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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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    Tuesday Feb 23: I spent the day in Huamachuco, and went to the ruins of Marca Huamchuco, a few miles outside of town and on top of a mountain Good defensive position for the indigenous inhabitants. It was also a rainy day. But hey, I'm a tourist and doing tourist things in the rain is something I see in my home town, which is a tourist town.

    The road, which is definitely up, was muddy. Parking area:
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    As far as I could decipher from the Spanish signs, these people lived here between 600 and 1200AD. I have about 60 photos from my time here. I am fascinated by human civilization, the accomplishments and failures. We as a specie share an amazing ability to make, do, and organize things.

    Three towers are somewhat the landmark of this site, but there is a lot more. The towers are a bit difficult to recognize in my photos.
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    How did they do this? They had to have lots of labor to move and set the stones. Then there was the design, plus the measurements needed to build a straight wall along its length. Building vertically at a slope like this wall is built takes skilled craftsman. There has to be symmetry and matching wall slope, something only a well skilled and experienced craftsman is able to accomplish.
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    Someone's casa, or however the indigenous folks said house.
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    There is a lot of restoration that has happened. It's been of interest to archeologists since the late 1940's. There is more that is not restored, so the original stone work is still as is, 1800 years later. I've also seen this style of stone work in Mexico – larger stones with smaller infilling ones along the joins.

    I found the lintels to be interesting
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    The area is huge, probably the size of Grand Marais, a town the North Shore Arrowhead moto riders know. The population, I was told, was believed to be around 2500 people. An organized society with government, commerce, agriculture, and trade is needed to support this size population in an urban setting. I never figured out how/where they got their water, with the town located on the top of a mountain.
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    There are a few families living around the ruins. Their homes and animals are on the edge of the site. As I said, this place is huge. This little girl came up and said "Buenas tardes", meaning good afternoon. I knelt down and talked to her a bit, and she let me take her picture. I was surprised she was not an indigenous Inca language speaker, as are some of the folks here. Her older sister was farther away and more shy. As I was talking to her, I was paying attention to her skirt and shawl, trying to identify how the material was made.
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    #21
  2. Evil Santa

    Evil Santa Been here awhile

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    Very cool Mike, love the pics and reports...
    #22
  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Wed Feb 24 Laguna Sausacocha to the Hostel California in Cajamarca

    I left Huamachuco in the morning, with the first destination being an outdoors cafe on Laguna Sausacocha that serves trout farmed on the adjacent lake. Yes, very good, with coffee, rice, and potato. Perfect breakfast. Most of day I was riding blacktop through rolling hills with some steeper sections requiring switchbacks. Still very rural area, somewhat like southwest hills of Wisconsin. Good farmland, with lots of small farms.

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    Most cultivation is done by hand and animal. I finally got a picture of the tilling method. One fellow with a wood plow and a bunch of helpers with short handle hoes. Hard work, either wrestling the plow, or bent forward with the hoe.

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    One thing I've noticed regularly in the rural area is the absolute lack of background noise. It is quiet, like it is when riding in the back country in the States far away from any regularly used road. However, there are small farms all around. There are very few cars, motorcycles, and trucks in the rural areas, and no tractors. I have seen a couple tractors, but extremely rare.

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    The bridge, or the water crossing
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    Cajamarca is a very large town, and the site during the Spanish conquest, where Francisco Pizarro promised to free the captured Emperor Alahualpa if he filled a room with gold and silver. After doing so three times, Pizarro killed the emperor. The Ransom Room is in Cajamaca and is a tourist attraction. I'll pass. I don't like big cities. I plan to spend some time farther north where there are more attractions to my liking.
    #23
  4. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Thursday Feb 25 Rode from Cajamarca to Chota: Walked to the car park and picked up my motorcycle. This town is big and busy. Time to leave the Hostel California.With my moto parked in front of the Hostel, while strapping on my luggage, a fellow comes by and says a complimentary comment about my giant loop bags. He asks where I'm from and where I'm going. He has some advice on good roads. I ask him if he's a rider, and he shows me pictures of his Honda Valkeri and BMW F800. Very big bikes for Peru. I take some of his advice and re-plan where I'm going today, and for the days ahead. Kuelip ruins, Gotka falls, and other of my destinations will have to wait a couple days.

    Breakfast on the way to getting my moto. Huge bowl of chicken soup. Street food, yum:

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    On the way out of Cajamarca, I got pinched as a couple cars were merging together, and the side of the car pushed against my handlebar. I tipped over in traffic. Cars stopped, and I turned off the engine and got the bike in position to lift back up. In that time, there appeared two police and a civilian, and the bike was up in an instant. The police asked me multiple times if I was all right. I was perfectly fine, mounted the bike, thanked them for their help, and no longer was the cause of a traffic jamb.

    I found the rainy season, so I did not take many pictures today. Small farms on the highlands, at 12,000 feet. I liked the clouds that were blowing up in the background.

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    Town along the way:

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    I'm on the 5th floor of the Hotel Terraza in Chota. Each floor has 3 rooms. I think there are 7 floors with rooms, plus a party room on the top. I'm right next to the bull ring. Busy centro here, with vendors around the outside of the bull ring and along the street. I have some 4" long bananas, plus empanadas (pastry with fruit fill, apple in my case – my favorite)

    My room, pretty nice too, for $20.00

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    Bull ring, as seen from the window of my room on the 5th floor:

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    #24
  5. cwc

    cwc . Supporter

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    Just got caught up with you here. That looks like even more fun than Mexico. We'll have to have some serious debriefing when you return.
    #25
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    I am wearing a shirt right now, and on the back it has printed, "Las giras del Carlos ahorrativo" A lot of similarities to Mexico, although no English here.
    #26
  7. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    Latest from MikeS:

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    #27
    ArielNut likes this.
  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    26 Feb Friday Chota to Jaen

    I have a paper map from ITBM Publishing in BC, which suppliments my OSM and Perut gps maps. There was a little squiggly line on the paper map, shortest route, that I decided to follow. It was the best part of the ride, starting at Cuetavo. However, I ended up not following what was on the map, but instead went through Santo Domingo de la Capilla on to San Juan de Chepe. I have no idea where I missed the turn, but I followed the "main route". There were two construction stops along the way, which bunched up vehicles. I was amazed there was so much traffic on this road. No problem for the moto riders; we stayed ahead without trying too much at all. Lots of up and down, and beautiful mountains. I was too much occupied and having fun to stop for pictures. It definitely was muddy, but the Honda Tornado takes it just fine. What a fun motorcycle to ride!

    Leaving Chota in the morning:

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    Construction stop

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    I had a Peruvian moto rider on a Chinese small bike catch up with me shortly after Cuetavo, and we rode through the mud until his home along the way. Fun to have a riding buddy for a while. He told me that the roads through the adjacent National Park de Cutervo are the best in Peru. Hmmmm, more to explore, and my OSM and Peruit gps maps show a lot more roads to explore. Take note CC.

    My Peruvian riding buddy for a while:

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    This duck was swimming in the puddle on the left, but I wasn't fast enough with my camera:

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    Major land slide that was being cleaned up. Yes, the whole thing:

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    When I intiially got on this road just past Cuetavo, there were groups of laborers, probably 50 individuals spread out for 1 or 2 km. They were screening gravel by hand, with pick, shovel, and a screen that they shoveled the material through. This was the option to having a crusher and screener to make road material. There were dump trucks on the road. I expect these folks came from the pueblo near by, and this was the opportunity for cash work for these folks. Both men and women were working there. I was extremely humbled, riding past while on a motorcycle vacation, and did not feel it appropriate to take pictures.

    On the same note of work, I have seen loading stations where a dump truck will parallel park with the side of the dump box against a structure that is at the height of the top of the dump box. These stations are set up on steep terrain, so the truck is below the platform, and the upper platform is level with the ground above and the top of the dump box. The truck is then loaded by hand. These are big 15 yard dump boxes. In other situations, I've also seen both loading and unloading of processed gravel done by hand many times. It's an interesting combination of trucks and material handling technology side by side with the old fashion two hands, a hand tool, and a lot of sweat.

    There was some of this, before and after the mud:

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    Within an hour of each other, I've seen blacktop roads being swept of dust and gravel using a mechanical sweeper on the front of a tractor, similar to what we see in the States. Another location, there were two guys with long brooms made from tree branches bunched together, one on each side of the road, doing the same work by hand.

    Guess what this sign means:

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    Interesting huts I see along the road and on the farms. This one seems to have a roll up door.

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    #28
  9. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    Excellent Mike! Keep the ride report coming. Safe travels!
    #29
  10. arrowhead rider

    arrowhead rider Been here awhile

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    Awesome pictures and ride report Mike. I wish that when I told you three years ago that in three years I would do South America with you that I would have followed through with that. Then instead of sitting here reading of your adventures, I would be part of it! Be sure and post a couple pictures of yourself in your posts. Ride safe!
    #30
  11. tommymerle

    tommymerle advwanabee

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    thanks for taking us along for the ride.
    #31
  12. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Hella good ride report.
    And luvn the great pics
    #32
  13. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Sat 27 Feb Jean to San Pablo near Gocta Falls

    Maybe I'm able to get this internet figured out. Having a hard time uploading photos, and it seemed to work better at an internet cafe.

    I'm going to start with the coolest part, the end of the day. There is a hostal listed by iOverlander, located in San Pablo, the departure point to the top of Gocta Falls. I'm here, in a room at a very simple hospiage - the most questionable one so far by US standards. My standards are adapting, and I appreciate this place to stay.

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    I arrived in San Pablo in the afternoon, around 3:30, and went to the plaza where there is a tourist information area for Gocta falls. The road up was steep, switchbacks, and rutted somewhat, nothing new. Walking in to the tourist building, I was warmly welcomed, including an English speaking guide. I was introduced to Mariano who has the hostel in town. He's a very nice fellow, hardened hands of a working guy, and very concerned with my welcome. Hostel costs $12US.

    Central plaza in San Pablo

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    The tourist center becomes the community center in the evening. Being Saturday, there is both recorded music and a band. The band consists of four fellows; one with a big base drum, another younger guy with a drum set, a third with cymbols, and one more playing saxaphone. Needless to say, precussion dominated – but the sax player held his own.

    The band

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    There are a lot of the community members around, in the square, dancing, and inside the community center. School children doing group dances wearing colorful and traditional garb, with their teacher at hand. The young adults, meaning in their 20 to 30's, danced with a scarf as part of the proceedings.

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    Later I was personally invited inside the community center and offered some fermented pineapple drink from a gord like cup. Several fellows came over and talked with me as best as we could. During the evening, several of the older ladies also came and sat by me both in the plaza and inside the community center, asking about family, where I was from, and similar questions.

    Afterwards, I went to a restaurant and since I was the only customer, I ate in the back with a couple who I believe are relatived to the owners. I ate a meal wrapped/baked in some sort of large leaves. The yellow pastry was somewhat like mushy cornbread, formed to about the size of a large potato, but delicious and way better than what mushy cornbread is. I think it was papaya, but not sure. There were chicken pieces in the middle. Yum! I was also able to talk a little with the folks at the table and enjoy their company. So amazing of them to bring a stranger from another country in to their lives for one evening.

    Three young moto riders from Chachapoyas were also here in to the early evening, and we admired each others motorcycles, learned a little about each other, and had some refreshments together in the early afternoon. One more memorable interaction in this small town.

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    Then there was getting to San Pablo, flashback to the morning: The blacktop road to Jaen is north about 18km from the main road. I saw a "direct route" to the east that was a single line on the map. Let's do it! The nice thing about riding solo is when a decision like that becomes questionable, there is no one else to be concerned about for the uncertainty of what could easily become a bad decision.

    Rice fields, shortly out of Jaen

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    Towards the end, the line on my gps indicated a straight road, and the roads themselves wandered all over – including following roads that led me off the screen from the plotted route. Many intersections and decisions along the way. I was looking for the bridge that crosses the river. Keep the river to my left was the game plan, that's it. I saw folks in two locations, and both times asked if this is the way to the bridge. There was a small river crossing. Lots of decisions along the way, most uncertain at the time.

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    Keep the river on my left:

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    The bridge:

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    Fun ride because after the success it is called an adventure. I forgot to turn on my sat tracker until after the adventure was finished. I do have gps tracks that I'm saving, which are much more detailed then the sat tracker.

    That brush overhanging the side of the road has two inch long spikes growing from it. Makes the brush in Minnesota look tame.

    Very straight blacktop road, until I turned south towards Chachapoyas, when I got back in the mountains again

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    Lots more happened, but these are the most memorable.
    #33
  14. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    #34
  15. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Shaping up into a great RR.
    Looking forward to more.
    #35
  16. c-zulu

    c-zulu Works with Turds

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    "Three young moto riders from Chachapoyas were also here in to the early evening, and we admired each others motorcycles, learned a little about each other, and had some refreshments together in the early afternoon. One more memorable interaction in this small pueblo."

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    Worldwide motorcycle brotherhood..


    Great stuff Mike.
    #36
    battdoc, Evil Santa and jwalters like this.
  17. MNimum

    MNimum Been here awhile

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    Thank you for capturing pics of the bikes! The customized seat, mismatched front and rear tires, etc. Love 'em all!
    #37
  18. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    [QUOTE="c-zulu, post: 28831702, member: 52332]

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    Worldwide motorcycle brotherhood..[/QUOTE]
    Yes, so true. I ended up giving them nicknames; grande, pequeño, más rápido, (big, small for his smaller moto, and fastest). Two of them are in a band, and the fellow in the middle plays drums! :drums

    It looks like I have faster internet in order to upload photos. Here goes, hopefully!
    #38
    c-zulu likes this.
  19. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Sunday, 28 Feb San Pablo to Chachapoyas

    Hiked to Gocta Falls in the morning. This is the 15th highest waterfall in the world. At one point in time it was #3, but it got demoted. It drops 2530 feet, almost 1/2 mile. It's quite a hike, up and down, hour and a half to the overlook. Same time to get back. I got the pictures. It takes 15 seconds for water to cascade down the second drop, and about 10 sec on the first. I left to hike in at 7am and was first one in. Quite a few folks come in by tour bus or taxi from Chachapoyas, so they don't get as early of a start as I did. I saw several groups coming in as I hiked out. I had dry all the way in, but rain on the way out. Glad I went early.

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    Rode a short day to Chachapoyas. I like Chachapoyas. It's not a chaotic town and folks don't drive like they do in Lima or in Cajamarca where I got bumped over in traffic. The blacktop road is a nice twisty road with rock overhanging the road and a full river. Haven't seen any other international motorcycle trvelers yet. Staying at the Kuelap Hotel, with slow internet now. Went out to plaza for late lunch; chicken, rice, potato, small salad. Good to have a big meal.

    On the way to Chachapoyas

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    Wow, the WiFi is fast. Hope it stays this way. This place is on the high side for cost; Soles 40/$13US Nice courtyard, warm afternoon.
    #39
  20. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    29 Feb, Mon Tourist day in Chachapias

    I'm staying several days in Chachapias, and going to the Saragophi of Karajia today to look at http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/10/the-sarcophagi-of-karajia.html

    I left my stuff in the motel, took some food, water, and tools along and headed to Karajia. I took the route less traveled. Some of the roads got pretty sketchy, one set of switchbacks with a lot of ruts, bumps, and steep. Fun! Eventually I found the trailhead to Karajia.

    Blacktop along the way:

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    Following the gps, with a map to augment decisions. The road to Karajia, so I think:

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    Church along the way:

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    Fertile land:

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    Ruins just sitting in a used pasture. Quite a few pieces like this throughout the pasture.

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    Along the way:

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    And then, a right turn to this. Grass growing on the road - doesn't look very used. I think this adventure requires a turn around.

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    The only way there, according to the lady at the house in the picture, is by horse. As she said, "Solo por caballo. Moto, no!" With a wave of her hand, she told me I should go around to the other side. Back up, over, and around the gully. Following her instructions, I finally found the departure spot, with 5 or 6 ladies manning the spot. Only 1km to get to Karajia, by foot. They will watch my gear and moto.

    Walking path on the other side to Karajia:

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    Here's the big guys

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    I spotted these smaller guys off to the left, less obvious:

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    On the way back, it was steep up. I swear it was 3 km to return.

    Covered rest area along the path. I like the roof framing

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    Several times, including on this path, I've seen women walking along the road with a spinning bobbon and a stick/device to hold fleece. As they walk, they are also spinning fleece. I don't see the guys being this efficient with their time.

    Path from the other side, where the road became grass. For me from there, caballo (horse). Moto, no! No problem to take motos for JW, C-Z, Arrowheadrider, or Lutz...

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    It was late in the day, so on the way back I took the tour bus route, probably the worst road so far. It's dirt, but full of bumps, washboards, and just bumpy. I rode standing up a lot.
    #40