Leaving the Arrowhead Country to ride Peru and beyond

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

  1. GearDrivenCam

    GearDrivenCam Long timer

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    Of course you know I'm going to like this. Spectacular photos, incredibly interesting adventure, great writing and experience sharing, and the best bike for the job - a small displacement Honda. I've already sent the recipe for Chicha Morada to Diane. She's excited to put it together and sample it. I'll click on your report and we'll toast a drink of it to your adventure while reading.

    Sure is a long ways away from the trail riding we did around Nipigon, ON last fall. I'm sure you'll have some fun and interesting stories when you get back that didn't make it to the report. Looking forward to the next chapter. You know from our previous conversations, estoy aprendiendo Espanol tambien. I sounds like it would certainly help where you are riding!

    Mike
    #81
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  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    16 March, Wednesday

    Today I made a day trip to the Piedra Chamana petrified forest, getting there via a mountain dirt road. This part of Peru has dirt roads like this wondering all over the mountains.

    A few kilometers of this at first.

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    Then the fun part:

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    My destination, Piedra Chamana:

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    This tree is 39 million years old! It's origins is a tropical forest at sea level, petrified from volcanic action. It's a very special place for geologists. Do an internet search, interesting site to be able to visit, accompanied by a guide, with no tourist paths and fences. Currently it's preserved because of its remote location at high elevation.

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    My guide. She hopped on the back of the motorcycle and showed me the footpath to the site. I had a private tour. There are no signs, and the locals know how to get there.

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    Quickly my time in the "forest" was done, and I headed back the same way I had arrived. Nothing wrong with that, because the scenery was in reverse

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    River gorge:

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    The old bridge

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    As most riders in North America know, much of riding is getting there and getting back, not the destination. The destination becomes the excuse to ride a certain route. This was just such a day.

    I have not seen recreational riding in Peru by local Peruvians. From my observations, their use of motorcycles is generally utilitarian. I did see a couple motorcycles along my route, but they were going somewhere, not playing like I am. As in North American, when on vacation and seeing the sights, most Peruvians are in a car.
    #82
  3. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    Really spectacular scenery and a wonderful report. Thanks.
    #83
  4. dtysdalx2

    dtysdalx2 Knowledge is horsepower...

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    Nice RR! Around 40 degrees F up nort here.
    #84
  5. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    17 March Thursday Santa Cruiz to Chepen

    Left Santa Cruis, heading for the coast. Instead of taking the same road, I decided to cross over to the next river basin, using some less used mountain roads I located. Should be interesting, and if no problems, a good adventure.

    Starting out on the blacktop for about 10km

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    Then exit, to start this climb. It was steep, and switchback – so there were more important items on my mind besides taking photos.

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    The steep grade got me to the top rather quickly. The view on the top when it flattened out:

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    Although I did see two one ton trucks and quite a few motorcycles, I am sure this area does not get tourist traffic. People were friendly and waved, even some of the Inca women waived, which is not normal. Pictures along the way.

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    It got sketchy at times; mud, rutted, not any evidence of vehicle tracks other than motorcycles. I had two small stream crossings that went well. Then a third one, with quite a bit of current. I figured to not hesitate. Go for it now, because otherwise I'd question my decision. It got deep and started to push me down stream. I had momentum and kept the throttle strong, but didn't hit my exit perfect. I was up on the grass bank adjacent to and above the rutted road exiting the stream. Being vertical and balanced still, I kept going and saw my exit from the grass bank, back down to the road. Down I went over the embankement and on to the road. If there was someone with a video, it would have been a fun video to watch. Everything went perfect, because it had to. In reality, I'm glad I didn't drown the motorcycle.

    Farms and village along the way:

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    This photo was about 5 minutes after I tipped over, because my boot was trapped between the motorcycle and a boulder. I turned off the motorcycle and the gas, removed my helmet and backpack, and worked on several extraction moves. Eventually I got out.

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    The road got muddy and slimy, lots of ruts, and lots of adversity including hills, narrow road with drop off, and switch backs. One spot was amazing – the whole road and the ruts were covered with a sloppy soupy mud mixture, exacatly what is on my boots. Under the soup were ruts, which of course I could not see.

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    I was on this road all day, for 120km of gravel. Often I was moving along at 20km/hr and less – first and second gear mostly. It was a good day. I went over a pass and entered thick fog and later as I dropped in elevation, tropical vegetation. High speed bumpy gravel at the end.

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    Visual proof that this was a good day of motorcycle adventuring:

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    Rice fields as I was getting close to the coast:

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    Eventually I made it to the coast and the heat, and headed south on the PanAm Highway.

    Today, March 18, I spend Friday riding south on the PanAm Highway. I'm in Chimbote for the night. Not much to say about rolling along in the wind with lots of trucks on a flat road. A wind screen would have been nice today. I finally did get my flat tire, something I get on almost every trip I do. Toby from Around the Block Moto Tours gave me a "fix a flat" can, and he swears by it. I first looked for the culprit, and pulled out a couple tiny rocks. Nothing was obviously causing the leak. The "fix a flat" did nothing, other than waste my time. In the end I pulled the wheel and put in a new tube. I inflated the failed tube, and found nothing obvious other than maybe a leak at the base of the valve stem. I didn't spray it with water. I have my flat fixed and the bad tube is not in the tire any more – that's the important thing.
    #85
  6. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    Absolutely fantastic Ride Report Mike! I think of the times we rode together in Mexico. Some of the situations we got into. But, there was always someone coming form behind or waiting in front to help out! Here you're doing it by yourself.....I admire your tenacity!:nod
    #86
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  7. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

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    I look forward to your trip reports. Love the fantastic pictures. I can only imagine what it's like in person. Like Sleddog said I admire your tenacity.
    #87
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  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    The Mexico trips and trying to stay ahead of you primed me for this adventure. At the same time, I keep it in my conscious that the farmers and other locals moving about on motorcycles think of these roads only as bad roads. It keeps the day in perspective.
    #88
  9. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    This RR is making me reassess what sort of rider I am. Mud, dodgy river crossing and a flat - rather you than me!
    Are you going to Chankillo today?
    #89
  10. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Yes, and I found this video interesting: https://www.wmf.org/project/chankillo From iOverlander.com there is a comment that the road is deep sand. I don't have significant sand riding experience, and I keep seeing advice on the internet to just peg the throttle. Reality on the ground is often very different from the reality in front of your keyboard. I'll have my gear packed on the moto, so I'll soon see how this goes.

    As far as the kind of rider you are, I'm no expert by any means. For me the key component is the small motorcycle and packing light. The small motorcycle opens up a whole lot of doors for visiting the rural parts of Peru where people live, something I couldn't attempt with a bigger moto and my skills. On the PanAm, I'm running at about 75k/h, mostly because I'm jetted for higher altitude. This moto will go faster and do fine at higher speeds if I changed the jet. 70 to 80 is the speed of most of the traffic. The speed limit is only 90, and there are a few cars and pickup trucks running fast. This 250cc moto is the perfect compromise for me on the various roads I'm riding. As far as how it's set up, it's basically stock. It has bar risers and lever protectors, plus I put it in the lowered position so I can get my feet solid on the ground when needed. It's jetted for the altitude variations, but other than that, it's the way Honda manufactured it.
    #90
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  11. stellarpod

    stellarpod Been here awhile

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    I just read your entire thread this morning. What a glorious adventure, truly awe-inspiring. I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel in many parts of the world on business (Kazakhstan, Russia, Egypt, Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Thailand and others), but have never done so on two wheels. Your narrative inspires me to do just that. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm now subscribed and am looking forward to the next installment.

    Steve
    #91
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  12. bidda444

    bidda444 Been here awhile Supporter

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    So great that you have brought us along for the ride Mike. Outstanding history and cultural information, and now, we've learned a new ADV term: Unstable Geology :clap
    Thanks, and good luck on the final miles of your journey.
    BTW ..... 14" on the Gunflint this week, many snowmobilers at the Caribou lot yesterday. Take your time...
    #92
  13. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    You should have the opportunity to use that term at your work.

    I'm in Supe right now, four floors above the main plaza. A band and parade just went by about 2 blocks away. Tomorrow the Caral-Supe ruins, dating to the time of Egypt. Imagine 75/80 degrees... Time to find some comida (food).
    #93
  14. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Is that secure parking to the left of the entrance of the hotel? - https://goo.gl/maps/r1e5JMKFb342
    Not much accommodation choice in Supe.
    #94
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  15. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    That's pretty kool. Yes, a locked cochera, and my room is on the fourth level, on the left. I'll wave. It's on the expensive end at Soles 50. Busy and interesting evening on the plaza.
    #95
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  16. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Ha ha.

    I'm also chuckling at this! Is breakfast included?
    #96
  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    18 - 19 March, Friday & Saturday

    Chepen to Casma to Supe

    I didn't take any photos on Friday, as it was simply riding along on the PanAm Highway, in the wind and hot. I spent the night in a Hostal that I saw on the side of the road, and continued on the next day.

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    PanAm Highway, with sand covered hills. It was an interesting ride, up and down with views of the Pacific. Peru is a country of many vary different landscapes.

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    Breakfast at a road side restaurant; fish, yucca, fried onions and coffee.

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    Saturday I spent some time in the morning exploring around Casma. I rode on a sand road in to Chanquillo, which was a fortified area with a series of short spires that were used to tell the time of the year. The spires are out in the sandy desert, but there is a river near by that provides irrigation to the valley.

    The road in was covered with a rocky base for a while, although bumpy. Later I rode on the sand, which was fun on the little Honda. Second gear seemed to be the best combination of speed to keep control and not too much so I'd get hurt if I got in to problems. I'd be up for some more sand riding with a moto this size.

    This is the only picture I took of the ride in and out. The sand was nicer to ride on than this stuff:

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    Chanquillo ruins. If you click on my link in an earlier post, you will recognize this as one of the towers. There was no one here, and no fresh tracks on the sand. I had the run of the place:

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    The time pieces. They aligned these with the morning sunrise and were able to determine the time of the year.

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    Much of the structure is rubble, but there are walls still standing in a few places.

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    I don't know, but likely those timbers are part of a restoration, or not:

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    They shaped the granate for the corners. Lots of quartz shining in the sand along the pathway. Granite is a hard rock, and there is a whole lot of it in these structures. Lots of work.

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    I saw these in a few places - I suspect they are more recent in time. It would be interesting to know the meaning behind this. There is a reed that ties them all together

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    I did some more exploring back near Casma and had to turn around because I ended up on a sandy foot path. Road prior to the foot path

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    I've seen a lot of these fellows in Peru along the coast, and one finally posed for me:

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    The old PanAm Highway, with broken blacktop. I bet Danny Liska from Niobrara, Nebraska rode this road in the 1960's. I mention this because in addition to me, there are a number of folks following this RR who know of and admire Danny's adventure spirit.
    http://saurology.blogspot.pe/2009/02/danny-liska-story-on-omaha-world-herald.html

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    There was a lot of activity all night on the plaza. I watched a group doing some dances off a side street, flute from a boom box. I assume Inca dances, with intricate and coordinated foot and body movements.

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    #97
  18. MNimum

    MNimum Been here awhile

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    And about 5 view clicks east/behind from the above post is this : :clap
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    Thanks again for sharing this trip!
    #98
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  19. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    That's a lovely photo of the 13 towers at Chankillo. I guess one needs to be there at sunrise!
    #99
  20. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    The gear you point out is very typical in my travels both here in Peru, but also in Mexico and Guatemala. I'm definitely a gringo and easy to spot wearing my gear. Besides, it's really hot, and in city traffic, no reasonable Peruvian would wear the gear that those gringos wear - if they could even afford it. Think Dallas, Phoenix, or Miami in July - in tied up city traffic. On the gnarly mountain roads, I do see them with boots, but then they are farmers and that's the footwear they use.

    The majority of motorcycle riders here more equate with scooter and small displacement motorcycle riders in the States. Cheap transportation. The big adventure bikes, big street bikes, and the big cruisers in the States are mostly toys for us North Americans, along with the farkles and the gear. My 250cc Honda that I'm riding here is considered an up scale moto, although quite common and well known. Although people here are not totally destitute, we North Americans have a lot of privilege with more disposable income and relative affluence compared to most Peruvians.

    There is an active racing crowd that I've crossed paths with at the shop in Huánuco. Jamie is an excellent mechanic, and in that way is part of that scene. There is motorcycle sport and play here, just like in North America. They have the gear: boots, body armor, jersey and pants.

    How many scooter riders do you see in the States wearing motorcycle boots and Klim gear? Same is true in Peru.
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