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Machu Pichu, the alternate route

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by boyscout, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. boyscout

    boyscout sittin' down

    Joined:
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    Corvallis Oregon
    Certain members of this board have been giving me grief for not posting a ride report for my trip this year. I tend to not like sitting for hours in internet cafes while life goes on outside. I recently took an interesting trip to Machu Pichu, however, and figured I would do a ride report on it. As I type this I can hear beating drums and pan flute; little kids dressed in bright clothing are parading in the streets. I forgot my camera in the hotel so, sorry, no pictures of the kids.:huh

    Cusco is a big city. The historic center has narrow streets filled with churches, restaurants and tourist stores, many built on the foundations of Inca architecture.

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    Most people take the train to Aguas Calientes to see Machu Pichu. That is the expensive route. I met a guy in the highlands of Argentina who described an "alternate route" that involved taking a somewhat difficult dirt road over a mountain to a town named Santa Teresa, from where you could hike along railroad tracks to Machu Pichu.

    Sounded cool, only I was a little concerned over the "somewhat difficult dirt road". This was the guy who suggested the route.
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    I left Cusco under unsettled skies a little later than planned as my bike got parked in by a truck in the hostal garage.:huh

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    I blasted through the Sacred Valley as I was trying to make time for the "somewhat difficult dirt road" and most of the towns seemed like little more than tourist traps. I'm sure if I had stopped and looked, there would be cool ruins and such.

    According to my GPS the dirt road would start soon after Urabamba. I stopped to prepare for an almost 2000 meter climb and take the obligatory picture to prove I am a true Adventure Rider (note the spare tire :deal )

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    To my surprise, after Urabamba I ran into the smoothest road I have ridden since leaving the states.

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    Seriously it ranks up there with some of the smoothest roads in the states.

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    Heaven on a bike

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    Coming down the other side wasn't so bad either

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    Best to keep it between the lines, however.

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    Talking to locals it turns out the road is less than two years old. Yes this is the road cut. Wonder if they will have maintenance issues down the line

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    When the pista ended it turned into about 40km of typical crappy, washboarded, rocky peruvian dirt road to Santa Maria. After that it was beautiful, soft dirt down through the mountains to Santa Teresa.

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    This is Santa Teresa

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    It appears they value hard work here

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    I stayed at the Yaku Mama hostal on the main drag. Very nice folks and they had indoor parking for the bike. The next day I took a cab to the start of the train tracks and hoofed it the 14km to Aquas Calientes.

    Don't snooze, these are active tracks

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    Art shot

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    Machu Pichu

    From the top of WaynaPichu

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    From the Sun Gate

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    The stone work is amazing

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    It is hard to take a picture in Machu Pichu that isn't filled with people.

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    This is what you see the most of in Machu Pichu

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    I hoofed it back to Santa Teresa good and tired. The next day I decided to do some maintenance.

    I think this could go a little longer but why not change it now.

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    Luckily Max and his brother were there to help out.

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    I ended up staying the whole day as I found a broken bolt in my subframe. There was a party at the next town over and the only metalworker not at the party I didn't want touching my bike. It would have to wait for Cusco.

    This time on my way back through the Sacred Valley I took more time.

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    Stopped off in Lamay where they were having auditions for Peruvian Idol.

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    And a BBQ

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    Back in Cusco I did some minor maintenance on the bike.

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    That's it. I highly recommend this route to anyone wanting to see Machu Pichu. Apparently before the new road it was quite an epic ride. With the new road it is easily doable with any bike, or scooter for that matter.
    #1
  2. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Wow. Fine business.

    - Mark
    #2
  3. aurel

    aurel Cheese&Wine!

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    Excellent :thumb
    #3
  4. Cirbo

    Cirbo Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    While in Cusco, you must visit a local bar called "Norton Rats" for a cold one. Jeff the owner is an avid adventure rider (and Norton restorer).

    This is the view from the bar during a Sunday parade.

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. Irish John

    Irish John Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Lawrence, KS but I'd rather be in Ireland
    Loved the picture of the Qui barbeque. Qui is Guinea Pig, a staple of the indig people of the Andes. And yes it does taste like chicken.
    #5
  6. SUVslayer

    SUVslayer Long timer

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    fantastic pictures! looks like a great trip.
    I was wondering what the bbq was. I always thought guinea pig looked good :evil
    #6
  7. zakou

    zakou Been here awhile

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    This is really great man thank you for sharing .....................thats a dream destination for me.
    #7
  8. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for posting.
    I may be retired before it happens. but I'm gonna do it sometimes.
    WOW!
    #8
  9. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

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    Great report - thank you!

    May I ask what GPS software you were using? I've heard the Garmin basemap has plenty of roads, but does it have little roads this this gem you traveled, or were you using something else?

    Thanks. :thumb
    #9
  10. boyscout

    boyscout sittin' down

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    I'm pretty sure that for Peru it is just the Garmin World Map. The road I took, however, wasn't on the GPS. The GPS showed a dirt road heading a bit south of the pista. I didn't see anything in reality matching what the GPS showed.
    #10
  11. munchmeister

    munchmeister Grow'd Up Mini Trail

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    Thank you for taking time to post this report. Fabulous.
    #11
  12. NomadRip

    NomadRip Always a n00b

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    Great pictures!
    #12
  13. CruzCtrl

    CruzCtrl Been here awhile

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    Santa Cruz
    Most Excellent! :thumb
    #13
  14. Snuffy

    Snuffy Long timer

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    Looks like you had a fantastic time and thanks for showing us around.
    BTW, did you try the BBQ?

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    #14
  15. ERIC DN

    ERIC DN Been here awhile

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    Thanks:thumb :clap :clap

    Eric
    #15
  16. wercol

    wercol Adventurer

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    Beautiful pics, I have to go back (this time w/ a bike) to get some cuy (Guinea Pig) and don`t forget chicharrones in Barrio de San Blas w/ giant corn on the cob.
    If you need some help in Peru mainly in Lima let me know; I`m a peruvian living in SFO.
    Buen viaje y disfruta Peru.
    #16
  17. Redbull Addict

    Redbull Addict I need another one...

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    WOW!!!
    :clap :clap :clap
    #17
  18. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    You went where only gods are supposed to go. Therefore you are a god. :clap
    #18
  19. boyscout

    boyscout sittin' down

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I stopped in and had a great burger and the best beer I've had in months (Abbots Ale). I've never really understood, though, why people travel all the way to Peru and then hang out in a typical english pub.
    #19
  20. boyscout

    boyscout sittin' down

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    Yes and no. I had Chicharones (sp?) instead of the Guinea Pig. Hmmm deep fried pig skin. :dg Best Chicharones I've had yet actually. It had about an inch and a half of meat attached to the skin.
    #20