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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    9 March Wednesday Huaraz to Yanama

    I'm skipping a few riding days. I'm departing Huaraz this morning, after staying at the Hospedaje Dulce Amanecer (fast internet in order to communicate with the world and AdvRider). Huaraz is a popular take off spot for backpackers who hike the area. I now have the correct title card for the motorcycle I am riding.

    As I pack up my motorcycle in the parking area, I see a F800 or 650 twin parked there, with metal panniers and set to travel. I ask the hostel owner, and he says there are two motorcycles, a husband/wife traveling team, and they rode two up on the other motorcycle to the main plaza. They have BC license plates. I left them a note, and hopefully they will send me an email.

    My plan is to head to the coast, but at the last minute I decided to ride some more mountains. What intrigued me are a series of alpine lakes in the National Park of Huascaran. What can be wrong with alpine lakes and Andes mountains? Besides, it gets me north, which is my goal once I reach the coast. It's also a U shaped route.

    As I'm leaving Huaraz I see this sign: a breakfast for real Peruvians consisting of white beans, sliced raw onions, large kernal white corn, small square chunks of maybe chicken, all on a couple leaves of lettice, soaked in a vinegar concoction to "cook it", and topped with sprigs of tender green stems of something. It has a kick to it and wakes up the morning. You're a real Peruvian if, at the end, you drink the remaining juice, "milk of the tiger" as it's called. Coffee for me please.

    If you look closely, you can see it on the bottom shelf to the left:

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    The road north

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    Church along the way

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    Gaining elevation

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    I was in the clouds, which restricted the vistas and brought on moisture. But who is going to complain with these views. My pictures are only a peek at the stunning scenery. I had to stop more than once and just soak in where I was. For anyone traveling in Peru, I highly recommend riding through the National Park of Huascaran and Lagunas las Llanganuco.

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    Eventually I was out of the high elevation and the park, and riding rural roads. Pretty bumpy and rutted and slimy at spots. One active wash out where I was able to use the foot bridge to cross the stream. Great adventure riding.

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    As I was crawling along, which is typical for the roads I am riding in Peru, I realized I wasn't going to make it to my planned destination. Looking at my waypoint downloads from iOverlander, I saw this "Andes Alpine Lodge" noted, for Soles 80. Very expensive, but I need a place to stay. I figure that's my stop, located in Yanama. I get to town and find instead a Hostel for 30 Soles, with parking for the motorcycle at the base of the stairs to the rooms. It's a nice place.

    Steel door on the right under the sign, rooms above. I'm in the back. A bigger moto would not fit in to this "cochera" (parking lot), but there are probably other parking options.

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    No power in town, so there are no lights. I spent some time at the town plaza, and headed in before the sun went down.

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    Little kids wanting to play with the big kids more than was happening:
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    #61
  2. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    Keep up the great report Mike! I love that picture of the GPS unit and the switchbacks! Amazing.

    Can you give an idea where you are hoping to travel in the next week? Up or down the coast or inland?

    For the readers, below is Mike's latest tracks:
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    #62
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  3. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I was wondering if that loop through the Cordillera Blanca and back was possible as a day trip - obviously not.

    Sorry to see you didn't get down to Caral, maybe Chan Chan is now on your list? http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/366
    Also Tucume, they've just won an award for their museum there
    #63
  4. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    My plan for the next week is to stay on the coast and ride north, stopping at ruins until I'm tired of that. I'm going to store the motorcycle in Huánuco and have to be there around the 27th - 28th of March. I'm going to turn around and simply B-line it back south on the coast, and stop at Caral on the way to Huanuco. Caral intrigues me a lot because of it's antiquity.

    The Cordillera Blanca route is not possible in one day. It's a route that needs to be savored. The route I took would be a challenge on a bigger 650cc motorcycle, especially heavily loaded with big panniers and lots of gear. It is do-able for some riders I know - not me on a 650. There are a series of bumpy, rutted, steep up hill climbs, which were fun on the 250cc moto.
    #64
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  5. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    10 March Thursday Yanama to Chiguihara

    I left my abode in Yanama on the edge of the Huascaran National Park and rode to Chiquihara. The lights came on some time in the night. I'll be riding past the Lagunas las Llanganuco today.

    The route I'm on initially is through small farms and up/down switchbacks. Lots of bumpy rock roads. One up section was fun with plenty of bumpy rocks, gullies, and "I need to keep moving because it will be difficult to get going if I stop" climbs. I met two guys on a 125cc moto who had gone down through these rocky sections.

    Not the challenging section, and not even very bumpy rocks:

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    After the first two worked out their differences, the third guy stepped in to play.

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    Lagunas las Llanganuco:

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    I've wondered how can so much water come out of the top of a mountain? Notice the hiking trail to the left:

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    What can I say? These places really exist on this earth. This is only a peek, and again, I had to stop many times and take in the scenery. The depth of tall mountains cannot be captured in photos. I have a lot more great photos.

    Once out of the park, my route north took me through Canyon del Plato again. I have pictures earlier in this RR. The water was up more, but the impressive scenery was tempered by what I had just seen in the Park.

    I didn't have a good plan for the night, having dallied in the park. I went past a hostel around 2pm, deciding it's too early to stop. Scattered tiny towns ahead, and no sure place to sleep. It was near 5pm, and I saw three folks on bicycles at a small tienda. I turned around and talked to three Spaniards who rode their bikes from BC to here. They had good English, so we shared a lot of information. They told me about a place they stayed at located 40km ahead in Chiguihara. Do realize, on these roads I'm going 20 mph a lot, and 30mph is fast. The place to sleep is owned by two retired Peruvians, is nice, but has no sign. Hopefully I can find it. After a 30 minute construction delay, I made it there before dark. Nice folks, retired, after living in Lima. They rent out a spare bedroom to those who know.

    Chiguihara as I walked back from dinner to my abode:

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    #65
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    11 March Friday Chiguihara to Trujilo

    I left Chiguihara in the morning, now riding blacktop all day. It's dry here, but the river provides irrigation. There is well developed irrigation along and sometimes above the highway, and even through the small towns.

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    Sandy areas as I get closer to the coast

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    I saw these small huts for several km along the highway. Residences to protect from the sun and wind. Initially I didn't know why so many live here. My guess was farm labor. Later, Toby told me that groups of people move on to unoccupied land and petition for incorporation as a town. The Peruvian government is obligated to provide them with services at that time. If true, interesting situation. More investigation is needed to figure out the details and what/why.

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    Pan American Highway. Motorcycles bypass the toll booth and go free. Not a very interesting road here. Definitely a road of commerce and transportation.

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    My destination is Huacas de la Moche, a culture that existed on the Moche River between 100 – 750AD. I went through the museum first, which was a very good decision. The extensive desplays had English sections, so I was able to learn a lot about what I was about to see.

    The culture is pre-Inca, but developed a complex society and utilized the Moche River for irrigation, plus fishing in the Pacific Ocean and hunting. There were white tail deer that they hunted, with as much or probably more ritual than what goes on in "deer camp" in the States. Keeping the gods happy was very important and the priests were given that duty. Rain was an important responsibility.

    This overlooked the city, and was considered a holy location. My two guides, no other tourists on this escorted tour. This was all in Spanish, and because I had gone through the museum first, I understood a lot of what they were explaining. It helps that there are a lot of similar words between Spanish and English, plus what little Spanish I already understand.

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    There are two mounds here. This one is the political mound, and has been damaged as the river changed course over time. I only saw this from afar.

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    Hauca de la Luna is the other structure. Somehow I didn't get a photo from far. It's huge. It's the religious mound. There are six levels to it. As the gods were displeased, the structure was filled in with mud bricks and another similar structure was built on top of it. The organization of the work, and the craftsmanship is exquisite. The hours of labor are absolutely huge, over and over again.

    Mud bricks, removed to expose a buried area

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    The main god, with the mouth of a cat with octopus tentacles.

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    There was blood sacrifice of the most important resource of the culture to the gods, their people. It involved a competition, and the looser got to be sacraficed in a private location with the priests. This is the location on one level of the exposed temple:

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    The culture was well advanced in order to have plenty of labor to please the gods. Various levels of the temple as they were built on top of each other:

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    The textile work, pottery, and other crafts are extremely well refined. The displays in the museum demonstrated highly skilled craftsmen. No photos allowed in the museum.

    Remains of a small part of the town. The town was much larger than what is exposed:

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    Finally, the Pacific Ocean:

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    #66
  7. olekaw

    olekaw Adventurer

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    Hi Mike, Great photos! You have a great attitude for adventure travel. Keep the reports coming.

    Craig
    #67
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  8. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    #68
  9. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    There are a number of craft folks near the entry, with very nice jewelry and pottery similar to what I saw in the museum. That's what I would like to bring home. The unfortunate thing about traveling on a small motorcycle is the lack of space for gifts. I watched a fellow finishing a vessel with figurine details on it, prior to firing. IMG_3251.JPG

    The jewelry with the white pieces is what I liked. At another table there was quite a bit of jewelry similar to that piece. I don't have a photo of that. There are some very nice original jewelry pieces in the museum - well detailed and intricate.
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    #69
  10. Lutz

    Lutz Fuzzy Rabbit

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    Wow! If the pictures only scratch the surface, it must be incredible to experience in person. Sounds like you're having a great adventure.
    #70
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  11. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    Great report Mike! Soon the long Canadian winter will be over....
    #71
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  12. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    12 March Saturday Trujilio, on the Pacific Ocean - location of Chan Chan

    After visiting Huaca de la Moche yesterday, my plan for today is to spend the day looking at ruins, centering around Chan Chan. This is a culture that followed the Moche, and was eventually conquered by the Inca in the late 1400's. The city was well enough fortified including supplies and water that it took the Inca 10 years to complete the siege of the city. As I understand, the population was around 50,000 and they had a lot of artesians who produced well made crafts including pottery and textiles. Chan Chan was the center of Peru from around 900AD until the late 1400's.

    Passing through what remains of the original city.

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    Model of the center part of city, to get the big picture. The artisans and lower classes lived outside the walls. You can see the source of water in the model, an important commodity.

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    Footing and foundation wall. They used a mixture of sand, small pebbles, clay, and seashells. Basically a cement mix, which has withstood erosion, at least one earthquake, and 10 years of Inca siege.

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    Fish on top, pelican on bottom. They were fisherman and got most of their resoources from the sea, until they developed irrigation later on.

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    Original work:

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    Fish net, original work

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    Business district, tax man, and food storage. They had no currency and made exchanges with product – barter.

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    Water was only 15 feet below the surface on the desert, so they dug out large areas for water.

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    Model of king, who was carried. They did not practice human sacrifice like the Moche, but did perform animal sacrifice.

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    So far I like Huaca de la Moche the best. Because the levels of the temple were buried in mud bricks, the original art is much better preserved. Chan Chan is much more extensive. I also had a better guide at Hauca de la Moche, who was more in to his work.

    I like that the Peruvians have an ancient history that they treasure and preserve. I saw a sign, basically saying that the blood of these ancestors is in the blood of the current residents of Peru. It's the history and the ancestry of the people who live here, both from before and from after the Spanish Conquest.

    Later, after a dinner of fish – some time on the beach

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    Want a hairless Peruvian puppy? Should be ready to leave it's mother about the time I return. If I understand correctly, President Obama now has one:

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    #72
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  13. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    13 March Sunday

    Today was ride north on the PanAm Highway, from Trujilio to a little beach town out of Chiclayo called Pimentel. My plan is to go to pyramids of Tucume. I also have been told the museum is excellent.

    Lots of desert, and you can tell where the irrigation is and is not. Pretty hot, which was nice. In the irrigated areas, the temperature noticeably dropped, something very noticeable on a motorcycle.

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    I passed a lot of bicycle riders going my way, which was quite windy at spots. Here is the end. They had numbers on their back, so I assume it was a race.

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    I also saw several motorcycle riders, packed up for the long haul riding south as I headed north. I'm at a hostel in Pimentel, and met a young couple from San Diego who are traveling and working (various projects, including teaching English). They travel by bus, and have been on the road several years. Nice to talk English.

    Dinner: What else but fresh fish from the ocean? Very good! I also have a favorite drink, Chicha morada. It's delicious, and generally served at room temperature. Very thirst quenching! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/166133/peruvian-chicha-morada-drink/
    #73
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  14. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I'm very envious of you visiting all those ancient sites. Fascinating stuff when you learn some of the background history - all those cultural phases. The river valleys were very important for them on the coast.

    "the blood of these ancestors is in the blood of the current residents of Peru" - I realise that not a lot of people around the world can say that, they arrived 13,000 years ago and stayed put - no-one else came along until 500 years ago.

    Travelling in space and time is a good way to experience a country.
    #74
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  15. tommymerle

    tommymerle advwanabee Supporter

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    thanks Mike
    #75
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  16. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    14 March, Monday Visit to Tucume

    I had a couple town errands on my list, plus one or two places to see - and a museum. I got the two errands done, and visited Tucume. It's located a little less than 40 km from here,. I brought plenty of water because it is well in to the 90's. It feels nice, compared to the temperature I left in Minnesota.

    When I was young, the book "Kontiki" by Thor Heyerdahl was very popular. It's about an adventure and a scientific challenge; namely that Heyerdahl believed Polynesians had sailed across the Pacific to South America. In order to prove it was possible that Polynesians could have done it, Heyerdahl did it, in a balsa boat. Tucame has just such an ancient folk legond. In addition, archeologists unearthed a scene depicting this exact journey. I was able to walk through the area with these scenes, right there on the ruins. The pyrimads were closed, as there is construction of a roof in process to protect the excavations. I liked what I could see, a whole lot. Although I wasn't searching for it, I was able to see something that I have been aware of for most of my life. It continues to amaze me what people have done over the ages. These Polynesians did not have a compass, for one. I'm also sure they had no idea how long it would take to get somewhere, wherever they would end up. I doubt they knew about South America.

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    Huaca las Balsas is what this area is called. Burials happened here, and there was also a small residence there; probably the guy who made sure you were buried properly to enter the next world.

    An artist enhancement of the scene:

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    The real thing, right there

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    From what I can glean, this trip by the Polynesians took place somewhere around 1000AD. Talk about adventure in to the unknown! It makes any motorcycle adventure look like a ride down the street. I'm fascinated by adventure. For a future trip for me, I want to ride to Newfundland and stand where the Vikings from the Nordic Countries settled.

    There was this miniature town along the way

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    And a garden, with plants labeled

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    I spent a bit of time in the museum prior to walking around the site. It gives me the information about what I'm about to see. The theme of this museum was that the story is about real people whose descendants live here right now. Again, their jewelry and textile work were very intricate.

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    Here they are, in what's called a dry forest. I walked past these little farms on the way to and from the site.

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    Later, drinking chicha morada, a black corn drink, and looking out of the tienda towards the town plaza. It was a hot day in the sun. Keep the motorcycle in sight when possible.

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    My room, and looking down the hall

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    Tomorrow I'm going to do some riding inland about 100km and look for a petrified forest. I probably won't have internet connection for a couple days. I'll be riding in mountains again!
    #76
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  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    15 March Tuesday; Chiclayo to Santa Cruz de Succhabamba

    I have internet in Santa Cruz, and there is a real gas station here too. Today was a travel day, leaving the coastal desert and heading to the mountains. I had a route planned and loaded on the gps.

    Leaving the coast, in the Rio Chancay basin, providing irrigation.

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    Finally, some dirt and bumps and small villages. Insert smile on face.

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    Following my gps track, basically, meaning I had to ask several times if I was headed to Huaca Blanka, the next village. I was not on the road showing on the gps, but it was the most used road and generally headed in the right direction. Eventually I come to a gate with "Edison Power" on the gate. The guard asks me where I'm going, and tells me I have to head back down, pointing to the roads from the elevation we were at. I head back down, and pass the van in the above picture, and find another gate. I backtrack to the van, which is a bus waiting for his departure time. He tells me to go ahead and turn down here, and cross the bridge.

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    Motorcycles, three wheel motorcycles, and pedestrians use this path and bridge. It gets me to this, which I follow:

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    It's a fun, twisty, narrow mountain road. Shortly before this, there was a sign on the side of the road that literally translates to "unstable geology"

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    I wait until I'm in "stable geology", and take a lunch break in the shade, across from the river; bread, crackers, orange, and water. There have been a number of land slides through here, as in many other locations.

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    I think this is a crusher operation for road gravel.

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    Over a pass, down in to the valley, across the river, and back up again. Nice, narrow blacktop road. Finally I'm on the inside when I meet oncoming vehicles.

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    I checked in with home via our small town internet provider. There is 12 inches of snow predicted, a winter storm warning. March is like that in the north of Minnesota; nice sunny weather in the 40's, then winter. It's the month of "I can't take this any more". In like a lion, out like a lion.
    #77
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  18. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

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    Mike,
    When you asked if I wanted to take a trip I should have said yes. Outstanding reports.
    Jeff
    #78
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  19. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Very nice updates again.....great pics man
    Looks like a fantastic day of riding !!!!!

    PS.....sorry to bud in but yes Jeff S you should have said yes !!! LOL
    #79
  20. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Hey brother, I'm honored to get post #1. Welcome, and I do wish you were here. Glad you found your way to AdvRider.

    Mike
    #80