Leaving the Arrowhead Country for Peru

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MikeS, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. olekaw

    olekaw Adventurer

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    Thanks for the update Mike, I’m glad you have been able to ride your plan.
    Love to get a first hand account some time.
    Craig
    MikeS likes this.
  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oct 5

    Monday I rode from Chalhuanca to Curahuasi, east, towards Cusco area. I did not have a well developed plan yet, but just rode. My idea was to ride north of Cusco, then west on some gravel roads. I scratched that plan in the evening. One section was described as "worse than the Death Road in Bolivia." Not that I consider the Death Road to be that terrible, based on YouTube videos I've watched in the past. But I decided no to this route.

    Oct 6

    Curahuasi to Andahuaylas

    Next morning I had a better plan figured out. Reverse course from Curahuasi and head in the general direction of Huanuco, with a possible diversion north, in to the jungle.

    I took the direct route at one point, going over the pass instead of around on the blacktop. Passed through a number of small villages. One never knows what you will find or experience on the back roads.

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    Abandoned home, likely the goats and chickens lived in the lower level. Interesting that this was a tile roof, vs grass. The owner put some money in to the roof covering:

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    Huge spider on the road:

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  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 7

    Andahuaylas to Uripa

    I have time to wander, so I rode to the ruins of Suntur Wasi, "home of the condor" in Quechua. There is a lake along the way, "Laguna de Pacucha".

    Before getting there I had a minor delay. I was prepared, with an internal cable kit. You can see that I already have it inserted in to the clutch lever:

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    Laguna de Pacucha:

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    A number of houses had murals on the front:

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    Suntur Wasi was initially inhabited by the Chanka, a quechua speaking group. They were eventually conquered by the Inca in the mid 1400's, prior to the Spanish Conquest.

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    Nice view for the residents, although defense was a primary concern:

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    I did not climb this structure. Count the stairs. There was a condor flying above it just before taking this picture.

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    There were a number of Peruvian tourists there, several of whom were curious about where I was from, where I was going.

    A few pictures of Uripa central plaza.

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  4. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 8

    Uripa to Huanta

    Market along the way. Two avocadoes cost $0.25 US. Three mandarin oranges, the same price. Six pan, a pocket type bread common to Peru, again $0.25 US. Makings for a good lunch.

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    Heavy traffic:

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    I visited the Wari archeological site north of Ayacucho. This is a pre-Inca culture, also prior to the Chanka culture, represented at Suntur Wasi, which I visited the previous day.

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    Look closely and you'll see a sundial

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    Impressive pair???

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  5. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 9

    Huanta to Huancayo

    The gps took me on a fairly direct path out of town, vs backtracking to the main highway. It got quite steep mid way through the route:

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    Back on the main highway, I finally get a flat. It's way past my time. I'm cursed for getting flats, typically one every other year. I think my last one was in Peru about four years ago.

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    The wheel felt wobbly before I removed it, suggesting a bearing issue. Confirmed - I must be having too much fun on bumpy roads.

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    During my time working on the side of the road, numerous cars and motos signaled whether I needed help. All was good, except for swarms of biting gnats.

    Back to Huanta to find a mechanic to replace the bearings. The mechanic got me in right away, for a total cost of $17 US, including purchasing a new spare tube. Ready to ride:

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    I've been on this road before, blacktop through the mountains. There are quite a few fast cars on the road moving much faster than I dare to go. At times the road is one lane wide with blind corners. Meeting a car or truck in a blind corner typically means the moto has to ride the white line with about a foot on each side between the mountain face and the door handle of the car. Other times it means getting off the road and in to the ditch. These occurrences can be quick and unexpected. A nimble moto is very helpful.

    Making time was one goal, to get close to my planned start point for the next day. I have a "jungle route" loop planned, and the first day of that route consists of 100 miles of gravel through "lush jungle vegetation with cascading waterfalls along the road". Fun day today riding curvy, blacktop, mountain roads.
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 10

    With over 100 miles of gravel ahead, going through lush jungle, I was on the road by 7:30. The route has an additional 20 miles of blacktop from Huancayo to my turn off to the north. I was following Peru 24A, which started as mainly blacktop with lots of potholes. As I rode along, the blacktop was non-existent, but the potholes and general rough conditions remained. Very rough road. I was gaining elevation.

    Small farm in the valley. You can see the sheep being let out of their pen:

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    The road followed a mountain stream.

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    This lake is at 14,000 feet. I have no idea of what the water source is – rain??

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    The village of Comas:

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    After leaving Comas, there was this display of figures, horses on a trail, and a few individuals above them, one signaling to the town of Comas, across the canyon from this location. I don't know the story, but it's designated "Heroes of Comas." Emboscada means ambush.

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    I am REALLY high, not in the jungle. Maybe it's jungle at the base of this mountain, but I missed that turn. Besides, that road is not on my map. I don't know if it ends up at my destination.

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    Being high means I'm in the clouds, meaning light rain. Later very heavy rain and deteriorating road conditions. This is not the jungle, this is not fun. This is a wet, narrow, mountain road that is getting slimy. I decided to turn around, even though I was 70 miles in to the journey.

    Turn around point:

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    So I backtrack and return all the way to Huncayo, where I'm presently located. Along the way, after a stop, I turned on the ignition, and it took a few seconds for the lights to come on. Hmmm.

    I found a place to stay in Huncayo, unloaded my gear in to my room, and went to move the moto to the parking area. Key on, no ignition, no lights, nothing. Checked the battery voltage, good. Found this suspicious condition:

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    I wiggled wires, got ignition, and parked the moto. Looking at the manuals I have on my computer, it appears this should be plugged in to a component under it. It's the main fuse for the moto. I checked the four fuse terminals that you can see in the photo, and two are hot and two were grounded. It probably came loose from too much rough riding. I'll reconnect it in the morning and hopefully solve this issue. A zip tie may be in order too.
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 11

    Huancayo

    In the morning I looked for the missing main fuse part, not there. Got out my test meter; battery good, all fuses good, opened up the taped splices and tested power through the connections; good. I noticed the splices weren't soldered, something I like to do.

    The ignition switch on this moto was recently replaced, thus some wiring was also changed and new splices were present.

    Opened up the headlight; power there to the ignition switch. Tested the new switch; good. I decided it's time to find a mechanic.

    By total luck, I found someone who knows electrical right next door to my hotel. I rolled the moto over there and he went to work. He went through my same diagnosis. I sat on a bucket and kept quiet, knowing he needs to go through the same process of elimination that I did. He removed the seat and tank and found the problem in a bad connection under the tank.

    He soldered all the connections, including the ones that had continuity. I'm good to go now and have confidence the issue is resolved.

    The mechanic is from Venezuela. He and his family moved here 4 years ago. The business sells small box trucks and does repair. Both the mechanic and his boss ride motos for fun too, and were interested in where I had been and where I was going. After 2 hours of work, they would not accept any payment. I insisted, and no was the answer. I conceded to their sincere act of hospitality to a foreign traveler. I'm blown away by this.

    No pictures, but instead a story of how amazing people can be, insisting on nothing in return for their valuable time and talent.

    Of course, this is the difference between riding a moto you bring from home, and one that is set up and maintained by someone else. One knows the condition of your moto from home, less of one maintained by someone else. When traveling, one has to accept uncertainty. That travel component of uncertainty can create anxiety prior to departing on a trip. However, once under way, the uncertainty is just another part of the adventure and the trip. And a good story about humanity!

    I'll spend the afternoon resting, doing laundry, and enjoying some quiet time. It's raining hard right now. Glad I'm not riding at the moment.
  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 12

    Huancayo to La Merced

    Two days ago I was looking for jungle on a loop route that ended up being aborted because of rain, narrow mountain road, and high elevation. Today I headed in on the second leg of that loop. This will be an in-out ride on the same road, all blacktop. I found jungle, hot and humid, and a nice change from high elevation cold.

    Breakfast at a road side stand. Ceviche with tortilla chunks, onion, lettuce, and fish, all submerged in "la leche de la tigre" (milk of the tiger). Every single taste bud in my mouth is now awake.

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    Later in the day, more food, lunch in a village central plaza.

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    Finally hot and humid, the jungle:

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    I'm in La Merced. The evening was still very warm and comfortable. I have a room in front, on the second floor, meaning there is a lot of street noise. I have to keep the window open due to the heat. In back would have been better.

    Town square is only two blocks away, an advantage of this location. That's a BMW K1100LT he's riding:

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    There was a band playing for tips. They helped celebrate the birthday of the gal in pink slacks. Dancing and a spontaneous celebration in the square. I also had a chance to talk to a gal and her daughter, on holiday from Huancayo.

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    The little boy behind the band was doing some steps to the music.

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    Leaving from here tomorrow will be the beginning of the end of this trip. It will be strange when the dominant language changes from Spanish to English. My communication focus right now is totally Spanish. There have been only 3 or 4 individuals who I've met on this trip who were flutent in English. My Spanish is still less than fluent, and I make verb errors all the time. I've succeeded at having conversations that last 5 minutes or so, an accomplishment in itself. My Spanish studies at home have been rewarded by the rich experience of this trip and the people I have met.
  9. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 13

    La Merced to Tarma

    Before leaving La Merced, I stopped at a privately owned avian zoo. Lots of caged birds from the surrounding jungle. This will be my opportunity to see some of these birds. A better option is to stay at a jungle or eco oriented establishment. Planning and time does not allow that for me. The gal at the entry gave me a plantain, which the birds and other critters liked.

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    I returned on the same blacktop road that brought me to La Merced. Riding in warmth was nice. There is a very large cave, Gruta Huagapo, located in Palcamayo. You have to go with a guide. I entered the cave one on one with the guide. There are some small, pre-Inca inscriptions at the beginning of the cave. As we went farther in, the guide described a lot of imaginary animals in the various natural features of the cave. My Spanish comprehension was challenged, and the guide was very patient with me.

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    I tried some interior pictures with flash, and this is the best I got.

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    The town of Palcamayo.

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    Continuing on my route, I came to this. I think this is a "road closed barrier", not a land slide. I looked, and there was no way around on my 250cc moto. Needless to say, I had to make a significant backtrack, putting me short of my planned destination for the night.

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    Terraced farming:

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    I made it to Tarma, staying at a nice hotel for this night. Really nice means $25 US. There is a restaurant here run by the hotel, so I ordered Lomo Saltado, a favorite of mine; beef, veggies, potatoes, rice, and a delicious sauce. The beef this time was not your typical well exercised cow, but instead good steak quality pieces of beef. This is one of my favorite Peruvian dishes.

    The night security guard took a liking to me and we had a chat. He had a good knowledge of English, so we mostly used my native tongue. He's a musician too.

    There were several sport arenas behind the hotel. I watched these guys play soccer. They were GOOD! Great footwork and ball handling.

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  10. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Oct 14

    Tarma to Huanuco

    Rode across the altiplano to Huanuco, with cold and some rain mixed with frozen rain pellets. I was warmly greeted by Jaime, Cici, Luis, and "Tigre" at the moto shop in Huanuco. Cici brought down some chicken soup. I was able to share some stories of my trip. No photos from today.

    I'm invited for lunch tomorrow; Lomo saltado!

    I have to ship my luggage by bus. I'm flying to Lima on Sunday. The domestic airline has luggage weight limits. Because of my moto gear, I have two bags, each close to 50 pounds.

    Most likely this is the end of my Peru adventures. I've explored a lot of this wonderful country. Definitely a must experience country. Jaime and Luis want to buy my Honda Tornado. I offered them a good deal, so the mighty moto is going to two fellows who know it well.

    I want to ride the Carretera Austral to O'Higgins. I'll probably do that on a rented moto from Santiago. I have some Canadian trips on the docket; Labrador Highway and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories. Maybe some time in Colombia.
  11. Klinc207

    Klinc207 To PERU!

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    Up here or down there.
    Thank you for taking the time for the report. You have helped a lot with some direction around the canyon area. Will be sending a PM to pick your brain about some of your other travels in Peru. Give Jamie my best and let him know we hope to be back down this winter (Peru summer)

    Looking forward to more of your reports!
    MikeS likes this.
  12. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    Mike, I’ve enjoyed following along with you on your adventures. Thank you for the pictures & narration.
    Looking forward to more of “Leaving The Arrowhead Country For……!”
    MikeS likes this.
  13. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

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    Have really enjoyed this one, Mike. Please post a link in this thread to your continuing adventures if you choose to start a new one.
    roadcapDen likes this.
  14. cwc

    cwc . Supporter

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    +1 on posting a link here. I've really enjoyed these reports and look forward to the next.
  15. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Charlie; You really need to go to Cotahuasi Canyon; Copper Canyon depth multiplied by mucho. You can rent a Honda and other motos out of Cusco or Huanuco. Many areas between Cusco and Cotahuasi to explore; Acamayo River canyon, a second way out of Cotahuasi that I didn't explore, otros lugares... Tambien, no es costoso!

    Sleddog - you too!
    Pete_Tallahassee and bad luck like this.
  16. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Done!
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  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Since I arrived in Huanuco a day early, I have a day to bum around. Caught a moto taxi to the main plaza downtown.

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    Covid vaccination available on the spot:

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    The Honda Tornado is now owned by Jaime and Luis. Handing over the keys:

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    Tomorrow, Saturday, is get covid test day in order to re-enter the States. Luggage gets shipped to Lima by bus on Saturday. I fly from Huanuco to Lima on Sunday.
  18. cwc

    cwc . Supporter

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    Your reports have inspired me to think about that.
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  19. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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  20. bad luck

    bad luck Adventurer Supporter

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    I had planned on going to Ecuador, but we may have to go to Peru instead.
    I just read a portion of this post though, so we'll see after I read the rest.
    Thanks
    MikeS likes this.