Leaving the Arrowhead Country to ride Peru and beyond

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

  1. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    I agree totally. I arrived in Macas recently, and at the hostal I got chatted up about motos, travelers, Thunder Bay (yes, the fellow has been there as a mariner!), and a bunch of things I barely understood. I could pick up a word or two in each sentence. My comprehension of what someone is saying to me is improving. My Spanish tapes, because of the teaching method, don't do super well for me to understand what's said to me. "Que dijo?" (what did you say) is good to know.

    The translation app you alerted me to is very helpful and very good with the off line option, although I just bumble through conversations without it, then use it later to revisit my words and see what blatant errors I made. It tends to weld into my head better that way. It's better to be able to talk without thinking about every word first in English, and then trying to speak the Spanish. More important, comprehension of someone else has to be done this way. Otherwise you cannot keep up with the conversation, even if they're talking at 1/2 speed.

    Short report of today later on...
  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 24, Tina to Macas:

    Made it to Macas, a mid size town in Ecuador, but not without a challenge at the start. I had a one hour detour in to a jungle area planned. As I turned off the main road towards my diversion, I pulled in the clutch and the cable broke. I had an extra one with me. Digging deep in to my gear, I found it. It did not fit. The internal cable was too short. Found a shop near by, but he did not have one that fit.

    Rode back to Tina where I started from, about 10 miles away. Since I have no clutch, I have to roll down hill in neutral, then shift in to gear without the clutch. The rest of the shifting is fine. Stopping is undesirable. Got to Tina, stopped at a tienda, but no clutch cable. However, they told of a place two lights down. Got to the next tienda, again, after much looking and even partially installing one that was close to fitting, no good. Fortunately, they had the internal cable in a very long universal version with an end that can be screwed on. Perfect. I bought an extra; total cost for the two inner cables $2.50.

    The parts person that helped me was a very knowledgeable, competent, and confident young 20's gal. Obviously she has installed clutch cables before and knows a bit about motorcycles.

    [​IMG]

    By then it was after 10am, so I decided I'd better skip the loop and ride direct to my next destination. I am over 1000 miles from Huánuco, my end of trip destination, so I need to be aware of the day count. I don't have a good or accurate gauge of what kind of mileage is good for a day. Roads vary, and as a result so does the time to cover a distance. I also need to be aware that there is flooding in Peru, although I'm taking a route that probably does not have flooding – so I hope. However, time will tell. There are unknowns on how long it will take me to get back to Huánuco.

    That's how my day went. It was a good day, but I did miss a loop I wanted to see. Unfortunately, one never has enough time to explore every possible place when on a longer trip, a trip with a solid end date to it.

    [​IMG]

    Natural medicine:

    [​IMG]

    During my ride it was very humid and warm. Moving on the moto it was fine. It's tropical. I had light rain throughout the whole day, on and off. However, the rain was nice because both the air and the rain were warm. The rain was actually a bit welcome because it cooled things down just a little bit. It was comfortably warm, not at all miserable, even in the rain.

    Lunch stop, out of the rain:

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow I probably have a similar day. I travel on these roads at about 40 to maybe 50mph, not too fast. That's the speed of most traffic. I can get in 125 miles in a day now with stops, and if need 150 miles.

    Had a dinner at a little outdoor restaurant of nicely spiced chicken pieces and yucca cooked on a wood fired grill wrapped in a banana leaf. Fresh purple onions and tomato pieces added, with fruit juice. Very good. Ice cream at the central plaza for dissert.

    Not many pictures from today. With the clutch cable and light rain on and off, it was a day to enjoy riding.
    RiderA2B and GearDrivenCam like this.
  3. GearDrivenCam

    GearDrivenCam Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,104
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    So true. I do the same thing. I try to keep track of which words or phrases would have come in handy during a conversation, and then later go through it in my head and make note of the errors I made, and finally look up and learn what would have worked much better and then practice ways of remembering it! :) I must admit, I'm doing fine with present tense stuff, but am still lost with past tense! Ha..ha..:lol3

    Mike
  4. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 25: Macas to Gualeceo (east of Cuenca):

    Left Macas in the morning. Had a send off from Diosvanys, the very welcoming proprietor of the Hostal Jalisco in Marcas. Good place to stay in Marcas, with secure parking.

    [​IMG]

    He gave me some advice on routing for the day. My plan is to cross the mountains that separates the road I'm traveling on, with the parallel road on the other side, the PanAm Highway. Mostly I want to ride in some mountains again. I'm returning east tomorrow via another mountain road.

    Typical roads, both yesterday and today for the morning:

    [​IMG]

    Turned off the main highway, and took the road less traveled. Crossed a suspension bridge that was good for motorcycles, and probably cars. Nice rural road for 10 or 15km.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Even though the remaining road was pavement, it did not disappoint. Some of this route I rode on my way north, but who is complaining?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm now in Gualeceo for the night. About 15 km out of town it started the afternoon rain pretty heavy. I definitely was a dripping wet motorcyclist as I registered. Dry inside, but very wet gear on the outside. Tomorrow I return east, through the mountains once again.
  5. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,965
    Location:
    UK
    I see every pass is over 10,000ft there.
    MikeS likes this.
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 26; Gualaceo to Yantzaza:

    Woke up to the sound of rain. I hate packing up and starting out in the rain. It can rain 5 minutes after I get rolling, but raining when I swing my leg over the motorcycle at the start is not for me. After breakfast was finished, the weather cooperated; totally. The rain quit, but started again shortly after I got rolling.

    Because of the amount of rain, I was debating which of two return routes to take, or to even abandon the return across the mountains and ride west and continue south along the (boring) PanAm Highway. Adventure won out, and I ended up on my planned route. It was some blacktop and mostly wet mountain dirt road. I met and passed an amazing number of trucks hauling dirt. There was extensive road construction along a lot of the road, in the rain.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Eventually I made it back to Ecuador 45, the north-south road on the eastern side of the mountain range, and headed south. This part of Ecuador 45 is still mountains, so the rain continued. And then, around a corner:

    [​IMG]

    At the time I arrived, there was no equipment working on the landslide. I walked up on it to see if there was a way to get the motorcycle across. There was another fellow on a Tornado at the line up, and maybe we could help each other across. We already had seen each other along the road. The middle consisted of wet, slimy goo. Waiting was the prudent decision. Clearing this out took over an hour. During the time, the fellow operating the equipment blew out a tire with a loud bang. He continued with the backhoe, which slowed progress, but eventually got it open.

    As I continued south, the rain stopped and my gear eventually dried out. My gloves were soaked, but the wind is the best way to get leather to eventually dry. Lunch at 2pm at a stand near a Sunday afternoon soccer game, consisting of chicken, potatoes, and plantain. I made it to my destination before the evening rain started. I have dry gear for the morning!
    RiderA2B and GearDrivenCam like this.
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 27; Yantzaza to Vilcabamba:

    Woke up in the morning to more light rain. The moto was stored for the night in a dead end hallway next to the motel lobby. I was able to pack up the moto in a covered area in front of the motel and out of the light rain. Breakfast consumed, and I continued south on Ecuador 45. This route is in the mountains because I'm heading west towards Loja.

    On the way I stopped in Zamora. They have the largest clock in the world, confirmed by a Brit early in my trip, and a local at Zamora. The clock chimes, just like all small town clocks do. "Zamora, Land of Birds and Waterfalls"

    [​IMG]

    Near the clock is an inside Mercado, a collage of vendors of various kinds selling food and necessities. In the juice and food section, I stopped in for some fresh fruit juice. Fresh juice is one thing I will miss when returning to the States.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Although it was wet most of the morning, as afternoon came it stopped and the roads dried out:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Arrived in Vilcabamba in the early afternoon, had a late lunch and found a place for the night. Tomorrow will be my last full day in Ecuador. I will be staging myself fairly close to the border so I can cross in the morning. It's the same border crossing from my way north, a very low traffic border, so it should go fairly fast.
    RiderA2B and GearDrivenCam like this.
  8. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,965
    Location:
    UK
    I don't really get the chapel/shrine in the market. A holy wine bar?
    battdoc likes this.
  9. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Evansville Wi
    I believe adversity builds your sole and you seem to thrive from it. I envy your abilities and am proud to say you are my brother. I posted a lot of your pictures to Facebook. May the sun shine on your last leg of your trip.
    battdoc and MikeS like this.
  10. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    I'm in Peru, in San Ignacio, about 50km from the border. I will put together a post, but my day was lucky in that I didn't have rain except a little at higher elevation. The two days prior in Ecuador were rain for most of the day. Today, no, although ominous clouds were gathering at one time, keeping me on the throttle as I went up/down steep, rutted hills. I saw many land slides at various places. Two covered most of the road, and many typically across part of the road. Much of what I was on in Ecuador for the last hour or two near the border was dirt with steep up/down. Steep could be a problem in rain, but dry, fun to ride. This section is the first of two that had/have me nervous. I have what I believe is a good route to get south near Huánuco, but the last bit, if I recall, is again mountains

    I found a thread on Horizons Unlimited from travelers in and around Peru. I read that the PanAm is closed, and an area near Huaraz (a second route option) is a problem/maybe closed. I'm betting my route choice is a good one - the only other choice.

    Ya, adversity and unknown are good, especially when the final result is a good ending. In order to get to Huánuco to catch an airplane on time, I definitely am planning to have good luck.
    RiderA2B and GearDrivenCam like this.
  11. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 28; Vilcabamba, Ecuador to San Ignacio, Peru:

    Departed the ex-patriot tourist town of Vilcabamba, heading to the border and entering Peru today. During rainy periods, this route can be slippery. The southern most portion has steep up/down hills, at a grade that may be a problem during slippery conditions. However, I traveled north on the same road at the start of my trip, with light rain, and I did fine. There is another border crossing to the west, that Toby recommended I use, but this is more direct. My decision and fate is made.

    Rode out of Vilcabamba, and later gained elevation and rode in the clouds/drizzle:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Saw quite a few slides like this. In addition, two covered the road completely and there were tracks across the mud. Large front end loader working on one section of highway:

    [​IMG]

    Clouds started gathering in the early afternoon, and I was concerned about rain. I've had fairly heavy rain for the previous two days. Eventually I entered the dirt road section an hour or two north of the border. When the clouds were not in sight, I stopped a few times for pictures, and for a lunch break at the side of the road. Other times I was concerned about rain and kept on the throttle:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the up, down, bumpy, rutted dirt section I met a bicyclist from Los Angeles, of Mexican nationality. He was heading north, opposite of me. We shared road information, and I got out my map to confirm his (good) route choice. Ironically the rough/bumpy/up/down road we met on was a representation of his life right now. He said he is not sure of his future because of the increased level of deportations in the States with our new administration. Personally, I like entrepreneurship and self motivation. My personal experience over my years with immigrants is there is a lot of self motivation. I also observe and appreciate that attitude in the hard working people I meet in Ecuador and Peru. My first family to the States on my fathers side were dairy farmers, self motivated and hard working. Same motivation on my mothers side, who kept the family fed and well during the depression; my grandfather an electrician and my grandmother taking in laundry for income when my grandfather had no work. I share that motivation and spark, many generations later. I think we should revise our immigration system in order to welcome new citizens to the States who are highly motivated to improve their lot, instead of deporting them. Welcoming motivated people is good for everyone and good the country. Enough of my personal observations and opinion on that touchy subject...

    Reached the border just as a bus arrived with passengers crossing to Peru. Passengers have to walk across the border and use transportation on the Peru side. I was at the head of the line, with five others processing passports. This is not a busy border. I'm in San Ignacio for the night. Back to the noise of motorcycles and moto taxis – and chicha to drink with my dinner. Gas in Peru is more expensive. Most cars in Ecuador are diesel, which sells for $1.00/gallon. Regular gas in Ecuador is around $1.50, and super used in the moto is $2.25. Fuel prices I suspect play a role in the contrast of vehicles seen in Ecuador and Peru.
  12. arrowhead rider

    arrowhead rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    823
    Location:
    mn north shore
    For someone who has never brought a camera on any of our rides, you sure do take nice pictures!
  13. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    If you would have come on this trip as I hoped, I would not need to bring a camera or take any pictures. It's my wife's camera, and the location is hard to take bad pictures.

    I'm looking to debrief you and "A" about Moab. My wife wants to ride there! We'll have to invite ourselves and northerners to JW's place for some eats and slides, yours and mine, projected on to the bedsheet.

    I have been watching travel information, especially Horizons Unlimited. From information there, it looks like my route to Huánuco is good. Another traveler rode this route last week. The uncertainty of road conditions, the lack of good road condition information, having limited information about areas that are (probably) closed, and the need to make a route choice with no chance of changing it once under way - all makes for some anxiety. I have a plane to catch soon, and a 6 day backtrack would be a problem.
  14. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 29; San Ignacio to Jaen:

    I'm now in Peru, on the home stretch. I need to find a new front tire, and have been delaying that while in Ecuador. Tires are much less expensive in Peru. As I was leaving San Ignacio, I saw a tire place right next to a moto shop. Pulled in, and an hour later, I have a new tire installed. Had to fix the speedometer ring again, as the speedometer quit again a few days ago.

    The country between San Ignacio and Jaen is lower in elevation, and quite a bit hotter. I suspect it was in the 90's F. It felt good, but at the same time, it meant drinking plenty of fluids during the day. North of Jaen:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Rain ahead of me, but only a short term shower:

    [​IMG]

    Lunch stop in the shade:

    [​IMG]

    Jaen, a big town with lots of motorcycle traffic:

    [​IMG]

    Chicha morada on the right, at a bakery on the central plaza:

    [​IMG]

    A more contemporary designed church, as typically seen on the central plaza:

    [​IMG]

    Central plaza:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had a hard time finding a room with secure parking. I ended up at the most expensive place so far, $30US for the night. I have air conditioning in the room, and wifi is fast in the room. With the heat, I do appreciate the cooler room temperature. Continental breakfast at 7:30 in the morning.
    dajuice, RiderA2B and GearDrivenCam like this.
  15. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 30; Jaen to Moyobamba:

    My day today was primarily a day of riding the motorcycle. Riding in beautiful country is good. I have a 200 mile day planned, which is a long day here. Leaving Jaen and heading east, the terrain consists of a fairly wide valley with eroded mountains in the distance. There are many rice fields in the valley, with extensive terracing plus irrigation ditches and dikes to control the water, in order to flood the fields.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Rice fields, and an impressive amount of work to level the field in order to flood them. This is a fairly level area. I also saw terracing on steeper ground:

    [​IMG]

    As I continued east, I entered more rugged mountains, so with the curves and climbs, the speed decreased. I was able to ride up to 90 km/hr initially, but later around 60 km/hr.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Arrived in Moyobamba around 4pm. I had to search around for a room for the night. This is a busy city, and I'm located two blocks from the central plaza. Secure parking a block from my room for the moto. Walked around to experience the busy pace of the city, and retired to my room later on.
    Jeff S likes this.
  16. STRich

    STRich Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    202
    Location:
    The Cities, MN
    Mike,

    Nice!!!!!!!! It sure looks like it is a great trip, keep those pics coming!!!!
    Also, if you want any specific info on Moab, let me know.
    There is a gang of us headed there next week, and can grab you any info if you would like.
    Just don't go during Easter Jeep week.....Fun to look at the hardware, but it pretty much overwhelms the town and services.
  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    Yes, trail information and lodging and whatever I should know about but don't know. I'll be ready to exercise a RT to pick up any information you bring back, plus look at pictures. PM me when you return, and have a great trip! I suspect I know and have ridden with some others besides you who are on this trip.
  18. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 31, Moyobamba to Tarapoto:

    I have the end of my trip scheduled out, day by day, and today is a short day of 100 miles. I'm still in mountainous country with curvy roads. I have absolutely no complaints about where I'm riding.

    Breakfast at a small café:

    [​IMG]

    Typical parking scene in bigger towns here in Peru. Motos here are transportation, not toys.

    [​IMG]

    On the way out of Moyobamba, I ended up on a little gps adventure, including a road that become a rutted foot path that was obviously also used by motos. The interesting consequence of these little diversions is getting a peek at places the local residents use regularly. End of the adventure as I entered the main highway:

    [​IMG]

    There were black tarps set out with beans drying at many locations. I also saw people spreading them out, and a couple locations where they were gathering them up and putting them in sacks. Quality control inspector here, but I also saw folks sorting through the spread out beans:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    About half way through my ride today, there was an option to turn off the main highway. I suspect this is the old highway, as it is paved all the way, but in more disrepair. It's not abandoned, as I passed crews clearing the vegetation on the roadside using weed whips and machetes. I've seen many crews like this during my travels in Peru and Ecuador. Many motos on this road, probably preferable for the smaller motos, off the faster main road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Gathering clouds and upcoming afternoon showers:

    [​IMG]

    After reaching my destination in Tarapoto, I took a short ride up a winding mountain road to Ayashiyacu Falls, a local natural attraction:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  19. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    April 1, Tarapoto to Juanjui:

    Again, not a long day planned, a little over 100 miles. This area is hot. Since I'm wearing my riding gear, it's uncomfortably hot when stopped or going slow in traffic in towns. I'm able to get good ventilation when rolling along. For stops for pictures, navigation, or water, I always choose a shady spot, not always easy to find. The sun here is directly overhead, and shadows from trees require that I be directly under them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have a diversion planned for my day, Laguna Azul adjacent to the town of Sauce. It's a fun dirt road, and I arrive at this:

    [​IMG]

    The river current is swift here. The process of crossing the river involves motoring up stream near the shore for a way where the current is slower, then crossing the river in the swifter current. The ferry is powered by an outboard motor with a guy on the throttle.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The ferry is filled with four tour buses from Moyobamba. I talked to one of the drivers during the crossing. Once on the far side, the road was a bumpy, mountain dirt road. I was able to easily get ahead of the tour vehicles.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looking back at the river valley after I gained altitude:

    [​IMG]

    Getting closer to Largo Azul (Blue Lake):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sauce on Largo Azul, a small tourist town. There are hotels here, both economical and higher priced as I was told.

    [​IMG]

    I'd like to meet the fellow who built this boat, with the extra detail on the bow. The stern was the tree itself instead of a separately fashioned transom:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Naturally I ordered fish. In the quest for the best places to eat fish, this one competes with Ginas in Ecuador. Fresh and moist, cut in small chunks with a very light glaze. Salad and fried plantain, plus fresh pineapple juice. As of now, a tie for best fish in Ecuador/Peru, Amparito's in Sauce. Further evaluation and judging is needed by another connoisseur.

    [​IMG]

    Returning to the pavement on the same ferry, I'm now in Jaunjui for the night.

    [​IMG]
  20. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Evansville Wi
    Great pictures. Amazing journey.