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Operation S.A.-14; The deep south, as in TDF

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PDX Alamo, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Well the lady got here and after one day in Guayaquil we were ready for the beach. Guayaquil is a big city and the Iguana Park was cool but I am not much into big cities generally.

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    We had heard such great things about Canoa so we headed there and stayed at Bambu which was probably the nicest place in town. It was nice but after 2 days we were done with it and moved on.

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    A long bus ride got us to Puerto Lopez and in arguably one of the nicest places I have stayed in my travels, Hosteria Mandala ( Great parking for cars or bikes) Not Cheap but a steal at $50 a night by any standards. It was right on the beach with little huts that you could hang a hammock in. The rooms were all done in interact woodwork and everywhere you looked was cool art. The owners were really great to, walking us around the giant garden that surrounds the place. Even showed us the ghost bats that roost there, Ghost bats sleep solo, are white, and have clear wings.

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    While there we took a boat ride to the "poor man" Galapagos called Plata Island. When we arrived the big show was the blue footed booby bird. Turns out I do not give a flip about some bird so if your not into birds you can save a trip here. We did do some snorkeling which was fun but nothing special.

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    I did have the best pizza ever at this place so if rolling through its worth a stop there.

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    An easy 10 minute Taxi ride will take you to Playa De Los Frailes which was beautiful. We went up to the lookout and exploring in the rocks there on our last day.No big parties but if you want a great place to chill out for a few days I can recommend Puerto Lopez and Hosteria Mandala.

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    #61
  2. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    The lady flew home on the 23rd and Christmas Eve I headed out back on the road with a slight change of route. On the way my bike started cutting out if I let off the throttle and I stopped right in front of a bike mechanic shop. A crowd of people from the shop and town were eager to help and an Ecuadorian who now lives in Minnesota came over from where he was eating to also help and translate. I knew what was wrong and I told them it was the Idle screw but they insisted it was bad gas, then bad spark plugs. He swapped out the plugs with some extras I brought but they were the stockers and it ran worse so we stitched them back. Finally after an hour we loosened the nut and fixed the idle screw. Problem solved.

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    I wanted to go to Vilcabamba then south into Peru but I was told that the road is mess if its raining and indeed it was for the next few days. So at the last minute I headed to Mancora Peru for Christmas Eve. The driving there was all crap but such is the nature of the road. The giant border crossing at Aguas Verdes was a ghost town on Christmas Eve but since I am stupid I made 3 trips back and forth. So for anyone else as dumb as me here you go...You check your bike out at the Ecuador station on the Ecuador side, only required me to copy the import papers. You then head to Peru station 3 km away where you get your passport stamped out of Ecuador then stamped into Peru, both desk are next to each other. Getting the bike in was easy, they have a SOAT sales lady there and you have to have it for them to let your bike in. It was $35 for one month.

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    Peru on the PanAm as others have said is gross, trash everywhere and the drivers ramped it up a notch in the crazy department. Anyhow I beat feet to Mancora and stayed at Hotel WaWa which I was told was $25 a night. After a 30 minute search I was shocked to learn it was $56 a night. By Peru standards that was outrageous and it was a subpar room at best. Anyway I looked sad and it was knocked down to $40 a night. Great parking though, so beggars cant be choosers.

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    #62
  3. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I awoke to a palm tree instead of Christmas Tree and hit the road.

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    I was dreaming of a brown Christmas in a nuclear wasteland on mars with Mad Max around thunder dome. Hot dog dreams come true, piles of burning trash and nothingness. I made some serious miles as this was the closest thing to a American freeway I had found. But speed has a price and that is boring scenery. I drove about 400 miles which by South American standards is a good trek and landed in Huanchaco at the Hostel Naylamp ( Motobiko sent me this way) which had fantastic secure parking for bikes and it was $12 a night for a private room with your own bath. Great place and good crowd, pizza sucked but otherwise I highly recommend it. Good looking end to my Christmas day through post apocalyptic scenery.

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    Woke up early to get a start for the famous Canyon Del Plato but I have found so far in Peru no one serves breakfast until 8:00 am so I waited. I wont go into detail about the route as its been hashed over on here many times over but the ride didn't disappoint at all. Luckily I was not run over by any trucks in the one way blind tunnels but I was honking my horn like a crazy person through every inch of tunnel.

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    Tiny Peruvian doors

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    I landed in Yungay at the Hostel Gledel (Another motobiko find) which is nothing special but they have parking and its $5 a night for your own room. Shared bath, but don't expect wifi, a towel, or soap. Hey its $5 a night. I wandered around town for food in the rain but only found one place open. At the place they had pictures about the earthquake here and I learned about the awful earthquake in 1970 that buried the town and killed 20,000 people in 3 minutes. The quake loosened a chunk of the mountain , I cant even imagine that kind of tragedy. Tomorrow should be unreal riding up to 16,000 feet. Hope the DR makes it and doesn't choke out. Now I am up to speed.


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    #63
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  4. jfink

    jfink Can't get there from here

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    385
    Location:
    Conroe, Texas
    Great report! We missed this part in your ride in Peru, because we blew out our fork seals in San Ignacio and had to go to Lima for repairs. However, avoid Nasca nothing special there, but Machu Picchu is worth the effort. I understand there is a route around Juliaca and Puno that is great (may be someone will chime in), but if you can avoid these cities, they are the arm pit!

    Bolivia is absolutely beautiful but the 12,000 feet altitude may drive the DR crazy. In Bolivia there is state sponsored gasoline subsidies for Nationals. If you are not from Bolivia the price of gasoline is something like 5 times the National rate. Plus, there is paperwork to fill out and the station attendants hate paperwork, so you will hear "Siguiente estación" (next station). Be firm and refuse to leave or you may never get gasoline.

    Look for a little hostel west of Salar de Uyuni in the town of San Juan. The guy there runs tours but the price includes meals and his wife is an EXCELLENT cook.
    #64
  5. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Thank for the info, the DR is doing fine at altitude unless it's raining. I'm not sure why but when the rain falls at altitude over 12k it starts chocking worse than at 14k on a clear day. I assume something with barometric pressure who knows.


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  6. Travelbugblues

    Travelbugblues Teacher on the road

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    495
    Location:
    Home: Seattle. Current mission: the world!
    Glad you met Luke (motobiko!) He rode out to Colorado and met me towards the end of my Americas trip (south to north). Love your pictures. I need to stop looking at them as it's making me extremely wanderlusty again!!!

    Have fun for us all, and say hi to the Fat Fox at the campground in the Ushuaia/Tierra del Fuego national park when you get there. He's a little beast :)
    #66
  7. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Yungay- Lago Paron - Chacas

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    So I wanted to see the Lago Parón and make it to Chacas which seemed doable. I've wanted to make the loop into the Huscaren national park since I saw it in the parries to penguins ride report. Seemed like a doable plan. Great road to Lake Paròn and well most of this I'll let the pictures do the talking.

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    After that I headed to the start of the loop up to Chacas on a long dirt and gravel road to the entrance of the park. It was 10 Soles or $3 to get in. Once inside the sunny day it had been looked like it was going to be was quickly coming to an end as I drove into the rain and clouds.

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    Once in more gorgeous lakes and then into the long , long, long, series of switchbacks to the top of the pass at 15,500 feet. With the rain and altitude I was only managing maybe 15 -20 MPH uphill. Once up at the top of the pass the peaks were clouded in and I hung around for maybe 10 minutes then the skys opened up and I was treated to this sight.

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    After soaking this in for 20 minutes I headed down the other side which was pretty rocky road but fun as I was able to pick up some speed. Then it started to hale pretty hard for about 10 minutes. Eventually as I dropped in elevation the rock road turned to slick mud and clay. On one side a sheer drop off and i was sliding around like it was a slip and slide. This was no fun at all and all downhill for hours and hours. I was having a hell of a time getting my bike unstuck because the mud around would just swallow you up and I couldn't get enough footing to pull her out. Luckily someone stopped and rolled the bike out.

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    I finally hit pavement and was never so glad to see it. All along the road were signs of mudslides and more, i suspect this was an unusual amount of rain or perhaps this is just par for the course. I was hoping to make it to Chacas before nightfall and I almost made it. Another landslide wiped out the road and a bus was blocking what was left of the road. The driver and a few other guys were filling in the some low points so the bus could get through. After the bus went so did I into an uncontrolled slide down slick wet clay and ran the bike into a berm. When the bike was dropped it re- broke my pelican case from earlier. I made it to Chacas and stayed at the Hostal Pilar. Nice place with parking, my own giant room with bath for $10. The parking part was tricky getting into the courtyard but it worked. My case was only being held on by my cam straps as it had bent inward. The lady let me hose it off and try and get the major chunks of clay and mud that were in every nook of my bike.

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    #67
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  8. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Chacas - Huarez

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    In the morning I gave the owners kids some of my spare change from the US and they were thrilled. Who knew a pile of nickels would jazz them up so much. While getting the bike out of the courtyard and into the very steep angled street I dropped it again. I got it back up and the bike was facing downhill at a very steep angle. As I was getting ready to leave gas was pouring out of the air-box. I quickly turned off the fuel and wasn't sure would have caused that but assume it had something to do with the very steep angle it was sitting at. I drained the air-box of the gas and the boot to the carb. I wasn't sure what to do so I let it air out for 15 minutes and started it up. No problems since but if anyone has any ideas what would cause that let me know.

    I finally headed over to Huarez with more amazing scenery and nice pavement the whole way in.

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    I made it just in time as the heavens open up in a torrential downpour. I stayed at Albergue Churup. Super nice place with parking for the bike and a steal at $20 a night for your own room and bath. I was happy to go have a real meal and decided I needed to get the case fixed as best I could so would stay two days here. Went out and found they have some great micro brews as well, you could stay a few days here easy.

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    The next day I went on my mission to find a large piece of aluminum to sandwich the case back with. I was having no luck so I went to Chili Heaven which is also said to be a motorcycle tour shop. I met the owner Patrice who was kind enough to walk me around town trying to find a metal shop. There were no large sheets but maybe a couple of strips might work. Patrice had toured all over on a Yamaha but has a soft spot for KTM's. Super nice lady and the food there is amazing as well. I think the aluminum is to thin but if it doesn't work I think Plywood is the answer after that but lets hope she holds up.

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    #68
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  9. 2 Dogs

    2 Dogs 2 Dogs Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    593
    Location:
    Dirty South- ATL
    Awesome RR!! Keep it coming..
    #69
  10. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,749
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Spectacular scenery. Nothing gives you more confidence than seeing a cross on the road when it's slimey as shit tho! :eek1
    #70
  11. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR

    Haha I had to double check, I missed that in the photo. There are lots of roadside memorials to remind you to cool your jets as it's usually straight down the cliff.


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    #71
  12. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Huarez - Huanuco

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    Detailed map provided to me by Motobiko

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    I headed south toward Huanuco and had been warned it would be a slow slow process to get there for at least 1/2 the route. It was the road of death , hundreds of blind corners on a one lane two way route through tons of tiny towns and of course we needed to add massive amounts of rain to the mix as well. This resulted in a few landslides again with a river of soupy gumbo mud. It looked impassable but some cars were making it so I went for it and was able to slip and slide my way through. All the pics are from the " fast section". No pics after due to crazy roads and massive rain.

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    It took the entire day to make the 200 mile trip. When I got to Huanuco / Amarilis I debated trying to make it to Cerro De Pasco but with light fading and chances are the 60 miles would take hours I called it quits. Good thing as the road to Cerro De Pasco was slow going the next day. I stayed at the Gran De La Vega hotel across from the "Delta" Petrol Peru station on the way out of town. It was $10 , very nice, and had great secure parking.

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    #72
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  13. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Huanuco - Huancayo

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    I had read that Huancayo had a big new years eve celebration ( bullshit) and I wanted to keep only staying in towns that start with the letter "H". It was a long, cold, and rainy ride there. Thankfully I had the lady bring my heated gear as I didn't think I was going to need it. Man was I ever wrong that stuff was a lifesaver since it was constant rain in 40 degree temps at 13,000 feet. Maybe your a tougher SOB than me but I really think I would have frozen. I got into Huancayo and stayed at the Casa De Abuela which was ok and it had parking. There is no reason I can think of to really com here unless you just need to stop. I found most places closed but had a few drinks at the mall kiosk bar.

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    I grabbed a few drinks later at a bar called La Cabana and was about to wrap it up when a guy asked why I was here ;as there is really no reason to come to Huancayo and I told him I was riding my bike down south. He said him and his buddies were also doing that, then he asked where I was from and it turns out they were also from the Portland area in White Salmon. Really awesome group with two sons and a dad riding thorough Peru, that would be really cool to do with your pops. Wish my brother and father rode motos. We talked bikes for a while, traded good road info, and I bid them farewell. I rung in the new year with the table next to me and headed back to the place to start 2015.

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    #73
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  14. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Huancayo - Tambo ( the back back back door to Machu Picchu)

    This is the route I drove that day.

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    He is the proposed back back door Machu Picchu route

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    As is to be expected on New Years day I got a late start and hung out with the hostel cat for a while.

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    Thankfully it was a beautiful sunny day as I wasn't sure I could handle another cold rainy day on the bike. After talking to the White Salmon guys they told me to head to the back back way to Machu Picchu. I originally was going to go to Cusco then to St. Theresa but they showed me how to get there with out backtracking. The route went through a long valley and it was in the 70's, fantastic day of riding for sure. I pushed my luck and landed in Tambo hoping they would have a place to stay and gas. They had both but nothing nice, stayed in some dump for $5. I hope to make it to Santa Teresa tomorrow then hit Machu Picchu the next day.

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    #74
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  15. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,368
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Dude! You are making me jealous. After looking at all your pics, I realized I missed out on a ton of stuff in Peru! The mountains are gorgeus! Makes me want to go climbing! And I'm glad you found the "back back" door into Machu Pichu! That looks epic! Keep up the good riding and reporting man! It's an epic trip!
    #75
  16. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Tambo - Quillabamba- Agua Calientes

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    I headed out early from Tambo and it soon turned into a very very long day. The route headed down in altitude toward the jungle which was nice since my bike started running like I remembered it. I ran across one land slide but the front loader was already there clearing up the mess so I didn't have to wait very long and I was on my way. A bit later land slide number two for the day but this one was still going when I arrived. I walked over and the path looked like I could make it with a bit of work. I started moving rocks and part of a tree and soon everyone was helping clearing a path for the cars. After 15 minute or so there was enough room for my moto. I wasn't sure of the protocol so I asked if I could go and they said go ahead. On my way where I later I stopped in Kimbiri for lunch and if you needed to this town has hostels and seems to be fairly substantial in size.

    The lady at the restaurant assured me the road to Quillabamba was "muy bueno". As soon as I left the pavement it was mud and potholes, did I mention more rain. I really had no choice but to keep going as I couldn't backtrack. Luckily after 20 miles or so I hit pavement then started heading up, up, and up. Nice scenery with waterfalls around most turns and the road was pavmentish as it was mainly a hard packed dirt.

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    I ran across this washed out road and thought it was the end of the line but Mono Gris plowed through it. The second picture is of some goats on a almost vertical wall which looked like someone glued them there.

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    EventuallyI went back down to the river where it turned into the two way one lane road that I LOVE so much. So after hours of near death experiences it was getting dark and I needed to get off the road. I luckily hit a real two way road and hit the gas to Quillabamba right at dark. ( Not a nice place, as soon as I arrived I was approached and offered drugs) I couldn't find a place with parking but one hostel owner assured me I could park in his garage about a mile away. I was led to the shady house and had a bad feeling about leaving the bike there. My options were leave it in the street and not know who stole it or leave it here and have an idea. I left the bike there with the assurance of my $7 a night hotel manager he would take me back to it at 7AM sharp.

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    7 AM arrived, no one there. 7:30 no one there. I go and knock the door to the manager and an older man answers and says he doesn't know where the manager is and doesn't have a phone number. I walk about a mile in my riding gear to the house and bang on the door. An older women answers and lets me in but says only "Chico" has the keys to open the garage. I take off the bags on the bike, build a ramp, then somehow squeeze it through a tiny door to freedom. I head back to the hotel , grab my stuff, and get rolling.

    I arrive in Santa Teresa after an amazing road through the valley in about an hour and half. I Stash the bike at the hostel Yacumama with all my gear in a room at the low cost of 80 soles a night. I now know the guy at the train tracks , Pablo Escobar (Not the dead drug dealer) is super trustworthy and should have left it there.

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    I head out on the 2:30 train to Aqua Calientes and arrive 40 minutes later for the cost of $25. I liked the town even though everyone dogs on it as being a tourist trap. Prices were fair considering where you are and I found a room for 70 soles a night. I get my tickets to Macchu Picchu along the bus tickets. I thought the town was a neat place surrounded by massive sheers cliffs with the raging river tearing through it and I didn't experience the hawkers and touts I had been told about. I ate at the Feliz Andian , which was by far one of the best meals I have ever had in my life. A four course meal that was unbelievably good. This was all had for $20! That is pricey by Peru standards but this was a steal as it was so well prepared. I hate food pics in ride reports so these will be the only two I promise unless its a fried rodent. Hit the hay early for the 5 am wake up to the big show.

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    #76
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  17. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Macchu Picchu to Santa Teresa

    Well you get up early and get in line for the bus which once the busses start going moves pretty quick. The bus ride itself is pretty amazing so try and get a window seat. I am in line before it opens and walk around with the place to myself before the crowds arrive. It is all it is hyped up to be and more. I thought I had an idea of what it would look like but it is much more than i had expected, make sure you check out the Inca bridge. I took a crap load of pics so here ya go.

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    I headed out at on the 1:30 train back to Hydro and then a cab to Santa Teresa where I wash the bike and take it easy at the hot springs.
    #77
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  18. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,242
    Location:
    Arizona
    Just WOW. What a great RR.
    #78
  19. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Santa Teresa to Cusco

    Head back out and on my way to Cusco and this is an amazing ride as well through the sacred valley. It was crazy cold and rainy over the pass but I survived , did I mention the rain has been every day and I freeze on a routine basis. Anyhow as I was rolling through Ollantaytambo I see a KLR and recognize the driver as Turbotagteam from his ride report. We share our frustrations about the cold and rain that is a daily occurrence. One of his pelican cases also was smashed into pieces , way worse than mine. I am not as stoked on Mr. Pelican as I used to be as they are not as sturdy as I once thought. We part ways and I continue on to Cusco.

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    Arrive at the Kokopelli Hostel which was nice and the let me park the bike there. It was nice to be in civilization for a while. I had a couple beers at Norton's and met up with another ADV rider mopulga who suggested I fiberglass my pelican case. Now thats an idea that might work, why didn't think of that. I spent 4 nights in Cusco which was a nice break and needed at this point as the daily rain riding was starting to wear on me. I highly recommend getting lost in the city and taking one of the free (tipping) walking tours. They have a nice moto street with tires and supplies for the bikes as well. To fix the pelican case we found a place that rebuilds auto parts and luckily with the help of mopulga who speaks fluent Spanish the case came out pretty good.

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    Also took a trip to the market which was like Freddy Krugers basement

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    Turbotagteam came back to Cusco and we are going to head out to Tres Canyons and Colca Canyon which is a long day and I have been warned by Motobiko the roads are a bombed out mess for a portion of it.
    #79
    TreasureState likes this.
  20. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR

    Thanks man, I am in Chile now actually. Hard to find the time to write and the internet to upload but I'll keep plugging away.
    #80