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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    20 March, Sunday

    I spent the night in Supe, and I'm staying another night. This is getting expensive, at Soles 50 ($17 US) - LOL. I wanted to have enough time to visit the Caral Ruins, the oldest center of civilization in the Americas. It dates to the time of Egypt and China, 5,000 years ago. It's influence was very wide up, down, and in to the Peru highlands. Trade was the primary function, and it was not a warfare oriented society. A lot of the social and religious structure developed here was utilized in later cultures. They built pyramids, which resemble those I've seen from the Mayan culture in southern Mexico and Guatemala.They had mathematics using knots on a series of ropes. They knew about astronomy and knew about the movement of the stars and sun. The town of Caral had about 3,000 population, with several upper classes plus the workers lived on the perimeter.

    First, before I left Supe, I needed supplies:

    Mercado, consisting of a large building with many independent vendors. You want it, you can find it. Bread, go to the bread area. Fish, chicken, it's there. Breakfast, that too.

    I didn't get good pictures of inside, but this is one:

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    There were vendors outside on the street, all over the place. Very busy but very cool to experience. I've seen this same thing in Mexico.

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    Today is Sunday, palm Sunday. I was stopped by a procession, short sermon, hymns, and prayers on the street. I wanted to get a picture of the "Senor", despite the reaction of the members of the procession. Yes, there was a band too.

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    Road as I'm getting close to Caral. I was able to ride the moto farther than the cars, across a foot bridge and parked near a vendor on the foot path to the site. It still was a 15 minute walk in to the site.

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    It's very hard to get good pictures of the buildings. Many of the structures you cannot get high enough for a picture, and they are too large to fit in the picture You just have to go there. For me the experience is being able to stand and walk around where people lived in a complex and advanced society, 5,000 years ago. It's like going to Egypt or the Forbidden City in China, but Caral is right here in the Americas.

    Pyramid, with similarities to other pyramids in the Americas

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    Sun dial with very short shadow - I'm near the equator:

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    You have to go with a guide, and the fellow who accompanied me was good. My tour was in Spanish. Just being able to stand there and experience the place is satisfying in itself. I'm also glad I saved Caral for the end, because I have become more educated about the various cultures here over my travels, and I could see the influence Caral has on them all. I recommend this long tour, over seeing Macchu Piccu – although I haven't been there yet. When I see it next year with my wife, maybe my outlook will change.
  2. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    It's been great following you along on this ancient culture tour. The Inca stuff is just the icing on the cake of the pre-Columbian history of Peru.

    I see Machu Picchu is quite expensive nowadays - did you pay much to visit those other sites?
  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    You're right about the Inca, and the same applies to the Maya farther north. I'm impressed how the Caral culture could encompass so much advancement in their mathematics, religion, politics, and societal organization - all at once and not as an evolutionary process. Maybe there is more for me to learn, but the Caral culture set the stage for the rest of the Americas cultures that followed. They were the transition from tribal hunter/gather to agriculture and complex society. You might know the answer to that question, with your interest and studies.

    When I had to go with a guide, it cost Soles 40 to 50, which is $13 to $17 US. The guides were very informative, although I know I missed a lot. I often browsed the internet, the museum, and the displays before entering, in order to help me understand what I was about to see. Some of the museums and displays had English narrations, which was instant comprehension, vs trying to decipher the Spanish.
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  4. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    21 March Monday

    I left Supe in the morning with the plan to ride the 100 plus km to Huaral, and spend the night there. It was hot, but not windy. Although the PanAm Highway was hilly and desert interesting, I'm getting tired of it. Huaral was a similar place; big city, noisy, hot... I was not in the right mood for Huaral. I went to the bank to change some money, looked at my map, and decided to head inland some. I spotted two towns that probably have places to stay.

    Interesting dunes on the PanAm, with the highway split at this time, and the other direction up on the dune

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    No pictures of Huaral. I was not in the mood. The road east out of Huaral, with several roads from which to choose.

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    Then it became a fairly deserted blacktop road, fun riding with no trucks and traffic

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    More to my liking as I'm heading inland

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    Sayan, looks like a good place to look for a place to stay

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    The doorman

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    Glad to be off the PanAm Highway. Sayan is a nice town. I'm definitely a small town person, and feel more comfortable in that setting. After a siesta and shower, I walked to the plaza and sat on a bench for close to an hour. Street food for dinner; anticucho, chicken on a stick with a potato, plus a side of whole kernel fried corn. Beef heart is the other option, which I've had before. Both are good.

    One of the nice sounds to me in Peru is the sound of a single cylinder motorcycle. I don't recall hearing a multi cylinder motor in a long time. Each movement of the motor has a unique sound that is not blended together, which is what happens with a multi-cylinder engine.

    One of the daughters of the hostel owner is learning English, and she practiced a little of her English with me. I can totally relate with her struggles with the language. Even though she was around 16, she wasn't too hesitant to try, and to make mistakes along the way. As a language learner, you have to just go for it. Making mistakes, and later figuring out what word or tense you should have used, is the actual learning process that finally welds the language in to your head. I have a whole lot of welding to do still.
  5. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    22 March Tuesday - Sayan to Oyon

    Departed Sayan today, with a short day planned, including some rural dirt riding on the way. I had a U shaped loop located, that left the road inland, and later intersected it again.

    Blacktop heading inland from Sayan:

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    Mountain road running between small villages. Plenty of steep and various road conditions to put a smile on my face:

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    Villages along the way:

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    In some areas it's very dry, and in other areas more green growth. To get water, there are black PCV pipes crossing the canyons. This one was more extensive, although not as long as some are. If you look closely, you can see a fellow on the path:

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    About 1.5 hours in to my adventure, my route turned off the main road to this. It was steep, and I was only about 1/3 the way through the whole thing. No one was riding with me to say, "Why not, let's go." Being solo, if this is what the whole thing is, I am pushing my time and safety margin. I checked out some alternate routes using my gps, and they were approaching another 100km. With all those considerations, I decided to re-track my tracks the way I had come:

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    I was stopped for a drink and snack, and these guys popped up from the drop off on the other side of the road. My motorcycle was off, so they came up and checked it out:

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    Eventually I made it back to the blacktop. As I continued, I kept an eye open for where my mountain dirt road re-entered the highway. Eventually finding it, my decision was a good one. One never knows at those moments when making a decision. But if only there was someone else with me.....you all could have had pictures and narration of a good adventure:

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    There was a lot of damage and reconstruction on one 15km section of the road. The river took out parts of the road, and we were detoured down to the river where they could make a temporary road. I suspect I saw this on the news a few weeks back:

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    My route planning right now is influenced by the fact that I've been riding almost every day since February 18. That, plus I'm back at elevation (I lost my high elevation blood cells when on the coast) - so I'm feeling road weary along with feeling the elevation. I'm not comitted to my 100km back road route for tomorrow, after my experience today. I might just ride the mountain blacktop to Huanuco, take a rest day, and do a few day rides out of there before I depart Peru. My flight out of Huanuco departs on March 29. March 28 needs to be kept open for packing within the weight limits of my bags, plus some business with the motorcycle.
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  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    fabulous, awesome trip, Mike, from mom and dad. We look at your stories/pics of your adventures and decided we have athe most adventures, pioneer of a son. It has to go back to the Sentys settling in WI before it was even a state of the US. You have written great dialogue. And there must be more on-the-scene events you haven't even posted. An adventure you will remember long, long time. Love and happy travels back home. M&D
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  7. Tex83

    Tex83 Motersykle Advntyers

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    Just read this in one sitting, fantastic. I love what a conscientious traveler you are. Respectful of the people and investing the time to learn and be a good ambassador. Good on you. SA is high on my list for the next few years, hope to have as much fun as you seem to be having on my trip!
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  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    23 March, Wednesday – Oyon to Huanuco

    Got packed in the morning, took off and found a restaurant for breakfast, then headed on my express route to Huanuco. 180Km, should be an easy day. Once I got out of town, I was on gravel, and it continued. I'm not complaining at all but I wasn't expecting it.

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    More pictures along the way. This definitely made my day much more pleasant than what I was expecting:

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    Highest elevation mine in the world – 15,300 feet:

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    I've seen more than one of these, crossing a raging river to a small farm:

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    All tallied, at least 130km of gravel road in all kinds of repair – deep and many potholes to bumpy rocks. Much of it was second gear, with some third. I was moving along at 35k/h a lot It's the main access road, and there are big trucks and busses on it – going even slower. Not a lot of traffic, but you need to be alert, especially at blind curves. The last 30km to Huanuco was this:

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    I'm in a Hostel near the motorcycle shop, and I plan to be lazy for a day or two. Afterwards, over the weekend, I have a one or two day route spotted for my last adventure in Peru for this tirp.
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  9. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Thurs March 24

    I do have pictures of a lazy day in Huánuco to post, but I also have a good story from less than an hour ago: First, I did purchase the Honda I've been riding, but it's not mine. It has been part of a background theme to this trip. Today I was able to ride the Honda I actually own. There is a difference, but that's part of the background story. Off I went, wrong title and wrong insurance papers in my pocket. I rode a couple miles out of town to the road I rode and posted on a day trip way in the beginning of this RR. Unlikely for any police to be on this road.

    Zooming along on the rocks and bumps, enjoying the suspension of a non-loaded motorcycle - rounding a corner and a quarter mile ahead is a police truck, and they just stopped a motorcycle ahead of me. Not having the correct papers and getting caught could be a big problem. I made the only prudent move possible and made a U-turn and headed back around the corner where I came from. No one in pursuit, and I suspected I was fine. I did recall seeing another police truck back on the highway, and yes, I see him heading my way now. I kept my eyes forward. We meet, we pass, and we both continue in our separate directions of travel. As a result, I still have the motorcycle I own in my possession. I did not have to explain myself out of a situation that only could be accomplished with an understanding of the intricacies of my plight plus a very good grasp of the Spanish language.

    And I thought this was going to be a day of no adventure and no motorcycle riding.
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  10. Air Force Vet

    Air Force Vet Been here awhile

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    Great write up and narrations Mike! Thanks for sharing and taking us along.
  11. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    24 March, Thursday

    Today was planned as a lazy day in Huanuco. I took a three wheel taxi to the main plaza, and found breakfast - eggs with cheese plus a coffee. I later found an internet tienda with fast uploading and updated this AdvRider report, but first sent out an email to my wife.

    I put together a collage of pictures that represent things I've seen regularly on this trip.

    Standing in the plaza, one can look around the four sides of the plaza and easily count at least 40 of these taxis. This is the style used in Huanuco, while other locations utilize the motorcycle version with canvas enclosure:

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    And if you ever want to buy one new, here it is, without the bling. Motorcycles in the same isle, and appliances across the isle. $33.30US = Sole 100:

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    There are other versions of these vehicles. These cargo vehicles have a differential. I don't know if the motor is transverse (I doubt it, based on the kick starter). The old BMW/2 motorcycles are transverse motors, but you have to be off the bike in order to kick it to start. This kick starter is not that style. If not transverse, somehow they have to change the direction of rotation of the power in order to utilize a draveshaft, maybe a worm drive in the transmission. After that it once again changes direction in the final drive. All this change in direction of power using a 125 to 200cc motor:

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    I have seen some of these utility vehicles with the leading link style front fork, for strength, designed closer to what the old 305 Hondas had with a shorter arm:

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    Fountain in the park:

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    Young boy in the park, playing "be a PIA for my sister who has the task of keeping an eye on me". Moms in the background with their young children:

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    Playing catch the pigeon. This pigeon had its timing right and led this girl a long way around the plaza. I have in the past seen older kids catch them by stepping on their tail feathers. Notice the motorcycle police man/woman in the background. Whether on motorcycle or standing at the street corner, they always have the posture of authority: erect, straight back, upright head, business like but approachable facial expression – even when texting:

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    Older men, doing what they do best with each other – sitting and talking. Younger man near by texting:

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    Street vendor, fresh pineapple juice please. Yum, for one sole. Also papaya and fresh squeezed orange juice. Other vendors have frozed fruit juices in a skinny long bag, very good on a hot day. Ice cream treats can also be found on the street:

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    Being a construction guy, I found this summer room interesting. I appreciate the floor support system, a combination of cantilever floor joists most likely supporting a beam – or maybe reverse. I didn't look at the notching in order to figure that out. The timber rafters supporting the roof should be attractive inside. Sometimes these exposed rafter systems have bamboo or small diameter poles closely laid and perpendicular to the rafters for a very atractive ceiling. The wall panels are very nicely done, the feature of the room that made me notice it. It would be interesting to know who had this built in the first place: an eccentric, a priveledged person with money, an artesian with available time and a vision...

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    Colonial style hotel on the main plaza:

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    Jamie and his wife Cecilia, at the motorcycle shop. They are very welcoming to motorcycle travelers who come to their shop, along with the local motocross crowd. It's like the small motorcycle shops I experienced when I first started riding in the States in the late 1960's. You hang out there, and he has wifi, which I just found out. Their residence is right in the shop, in a separate area.

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    Jamie and his assistant, Louise. Again, a very nice gentleman and good mechanic. There are also a few more apprentices at the shop, part of a program of vocational education for disabled individuals so they have a way of supporting themselves financially. Toby & Sarah's primary interest in Peru focuses on helping the disabled with their challenges in order to become financially independent, and the motorcycle ship is only one part of their life mission:

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  12. Evil Santa

    Evil Santa Been here awhile

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    Been traveling and had to catch up 4 pages. Love the report Mike what a great adventure you're having. Thanks for taking us along!!
  13. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

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    Once again, thanks for taking all of us (followers) along. I look forward to your reports.
  14. jorrie

    jorrie Been here awhile

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    Go Mike go ,I like it a lot
  15. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    This looks more like my type of budget. ;-)
  16. charapa

    charapa Been here awhile

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    Good RR Mike! Read the whole thing in one sitting this Easter Sunday afternoon.

    About now you should be getting into Oxapampa, the German colony in the high jungle. Can't wait to hear about it when you get back late tomorrow!

    Toby
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  17. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    26 March Saturday

    It's Saturday night as I write this up, so I have some perspective. I'm now on the Honda that is mine, not the Honda that I have title to, not the Honda I've been riding on this trip, previous to now. I'll keep the details a mystery. In essence, I'm on a shake down trip with a "new to me motorcycle".

    Toby and I were talking about where I was planning to go, and he asked, "Have you been to Oxapampa yet?" This is a German immigrant area, and there are chalet style buildings reminiscent of the Alps. There is also a very good restaurant there. It is two days there via mountain gravel roads, and one long day back by blacktop. I'll be back in time to fly out of Huanuco on Tuesday. Having a bunch of European alpine blood running through me, this should be a perfect destination.

    There are a few glitches with the Honda that is mine, and I don't get out of Huanuco until after 10am.

    Picking up supplies at a local market:

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    I had about 60 km of this prior to getting off the blacktop. Fine by me, to make some time. I was gaining altitude for the whole way:

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    The gravel part was excellent surface for most of the way, with small farms. The agriculture as seen in the background sometimes is on incredibly steep terrain:

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    It's interesting to ride two of the same model motorcycles. This one has a little stiffer suspension which is nice. The carburation is a little different. It idles fine at high altitude, which the other Honda did not. It has a small miss or stall sometimes as I slowly let off throttle at a corner or similar situation. It's also not quite as peppy as the other Honda, but then, I've been climbing all day, so it's hard to compare.

    Small farm, with stream flowing through it:

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    Tunnel, built in 1952:

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    Exiting the tunnel, I looked at the stream and it was now flowing my way. I must be decending. Toby told me I should be decending by 3:00. It was 3:30. I soon was on a lot more up hill, and more alpine narrow mountain road carved in to the edge of the mountain. The scenery was stunning and hard to be bored with:

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    I'm headed to the two towns at the bottom of the valley, separated by a river. Then I have to climb back up. Time is becoming an issue. Little did I know, but it will take me at least 2 1/2 hours to get out of this photo. As I decend, I meet a group of four guys working on the road with hand tools who tell me the river crossing is too swift and there is a pedestrian bridge. They give me no assurance that a motorcycle can cross it. I imagine four logs across the river, impassible by motorcycle. My only option is to continue and see what is there:

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    I get to the river, after meeting a work crew of about 40 friendly guys walking in to town. Another 15 minutes spent being cordial. Descending to the river, yes, the river is too fast. I walk down river, no bridge. I search up river, no bridge. By now I have close to an hour in to this, and I decide to ride back to town. Along the way I see a young guy and gal stopped, motorcycle with speakers blasting out I-pad music. They tell me there is a bridge, which I walk over to and check out. It is made of two or three logs across the river chasm, but is covered with a dirt footpath. No railings of course. The approach and exit are good enough, and the bridge is wide enough, meaning single track wide - so long as I don't look down at the river. I fire up the moto and go. Too narrow to walk the motorcycle across, it has to be ridden. The only choice here is success. Best not to think much, because this bridge is the only way across.

    As with so many of these types of encounters, I don't get a picture. It is definitely embedded in my memory as a significant event that will forever be easy to recall.

    My destination for the night is Paucatambo – the only lodging in the area. Because of the time crunch I told myself as I was acending after the river crossing, "No more photos."

    I couldn't help myself here. The scenery and the road were amazing with many more missed photo opportunities. What a great last ride in Peru:

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  18. Lutz

    Lutz Fuzzy Rabbit

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    Fantastic, Mike. Thanks for sharing, and have a good trip home. I've never wanted to visit Peru more than I do now.
  19. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    27 March Sunday Paucatambo to Oxapampa

    Got packed in the morning and loaded the moto. The hostal owner came over and told me my gas had been leaking and that the gas was turned off. As I was set to go, I turned the gas back on and it leaked profusely between the hose and barb on the shut off valve. I found a hose clamp and attached it, and the leak stopped.

    Breakfast at a series of vendors. Soup with rice, potato, and the ear of a pig. No question what it was. I talked to a gal who was patient with communication, and became somewhat the conversation for several locals eating there. Not many tourists come here, and especially eating soup with a pig ear in it. Some good humor going around, with one fellow asking me if I understood Quechua, the Inca language.He said something to me, and there was laughter. I asked if he understood English, and repeated something (nice) back to him. There was a fellow there who is 90 years old, and looks in good shape. I told him I'm a "nino" – smiles and chuckles along the benches.

    Stopped at the gas station, but it was closed for Easter Sunday morning. I had plenty of gas, so off I went. Agriculture along the way:

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    The scenery was pleasing. Peru has lots of mountains, so all I can post are mountain pictures. It's where I've been riding. Hard to get tired of it in person:

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    Hydro plant, of which I've seen a lot of smaller operations like this. Some with a dam, but others with pipes from a high flow source quite a way up the mountain from the generator facility:

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    Lunch stop at a nice view. This is the moto:

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    Shortly after this, I went on reserve. Either I had leaked a lot of gas, or the reason the hose was loose was that someone had taken some gas. The simple fact is I needed gas. I coasted down the switchbacks and motored only when I had to. Did a gps search, and there was a town about 20 km away. I stopped a fellow herding some horses on the road, and he confirmed there was gas there. Long story, I made it and bought "barrel gas", Good to go.

    Soon after, a gap in the road:

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    A fellow and his son came by on a moto and told me there was a road around, about 1 km back. This time, I decided to take a picture or two of the adventure. It was steep up, very narrow in many places – meaning one useable track narrow. Good climb plus plenty of challenges, and then back down. I asked several times for directions, and had no problem finding my way.

    So here is the best picture – doesn't seem like much, does it? The road here was better so I could stop and take a photo. On the bad parts, which there were a lot, one does not want to stop for any reason, including falling down. It was steep to the point of where I was loosing rear wheel traction during the climb. On the down parts, I was turning off the motor with the kill switch to maintain control. It's one of those roads that you ride with a partner and you can say for years from now, "Do you remember...." To maintain perspective, there are a few small farms on this road, and I spoke to people along the way who live here.

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    That's Oxapampa in the distance:

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    And here's where I'm staying. The owner is a carpenter and built these cabanas and his house:

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    Next morning I rode the blacktop all the way back to Huánuco. It's blacktop, in the mountains, including 14,000 feet elevation. I hit some significant hail on the high alpine plateau that was painful against my thighs through my riding pants. Several short but intense storms at elevation. The decent to Huánuco was continuous for around 70km. No pictures - I decided to just ride - there is no better way to enjoy the last day of a motorcycle adventure than rolling along for the day, "in the zone".

    Thus ends this adventure. I'm at the Lima airport, waiting for my plane departure. Internet here is blazing fast. My photos uploaded in only a few minutes.

    I'll add some information on costs after I'm home, for those who are thinking of this kind of adventure. It is amazingly cost effective, especially when starting with US dollars. I could easily spend another month and more exploring even more new roads and places in Peru. Then there's Ecuador, Colombia, plus additional destinations south. Peru is a great destination for dirt road adventuring on a small moto. Even on the blacktop roads, going faster than 60 k/h is rare. The PanAm is faster generally. I moved along at 80k/h because of the jetting, but still was with most of the traffic. That is the only place where I would have liked a wind screen.

    The Peruvians I met are very nice. Because I was in many places off the tourist routes, I experienced a lot of interest in what I was doing as a tourist. I did not meet many Peruvians who knew much English, so my Spanish was very helpful. My limited Spanish knowledge comes from listening to Pimsleur Spanish tapes, plus several trips to Mexico. I never felt threatened or in any danger, other than what I created for myself on my own. I did keep security on my mind, and my moto was generally within sight. I always had it parked off the street for the night, either in a cochera or inside a building.

    I navigated using a waterproof map from www.omnimap.com, plus gps. Perut http://www.perut.org/english.htm was by far the best gps map, but I had to download it from the Spanish language site. I also have the osm map set http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/ for Peru, and recommend having both. I planned my day on my small laptop using Garmin's Basecamp, and made both a route and track - then uploaded it to the gps. Sometimes routes didn't work on my gps, and sometimes tracks were simply better to use. At the same time, I located potential motels at my destination from Basecamp and from iOverlander.com I also uploaded these to gps, so I had options for motels on my gps. As a side note to this, there was a lot of interest in my gps by Peruvians, and it often initiated conversation.

    I don't have a smart phone, but if you do, there is an app with maps and motels that works on the phone . There are quite a few overlander travelers using this app and report it's good.

    I do have gps tracks for my whole trip, and maybe JW can help get them loaded if there is interest.

    Edit; Looking at my expenses, this trip cost me US $40/day for food, gas, motel, and other daily expenses - including a ride for the motorcycle and me on a potato truck. I even bought a new pair of pants within that budget. I had some additional repair/maintenance expenses with the motorcycle: chain/sprocket, new rear brake shoes, rear tube - which added $250 to the overall costs. I still have another $200 or so to spend on the motorcycle before I return next year for new tires and a few other items. So in total, this 6 week trip cost me $2200, plus air fare. Air line ticket round trip from Thundar Bay, Ontario to Huánuco was US $900. I already own the motorcycle, which is not in the above budget. If I rented from Toby, I'd have an added expense of $35 or $25/day (Honda vs Sumo), less about $400 maintenance expenses. I'm ready to save my money for next year.

    This is my first ride report, so thanks for following and thank you for your comments. Hasta luego mis amigos de la moto, y buen viajes.
    ArielNut, SLUGGO, 250Keith and 3 others like this.
  20. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,233
    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Thanks for the wonderful RR!