yourself. We stayed in Huancaya at weird hostel. The front room was full of people staring at the telly and the lady there was super unfriendly. We checked in to a pretty average room then went for an explore around the town which was really cool with a heap of pre-Inca ruins and a stunning river. While we were nosying around we got to see some traditional weaving, and had a look through the local museum which featured a cracking mummy collection… (see what I did there) There was one with a very peaceful expression she was one of the head honchos who had died in her sleep. The other 7 were apparently volunteered to be sacrificed to accompany her into the afterlife which was a huge honour. They didn’t look too happy about it and I don’t blame them. The process was to drug them which sent them to sleep, then wrap them up in their mummy gear and place them still alive into a dark airtight chamber. They didn’t work the timing out that well because everyone woke up before they ran out of air…. After that cheery exhibition we had a great dinner with a nice Peruvian couple we met on our wanderings and went to bed. I swear when we got up in the morning the same group of people where still sitting around the telly….
The ride out of the valley was as stunning as the ride in. There were a couple of really sketchy water crossings, deep gravelly and fast flowing as well as the mix of mud, mud, gravel, and more mud… The scenery definitely made it all worthwhile though. The town we were aiming for was Tarma and we were nearly there when I screwed up a corner pretty badly. We were descending through a set of hairpins and sweepers on a section of sealed road when it just started raining fairly heavily. I hadn’t ridden much on the tarseal with the Pirelli on the front, and the Conti tk70 I pulled of had been great for grip in the dry and the wet. I approached a left-hand hairpin at about 50ks braked going into it, leaned her over and was just giving her a little bit more throttle to stand the bike up as we got round the apex. At this stage I reckon I was doing about 30kph. The front tyre let go and around we went in a classic low side. Luckily we were leant over pretty far so the drop onto the tarseal was minimal and we just went for a bit of a slide. We got of pretty lightly although I got a massive bruise on my hand where I reckon it got smacked by the barkbuster. I was pretty pissed off at the wanker in a taxi who drove past while we still down for the count and didn’t even stop to check we were alright. The main thing was we were okay. Didn’t see much of Tarma, I had taken a bit of a knock to the head and was a bit concussed so after a big meal of bbq and beer, I had to do a chain adjustment in the rain and then went to bed to sleep it off…
The next day I pulled up a bit sore, Meg was okay so we hit the road again for Huánuco. There had been a big dump of rain overnight but all was okay till we got about 40km out of town. At that point we had passed a series of rock falls and landslides but nothing too bad. Then I noticed there was no traffic coming the other way, and we hit a line of traffic. Buses, trucks, and cars. Going nowhere. We pretty much rode for the next 40ks in the oncoming lane, riding through water, huge slides, weaving through boulders. It was like something out of an end of the world disaster movie. Busses and trucks with huge damage from being hit by rocks. At one stage, it started falling again as we were going past. The funniest part was a little village where there had been a huge fall and washout. There were a couple of big dozers scraping dirt out of the way and we were the first northbound vehicle to go through once we stopped. I reckon there would have been about 100 spectators cheering and clapping, I wasn’t sure whether they wanted us to get through or drop it in the waist deep water and mud. Talk about performance anxiety. We finally made it to town and finished of another hard day riding.
Turns out it wasn’t that hard compared to the next day’s ride to Huaraz. More rain much more mud. So much mud. Even the muddy road we were taking was closed due to slips so the guy on lollipop stick at the roadworks told us about a way around. It was cold, wet, muddy and did I mention the mud? We got up to 5000m and I was pretty buggered so it was lucky we got stop and wait in the rain while a digger cleared another slide out of the way… At this stage I was really starting to agree with the sentiment that mountains are best avoided in the wet season…. However, we persevered and eventually reached the Huascaran national park. It was about 3pm by about that stage and we were both feeling pretty knackered. The option was to cut through the park over unknown gravel/mud or stick to the tarmac to Huaraz. We decided to take the tarmac but have a little look up the national park road to see what it was like first. Unfortunately, it was bloody amazing so we kept going. The road surface itself was absolutely crap but the park was out of this world and we went through to Huaraz. Made a bit of a shithouse day pretty awesome.
We stopped at a hostel in Huaraz for a recovery day. Pretty cool little town and we wandered around sampling the local beers… as well as getting new soles put on my bloody boots which are falling apart. If you’re thinking about buying Formas I can recommend them. If you love wet cold feet and soles that peel off… We loaded up the bike the next day ready for a camping trip in the national park, there was a pretty cool looking loop road where you ride in one way take a connecting road and out the other. We were planning on camping and doing a half day hike the next morning. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it….
We had a great run through the park and met a fellow Africa Twin rider coming the other way. He had been on the road for three years and had clocked up over 100,000ks on his 2016 model. The only issue he had was a fuel pump failure caused by bad fuel in Africa. He had been planning to do the national park loop but due to bad reports about the road conditions had changed his mind. We had been told by the owner of the hostel we had been staying at about an alternative route that was supposed to be pretty good so we figured we would give it a shot.
Once we hit the dirt roads again things went downhill pretty quickly. There had been a lot of rain and we were stuck for a while waiting for a truck that had slid down a bank to be pulled out. The only vehicles that where getting through where the big trucks. And us…. We eventually got through to where the alternate route was only to find the whole road had disappeared into the river. We really didn’t want to try and get back through the way we had come and road north was an unknown quantity with large amounts of rain forecast. We asked in the small village and several people told us about a connecting road that you could get through on a bike.
We decided to give it a go as it was getting a bit late and we were only about 25ks away from the road we were trying to get to. The road started off bad and got steadily worse. At one stage I was trying to get around a mudslide with one boot hanging off the edge of cliff… We should have turned around well before but continued on. Until I misjudged my line going past a big boulder that was blocking the road and clipped the lip on the front edge with the corner of the left-hand pannier. We were doing about 40-50ks and the bike flicked around and ejected us both. I ran to check on Meg who had landed in a ditch and was pretty shaken up and upset. Once I ran over all the checks to make sure she didn’t have any neck or back injuries I got the helmet off and did a full check over. Luckily just a few bruises was the extent of the injuries. I have to say that the Leatt neckbraces we use and the Stadler gear was outstanding in preventing anything worse.
At this stage a couple of locals on 125s pulled up and helped me get the bike up. It took me a while to piece together what had happened as initially I had no idea what had caused the crash. There was a fair amount of damage, with the racks snapped off, Panniers dented to hell, rear plastics and fender mounts all snapped and hanging loose, bent handlebars and some damage to the front plastics, a hole in the aux fuel tank (which I didn’t discover till later) as well as a bent rear brake lever and a flat front tyre.
We were in a bit of a mess as it was getting pretty late in the afternoon. Another local turned up and said there was no way we would get our bike any further up the track anyway as even the small bikes where struggling to get through. Plus our friendly locals had put us crook and the track didn’t even connect to the road where we wanted to go. There was no way to get a vehicle to our location so we had to get out under our own steam. I pulled of the remainder of the racks and used the webbing I had to create a saddlebag type arrangement, the locals who had arrived kindly gave us a hand to fix the flat front tyre and I tied the rest of the plastics up the best I could. Then we got back on the bike and faced the ride back the way we had come to the nearest town.
We made it in just after dark. We were both a bit bedraggled weary, muddy, cold, hungry and sore. I was thinking about putting the bike on a truck to the nearest city but in the end after I checked the bike over properly the next morning, we elected to ride it out slowly back to Hauraz. I did want to get the fairings and frame plastic welded but ended up just getting a patch up job to get us back on the road. The guy who welded the racks together did a pretty rough job but it was good enough to get us moving again. We rested up for a couple of days and consumed copious amounts of beer to assist with the recovery. I hadn’t planned on going on the Pan American highway but with the extra time we spent in Huaraz and both of us still a bit shaken up we decided to head out to coast. The ride to the Pan Am was great but the least said about the pan am itself the better. Once we got to the very north of Peru near the Ecuador border things improved and we ended up staying at a pretty cool little beach town, before we crossed the border.
Looking back now it’s easy to criticize the decisions we made on the day. I think it’s made me rethink some of the places we have been taking the big bike two up. Anyway, the main thing was neither of us was seriously hurt. Ill strip the plastics of the back and get them sorted out properly once we get to Columbia. Hopefully I can find a new set of handlebars as well. It was a bit sad to leave Peru on that note after we have had such an amazing time but its onwards and upwards. We are in Guayaquil Ecuador have a week of the bike now as we are heading to the Galapagos for a bit of a look around. Until the next update and thanks for reading
A few more. Ill put a vid up soon if I can find the time in between drinks.
Wow, thanks for the update. I am glad you are both okay after that get off. Enjoy the Galapagos! It sounds like you can use the break from your adventure.
Thanks very much, we got of pretty lightly. Yeah I don't think a week of lying round in the sun is going to hurt too much. :)
Yikes! You stuffed this ride FULL of adventure!! Kudos!!