Exploring the Andes: Part 1

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bluebull2007, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,816
    Location:
    Southern Africa
    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. :rayof :wings

    I leave Lima on Wednesday morning. It’s 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.
    [​IMG]

    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!:D


    I see my reflection in the taxi window. I feel for the poor guy reading his paper.
    [​IMG]


    This is what we have to contend with, even going in the opposite direction to peak hour traffic.
    [​IMG]


    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.
    [​IMG]


    The broad valley rapidly narrows and despite the fact that it´s pretty hazy today the view across the valley is tremendous.
    [​IMG]


    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.
    [​IMG]

    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. [​IMG]

    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.
    [​IMG]

    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.
    [​IMG]

    I meet Enrico, who nearly dives off his bike to talk to me. I think his bike has character.
    [​IMG]

    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. :evil 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.
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,816
    Location:
    Southern Africa
    The road really starts to climb fast, and as I look back I am struck by the green valley floor against the harsh desert landscape.
    [​IMG]


    The condition of the road is not bad, with a bit of bull dust here and there, and absolutely no protection from what is becoming a stunning drop. [​IMG]


    I look down on a camping resort far below. Have to concentrate on staying on the road…
    [​IMG]


    I am reminded that this little single lane track leaves little room for error. You can see the road continuing on the next hill.:eek1
    [​IMG]


    Presently the valley floor catches up with the road and a settlement has developed. This lady was keen to sell me an Inca Cola.
    [​IMG]


    Around the corner these three watch me with detached bemusement. They don´t wave back. Is he going to slip on those rocks?
    [​IMG]
    I make it through easily climb up the mountain above the village.






    The drop-off once again become staggering. The road continues in the this fashion, and cuts above a very deep gorge perhaps 20m wide. After a while the route opens out into another huge valley. I look back the way I have ridden and see this:

    [​IMG]



    A short tunnel provides a break from the exposure.
    [​IMG]




    I a bit further on I look up the valley, I think I see a something crossing the over the river in the distance.

    [​IMG]





    As I get closer, I realize it is a road bridge!

    [​IMG]




    I have to see this! I race along, forgetting the awesome drop and the possibility of meeting oncoming traffic.


    It’s a slight disappointment because you don´t get a sense of the height when you´re on it.:

    [​IMG]






    But it is concerning to see how much it has moved! I wouldn’t like to be here in an earthquake, let hope it doesn´t happen while I´m here!

    [​IMG]




    The track ahead deteriorates slightly, and becomes little bit more technical with tennis balls sized rocks strewn about. [​IMG]





    The gradient remains the same: 4%. I take my hat off to the engineers who built this road. :thumb

    A snapshot of my altitude shows me I am only half way to the top…

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. olebiker

    olebiker Old buzzard bait

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,080
    Location:
    Kingston ON Canada
    :lurk I'm in. What incredible roads.
    #3
  4. Bongolia

    Bongolia stop acting

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,712
    Location:
    on thin ice
    Brilliant. Another vertigo trip. I fear heights but love the reports.

    :lurk
    #4
  5. Bemeve

    Bemeve Looking a R1200GS Adv

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    45
    Location:
    Lima, Peru
    Nice route, from Santa Eulalia to Santo Domingo de los olleros, enjoy the landscapes, if you need something I live in Lima and ride a Beemer.
    See you.

    Ivan
    #5
  6. Dirty Barber

    Dirty Barber Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Spain, Soon to be Hawaii
    Great trip report so far. I'm subscribing.
    #6
  7. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    761
    Location:
    Birmingham,UK
    Fantastic, nice to see a report from somewhere a bit different:D
    #7
  8. Hair

    Hair Talking Head

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,348
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    What a great report. And the first one that I read with an 800GS in it.
    It is great to see the bike being used for what it was desgined to do.
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,155
    Spectacular :clap We haven't had an Andes exploration thread on here in a very long time.. thanks for taking us along :thumb

    :lurk :lurk
    #9
  10. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,816
    Location:
    Southern Africa
    Thanks for all the kind words guys, it really encourages me to do more. Its hard work & time putting this together.:huh

    Hair, thanks, this is the perfect bike for me to do this kind of riding. The fuel injected engine is unbelieveable at altitude.


    King Bongo, it is pretty scary, but after a while you get used to it, one has to when travelling in Perú. Generally, people are particularly careful on the dodgey bits, but you still get the occasional suicidal maniac from time to time.:eek1

    Ivan, great to finally meet another BMér in Lima! I saw a 1200 racing by some time ago near the Wong in La Molina/La Planicie. Maybe it was yours. Check my PM.:deal
    #10
  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    251
    Location:
    Austin, Texas, USA
    I'm following ya, Bluebull.

    Thanks Ivan for the details of where.

    I remember Santa Eulalia from 1978-79. This thread makes me homesick for my second country, El Peru.
    #11
  12. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,816
    Location:
    Southern Africa
    As the road continues into the mountains, the scenery gradually changes from desert to semi desert. This part of the mountain obviously catches the tail of the rains that come over from the Amazon.
    [​IMG]


    I stay close to the river for a while and the speed of the route allows me to open up for longer stretches.
    [​IMG]


    I come across this little farm house.
    [​IMG]

    There is the strong smell of animals. I stop here for a drink and hoping to meet someone. Nobody is at home.


    Continuing up the valley is just great. The crumbling mountains forms dramatic talus slopes skirting the clear rushing river. I am totally into it now, and enjoying the rhythm of shifting weight into each corner.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Presently I come a across a group walking down the road, clearly enjoying it too.
    [​IMG]

    Javier is a teacher and he is taking the kids on a day outing in the mountains, to catch some trout.

    Everyone is excited to see this huge bike, one little guy gets to actually "test ride" it. He is ecstatic!
    [​IMG]
    His friend enjoys pressing the horn and he does a tremendous job of it to the mirth of the other kids.

    A truck coming the other way cuts our meeting short and we get out of the way, I continue onwards and upwards.

    I reach a place called Barbar Blanca (white beard). It’s a major hydropower and water facility for Lima. Sorry about the blurry pic, I was worrying about dropping 15m into the drink!
    [​IMG]

    This road certainly is daunting.

    From this dam, the water must disappear into a tunnel because the inlet is particularly strong compared to the river I have been following.
    [​IMG]

    I look up into the sky. [​IMG]
    There is a sign of change to the beautiful weather. I had better get moving.


    Above the dam, the road steepens a little, and in place is covered with running water and deep mud. The white water next to it is fantastic.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    As I get higher the road become rockier, and much more challenging, large loose rocks and holes litter the easiest lines.
    [​IMG]


    Donkeys with ribbons prefer to get away from this noisy traveler.
    [​IMG]


    It’s getting really high now, and I’m beginning to run short of breath with the technical riding.
    [​IMG]


    I come across this poor ducky in the middle of nowhere:
    [​IMG]


    She explains she lives up in the mountains with her husband who is suddenly got very sick and she needs to call her children to come and help. She is desperate to get to a telephone, and she has no money to pay for it. She starts to cry.

    I’m not sure what I can do. I give her a hug and some money, promising to phone as well when I reach civilization. She in the meantime will also try and get to a phone down the valley. Her pitiful state reminds me how harsh and hard life really is for the people living up here.



    The weather is changing, and rain begins to drip on me.
    [​IMG]


    I wonder if the road is going to take me up to the left or right of that mountain:
    [​IMG]


    The road turns right, up this incredible glaciated, frost shattered valley.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And then onto a lake:
    [​IMG]


    The road is tricky and devoid of fine material:
    [​IMG]


    I stop to appreciate a stream crossing.
    [​IMG]

    The road winds up to another lake, of a different colour, and then another.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]












    continued on page 3/.....http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=402175&page=3
    #12
  13. Drmalacarne

    Drmalacarne n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    São Paulo - SP - Brazil
    Thanks for the pictures and for the report!
    You must be in fine shape to tolerate that ride!!
    I'm in São Paulo, Brazil, and a trip to Peru is a future dream plan....
    But I believe my BMW K1100LT is not a perfect match to that roads...maybe I consider a Yamaha XT 660 Teneré.
    Guilherme.
    #13
  14. ArthDuro

    ArthDuro quarantined

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,263
    Location:
    Westsideistan
    Fantastic report so far,
    please keep it coming, and if its not too much trouble take a few minutes and tells us about the bike and what you have on it.
    #14
  15. xdbx

    xdbx Motorcycle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,503
    Location:
    NorCal
    what a magical place! Your english is excellent, are you a Peruvian native?

    Keep up the report, I'm really interested in further installments!
    #15
  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    251
    Location:
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Totally awesome, dude.

    I'm betting you are American, living in Peru.

    Is this trip happening in real time or what?
    #16
  17. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,395
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Awesome! :lurk
    #17
  18. Hair

    Hair Talking Head

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,348
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    What a fantastic place.

    Good for you for helping some of the locals out. I am sure that it was well received.
    #18
  19. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    524
    Location:
    Tucson
    :clap
    #19
  20. kobold

    kobold Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    103
    Location:
    Ankara, Turkey
    Great report and nice pics. Thanks for sharing.
    #20