Trails of South America (PtI)... a photo journal

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JediMaster, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    Awesome stuff!!

    Thanks for the reply on the tires! Very helpful!
  2. TK-LA

    TK-LA SoCal Rider

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    That is just CRUEL to do to a guy at work!!
  3. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    Now that's a double edged invitation if ever there was one...are you trying to give me nightmares :eek1:eek1:eek1
  4. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    :clap:clap:clap Outstanding Report. I just spent about 3 days on your web site. Awesome! You know, if you happen to run across any more beautiful eye candy. I'm sure, no one would mind you posting pictures. :lol3:lol3:lol3
    Thanks for the heads up on processing, something I'm just getting into. :clap:clap:clap
  5. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    I crossed the Cordillera Blanca three times on my ride through Peru. Twice as part of a loop and finally as I rode east to Huanuco.

    Route: Huaraz - Carhuaz(dirt begins) -
    Chacas - Sapcha - Yanama - Lago Keushu - Yungay (dirt ends) - Catac - Chavin.

    In the California Cafe in Huaraz I met fellow Englishman Charles Saxty Good, owner of Llanganuco Mountain Lodge on Lago Keushu nr Yungay. As well as a website to promote his own lodge he has been working on a second to promote all the lodges in the region. However, he had no information regarding Chacas and offered me a free nights camping at his lodge in return for gathering whatever information I could regarding accommodation there. I was going there anyway so it was a fair deal.

    I headed north out of Huaraz and cruised up to Carhuaz out the back of which a dirt road led into the mountains. I'd not ridden far when I got stopped due to road construction and began what was to become the first of many stops totaling 3.5hrs that day. When the road was finally opened I didn't ride far before meeting Dutch cyclists Karen(?) & Maarten. Unlike many cyclists (but not all) who ride across countries in fairly straight lines, this couple rode loops, detours and the roads less traveled (it had taken them 2 yrs to get here from Alaska).


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    Another 20mins up the road and I was told I'd have to wait 1h20 for the road to be opened so I found some shade, unpacked my stoke, brewed fresh coffee and made PBJB's for lunch. Of course just as I was tucking in a whistle blew and I was waved at to move on...ggrrrr....
    Three switchbacks later and I was stopped again, their lack of communication between traffic signalers was beginning to grate.
    Finally I rode through a narrow gorge and into a glacial valley at 3800m for my first view of the Cordillera Blanca...


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    At the head of the valley I was stopped again just before the switchbacks began but fortunately not for long and I was soon climbing towards the pass with a beautiful view of the Quebrada Ulta.

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    The higher I climbed, the closer I got to the glacier...


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    There was more construction (the route is being improved prior to tarmacing) and more delays as I climbed towards the pass at 4910m (16,109ft). Rosie ran surprisingly well at that altitude. 1/3 throttle max above 4000m and 1/4 throttle max above 4500m but that was still enough to travel as quickly as I wanted to. I'd bought her from Ian aka 'Man Mountain' in Salt Lake City (alt 1300m approx) and he'd done a good job of setting up the 39mm FCR for that altitude which meant I wasn't setting out on a bike carburated for sea level.

    This'll make you laugh...me and Rosie's previous owner 'Man Mountain'...


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    Anyway, I digress. By the time I'd crossed the pass the sun was setting. The flat of the valley below looked like a good place to camp but getting there was a different matter. By the time I'd descended far enough to access the flatland it was virtually dark and so with no obvious track to the flatland I opted to ride on to Chacas. I rode the last 40mins or so in the dark, doing my best to escape the dust of the trucks and buses. There were only two places in town with signs advertising accommodation which made my research for Charles easy but didn't give me many options. Both were full with construction workers and would be for the next year, so I was told. I was led down a dirt road and told to wait by a wooden gate which, after a few minutes opened to reveal a drop of 6-8' over some rough stone steps and into a garden. Getting in would be ok but what about getting out in the morning? Luckily there was another door at the end of a short corridor that led into another street. Unloaded it looked doable so I rolled Rosie down the steps and into the garden of a house that had a few unadvertised rooms to let.

    In the morning I took a look around the town, admiring the Italian wood carving...

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    Before heading out of town towards Yanama, via Sapcha.

    The view back towards Sapcha...

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    In Sapca I picked up the road to Yungay and began the climb west.

    Not a bad place to stop for lunch...

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    Looking back to the west just before the pass...

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    Finally the pass at 4712m (15459ft)...

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    On the west side looking back towards the pass...

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    These switchbacks lead down past Lagunas Orconcocha, Llanganuco and Chinancocha. A little further on there was a cracking viewpoint looking straight down the valley over the Lagunas but as you can see from the next photo (shot into the sun) I was about 2hrs too late and the lakes were in the shade...shame.

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    A final look back at the glacier...

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    There was a cold wind blowing along the valley and with no sun it got surprisingly cold. I was glad to emerge into the open and take the side track to Lago Keushu and the Llanganuco Mountain Lodge where I found Charles and a proper mug of proper English tea :clap

    I soon had my tent pitched below the peak of Nevado Huandoy (6395m/20,981ft) and after cooking a huge bowl of pasta I joined Charles in the bar/restaurant with English couple Simon & Lea who I'd met in a cafe in Cuenca, Ecuador and again in the California Cafe in Huaraz. A great end to a great day.

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    KneeDrachen likes this.
  6. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    Adam that stuff is amazing and you take the best pictures down South I've ever seen:clap:clap:clap
  7. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    I agree. Amazing pictures!

    We thank you and your ears for taking the abuse and time to share these with us! The one on the mountain pass had me staring at it for 10 minutes at work...
  8. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    Glad to be playing my part in the Canadian economy...:lol3
  9. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    I can't offer you another Colombian beauty to perk up your Monday morning....

    ...so how about Peru's answer to Daisy Duke...


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  10. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    Thanks John...just trying to keep you motivated for your SA return later this year...:thumb
  11. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    No doubt about that. Best I've ever seen. Thanks for all the work you do to share those with us Adam.
  12. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    A quick stop for gas in Huaraz and I continued climbed south towards Catac, the valley narrowing and becoming prettier as it did. In Catac I turned east to cross the Cordillera Blanca for the third and final time. Its not a dirt road but it links the story and the dirt roads together.

    Heading for the hills...

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    When I came across Lago Querococha I had to stop for lunch...

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    A track led from the road, across a shallow(!!!) river to some flat ground where I decided was a good spot. The river looked no more than 10" deep as I approached but what I couldn't see was the deep channel running through the middle. I rode in slowly but as my front wheel disappeared and the water came over my boots I gassed her up and made it through without drama - except that now I was wet almost to the crotch and I had a 4500m pass to cross - not one of my better ideas!
    I dried out pretty quickly in the sun as I ate lunch but of course I still had to re-cross the river to get back to the road.

    A second soaking...

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    Back on the road, as it began a series of switchbacks to reach the tunnel I took a look back down the valley...

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    After a night in Chavin on the east side of the mountains I rode north a little way to SanMarcos where I picked up a dirt road heading east through two mines and crossing two passes at 4500m+; the first of which would have been spectacular had it not been for the low cloud. I descended and climbed again, this time into the cloud and rain. I stopped at a couple of sentry posts to check I was going the right way - I was. The second pass took me parallel to the spoil site of the Antamina mine. I took a few shots with my pocket camera just for memory. The bulldozer in the second one gives a sense of scale...

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    I climbed and climbed, getting colder and wetter, cursing my broken heated grips. The next descent took me to a checkpoint from where the road through the mine was only open every other hour, however I got lucky and after a chat with the security guard (who told me the previous day had been blue sky and sunshine!) he let me through. I rode across huge rocks that had been compacted to build what I later realised was a dam. The scale was so big I couldn't appreciate where or what I was riding on until I eventually got to look back from a distance. When I did get to see 'the big picture' I realised that all the silt being pumped into the lake had raised the water level to the extent that the lakeside road vanished into the water in several places and that therefore an enormous project was underway to contain the lake. Had it not been pissing down I'd have taken some photo's.
    On the far side of the lake I passed the massive accommodation blocks and rejoined tarmac before climbing back to 4500m. Given the weather I was tempted to stay on tarmac all the way to Huallanca but my Cordillera Blanca map showed a dirt road 'short-cut' and with the sky ahead black as the ace of spades I decided I liked the idea of the short-cut alongside the Rio Andachupa.

    Into the valley...

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    Life hasn't changed in this valley for years. The narrow river snaked in perfect 'S' shapes along the impossibly green, perfectly flat valley floor. There wasn't a car or satellite dish in sight, tiny stone built houses with thatched roofs were arranged in U shapes with a livestock shed and blackened cookhouse.
    The track eventually intersected with the Huallanca - La Union road and I turned east once again and rode through La Union and on to Huanaco. It was a typically beautiful ride through narrow gorges that led to another climb back into the cloud and yet more rain as the road ran alongside a rocky outcrop that resembled a crown. The descent into the next valley would have been yet another beauty but for the cloud and failing light.
    It was well after dark when I rolled in Huanaco and began riding 'laps' of the city in search of cheap accommodation with secure parking. Eventually I gave up and rode south out of the city in the hope of finding something on the outskirts. I got lucky and checked into Tito's where Rosie was safely locked away whilst I wandered down the street for chicken 'n' chips.
  13. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    excellent picture crossing the river! self taking on a timer?
  14. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    Not quite. I've got a radio(?) remote that focuses with a light press of the button and shoots with a full press. It's a work in progress as I currently stick it to the l/h switchgear with velcro and operate the button with the knuckle of my thumb.
    Unfortunately, as happened in this shot, my knuckle slipped off the button before I got the best shot. In this case at the deepest part of the river.
  15. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    maybe in this case you should set your camera taking multiple shots per sec if it's capable of.
  16. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    It was...but you still need to keep your finger on the button for the camera to fire. This photo was the last in a series of 15+.
  17. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Wow Adam, you really did justice to that area with your photos. I took about 1000 photos when I was through there and not one portrayed the beauty and scale like yours did. I had almost forgotten about this part of Peru. Man there was so much epic stuff there that its hard to remember it all. How about that mine? Antamina has got to be on of the largest mines in the world. If not the largest, its for sure the highest. Freaking cold up there.

    Nice work amigo. :freaky
  18. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    Thanks Vinny. It's no surprise you forgot about that region of Peru. There are so many 'highlights' as far as motorcycling goes that you can't remember them all - until someone or something jogs your memory.

    Ref the mine at Antamina. I got the following from here - http://www.infomine.com/minesite/minesite.asp?site=antamina

    "The deposit is one of the largest copper-zinc ore bodies in the world. Antamina employs 1,850 people directly and 3,350 indirectly.
    The US$2.2 billion construction program was one of the largest new mine development projects ever undertaken. In order to reach the mineral deposits, tops of several mountains had to be removed and a lagoon drained. It took four years of work."

    And yeah, it was "Freakin' cold" up there!
  19. GZPainter

    GZPainter A Scouser from Crete

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    Sorry for the spam JediMaster but your photos are AMAZING!!!

    I found your thread a minute before I leave for the lab :cry...and I am still here reading it....
    bring some more.... :freaky:freaky
  20. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

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    If compliments count as spam then spam away my friend! Always good to have another Brit onboard...even if you are a Scouser :eek1:rofl