Leaving the Arrowhead Country to ride Peru and beyond

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

  1. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    That temple at Kotosh looks in a good state of preservation considering it's 4000 years old. I like the hands very much. Are they carved from stone or are they ceramic/earthenware?
  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    I tend to not like asking to take photos of people, after a nice interaction with this foreign traveler. Think about that happening to you. I view it as disrespectful, (rational viewpoint or not). My wife has a few that I'll insert later. I don't get photos of boring either. There are a LOT of mountains here, to the point of too many mountain pictures. You have to come here to see and experience the part that cannot be photographed. You won't be disappointed.

    As an edit, I ran in to this quote from an article about travel style, and about embracing the people and the culture one is traveling through. It summarizes taking pictures of people, "If you're hunting cultural peacocks, remember they fan out their tails best for people ... not cameras." The photographer who can "take a picture of the person", vs me "taking a picture of a person posing" has a talent that I do not possess.
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  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Not sure, and I don't have the language skills to ask. They are original as far as I know, but the color is a component to the mystery.
  4. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Cheers, Mike. I've looked at some other pictures and I think it might be stucco.
  5. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Huanuco to Huallanca April 10

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    Left at 6:30 to miss traffic. Fairly successful, except for an accident at an intersection. Big mess, but we lane split on the right following local motos and got through.

    Much more dirt than I remembered. Laurie is on another moto, a Zongchen, which is also sold in the States. According to Jamie, the mechanic at the moto shop in Huanuco, it's the best of the China bikes. It's low enough, but heavier and more street oriented. A moto with the BMW-GS beak appearance plus hard luggage of the adventure traveler style. It is fuel injected , water cooled, and has good brakes. Definitely not a gnarly dirt road oriented moto. Laurie wishes the Super Sherpa was here to ride. It's been a challenging trip for her, on motos too high, too heavy, and not dirt oriented.

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    We ended up at a construction site, a culvert replacement. We were told 2 to 3 hours wait. During that time we got chatted up by several Peruvians waiting for the road to reopen - wondering where we came from, about our trip. Regular interest in Laurie and that she rides her own moto. "Menaja sola?" is a common question about Laurie. One fellow spent a lot of time talking to me. He's the one who pointed out the "crown of the Inca" pictured below. He told us a lot about the local area, but unfortunately I often understood only the general drift of the conversation. Not a big problem though. He was enthusiastic about sharing information so that we enjoy his country.

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    "Crown of the Inca"

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    Later, towards the end of the day, in LaUnion, we stopped to decide where to stay in Huallanca. School just got out and we were inundated by young school children, especially Laurie who knows maybe 3 Spanish words. They asked a lot of questions, and practiced their English with both Laurie and I. Lots of "hello" and "what's your name". We spent at least 30 extra minutes with this. I learned who is brother/sister, best friends, who is mischievous, and even where one student lives.

    Yesterday, the night of the 9th in Huanuco, we met a fellow, Mick, starting a two week trip to the north. He's going on a good route, some of which I've ridden. Ironically, the next night in Huallanca, there he was at a gas station as Laurie and I were walking around town, scoping out our dinner options.
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  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Huallanca to Chavin April 11

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    Although there are more direct routes, we took the blacktop. I was on one of those direct routes last year, solo. I ended up turning around at a hummock swamp suitable for a horse, but not for my moto, which at that time also had a slipping clutch problem. Definitely not worth the adventure with the China bike in our midst.

    After getting out of the topography near Huallanca, we gained elevation to the pampa. As typical, cold and also windy, but we were off the pampa within a couple hours.

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    By afternoon we were getting closer to the Parque Nacional Huascaran, and to Chavin. I wanted to have some good spots to see during the end of our trip. The plan includes Chavin, plus ride in to a part of the Parque National Huacaran north of Huaraz that is blacktop.

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    At the top of the pass is a tunnel. Once through, the road deteriorated to gravel. There were construction sties along the way. Bummer for Laurie. I imagine her experience to be for me riding a heavier, taller moto with semi-aggressive street tires, like riding my BMW-RT or a big motor GS or other large displacement street bike.

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    The other side of the tunnel. Can you believe this? Near the equator, and it's less then a month since the sun was directly overhead! We are at over 15,000 feet.

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    Mountain foot path coming down to the road:

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    Heading down in elevation

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  7. STRich

    STRich Been here awhile

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    Mike,

    So why not trade bikes?????
  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Toby tried to locate one of these from someone he knows, but failed. Honda XR190CT; fuel injection, electric/kick start, 21 inch front wheel, light, and low seat height. Choices are limited by what Toby owns. The Tornado is too high, unfortunately. Laurie is talking about returning if this moto can be scored for her. She wants to ride dirt switch back roads to explore the fun places. Por que no?

    We saw this bike in a Honda shop in Tingo Maria. The interesting moment was when Laurie sat on the bike. She gave it a jerk to get it upright, using the habit she developed with the China bike she's riding. She almost tipped it over to the right, which would have created a domino effect. It's a good weight!

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  9. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Chavin de Huantar April 12

    Nice small Peruvian town with a tourist attraction. We were told we were trapped for a while due to a land slide.

    Central plaza in Chavin:

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    The craftsmanship that goes in to doors, especially those of the church, are always impressive

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    We spent a lot of time exploring Chavin. Although I was here on a past trip, this was more in depth. Besides the ruins, there are two museums. One is at the ancient site, and the other is located across town from the ruins.

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    The recessed plaza and the stairs were made with white rock on one half, and black rock on the other. The dividing line of the white/black rock also aligned with the sun during the winter solstice. Black/white stairs (black rock is more bleached)

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    Talented and professional craftsmen who kept those corners well defined at a retreating angle to plumb:

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    Column encryptions

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    Later we went for a walk to here, to look over both the town of Chavin and the ruins. The lady in town who told us about this trail said it takes 30 minutes to ascend. For a Peruvian, probably so. These North Americans, it was not to be, although close.

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    There are two museums. One on the ancient site, and a larger one on the opposite side of town. We went to both, well worth the time. Chavin was a pilgrimage destination. The priests used hallucinogens to communicate with the deities. In some ways, I imagine Chavin as an ancient form of a hippie farm in the '60s.

    Figure heads that once adorned the walls of Chavin

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    Depiction of a vision quest

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    The main deity. This is probably a recreation. However, the real thing is located at the end of one of many tunnels we explored when at the ruins. Imagine the new candidate, high on hallucinogens, being led through a confusing series of tunnels, only to end up in front of this figure, the deity.

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  10. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Chavin to Chacas and Pachapaqui April 13 & 14

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    I wanted to ride through the Huasicaran Parque Nacional, hoping the blacktop route included some of the extraordinary views I recall from before. Not to be. The Lagunas route had those locations. The pass is impressive, although we had fog and very cold on the way in. Pictures of the return trip through the pass.

    Leaving Chavin on the return trip, we had to go through the clean up from the land slide. It was rutted and single lane. No pictures, moving through was the priority.

    Heading up the pass from the Chavin side.

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    Just before the tunnel

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    Emerged from the tunnel to this. It was rutted, packed snow ridges, slippery, and bad. The snow ridges easily caught the front tire. We were not happy, vs the folks playing in the snow to the right. Fortunately only a couple km, and the tire tracks were better with a two foot wide track to ride in. It was cold too.

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    Loosing elevation

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    Wash out on the main highway, Peru 3N

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  11. tommymerle

    tommymerle advwanabee

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    Hats off to Laurie, a true adventure rider........you too Mike
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  12. Lutz

    Lutz Fuzzy Rabbit

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    This all looks so excellent! I just caught back up with your journey after several busy days. Glad to see so much cool stuff.
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  13. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb... Supporter

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    You're going to need plenty of speed and maybe a small ramp to clear that! :D
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  14. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Pachapaqui to Huanuco April 15

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    Last night we found a very simple place, no heat, lots of cold, close to 13,000 feet elevation and lots of blankets. 15 soles per bed. Dinner was across the wet pasture and up the hill to the main road. Chicken and rice was the choice, the dinner taking 45 minutes to be served in order to cook the rice. It was a cold night, because the slightest leak between the blankets and the edge of the bed created a freezing draft. A sleeping bag would have been handy.

    "Hospedaje" a welcome sign as the sun is setting in the middle of no where. I asked, other moto travelers have been here before us: Australians, North Americans.

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    On the way to Huánuco and warm weather. Plan to head to the jungle for warmth.

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    Coming down in altitude and finding warmth, after days of cold:

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  15. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Huanuco to Tingo Maria - April 16

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    Looking for warmth, we found it on the way to Tingo Maria. It's jungle climate and a good bet for warmth.

    Tropical, mountain agriculture

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    A distance shot; what's at the top of that ladder?

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    The I-want-2-B-A-BMW and the I-M-A Honda

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    Went to the oil bird cave, Cueva de las Lechuzas. It's the strangest cave ever. These birds live high in the cave and make the strangest sound. The cave is eerie too. Then, later on, I was told the cave actually has a different specie of bird in it. Lechuzas means owl. Looking on line, the oil bird is known as Guachero. They are the only flying, fruit eating bird in the world that use echo location, the same as bats use. A sign at the cave site said they will fly 150 km or more a night to forage on the oil palm fruit.

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    Went Honda shopping, to see if there is a moto that actually fits Laurie. There is, Honda 190CT. I'm not going to sell my Tornado yet. Hopefully my heavier 250cc carburetor fueled moto can stay ahead of lighter weight, fuel injection technology. We need to work and save money now... I still have not made it to Colombia, and Laurie has even more to see and explore.

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    Tingo Maria is a motorcycle town, and busy. Had fresh made juice in the mercado. So much traffic, small vendors all over. It's overwhelming to the small town senses but at the same time exciting. Street food for dinner later on, of which there are many choices just out our door. The warmth sure is nice.

    Parking at our motel

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    Next day we went for a hike, looking for two water falls. We found the first, but turned back before reaching the second. Walking in the lush tropical vegetation is a nice contrast for a northerner from North America. The temperature was nice. We sat on the edge of the waterfall pool, enjoying the water on our feet, and the coolness of the spray.

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    Ran in to these guys, busy hauling leaves

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    The trip back to Huanuco was the same route we took to get to Tingo Maria. Back in Huanuco, it was unpack the motorcycles, pack the suitcases for travel, and finally head back to the States.
  16. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Mmm, an XR190CT. Is 14.9hp enough for Peru? Certainly nice and light at 137kg wet, with 12litres fuel! That's way more than the CRF250L's tank. The range must be pretty good.
    https://2w.honda.com.pe/modelos/xr190ct/

    Edit: I guess if CanuckCharlie can ride Ecuador on a 13.3hp Suzuki DR200, this Honda should be adequate.
  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    After trip comments: I definitely encourage small moto travel in this part of South America. We did see a good number of international travelers this time. All were on larger motos; 650 to 1000cc range all of them. Although we bypassed locations we wanted to explore due to the tall/heavy moto we rented, the same was the case for all but one of the international travelers we met. Too big and too heavy keeps travelers on the beaten track and off the fun stuff. I also noticed a tendency for several travelers to make big miles, including the one exception I just mentioned. Their bikes were comfortable in many ways, and set up for long travel. As a result, several admitted they did not stop to see things. They missed things like the oil bird cave, ruins up a rocky switch back road, being stuck for the night in a freezing cold bunk room in an Inca village, and other not planned travel experiences. In addition, fuel costs on a small moto are less due to the added gas economy.

    As far as costs go, I encourage anyone with the travel dream to take action to make it happen ASAP. Then do it again and again. Within the country travel expenses for the two of us together were $2000 US for a little over 5 weeks. That included gas, food, lodging, entry fees, gifts, and daily travel costs. Moto rental costs were additional. We found good airline fares from our home to Lima and back for US $600 each. Lima to Huanuco and back was about US $125 each, including added baggage charges. There's an over night bus option to Huanuco for about $30 US one way per person, with seats that go almost horizontal. There were added costs for MedJet repatriation accident transfer insurance, plus my satellite tracker subscription.

    While dreaming, work on Spanish. I use Pimsleur Spanish. It works well for my learning style. Post #7 on the "Is Mexico Safe" thread has what I believe is the most comprehensive guide to Spanish learning resources and options; http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/is-mexico-safe.546927/ Start now if you really want to have some level of communication, and as a signal that you are serious about going. A small amount of language opens a flood of experiences.

    Peruvians have a lot of pride in their country and history. I experienced that pride being extended to me in many subtle and straightforward ways. There are signs all over Peru, painted on various structures, "Somos Peru", (We are Peru). No better words said.

    As they say on Horizons Unlimited, "just go"!
  18. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    We were seldom over 70k/h, and mostly around 50k/h. Up hill on the passes may be slower and passing trucks will be a different strategy. We saw two up travel by Peruvians on 125cc multiple times. "Travel Bug Blues" rode a 125cc Honda from Chile to Washington state a while back, including ride report on AdvRider. Considering all the components of the choice, it's the best option we've found. There is no perfect moto, all have advantages and disadvantages.

    To help her acceleration, I'll carry the heavy stuff, like the tools, tubes, and spare lubricants. As I mentioned earlier in this RR, Laurie's Super Sherpa would be the perfect moto, but fortunately, for our North America adventuring, we have one waiting in our garage at home.

    As an edit; Toby sent me an email, telling me they will increase the horsepower of this moto by opening up the exhaust. They also have rebuilt the motor to increased displacement with good success, and the fuel injection adjusts to the changes easily. With the US dollar to Sole advantage, plus low shop rates, all of this work is realistic.
  19. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Gracias, Mike, your experience is really useful.
  20. Lutz

    Lutz Fuzzy Rabbit

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    Ditto. Very meaningful insights, Mike. It'll be a handful of years until I can seriously think about taking such a trip. But it's nice to know how realistic and reasonable a prospect it is.