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

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    April 2, Juanjui to Tingo Maria:

    This is going to be a long day, 220 miles. Toby from Around the Block Moto Tours told me to ride this section in one leg, with minimal stopping. It used to be a heavy coca production area, but the drug gangs have been cleaned up by the Peruvian government. I saw signs on the road at many locations, "Hay coca" (we have coca). Coca leaves are legal and sold at many locations in Peru. It's good for relieving altitude symptoms.

    With the flooding and closed sections on the PanAm Highway, there are a lot of trucks on this road. A two hour plus section is dirt, and because of the truck traffic, it is very rough and slow going, even with the moto. I typically was able to ride at 30 to 35 km/hr, occasionally faster. The trucks were going much slower. A long, slow journey for the trucks on a long detour from the PanAm Highway.

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    Yes, I did meet trucks in places like this:

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    Typical town along the way:

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    Back on the pavement, I continued to ride along without dallying in order to get to Tingo Maria by a little before 5pm. The whole day was focused on making distance, although I was at the same time able to enjoy the location I was riding through. The wheels were rolling all day long. The photos on this post are the total of the pictures for the day.

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    Tingo Maria is a nice town, and I have a room just off the main plaza. The main plaza here consists of a long boulevard with walkways for pedestrians located between two streets. It runs about 8 blocks long. In the evening there are lots of people out and about; families, sweethearts, older folks, kids on roller blades or skateboards, and anyone you can imagine. There was a group doing comedy, and music from several sources. Lots of people just walking. Vendors along the street selling food, snacks, trinkets, balloons, cotton candy, and many other things that folks might buy. Unfortunately I forgot my camera. I spent my evening there, eating dinner plus some popcorn, and just enjoying the experience.
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  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    April 3, Tingo Maria to Huanuco:

    Found breakfast a few doors down from my room, loaded the moto, and headed out. It was raining in the early morning, but stopped by the time I was ready to depart. The mountain road south from Tingo Maria follows a river and winds through thick tropical vegetation:

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    Motos, no:

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    Gaining elevation, it was cooler while rolling on the moto. I stopped to add a long sleeve shirt. Interesting with the elevation, while I was stopped the sun was very hot and I felt hot adding a layer. Once under way, the added layer was essential. High elevation sun radiation vs cool air temperature creates unique perceptions of warmth and cool.

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    Full circle, the same tunnel I went through at the beginning of my time here, on February 26, on a day ride, heading for a trout lunch. Huánuco is just 30 km away, at the base of the mountain:

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  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    April 4, Huanuco day ride:

    I'm staying at Toby & Sara's Around the Block Moto Adventures in Huanuco. They have a B & B, plus the moto shop. I bought my moto from Toby last year, and I store it here when I'm gone. He prepares and either rents or sells motos for travelers like me. I decided to take a day ride out of Huanuco, one I did last year. I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures, and only a few comments. This ride so much represents what is so wonderful about riding small motorcycles in Peru:

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    There's plenty of this, and rutted roads, and plenty of dogs who stage themselves at places just like this. I had a pack of 5 dogs chase me in a rutted section today, plus other sporting dogs at other locations. It's a regular occurrence, part of the experience - sport for both the dogs and the moto rider. Tall motorcycle boots are essential for the occasional dog that connects with a small nip.

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    In the evening we went out for dinner, Toby & Sara plus a friend of Sara's. Rode two up with Sara's friend Kristen, following Toby & Sara through the absolutely crazy and chaotic small vehicle traffic of Huanuco. Motos, moto taxis, cars, and pedestrians; all abiding by Peru driving rules.

    As I write this the next morning, there is Inca music outside, with the characteristic drum. This afternoon I start my flights back to the States, and melting snow and the beginning of mud season and spring. There will be an opportunity to have a last downhill ski day before all the snow melts. Gracias amigos y buen viajes!
  4. GearDrivenCam

    GearDrivenCam Long timer

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    Fantastic adventure and documentation. Excellent photos too! Really enjoyed this Mike. Have a great trip back home.

    Mike
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  5. craigandsara

    craigandsara n00b

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    Enjoyed following your adventure, Mike - awesome pictures and narration!. Looking forward to catching up some more with you when you get back. Maybe on the hill on Sunday too?
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  6. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

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    Thanks for taking us along on this epic journey. The pictures and narration made it feel as though we were there with you. Hope your flight home is smooth and safe.
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  7. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto Supporter

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    Superb travels and trip report. Saludos.
  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Thanks "Bro". I arrived yesterday at about 9am in Atlanta from Lima to an airport full of several thousand travelers stuck here. My flight out was cancelled, second flight standby no seats, third confirmed flight cancelled... Delta has a huge mess. No seats available until Saturday. I confirmed a seat for Saturday, day after tomorrow.

    Called in the night for a rental car confirmation, to drive two days home. Rental fee at $120 was reasonable, plus gas. Got a call this morning after 7am that the reservation was in error and that no rental cars are available in Atlanta.

    This morning at 4am I called Delta again and got a helpful person. I'm now waiting Friday morning in Atlanta for departure to Toronto, with a confirmed seat. Hopefully they have a crew for the plane. Having crew has been the major problem it seems because they are timed out on work hours. Spent the night in the terminal with many other stuck travelers because local hotels wanted $400/night. Once I'm on the plane and see the crew, I'll be totally assured that I will get out of here. The agent just announced the departure is delayed 1.5 hours, not a good sign. More adventure... waiting for the good results so I don't have to call this a nightmare.
  9. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    I'm looking forward to seeing you both today at Thunder Bay! I'll keep you posted via text on my progress. You're so good to be willing to pick me up at the airport! Sunday ski day would be very welcome - wonder how the bumps are, so I can make a fool of myself wearing that NSP white cross on my jacket.
  10. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    Just got to the end. Had thought there would be more after-the-trip chit chat.
    I wonder if you got the bike new or how many miles it had if not. It seems you needed a lot of replacement parts. Clutch plates, front tire, several clutch cables, several speedometer parts, a chain and two sprockets in less than 1,750 miles. It also seems that parts were generally available and mechanics were willing to work on it immediately.
  11. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    I'm glad to follow up, and a lot of chit-chat has been off AdvRider, with friends or family who followed this trip. No, the moto was not new when I bought it in 2016. It has 50,000 km on it right now and gets rented now and then as part of a deal I have with Toby. I didn't write down the odometer reading, but I'm sure I rode 5000 miles on this trip. I was riding every day, at least 100 miles/day for almost six weeks. The front tire wear for a M-21 Perelli is consistent with what I've experienced at home. I was on a lot of surfaced roads this year in Ecuador, which is hard on knobby tires. The tire cost $50US, plus maybe $10US to install. I don't understand the chain/sprocket wear, but it was the same as the previous year. I lubricated the chain daily, and at home I get better service life from my chain/sprocket. I can only attribute it to Chinese metallurgy, or to more abrasive road conditions compared to home. I don't know. But yes, there were quite a few mechanical issues on this years trip. No flat tire, although with my curse, I'll have one on some other trip fairly soon.

    The moto was fine and worked perfect when I picked it up. It was serviced and fully prepared prior to my arrival. Except in Quito, moto labor rates are very low. Opening up the clutch basket twice in Peru, including clutch disks the second time, cost about $125US total. It didn't spoil the trip or the experience and never left me totally stranded. The motor and transmission are strong and it runs fine at the high elevations I reached. Those are the important issues.

    Dealing with repairs, despite costing money, has lots of interaction and communication involved. Interest in "that gringo" comes not only from the mechanic but also from individuals on the street who recognize me as a foreign traveler who they can meet. Mechanical problems are by no means a totally negative experience.

    I'm not a mechanic, but I grew up in a family with my father in the automotive repair field. I can maintain and fix motorcycles, which is a good asset to have for solo motorcycle travel. That experience, plus riding a locally common moto reduces the potential for being stranded for a long time due to exotic parts not being readily available.
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  12. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    You've totally switched me on to doing this, Mike. I've been in touch with Toby, asking if the Honda 250 Rally is available in Peru yet. I'm hoping to get out there next year and buy a new bike to last for at least 3 seasons (there are total eclipses in Chile/Argentina in 2019 and 2020!).
  13. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    YAY! Toby will know about the Honda Rally. I know he sells both the Tornado and CRF. I saw the Tornado regularly on the streets, but not the CRF as far as I know. I think I'm recalling right, that Toby had a CRF prepped when I was there this year. The parts issue about the Rally can be model specific parts, like sprockets, electronics, clutch disks, brake parts. Once you're there and traveling, it doesn't matter too much what model you are riding, so long as it functions well for what you're doing.

    Do you have a web link about the eclipse in Chile/Argentina? Ushuaia and Patagonia mountains are on my radar, probably 2020 unless sooner. I'll need several months for that trip.
  14. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Yes, apparently it's crossing the Atacama Desert at the moment. There's a good deal on the older CRF L model now, in anticipation of the new 2017 models.

    July 02 2019 - https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2019Jul02Tgoogle.html
    December 14 2020 - https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2020Dec14Tgoogle.html - maybe take in the Dakar as well?

    Edit: I see it's only another 1500 miles to Ushuaia after the eclipse in 2020 - https://goo.gl/maps/iNw3KfPDGi72
  15. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Back in Peru again, 2018:
    Huanuco day ride March 17, 2018

    Again, I'm continuing this report. It's a long adventure, with time between to work. Made it to Huánuco, but my wife wouldn't let me go solo. Here she is. Looking forward to sharing this adventure with her.

    Next day I was sick with a 24 hour flu.

    Finally got well and rode a mountain shake down ride with the two motos

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    Farming, hard labor

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  16. GearDrivenCam

    GearDrivenCam Long timer

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    Really looking forward to reading through your adventure Mike. Hope you and your wife have an amazing time and a fantastic trip.

    Mike
  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Huanuco to Huariaca March 18

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    Started the trip out with adventure, on a blacktop road. We are heading south, to see condors, ruins, mountains, Nazka, and Cuzco.

    The river is flowing very high.
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    After this, we ended up on a detour in a small town because the river had severely undercut the road. Water from the river was forming waves over a bridge. Lots of vehicles on the road. Eventually we came to a line of stopped trucks, busses, and cars. We went through an active rock slide, with spotters telling us when to go. Rocks came down just before Laurie was to cross. After the rocks stopped, the spotters yelled to Laurie, "Ve! ve! ve!" (go, go, go! - pronounced "bay"), who has no idea what they are saying (wait? go?), but was expected to act quickly before the next bunch of rocks came tumbling down.

    Lots of mud slides, stuck busses and trucks. Both lanes stopped and full of vehicles, with people walking all over. Absolute grid lock in numerous locations, with us riding between the ditch and busses, or in the center between the busses and all the people dragging their luggage along. This was the day for us, all day long. We were told to go back by a fellow we met coming the other way. We had way too much invested into this and decided to chance it, even if we had to camp with no gear. Plenty of unknown and anxiety throughout the day.

    Definitely not the introduction to Peru that I intended for Laurie, who fortunately, has an adventurous spirit.

    The ribbon of no return. We were warned, "Quizas motos, los coches no" (motos maybe, cars no):

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    Crossings:

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    In several places it was like a disaster zone that you see on clips on tv. We were riding between lines of busses stopped in both directions with people wheeling their luggage between the busses heading somewhere. Total gridlock and chaos.

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    Riding through one mud slide:

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    The bikes at the end of our first travel day. It was a day with lots of unknown, good people helping, lots of locals watching and sometimes cheering, frustrated drivers, federal police in a no win situation. At this moment, I know there are lots of folks stuck in busses, trucks, cars, and probably watching camp fires on the side of the road in the night. It could have been us.

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    We were asked about the road many times as we unpacked the motos. The national police even asked for on the scene details. Definitely lots of confusion for the whole situation.

    If you look at the tracker linked in my signature line, you can see the bad spots. The tracking dots are close together. To put it in perspective, we spent over 7 hours to cover 45 miles.

    Street scene, looking out from our dinner table:

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  18. wanderc2c

    wanderc2c Adventurer

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    Wow! Laurie’s moto adventures in Minnesota’s North woods with you must have made great preparation for the adventures today.

    Following......what stories you will have when you return home!
  19. MNimum

    MNimum Been here awhile

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    Travelling through that and no mud on either sets of handle bars/barkbusters = WINNING! :clap

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  20. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Good to see you back on the road in Peru, Mike. A 250 seems to be the get-there bike for that country's conditions.