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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    Urubamba to Pisac March 29

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    We were hoping to stay at the wonderful B & B in Urubamba for another night. Our plans were to see some more sights north and east of Cusco. It was not to be because prior reservations filled the inn.

    Our plans included seeing Huchuy Qusco, a well preserved ruins out of Calca, Peru. In many ways it is like Macchu Picu, except it does not have easy access. One can trek out of Cusco for 5 hours, or come from another location for two hours by foot. There is a rugged switchback gravel road, good for small motos or 4 wd vehicles. We used up 5 hours of our day getting in/out, plus the hike to the site and time walking around.

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    We had to walk through a tiny farming village in order to get to the site. Inca shaped window opening in village house.

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    This place was part of the Inca empire, and this is the Inca road to Cusco. We attempted to come in on a route that would have arrived here, but failed at the attempt.

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    There was a fellow there from Peru archeology who told us about the site. We'll read more when we have internet. I know from the Spanish speaking guard/guide that there was pre-Inca work, Inca conquest and empire importance, plus Spanish conquest influence.

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    There were mummies in the alcoves . This was a two story building. The Spanish flooded it and used it for water storage.

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    Stream from an alpine lake provides water

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    Agriculture terraces

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    The ride in and out was definitely challenging for Laurie on the clunky China bike. She still has no rear brake. Add to that higher gearing and a high first gear, plus not so aggressive tires, the ride was tough. I so much wish the Honda Tornado fit her, and she would have fun on these roads. I've fantasized shipping the Super Sherpa down here. This trip would be so much fun for Laurie on the Super Sherpa. She'd be riding like a champ with a big smile on her face. Instead the clunky moto. Air Canada has some good rates for shipping motos. The British couple we met a few days ago used Air Canada from either France or Great Britain to Brazel. We flew Air Canada, with a terminal in Thunder Bay, 120 km from our house.

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    Here's an aerial view. You can see our first attempt, the tracks on the right, which we abandoned when it became a steep climb on a goat path:

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    Laurie going down hill out of a switchback. She has no rear brakes, not very aggressive tires, an excessively heavy moto, and clunky suspension!

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    We stopped for the night in Pisac, a very short travel distance day, because of our excursion. I went through her rear brakes, scuffung the rotor, scuffing the brake pads, and bleeding all the air out of the system. I wanted to cover all the possibilities. At first I had weak rear brake and solid pedal. At the end no pedal at all. I suspect the pitted pucks are the issue. The bike needs a new caliper, definitely not an easy part find with Easter coming plus the China brand moto. We'll continue to solve the saga. It's a drag on our trip.
  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Pisac to Mahuayani - March 30

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    Today became a day of fiascos. We made a short stop in Cusco in an attempt to fix Laurie's brakes. In addition, we were thinking to trek to the Mountain of 7 colors.

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    Along the way we stopped at an Inca ruins on the highway. It's called Portada (facade) de Rumiqolqa. It was part of the Inca road system. My impression is that the structure served as an aqueduct and a portal control.

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    Those are steps.

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    Aqueduct

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    I've seen these throughout all the Americas, for grinding corn.

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    Inca road

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    Through a gps glitch that I somehow caused, plus not watching the map carefully, we ended up in the rain at high elevation, in the cold, and heading to Brazil/Bolivia border. We saw quite a few big cc international moto travelers. After a stop at a restaurant specializing in cuy, we found a simple place and spent the night at 13,000 feet elevation. It was a cold room, no heat, but plenty of blankets to stay toasty. There is a tiny tienda here with mostly bare shelves and no restaurant. Tomorrow we have to backtrack to where we should have gone.
  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Mahuayani to Espinar – March 31

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    After a decent night sleep at 13,000 feet, we got up to get going. First trip to the moto with gear, there were a bunch of Inca fellows along with a lama tied up. Next trip down, the lama was becoming a pelt plus the Easter feast.

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    Breakfast at the cuy restaurant from the trip in the afternoon before.

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    We rode in high altitude sun all day long, a welcome change from the rain the previous afternoon.

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  4. tommymerle

    tommymerle advwanabee

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    Mike and Laurie,
    Thanks for bringing us along. How about a slide show when you get back. I'll supply the projector to hook up to your computer.
    tommy
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  5. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Espinar to Chivay – April 1, Easter Sunday

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    Today was a day to test the humor. Long way to go. Cold with a strong head wind. Plus got lost and added 100 miles of truck traffic to the plan for the day. Sunny start to the day:

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    Pampas of Peru, with lots of riding up to 15,000 feet.

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    She looks cold

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    It's not all ugly, except for the cold and wind:

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    Reviewing local sourced directions. We were past the first right. We were told to turn at the first right. The first right didn't appear to go where we were going. Cross the river to see if our turn is ahead, or go back to the first right?

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    Across the river was the correct choice. The first right was the right turn after the river, not the right turn before the river. That night, a warm hospedaje after chicken dinner and warm chicha.
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Chivay to Cabanaconde – April 2 & 3

    Chivay central plaza

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    Yes, that is volcanic steam in the background

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    Today we're heading to where people go to see condors. We're going to spend two days in Cabanaconde. We missed a turn and ended up on the secondary road access to Cabanaconde. Good dirt road riding that Laurie and I both enjoy, except that Laurie's moto performs so poorly on those roads that it is no fun for her.

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    We had to turn back on our second day riding, heading to another condor sighting location because the bike does not handle loose rocks and switchback climbs at all. The tires, suspension, and weight are not good.

    If only....

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    We spent two afternoons watching the condors. They sail in the winds in the same way that the eagles and vultures do in North America. Sometimes they put their wings back and can bullet across the canyons at what I'm sure us well over 100 mph. Other times they hover over one spot for a long time. We had several very close sightings. Difficult to capture in a photo, but watching them for the time we did put a permanent image in the brain.

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    We took a morning hike from Cabanaconde to the edge of the canyon. Along the way we saw several trekkers, including mules packing gear. One large bus tour group all looked tired and unhappy – all of them. Another couple from British Colombia, we spend 15 minutes talking and sharing our experiences. At the edge of the canyon we ate some fruit and talked to the access control fellow. He has a Peruvian friend living in Texas. He wants to visit him and either ride a bull or see a rodeo. I wasn't clear on which.

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    Church on the central plaza, as viewed from our hostal

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  7. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv. Supporter

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    MikeS,

    Truly enjoying your ride report and pictures. I, too, was astonished by the enormity of the Salt Pans of Maras when I rode through several years ago. How awesome for you and Laurie to share this together!

    Cheers,
    .
  8. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

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    I think if you googled magical scenery it would show pictures like yours. Thanks for sharing.
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  9. Dazzler71

    Dazzler71 Adventurer

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    Wow! Just got through this write up and what a place.
    I am heading to South America in November and can't wait, especially after reading this. I have noted lots of places you visited on my map and will be visiting all of them if I can.
    Thankyou
  10. c-zulu

    c-zulu Works with Turds

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    YaHoo !!

    I like..
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  11. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Cabanaconde to Sicuani April 4

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    Stopped for a final look at the condor viewing stop, but none to be seen. We had a better route across the cold, high pampas – meaning at 15,000 feet. This part of Peru has lots of country like this. Hopefully we carry out the routing well, because last time through here our route became an extra 100 miles than planned.

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  12. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Sicuani to Limartondo April 5

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    Made a stop at the Aqaba Ilaqta Textile Association in Chinchero, north of Cusco. Absolutely astonishing amount of indigenous work for sale. The folks there were very friendly and fun to interact with. Fortunately only a few tourists there at the time. We bought gifts.

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    Dyes and process:

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    That is two MONTHS of work:

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  13. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Limartondo to Chinchiros April 6

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    We stopped the previous night at a hostal above a tienda. The cramped garage was on a very steep side hill. Only room and access for small motos. Getting out in the morning was a challenge, but fortunately going down hill to another road did have a more do-able exit to the main road. Laurie is riding with only a front brake now.

    Back in mountains and small towns all day.

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    Mountain agriculture, the tar road, the dirt road:

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    The warning signs in areas like this have a word that looks a lot like "rumble" in English:

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  14. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Derrumbe. (I looked it up).
  15. musty40

    musty40 Adventurer

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    Great read!
  16. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Great stuff, what have you done to fix the brakes? any redneck roadside repairs?
  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Chinchiros to hostal on the side of the road. April 7

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    The road from Chinchiros to Mayocc:

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    Small rock slide

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    These guys were hanging out in a place goats do well at

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    As we rode in to the evening, it became obvious we were not going to make it to our planned destination. It was cold. And then, there it was. A small road house in the middle of no where. We stopped, and were fed dinner and they had a room, with no heat but lots of blankets.

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    Upcoming decision at Mayocc: high road in pampas or follow river and low road.
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  18. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    A "road house" along the Mantaro River to Yanacancha April 8

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    From our primitive abode, we were able to score breakfast and coffee in the restaurant below our room. The road we started on yesterday continued to please. It is narrow at many spots especially when high up on the mountain. That's were we met another truck.

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    Mountain town

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    Looks well built to cross the river

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    We ended up on the route we rode earlier in our trip. Lots of cold when at high altitude. We're about 70 km out of Huanuco, and will head there tomorrow. The X-terra has issues; no rear brake and now the starter has problems and we have to bump start it every time.

    The Honda is doing great, although I need a new rear shock at this time.

    Parking in Yanacancha. Again, a room over a restaurant.

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  19. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Yanacancha to Huanuco April 9

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    We needed to deal with the issues on the X-terra. No rear brakes, the starter does not work...

    While in Huanuco, we took a 3 wheel taxi to the Kotosh site. I was there last year, and was told of one interesting location there that I missed. You stand in an open area near a marked location and talk to your companera on the other side of the marked spot. Your voice has an echo to it. You have to be at the right spot for this to happen. No obvious western logic as to why this happens there. It's quite open and there is no obvious source of the echo.

    Using the mind set of the indigenous people, there are special powers at this location: The echo with no logical source, the mountain above that looks like a fist, the fist being a sign of power.

    The knuckles of the fist, a left hand:

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    Suspension bridge to Kotosh, and a fellow digging for shells:

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    There are three temples, one dedicated to marriage. The bride sat on one side and the groom on the other. The crossed hands under the chamber is the signature of this site:

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    Additional temples

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    Laurie is going to be riding a different bike, a Zongshen. They are sold in the States now. It's more so a street bike, and heavier. Water cooled and fuel injection.
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  20. tommymerle

    tommymerle advwanabee

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    Mike,
    nice photos, thanks for bringing us along. I'm wondering if the countryside is as un-populated as it looks. Do you shy away from asking if you can take peoples pictures or is there a shyness of the local people?