My first ride report in ADV, so I apologize in advance: Please bear up with the pics, I´m no pro photographer, and many were taken on the fly in appalling weather conditions. This is the trip I have been waiting months and months for. The trip that sets the scene for our next couple of years in Perú. One of riding at altitude on roads that have seldom, if ever been done before on DS bikes. I leave Lima on Wednesday morning. Its a typically misty morning, the cold sea breeze mixing with the warmer land air and the smog of more than two million vehicles. Still its drawing close to summer now, so the mist is thinner, and the sun makes a meek appearance. As you can see, the traffic is mostly against me, everyone trying to get into town for a days work. My job requires me to travel to work at Cerro de Pasco, a mining town some 300km away and at altitude of 4,300m. What a great excuse to go riding and get paid for it! I see my reflection in the taxi window. I feel for the poor guy reading his paper. This is what we have to contend with, even going in the opposite direction to peak hour traffic. Everyone jostles and shoves, there is no regard for lanes, lines or the timid driver, never mind bikers. It´s eat or be eaten, make sure you´re seen, take the gap and above all leave yourself an escape route.:huh We live to the east of the city, so its not long before I´m out of the worst. I come across this bloke on his workhorse. An unwritten kinship is mutually felt and we exchange waves and smiles before I speed on. The broad valley rapidly narrows and despite the fact that it´s pretty hazy today the view across the valley is tremendous. Space is a premium even on the outskirts of Lima, and the houses cling to the sides of the mountains, limited only by the amount of stairs one can comfortably climb to get home. The main road inland connecting Lima with the Amazon is called the Carretera Central, and is a fairly congested tarred single lane highway. The curves are amazing, but the buses trucks and maniac drivers make it a very hazardous route in general. I prefer the smaller tracks and dirt roads, so I plan to run the Antigua Carretera Central, which is the old dirt road running parallel in the adjacent valley. In Chosica, the last big town out of Lima, I come across the first of a series of hydropower stations. Water is channeled along a system of canals and tunnels from the main river far upstream and dropped down huge pipes into the turbines. It´s pretty impressive engineering and a really clean way to produce power for the city. Mountains loom dramatically over the numerous getaway river resorts strung along the road. This is where your average city slicker takes a break from the office routine, mist and smog. These places are packed on the weekends. I stop briefly in a place called Santa Eulalia, where there is a quintessential plaza de armas or main square and church. The bigger places have cathedrals. They are always neat and generally well kept, no matter how small and poor the village may be. People here are very proud of their heritage, it´s refreshing. The road on quickly narrows and big potholes and gravel sections begin to appear. I´m enjoying myself immensely. I meet Enrico, who nearly dives off his bike to talk to me. I think his bike has character. He likes mine, can I sell it? I tell him it´s not for sale. He tells me about his sister up the road who is really beautiful, I should meet her and her friend. I tell him I´m flattered but I have a long journey to make and anyway I´m taken (pointing at ring on finger). I ride for another fifteen minutes and reach the end of the tarred section. The route to the right invites me into the base of the valley, but the way to the top of the pass is left and up the side of the mountain.