North to South America on a Honda 250 (back home)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    My plan was to spend the night at the Huacachina oasis near Ica. I could get there fast via the highway, or I could take the more adventurous route through the desert. Which would probably take a lot longer and as it was 4pm would see me camping somewhere. I had so much fun on the Peninsula that I decided to tackle the desert route to the oasis. I carried enough fuel, food and water to last the 200 or so kilometers so pointed the wheels straight south to Laguna Grande. It was already late so I didn’t stop much for pictures. This one is at the Laguna at the end of the main road. Funny that on Google Maps its shows the whole route as a main road :D
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    This is not a main road in my book..
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    The route leads through the dunes and along the shore for a while until you can see Isla Independencia off the coast, then it’s heading inland. Most of the time it’s a free for all, just pick your own line. There were some sketchy bits, steep off camber ascents and descents on rocks covered in sand. A game of balance. If you stick to your line you will slide, if you don’t you stick to the narrow path you will end up off track in even more trouble. The last picture from Google shows that descent to the grey run-off area.
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    Once you leave the coast it sort of resembles a road, but it was in horrible condition. 120 kilometers of horrendous washboard! Well.. to get on that road I first had to navigate around some small dunes that had formed right on the coast and I dropped the bike of course. I rode hard that evening, the bike took a beating. Many times I left the main road to ride on sand which was less horrible, but still very bumpy. One bump (alright jump) tore a strap of the right pannier and there it went tumbling down the road. Turned around to collect it and tied it to the rack, another thing on the fix-list. I regret not taking more time to stop and take pictures, it was absolutely awesome. The rough and remote places always are! I did shoot some videos though (see last post). [​IMG]
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    On the lookout for a decent spot to camp, preferably flat and no rocks, I checked iOverlander for options. Seeing it was 18:30 and with 30 kilometers and half an hour of daylight left I decided not to camp but keep going to Huacachina. Racing to get out before nightfall I rode even harder, poor bike. Came around a corner to fast and stuffed it again in deep sand. Ahh.. easy on the clutch trying to get out. About 15 k’s out I started seeing a lot of trash along the road signaling I was close to civilization. Just as the sun went down I rode into Ica, fkin made it! 10 minutes later I found a luxurious campsite in Huacachina to pitch my tent for a well-deserved rest.
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    After sleeping in I went for a walk, clearly not the only one with that idea. Only a few actually climb all the way up the dunes though, most just make it to the abundance of dune buggies.
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    From atop the dune you can see the less fortunate neighborhoods of Ica and the way I came in last night.
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    After observing the mayhem it was time to jump aboard one of those contraptions myself.
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    After a not so wild ride (someone brought a baby onboard) we stopped next to many other vehicles for some obligatory pictures. Then we got to slide down a dune on a wooden board, stuffing your face with sand before heading back to the oasis.
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    Did a damage assessment on the bike in the afternoon before hitting the pool. Cleaned and fixed the most important stuff and left the rest for later.
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  2. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Awesome @drbuzzard ! Apart from the missing sidecover and dented tank it looks decent right? Low mileage and there's even some trickery going on with the front suspension (adjustable?). I've been reading up on these 450's as mine needed a little more work than expected but they seem to last forever if taken care off.

    Oh.. so while fixing the 450 I was browsing and found another cheapie. A 1996 Honda NTV 650, this one is in excellent condition for a change. I'm the third owner, the previous two always parked it inside and never used it in winter. Runs and rides beautiful, only gonna change the oil and filter for now.
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  3. Franque

    Franque Been here awhile

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    Those are great bikes! It'll be a lot more interesting to ride than the 450, they have a lot of torque for their size/age.
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  4. nails1

    nails1 Been here awhile

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    As mentioned, mid-size twins are mighty precious in my market. But I did stumble on this (GL500). With some 75% dirt tires, I think it would do swell on dirt roads!

    Now to find some hard saddlebags.

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    (Joris, look at what you've done!)
  5. drbuzzard

    drbuzzard Long timer Supporter

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    the battery cover isn't missing I took it off to install a new 20200405_131742.jpg battery, I put a battery tender harness on it too. it has an air assist fork and the mileage is unknown, this is the third speedometer thats been installed. as for the dented tank, a lot of people have learned to ride and this is what they learned on
  6. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    That Honda-Guzzi is a real find!
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  7. jowul

    jowul Been here awhile

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    Great vistas and great captures of those. You definitely have cojones to ride that stretch solo, 200 km or so through sketchy washboard pistas. But that is what adventure riding is all about, I guess. Great to see you had fun and made it. I look forward to the continuation.
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  8. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Whoa look at that top case thing, so wrong.. but cool at the same time. Never seen that before! Get some 80's hard luggage to match and hit the road :D

    Looks so much better after the wash, decent actually! Any plans with it?
  9. drbuzzard

    drbuzzard Long timer Supporter

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    not really other to ride it some. I broke my foot last year and pulled the tendons, while the break healed months ago the tendons are not healed and they get very irritated riding a bike
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  10. nails1

    nails1 Been here awhile

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    The transformers luggage is what I like best -- no fan of gangling top cases. Used factory hard bags are available. For solo touring, I plan to fab a saddlebags thing over the seat (with supplemental cush padding) to hang in front of the hard bags. Keep the weight low.

    Some folks "adventure" them, but they have very soft suspension, and the steering geometry is the living allegory of "relaxed". Pretty good ground clearance and just a bit more than 500 lbs. Haven't tried yet ("issues" to work out), but it might glide over washboard like a Range Rover.
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  11. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    I kept coming back to the Peruvian coast, but it was time to head inland again. This time I wouldn’t come back to the coast, not the Peruvian one. See since I started the trip I was unsure of the amount of time I wanted to spend in South America. Taking the Stahlratte end of December made it even harder to make a decision. I either had three months to reach Ushuaia before winter set in, or I would take it really slow and wait out the winter. I went for the first option, ride down rather quickly and then come back up to see the things I missed. That plan would see me following the coast from Peru into Chile, skipping Bolivia. But once in Peru I changed my mind after seeing that Bolivia was only a days ride from Cusco. Might as well do it while you’re close, who knows what will happen (Didn’t know about Covid-19 back then, good call). On my way from Huacachina to Cusco.
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    Close to Nazca is another site with geoglyphs, Geoglifos de Palpa. Being a smart cookie I took a service road up a hill to see these ancient drawings. Well, I couldn’t see anything from where I was standing. Turned out those drawings were on the hillside I was on..
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    The Palpa geoglyphs were just a teaser, a little bit further you can find the real deal, the Nazca lines. I only went up the (new) view tower and didn’t bother with taking a flight over the site. You cannot see all of them but you can see some of the animals which I still found impressive.
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    Away from the coast, back into the Andean mountains and back into the rain.
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    Stopped to put on wet weather gear, looking back at Serro Blanco (to the left). One of the highest dunes in the world.
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    50.000 kilometers (31k miles) since I left Halifax.
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    I was happily cruising along, a bit tired and distracted, so I checked iOverlander for a place to eat or something. I saw a warning about corrupt police up ahead and decided to read. Well here’s a little tip for you, don’t use your phone while riding :D I wasn’t paying attention and someone put a slight bend in the road. The gutter entered my limited field of vision pretty quick after that, and the time between realizing how foolish I was and bracing for impact was short. I was afraid the bike would be thrown to the right so leaned to the left and laid it down. For how stupid it was it actually went smooth and except for tearing a hole in my rain- and riding jacket and a bent shifter it was alright. Does wake you up though.
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    Scared these girls away and then finally found a small metal shack to wake up, warm up and eat something.
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    The rest of the day was just wet, cold and miserable. Makes it hard to grasp the beauty of the landscape. It was already dark when I finally found a place to stay in Chalhuanca. Just before I arrived I was pulled over by two cops, but when they saw that I was drenched and cold they said I could continue.
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    The hotel was more than I would like to spend, but after 500 kilometers that hot shower was oh so sweet. In some mysterious way the battery was completely flat the next morning. I checked some things, tightened the battery cables but still nothing. Well, see if it will charge while riding. So I bumpstarted it going down the driveway and surprisingly after an hour the voltage came back up and I never had a problem again.
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    Before heading to Cusco there was a little tourist thing I wanted to check. To set me up for the next two days I stayed one night at B&B Pacacalle in Urubamba. Met a German guy on a KTM 690 there but forgot his name.
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    Another rainy morning, after riding 15km through the Sacred Valley the wrong direction I noticed my mistake, turned around and went into the mountains again. Had to wait for some landslides to be cleared before turning onto a smaller road in Santa Maria.
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    This little road got me near the tourist attraction. Receiving over half a million visitors every year, probably most of them also come through this little road. The river that runs through the gorge was loud af. So much water going through there during this wet season.
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    Finally, time for a visit to Machu Picchu.
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  12. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Enjoyable and glad there is more to come!
    Wierd about the battery!?
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  13. nails1

    nails1 Been here awhile

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    Thank you for keeping this up. I'm sure fussing with the RR is a PITA ... but one we all wish we could do!
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  14. landyguy

    landyguy Adventurer

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    Awesome Joris. Those roads are amazing.
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  15. ryder1

    ryder1 Long timer

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    How many hot laps did you do on those racetracks? There are way too many corners for me to remember.
  16. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Not sure if the Peruvian people would appreciate me ruining one of their top tourist attractions :D
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  17. jowul

    jowul Been here awhile

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    Great, impressive photos of that little valley and its dirt road. Almost like being there :clap
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  18. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Besides the road that I took the other way into Machu Picchu is by train. This a costly affaire so most people take a bus to Hidroelectrica and walk the last part. After asking a restaurant owner if it was okay to leave the bike there for the night I got in line to sign up at the park rangers and followed the railroad ten kilometers to Aguas Calientes.
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    The last bit is via the road between the town and Machu Picchu. Even the shuttle busses that use this road had to be brought in by train, as was the rest of everything in town.
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    After finding a cheap hotel I went to get a ticket and while waiting in line to buy a ticket I got chatting with a guy named Harry, from England. We decided to team up for the walk the next day and once we both had our tickets it was time for some food and drinks. A few rounds of beer and then off to bed to get an early start. Got a ticket for 8am so met up with Harry at six to get breakfast and leave enough time for the walk. From the village it was a short walk back to the bridge and the 1600 or so steps that take you up the mountain. We were early and had to wait for our timeslot, you can only start the ascent one hour before your allotted timeslot!
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    No wonder the Spanish conquistadors never found this place. Even today it takes some effort to get here, let alone hundreds of years ago when it was all overgrown, there were no roads and no directions to follow. But there it was.. Machu Picchu. It might very well be the most famous tourist destination in South America.
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    The amount of people wasn’t too bad, neither was the weather.
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    The site is bigger than I imagined it to be and we spend a good few hours walking around.
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    Around noon it was time to head down. We still had another ten kilometer walk back to Hidroelectrica and then another 200 kilometers back to Cusco.
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    Pretty exhausted from the walk we got some food and while Harry waited for a bus to Cusco I donned my riding gear and got on the road. When I took off I saw one of those Peruvian dogs.. I like dogs but man.. are these hideous.
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    On my way I met Peter? (I think his name was) from Europe with his modified Africa Twin. We chatted for a short while and then went our ways.
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    Leaving at 3pm and with at least five hours to Cusco I knew it would be near nightfall when I would reach the city. That was the optimistic option, what followed was a less optimistic ride. About 30 kilometers into the ride my front brake slowly loses pressure. A few turns later the lever hits the bar completely without any sign of slowing down. I’m still on the road to get out of the valley, climbing up to 4000 meter. It is also fricking cold and raining. Going uphill without proper brakes is annoying but doable. Going downhill from 4000 meter altitude on a twisty mountain road with only a small rear drumbrake to slow you and all your luggage down enough to make the hairpin turns is just stupid. Somehow I make it down the mountain and it flattens out. I’ve lost so much time that it’s already getting dark when I reach Urubamba again. With only 50 kilometers to Cusco I decide to push on. It’s dark, it’s raining and with non-functioning brakes I find it best to follow a bus all the way into the city. The driver must have thought I was crazy because every time he pulled over I did too. He kept a low speed and busses never brake hard, so having him in front paving the way made me feel a little bit safer. I think it was around 9 or 10pm when I finally reached a hostel. I was dead. Visiting Machu Picchu and then the idiotic ride back to Cusco took most if not all of my energy. But.. after a long hot shower, some food and a beer I came back to life and with Cusco being a tourist hotspot it wasn’t hard to find a bar.
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  19. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Amazing! I could never do that hike, using a walker now. Thanks for the trip. :clap
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  20. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Wow! Amazing new perspective on MP.
    When the train passes while walking can you "hitch" a ride?
    Air in brake line?
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