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

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 5, Carhuraz to Palaska:

    First thing in the morning, I got my headlight working. I had tested the bulb earlier, and it was not that. I cleaned some connection terminals, and in the end it was terminals inside the handlebar switch. I had to disassemble the switch. Good thing, because I'll be going through a bunch of tunnels today. Most tunnels here do not have lighting, and a working headlight is essential.

    The ride started out with quite a bit of traffic, on Peru standards. Eventually I made my way to Duck Canyon. I rode through there last year, with its sheer canyon walls and many tunnels. It's very arid, like the southwest of the States, and other than duck canyon, kind of boring by some sort of standards I had in the morning.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lunch stop, complete with shade and a flat rock to sit on:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Later on I turned more inland towards the higher elevations. With the elevation comes light rain, as it was getting in to the afternoon when it typically rains:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There were a whole lot of rocks on the road from the mountains above. Quite a few slimy mud flows across the road. Several were also deeply rutted. In one of them I was catching up to a truck and car, the car stuck in the mud. As I passed the waiting truck and entered the slime, the car got going again and I was able to get past them all. The ride now is becoming interesting and fun.

    I take the corners carefully, and do watch ahead for vehicles coming my way. One pickup caught me totally unaware on a corner, and I ended up against the canyon wall in the brush that was growing there, in order for us to miss. Readjust the mirror and pull leaves off the brake lever.

    It would have been a spectacle to see those boulders when they came down the mountain:

    [​IMG]

    The road continued like this, with increased fog and rain until I made it to Palaska. I'm in a simple room for $4.00US. Dinner at the local restaurant was $2.00US including soup, main dish, and tea. I met a French fellow who is traveling for a year by bicycle, the only other guest at this rooming house. He's heading to Ushuaia, at the tip of South America. We are going in opposite directions, so we shared road information and conversation. We spoke mostly in English, with Spanish thrown in, because his English isn't fluent and my Spanish is only basic. I'm running in to more international travelers this year compared to last year - on bicycles. No moto riders though.
  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 6, Monday: Palaska to Huamachuco
    My French companero left early, before me, because he likes to get going in order to finish riding his bike around noon, when the rains start. I found some breakfast and packed up the moto. As I was doing this, I heard a bunch of singing and guitar outside. There was a group of kids in front of the church. The sign above says first communion. Not sure if the gala was this or something else - maybe Monday bible class, or probably Catholic school. I watched for about half an hour.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My room for the night, up and on the right of the inside courtyard:

    [​IMG]

    Imagine waking up every morning to that view:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My French companero came down from the far side, and up on the near side:

    [​IMG]

    New bridge, with maybe a work area under it.

    [​IMG]

    Same ravine, but an even older rendition. I have ridden across bridges like this, down to the width of a walking path, namely two logs wide with dirt filled between the two logs.

    [​IMG]

    I was planning to take this road, which was very slimy and much worse than where this picture comes from. I don't stop to take pictures when staying vertical and maintaining momentum is in question. I had to turn around, making for a very long detour on the better dirt road, meaning at least 75 km longer than planned.

    [​IMG]

    For JeffS, my brother, who is following this thread. He's been a truck driver and has plenty of stories of his own that are different but equal. That truck is that Peruvians source of income, most likely operator owned. He's also under pressure to get it running so he doesn't loose his route.

    [​IMG]
    GearDrivenCam, c-zulu and RiderA2B like this.
  3. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 7, Huamachuco to Cajamarca:

    I saw these last night at the Huamachuco central plaza. They are so cool, and were impressive at night with the night lighting and the fountain going. My abode last night was only two blocks from the plaza.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had a dirt road routed, for a 175km day. However, I forgot to get gas before I left, and realized it too late. I debated at the turn off, and decided to take the easy way. About 5km past the turn there was gas. I debated once more for at least two minutes whether to backtrack to the dirt road, or continue. Prudence won over adventure this time. I've had detours and long days from previous adventures, and I need to keep my mind set on getting to the border to Ecuador.

    Scenes along the road:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lunch in the shade again:

    [​IMG]

    Riding was easy, and it was good today to simply be in the groove of rolling along on a motorcycle. I listened to Spanish audio tapes much of the morning. Afternoon showers coming. Time to put away the camera, put on the rain gloves, and enjoy riding in the rain:

    [​IMG]

    I'm in the Hostal California, but I am checking out and leaving tomorrow. Lots of tiendas near by. I was able to have Chinese dinner; buy some cheese, cookies, and water; and get some fuses to replace some I fried when fixing wiring the other day. All in the same block, at four different places.
    GearDrivenCam and RiderA2B like this.
  4. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 8, Cajamarca to Celendin:

    It was tough, but I got out of Hostal California by 10:30. Traffic in Cajamarca is absolutely crazy, challenging but not surpassing Lima traffic. Street food breakfast of a piece of chicken, rice, papaya, and coffee. I rode until about 3PM. It's mountainous here, but less so than farther south. Plenty of good farmland. Road pictures:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My buddy during a stop to look over the edge of the mountain and take the above picture. There are a lot of animals tied up next to the road:

    [​IMG]

    I came to a construction stop. Unfortunately, the road was closed for a couple more hours. I went to the front of the line, as motos do here. Fortunately, one of the workers told me there is a way around that will work for a moto like mine. My skills riding with my Mexico/Copper Canyon buddies were used on this detour. Serious up and down with rocks, hitting the skid plate, and somehow not falling over. Lots of little farms along the road, with family out in the fields cutting and hauling grain. Hauling was by the women, the men, and animals.

    White abyss on the gps screen. I asked about the road destination numerous times along the way. I think the gps arrow is telling me to go back.

    [​IMG]

    People live and farm here, and have community and friends. Rocky and bumpy, again, not the worse but a good sample:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm now at the nicest room I've had so far, at $13.00US. Wifi works in the room, it's a large and modern room, near the central plaza, dining in the motel. Move the decimal place over one to the right for a good deal for prices in the States. Hotel Villa Madrid, good choice in Celendin.

    [​IMG]
  5. Jeff S

    Jeff S Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Evansville Wi
    Hostal California, Now I have the Eagles song stuck in my head. Amazing country. Might be a nice place to retire. The trucker is in a very precarious situation for sure.
    joenuclear likes this.
  6. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,936
    Location:
    UK
    Good one.

    Had crossed my mind - or Chile. Certainly an attractive get-out-of-the-northern-hemisphere destination for winter.

    What's the plan then? Some expat bohemian biker suburb of Huanuco?
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    Going on 24 hours for me as of this moment....

    Information from the next Hansen generation at Sawbill: Patagonia area is absolutely beautiful from their direct experience being there for a while. I will consult at Sawbil prior to getting that far south. I hear Colombia has beautiful mountains. Chile is expensive, they use a lot of slang, and I hear speak very fast. Choose your area to check out and write it up here.

    I forgot to mention above, I finally saw my first moto traveler packed up to travel. I suspect a foreign traveler because of his lighting and other things. I put on my brakes, but he kept moving. We met in a wide curve so maybe he didn't see my signal. I also have a local style motorcycle, although my luggage is telling.
    GearDrivenCam likes this.
  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    I'm in Chachapoyas, about a day south of San Ignacio and the Ecuador border. I had to make the title transfer on the moto to me on this trip, and it hasn't gone through in my name on the government web site yet. It's supposed to take up to 10 business days, which is Monday. There are no guarantees though. I guess I have to spend the weekend making day trips out of here. Who knows how far north I'll get in Ecuador. It's all good, uncertainty and adventure, although I'd like to get across the border sooner than later. I want to see an active volcano.

    I have some pictures and narration ready, but internet here is slow and my photos won't load. I've had some good riding, remote blacktop narrow roads and high mountains. A day of lots of rain too, which was fine. More once I figure out how to load pictures.

    Took the moto in to a shop today to fix some things that developed because of the dusty bumpy roads I've been on occasionally. Had a speedo tab drive ring installed, rear brake shoes blown out and roughen up shoes and drum, replace broken tail light lense - all for $7.00. The two younger kids who were also in the shop asked if the gps talks and tells me where to turn. They liked the Tornado, and know about it. It's an upscale moto here.
  9. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 9, Celendin to Leymebamba:

    Found good internet, for the cost of tea/coffee as priced in the States. Small price to pay...

    There are two ways north from Celendin. I decided to take the longer way that runs through Chachapoyas. There are a lot of ancient ruins along this route, some of which I saw last year, Kuelap included. Much of the way it rained lightly. I'm well enough equipped to deal with the rain and keep dry, so the trip is enjoyable. Because of the fog/clouds, I am sure I missed many awesome mountain vistas.

    There were sections where I did not meet a vehicle for close to an hour. I definitely felt like is was in a remote area, in fact, true. Due to sparse traffic, I was concerned that the road may be closed due to a land slide that I don't know about. That can create a gas crisis: not being able to proceed farther, and not having enough gas to return to the previous town. Uncertainty is the adventure part of travel.

    Gaining altitude out of Celendin:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The road is narrow, and it's important to be ready to meet a vehicle on a blind corner, despite traffic being sparse. On many the blind corners, there usually is a natural issue and the road is even narrower then this picture. I consider the road to be dangerous, but awesome to ride. The big vehicles take up ALL the road. Along the way, I met three dump trucks and a bus, plus a number of regular vehicles.

    [​IMG]

    I caught up to two more international travelers on bicycles. They are from Idaho, and are heading home, after riding through Europe, Africa, and now South America. They were on the long up hill climb in the rain. They told me about the "mummy museum" in Leymebamba. I stopped there to go through it. It has a very good summary of the ancient cultures. Photos not allowed, I found out a bit after entering the museum. Prior to learning about the photo ban, I took this one showing the comparative chronology of world civilizations and the central Andes civilization development. Roman Empire 500AC (Antes Christo) meaning BC, Gaza pyramid 1000BC.

    [​IMG]

    There was a drawing describing the rope and knots math system. Interesting, also base 10 like western mathematics. I guess humans started counting on their fingers, and ended up extending it to their mathematics in both western and South American cultures.

    I'm in a small hostal, operated by a friendly guy who lived here his whole life. This town is about the size of my home town, small and rural. Church in the central plaza, over 100 years old:

    [​IMG]
  10. c-zulu

    c-zulu Works with Turds

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,856
    Location:
    North shore of Gitchigumi
    Great report Mike, photos too..
  11. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 10, Leymabamba to Chachapoyas:

    Not a lot of riding today, but enough. I'm out of the high mountains, which start/end at Leymabamba where I spent the night. The road to Chachapoyas follows the Utcubamba River. There are quite a few ancient sites along this valley. It's understandable, with the relative ease of travel along the river valley. As I was riding along, I was imagining the feet from ancient times who have traveled this same route, up and down the footpaths that likely existed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At Chachapoyas, I found a motorcycle shop to fix a couple things that needed attention because of the bumpy and dusty roads I've been on. I had the speedometer drive ring replaced to fix the speedometer, rear brakes cleaned up and roughened up, new tail light lens which was broken, and a rear drive chain sprocket guard replaced, all for $7.00US. The two younger guys working at the shop liked the gps, and wondered if it talked and told me where to turn. They also liked the Honda Tornado, a well known motorcycle that is considered an up scale moto.

    I have the title registration still in process at the government web site. It is still in Toby's name. The transfer was made, but typically it takes up to 10 business days to get it changed on the government site. I need that to happen before I can leave for Ecuador. Monday is day 10. I am currently a day ride from the border. So for the weekend, I think I'll do a couple day rides out of Chachapoyas and find some dirt and fun. At the same time, I'm eager to be able to enter Ecuador, but I'll just have to wait. Hopefully it does happen on Monday. I want to see a real volcano.

    I finally figured out these electric shower heads seen in Latin America, common from the US/Mexico border and south. To get hot water, there first is a control on the unit itself. Almost always it is on the highest setting. With that, in order to get hot water, I learned to simply turn down the volume of water that is running through the unit. With lower water volume, the heating element can keep up with the water flow and provide nice warm water. I'm sure every Latino knows this, and probably some gringos do. It's so logical, but it took me many trips experiencing these showers to figure it out. I've heard enough comments about cold showers to wonder if not every gringo has figured out this strategy.

    [​IMG]
  12. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,233
    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Thanks for the update. The shower head info is priceless! :thumbup:thumbup
    MikeS likes this.
  13. olekaw

    olekaw Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Along highway 61
    Let's see.. Naked wet body, exposed wiring on over head shower head, reaching to adjust the setting on shower head. What could go wrong?

    Thanks for the updates Mike. Following along on my Peru map. Thinking!

    Craig
  14. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 11, day ride to Canon del Sonche:

    I've seen the major tourist attractions near here last year, so with a day of steady rain, I had low motivation to get out. I did however, take a day ride to the Sonche Canyon near Huancas, a small village about 20 minutes from Chachapoyas. As I was leaving Chachapoyas, a downpour came and the streets were rivers of water blasting down the hills throughout town. By the time I got out of town and to Huancas, it was more a drizzle. I walked to the canyon, using the umbrella I now carry as standard motorcycle travel gear.

    The government did a nice job of improving the main access from the village to the bus stop.

    [​IMG]

    The original Inca Trail being rebuilt:

    [​IMG]

    Canon del Sonche:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I sat under a shelter with a grass roof, eating a lunch I had brought. After a while a family from Chachapoyas, who arrived about the same time as I did, came in to the shelter. We talked a little, and they had their young daughter give me a couple oranges and some legumes. The legumes were very fresh and tasty, and look like peanuts. Not sure what they are, but fresh raw peanuts is my guess.

    [​IMG]

    Canyon entry control area in foreground and village of Huancus on the hill above:

    [​IMG]

    Just for fun, when I returned to my room, I looked at the Peru web site to check the status of my motorcycle registration. Low and behold, my name is now the registered owner. I can finally leave Peru with the motorcycle. Ecuador here I come. I'm about 180 miles from the border, a long day on these roads. Realistically I'll cross the border on Tuesday. If it's rainy at the border, I understand just in to Ecuador there is a muddy portion about 17 km long that I'll have to navigate. Time will tell what will happen.
    GearDrivenCam and RiderA2B like this.
  15. pranajerni

    pranajerni Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
    233
    raw or boiled peanuts? great photos. glad the paper work went through.
  16. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    Sunday March 12, Chachapoyas to Jaen:

    Yes, boiled peanuts. Yummy, and I have some left over for lunch today. We northerners never see food like that. Only dry roasted and salted.

    Packed up and left Chachapoyas to a somewhat sunny day, ate breakfast, and headed to Ecuador. Plenty of mountains on the way north:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Road hazards:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Towards the north, the road turns to the west and it flattens out and it gets much warmer. Sometimes the gps does not provide any assurance that I'm on the right road. It's especially uncertain, knowing that I'm following a river, and finding instead that I'm climbing up a series of switchbacks to the top, then descending, but not heading to the river. My track is blue, the planned route is purple. I didn't remember missing any turn. Uncertainty as I was getting farther and farther from the purple line.

    [​IMG]

    I'm now in Jaen. I had a rear blinker break because my bag was overhanging the rack and resting on the blinker. I had a welder modify the rack to protect the blinkers, and "Peruvian ingenuity" was employed to fix one of the broken blinker stems, using plastic glue reinforced with toilet paper. Buena idea! The speedometer quit again. I expect it's a drive problem still, but I'm near a Honda place that should have parts. Tomorrow morning...
  17. tommymerle

    tommymerle advwanabee Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    512
    Location:
    frozen north (Lutsen, Minnesota)
    looks like you are safer on a moto than in a truck
  18. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    You're being too presumptuous. Driving in the cities here is pretty crazy. There is organization to it, but it is a little like dodge-em-bump-em cars at a fair, but without the bump-em part.
  19. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,456
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    March 13, Monday, Jaen to San Ignacio:

    Fixed the speedometer again, this time the cable. It works again, and continued working for the whole day. After some food stand breakfast, destination San Ignacio near the Ecuador border. It got hot today as I continued north, meaning in the high 90's F.

    Traffic in Jaen is sometimes pretty hectic, moto taxis, two wheel motos. Pretty noisy with the unique noise of many single cylinder air cooled motors all on the same road:

    [​IMG]

    Lots of rice fields along the way:

    [​IMG]

    Fishing – I saw these two men with an inner tube in the river. I stopped and watched, then realized they were pulling up a net that apparently was connected to the inner tube.

    [​IMG]

    Drying corn or beans on the side of the road. I've seen this many times throughout all of Latin America where I've traveled:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    San Ignacio

    [​IMG]

    Mercado, farmers type market. Fish and potatoes section:

    [​IMG]

    The raw material for chicha morada. Hard to find in the States:

    [​IMG]

    It would be interesting to meet the owner of this moto:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From the central plaza looking down the main street of San Ignacio:

    [​IMG]
    RiderA2B and GearDrivenCam like this.
  20. GearDrivenCam

    GearDrivenCam Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,101
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Mike - Diane and I were thinking of you. We actually found some Chicha Morada on Amazon. It was crazy expensive. Like $11 for what is essentially a container of juice! But I was running to the border anyway, and thought it'd serve as a nice tribute to your trip!

    Cheers!

    Mike & Diane

    [​IMG]
    MikeS likes this.