Xplore2Gether - California to Ushuaia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JimsBeemer, Mar 6, 2019.

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  1. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    And here are some pics from Machu Pichu.
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    The setting is so stunning. Even though you see it in pictures so you know - it is still breath taking to see it in person.
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    Our guide Eirton patiently listening to one of my many questions.
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    Nice view of the main city where the elites lived. The terracing is amazing. They started at the bottom, and then terraced up to the top. DSC05160.JPG
    The rock pile at the bottom left was the quary where they got the stones to make the buildings. DSC05171.JPG
    One thing that I have come to realize is that we see these stone ruins, and they have a certain "harsh" look about them, being all stone. But they were not originally all stone - these structures would have been covered with straw roofs. And this would significantly change, soften, the visual look. We do not see it as it was - but it is fun to try and imagine. DSC05177.JPG
    The terraces were actually used for gardening, and the climate changes enough from the lower to the upper terraces that they grew different vegetables at different levels based on this micro climate. There is not enough acreage to have supplied all the food necessary for the city - this was just supplemental. The city relied on supplies brought in from the surrounding empire, using the Inca road system.

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    Here on these buildings they have restored the straw roof covering, so you can get a sense of how that would change the look of what we see today, were all the buildings covered in a similar fashion.
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    These basins were filled with water and used for solar observation. There were other structures built to align in various ways with the sun at the solstices.
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    Obligatory Llama pic.
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    Ok - two pics. They were to cute to pass up.
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  2. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    After we came back from Machu Picchu we spent four more nights in Cusco. I mentioned our meet up with Glenn Hamburger in Cusco, but we had another even more surprising chance encounter while we were in the Inca capital.

    There were 10 passengers when we took the Stahratte sailing ship from Panama to Colombia, all headed in the general direction of Ushuiaia, and we have all kept in touch off an on since, via WhatsApp. Except for Marvin - nobody got Marvin's contact info, and we've all been wondering "what happened to Marvin?" Last we saw him he was slip-sliding out of muddy Turbo, headed south as most of us headed east to Cartagena, and that was five months and a lot of miles ago.
    Carol and I had literally just been talking about Marvin at breakfast, and that afternoon we were shopping for a jacket for Carol in Cusco, and as we walked out of a store, right in front of us, there walked Marvin! I shouted out to him and he was so surprised to see us, as we him. We had dinner with him, and he told us he had been in Cusco for two months ("I got comfortable here" was his explanation) and that he had bought a guitar in Cusco and was taking lessons from a local guitarist. I play the guitar, and have a small guitar-like insrturment with me on this trip, a guitalele; an instrument with the body and scale length of a tenor ukulele, but with six strings like a guitar. Hard to play - but fits in my dry bag and better than nothing. Marvin knew I played, and invited us to go with him His next lesson and meet his instructor. That was the day after our planned return from Machu Picchu, so we said we could do that.

    Marvin's teacher is Omar Vargas, a professional classical guitarist. I play classical guitar (among other styles) and was totally blown away by the opportunity to spend a morning with someone of Omar's caliber. He is a really nice person and a great guitarist. He had a concert in Cusco later that week, which we unfortunately had to miss due to our schedule, but the time spent at his house as he taught Marvin, and then played some for me, was a treasure!

    Carol captured some of that morning on video using her phone, and I edited it into this short YouTube video.

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  3. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Cusco is indeed a place you can get comfortable in, as Marvin said. But after a week and a half there, Carol and I pulled up stakes and headed south. At this point, the unrest in Bolivia was still in the (fairly near) future, and we were honestly not even aware of the soon-to-be-held presidential election, yet alone that it could be contentious, so we stuck to plan and headed SW on Rt 3S towards Puno. Our plan was to spend some time around Lake Titicaca, then head through Bolivia, via Copacabana, La Paz, Sucre and then Uyuni, and then exit to Chile via Oruro and Routa 12. Nice plan.

    We took two days to get to Cusco to Puno, stopping at a couple of Inca archeological sites along the way, and spending the night in Suciani. At our hotel in Suciani (Hotel Koricancha), I was somewhat chagrined when I looked out of our third floor window into a prison yard! We were right next to a prison - we could wave to the guards in the closest guard tower.

    The next day's drive into Puno was straight forward except for the town of Juliaca! There is no easy way through/around this town. 3S disappears into a confusing jumble of streets and traffic, and you have to just plow through the congested middle, with some really bad roads and the typically bad Peru drivers - was not fun. For example: I was in an intersection, Carol was ahead and already through. I clearly had the right of way (I was in the middle of the intersection on a green light!), and this bus, in typical Peru driver mode ("..in fact, I am the center of the universe") pulled in on the red light, headed right into my side. I thought "He's going to brake" - but no! I hit the gas and by inches avoided being hit in the left rear pannier. And for sure - he saw me. Total jerks. I have zero respect for drivers in Peru - the worst by far we have seen in our trip.

    Here are some pics from that route - and despite Juliaca, Cusco to Puno is a great ride. On the first day we stopped at Cantalloc, an Incan aqueduct that was built to span the Inca road.

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    This is the above-ground aqueduct. The open parts would have had wooden portions to carry the water over the Inca road, which passes underneath.

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    We have learned that you can tell original Inca walls from Spanish or other restorations, and even pre-inca, by the lack of mortar. The upper walls here are original, the lower wall is not. The distinguishing characteristic of the Inca construction was the absence of mortar.

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    Typical "big block" Inca construction
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    This is a view of the Inca Road, looking back in the direction of Cusco. Behind me is the aqueduct.
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  4. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We also stopped at Raqchi, an Incan fort. This has a structure that was originally a two-story building, with the largest gabled roof found in any Inca ruin. The roof was supported by pillars which are no longer standing, except for one lone specimen. There was a huge number of small lodgings, and it is believed this was used to house soldiers as they were in transit.

    Then we got to the Hotel Koricancha in Sicuani, with the lovely view, and the next day continued to Puno, with a wonderful lunch stop at Pucara, the home of the El Torito de Pucará, a little bull icon that we had seen on buildings as we rode, but didn't realize that we had stopped at the home of this little critter. It is supposed to bring good luck, happiness, fertility, good crops, etc. etc. What I read on a plaque is that they mainly sold as to travelleres in Pucará as people traveled through by train, and then they made it to the markets in Cusco, and their popularity swelled.

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    Raqchi. This is the center wall of the originally two-story building. The roof extended to either side, supported by pillars. You can see the round base for the pillars - there is one pillar still standing (on the other side from this photo)

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    There were over 100 of these round buildings, used for storage, and scores of buddings used as living quarters

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    It is a beautiful setting.

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    A more close-up view of the temple wall and what remains of the pillars that supported the roof and upper floor.

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    Market outside the entrance to Raqchi.

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    Getting ready to leave Raqchi.

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    The view from our room at the Hotel Koricancha in Sicuani. Not the most comforting sight!

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    Stopped for lunch in the village sqaure in Pucará. The church in the background, upon close inspection, looked unsafe. At least I wouldn't have wanted to go inside! It looked on the verge of collapse.

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    El Torito de Pukará! There was one of these on each post of the fence around the church. Then as you look around, you realize they are also on all the buildings around you.

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    City hall or something close to it. The mural to the right has the Torito up above, and then some Inca dude holding a severed head in his hand below. We could not find any explanation for that one.
  5. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Lake Titicaca was our next destination. We booked two nights on a floating reed island. We learned that some of the island stays are actually corporately owned (out of Lima we were told) enterprises, and not really run by the indigenous Uro people. We found one through Lonely Planet that specifically said "this is a small island run by a Uros family". The island is run by a young man, Cesar and his wife Lucy, and they live on the reed island with their two small children The name is the Uros Samaraña Uta Lodge (click to follow hyperlink). Cesar arranged parking for our motorcycles in Puno, in the backyard of a taxi driverhe knows and uses to arrange for transport for his guests. After parking the bikes and re-packing for a few days off the bikes and on a lake, we were shuttled i to a dock and picked up by Cesar in his boat for transport to the island.

    Over the two days, we had a boat ride in Cesar's traditional reed boat, given a motor-boat tour of the floating island village (I guess that's what to call it!), and learned how the islands are made, how they are maintained, and the traditional way the Uros made a living (but today tourism is a large part of their livelihoods, from what we saw). A few facts that stood out: An island has a useful life of about 40 to 50 years. During the dry season, the entire surface of the island is replenished with a new layer of reeds every two weeks, but in the wet season, once a week.

    Cesar also arranged a day trip for us to another (real, tera firma) island on Titicaca, Isla Taquile. Lake Titicaca is huge! I had no idea. It was over an hour by boat to Isla Taquile, but if you look at a map of the lake, it looks like it is just off shore. The peoples of Taquile are a different ethnic group from the Uros, and historically did not speak the same language. The actual time on the island was short - maybe two hours - then back to the boats for the long ride back.

    And did I say - Lake Titicaca is HUGE! And beautiful.

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    Carol on Cesar and Lucy's Island. 20191016_161932.jpg
    The first evening, Cesar took us for a ride around the lake on his traditional reed boat. The couple in the foreground were from Italy, recently married and TOTALLY loving Cesar and Lucy's little boy. They had "will have children soon" written all over them (and she said as much later). Was fun to watch them.
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    A grebe is a grebe even if you give it a Quechuan name! Lots of waterfowl on Lake Titicaca, and hunting and collecting duck eggs is part of the traditional way of life for the Uros.
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    Inside our room. It was quite comfortable - it had a wooden floor, and a LP gas heater with no vent (!) that I would only dare to light while we were still awake. But there were enough blankets to keep us warm, and the view out the window was spectacular.
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    This long row of huts is made of a string of floating islands, all loosely anchored together. This is what I meant by "floating Island Village" for lack of a better word. When you are on one of the islands, it becomes very clear that it is isolated from the others - you might jump between if you were lucky, but they are not really one contiguous island - it is a series of small islands bound together.
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    I asked Cesar if that was a traditional boat - he said "No - only for tourists" One interesting fact Cesar told me about the reed boats is that today, they all are made with a core of empty plastic soda bottles. He said this extends the life of the boat to several years compared to a 100% reed boat.
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    And this island has no connection to the Uro. It is a corporate tourist attraction Today the Uro govern their territory and you cannot make an island without the consent of the president (an elected position), but these were created before that arrangement. Each island has a president as well, a rotating position that last for a year. The island president is responsible for that year to bring the needs of his island to the assembly made of all the island presidents, presided over by the elected president.

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    Tourism may pay much of the bills, but the islands still must be maintained, and we saw lots of boats bringing in reeds. It is a constant chore - never ending.
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    The view from Cesar and Lucy's island.

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    Carol enjoyed talking with Lucy about her life, children and her craft work. Very friendly people.
  6. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Here are pictures from our day trip to Taquile Island.

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    On our boat part way through the hour and a half ride to Taquile, looking back towards Puno. It is a big lake.

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    When we got to Taquile, there is one dock that one boat can pull up to. Then as the other tour boats come in, they just tie up to the boat next to them. To get to the dock, we had to walk over all these boats. DSC05645.JPG
    Taken from Taquile. Can you see the shore in the distance? Bareley! And this is looking across a "short" segment of the lake (towards Puno). Big lake.

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    After getting off the boat, we did a pretty serious hike up to the top of the island. It is a tall, cone-shaped sort of island, and we had to climb over a 1000 feet in elevation to get to our lunch. And this is at high elevation - Lake Titicaca has a surface elevation of 12,500'. But Carol and I had been at high elevation for weeks by this time and were reasonably acclimated - so we enjoyed the fact that we made the climb to the top quicker and easier than some much younger people who had just gotten off the plane the day before :-) Not a fair fight, but we'll take it.

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    After lunch we walked down and around the island to another dock, where our boat was waiting. The use of terraced farming is ancient and found everywhere in South America, even on the islands.

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    She's too good for me :-) Don't tell.

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    At the end of the day, we were brought back to the reed islands and deposited in front of a church. I sent Cesar a message by WhatsApp, and he came and got us. Then we went back to his island to retrieve our luggage, and then back to the dock at Puno where the taxi was waiting to take us to our motorcycles. I cannot say enough about the hospitality and service that Cesar and his wife provided.
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  7. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Since we were getting back to Puno late (due to day trip to Taquile), I figured we'd just get a hotel in Puno. I found one that was only a mile or so from the place we had parked the motorcycles while we we out on the reed island. Should be easy, right? Puno! It was around 5:00 PM, and raining pretty hard. Google showed a straightforward route up the hill from the docks where we were parked (there had to be a steep hill involved). The route showed us going up to town square , and then making one or two turns, and we are there.

    But it didn't go that way - and if you have the patience to read this, there is a joke of sorts near the end.

    It took about two hours to go that mile or so. Total gridlocked traffic - so true to Peru, drivers don't think about the impact to everyone else when they drive into an intersection knowing they are going to block traffic. It is totally consistent with the "me first" attitude that is the basis of all Peruvian driving habits. We sat for countless minutes, just sitting in the rain, watching the lights cycle, with no one moving. Then we get within a few hundred meters of the hotel and ... the road is blocked, with a big blue tarp. And one guy is parked with the rear of his car out in the middle of the road (with plenty of room to do otherwise), and as I squeeze by, my left pannier taps his bumper. I stop because of the blue tarp, and he comes over to me and insists I have scratched his car.

    At this point I have lost Carol back at the intersection, and our intercoms are out of range, it is pitch dark and pouring rain (we are suited up). I somewhat angrily told the driver that he could have moved a meter and been out of the road - but Peruvian drivers park where it is convenient for them - it is all consistent. And at the end of the day, I made the decision to squeeze by him and I tapped him, that's a fact. So I'm standing there with this guy looking at his bumper, and he tries to find the scratch, and has a hard time finding any (he was sort of surprised - almost panicked, lol). Then he takes his shirt sleeve and buffs the bumper, and points to some small scratches. So I think, ok: I know I did tap his bumper, maybe there is some small scratch, it is pouring rain, we've been sitting in this traffic for over an hour, and Carol is back a block away (I think) not knowing what is going on, and this guy wants money. It is worth it for me at this point to pay him off so I can get back to the chore of trying to find our (nearby but apparently so so far away) hotel. I tell him "I'll give you $40 US dollars", which is very generous given local standards and exchange rates - it is the "take this and leave me alone" offer.

    Punch line: After telling him I'd give him $40USD, he says to me, "No, quiero 50/s" ("No, I want 50 Peruvian Soles). This is where you laugh, btw.

    So I said "Esta bien!" and gave him the money.

    After paying him off, I got my bike turned around and made it to where Carol was waiting. She had pulled off on the side of the street, and there was room for me to park as well. We talked and decided that she would stay there with the bikes, while I walked to the hotel. On my short walk there, I realized that some of the streets Google wanted us to turn on were pedestrian-only streets! At the hotel, they offered to have one young man go back with me, and he would escort us to the parking garage. This poor guy walked while we rode (barely moving - still gridlock). He stood on the sidewalk while we waited in traffic, in the pouring rain, jogging to keep ahead of us when we finally were able to move, gesticulating with his hands to tell us which way to go. And the route he led us on was round-about; it took us another 30 minutes to get there. We would have been circling that hotel for another hour or more on our own!

    But we did arrive, and we gave the young man that got us there a healthy tip (he earned it!). After getting our luggage to our room and ourselves out of our wet gear, we walked out of the hotel into the lovely pedestrian-friendly center of town, where we found a nearby dive-bar/pizzaria, where they were playing classic American and British rock videos on the large screen TV. We had a couple of pisco sours and a pizza, and decided that if we put the travails of the past several hours out of mind, we could imagine that Puno could be a nice place to spend a few days. If only.

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  8. pmmitchell

    pmmitchell n00b

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    "No, I want 50 Peruvian Soles" About 15 USD. Such a deal! Really enjoying your trip, photos/vids and narratives.
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  9. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Thanks pmmitchel! The likes and comments are an encouragement to keep it up - much appreciated.
  10. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I had a street beggar in Nassau, Bahamas one time who wouldn't take Canadian cash - right in front of a Bank of Nova Scotia branch where he could convert it to US cash. What can you do?
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  11. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    From Puno we headed to the border crossing at Yunguyo (Peru) with two nights booked in Copacabana at the Yunguyo crossing. This is the more direct crossing if you are going to Copacabana, and was reportedly much more laid back compared to the Desaguadero crossing, which is where you'd probably cross if headed directly to La Paz.

    And boy - "..more laid back.." hardly does it justice. Yunguyo was THE MOST laid back, casual, friendly, quick and easy border crossing we have done this entire trip! It was so causal, friendly, quick, etc., that I wrote to Chris and Sharon Struna (fellow riders that have shown up in this report several times) saying; "I almost wanted to turn around and do it a second time!". Almost

    We were literally the only people crossing the border, and we just walked right up to the immigration and aduana (customs) desks at both borders, no waiting. The only interesting, and in retrospect foretelling event of that crossing happened when we were in the no-man's land between borders, after checking out of Peru but before entering Bolivia. The Bolivian aduana officer walked out to where we were parking, and proceeded to tell us that the presidential elections for Bolivia were the next day, and that due to this, their was a one-day moratorium on traffic; no one was to be allowed on the roads the day of the election. "Odd", I thought - but we had already reserved two days in Copacabana and were not planning to ride anywhere on that day in any case. In informed him of this and he said "Ok", and we proceeded to check into the country.

    Note for any would-be travelers: For Bolivia you only get 30 days on your passport stamp at the border, which can be later extended for a maximum of 90 days. But you can get up to 90 days on your vehicle import permit (TIP) if you ask. We only planned for 3 weeks in Bolivia, so we asked for 60 days on the TIP so we'd have some buffer, just in case. Our USA Visas (which we procured at the embassy in Cusco) are valid for 10 years.

    After completing the border formalities (date stamp: October 19, 2019) we made the quick and easy ride to Copacabana and our hotel, the "Hotel Esteler del Lago". The parking was a block away but very secure, and the hotel is right on the waterfront with our window looking out over Lake Titicaca with beautiful views. Copacabana is unmistakably a tourist town, but this was not peak season, so it had a laid back sleepy feeling that I'm sure is different when the hotels are at capacity and the place is buzzing.

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    Immigration on Peru side - two windows were staffed, no one in line, so we were processed in paralell, one of us at each window. A very quick flip-flip through the passports, "stamp" and we were out. It was similar at the other stops (Peru aduana, Bolivian immigration and aduna).

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    All checked out of Peru, the friendly officer has swung open the gate for us to enter no-mans land.

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    This is taken from no-man's land, facing the Bolivian exit "gate", which was much less formal than the Peruvian gate; just a grouping of orange cones. Note the absence of crowds. There was a "siesta" like atmosphere to the whole place. Dogs sleeping on the sidewalks (look in the far foreground of this picture for one), and even some people nodding off in chairs.
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    Lake Titicaca! We took a walk one day around the hill on the north side of Copacabana and got some beautiful views of the lake.
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    Church in the town square, Copacabana. There is an odd tradition here: They have a section of the street right in front of the church marked off, with a sign that instructs you what days and hours you can come to have your car blessed. Apparently this is a thing. Peru needs this more than Bolivia!
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    Can you see the shore on the far side of Titicaca? No, you can not! Have I mentioned that Lake Titicaca is huge? And the water is so blue - it reminded us both of Lake Tahoe at the California/Nevada border, and Crater Lake in Oregon.

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    View of Copacabana, looking south, taken from our hike around the mountain to the north.

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    Copacabana, looking north. The mountain in the background is the one we hiked around, completely circumventing the base. There is a cemetery on the top of the mountain, but we were to beat to make the hike up to the top after our hike around the base.
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    Sunset - taken just in front of our hotel.
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  12. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    After we got to Copacabana, I started reading up on the presidential election and the political situation in Bolivia. Here is a short summary (this is important to our trip and rest of our stay in Bolivia):

    The current President, Evo Morales, has been president for three five-year terms and was looking for a fourth. He is the countries first indigenous president; he was a coca farmer and union leader before he was elected president. There is a constitutional term limit for president that would have blocked his seeking a fourth term, but he floated a voter referendum to change that, having promised to abide by the will of the people as regraded the vote. But the vote came back to keep the term limit, and rather than accept that he went to the supreme court (which after nearly 15 years he has reportedly stacked with his appointees) and they ruled that this term-limit violated his personal rights as a citizen, and he ran for the fourth term as a result of that verdict.

    This vote was a three-way race, and by Bolivian voting law, the winner would need either a clear majority (>50%), OR have 10% more votes than the nearest opponent.

    Lastly you need to understand the political landscape, geographically. In the rural areas, Evo has strong support. From what we saw I would say it borders on adoration. He is their savior - they feel he understands them and he has catered to their needs over the years. As you drive on the highways and byways, you see pro-Evo signs and an almost Che-like visage of him painted on the mountain sides, on houses, on the roads, just everywhere. But in the cities he is more or less reviled. The sings about Evo in the cities paint him as a dictator, suppressor of democracy, and some things not quotable in polite company. It is a very polar situation, and if it is sounding familiar (but somewhat more extreme) to politics in the USA; yeah - it is duly noted and frighteningly so. Oh - and Evo communicates to his supporters using Twitter. And he has built a museum of his own accomplishments - his nickname among his detractors is "Ego".

    The day of the election I was watching the news on-line as the vote totals came in. In the early evening, as the votes came in, Evo had less than 50% of the vote, and only a 6-7% lead over his closest opponent. So when a friend texted me asking if I was worried about possible violence as a result of the vote, I said "No - it is CLEARLY headed for a run-off in December, so between now and then there will be politicking, but I wouldn't expect violence.

    Then - the next morning, everything has changed. Sometime in the night after I quit following, the elections office abruptly, with no explanation, stopped updating the vote count. 24 hours later, they updated the new totals and suddenly Evo had picked up the 3 or so percent he needed to be just over (a fraction of a percent over) the 10% gap he needed to avoid a runoff (though he still had less than 50%).

    And then the shit did more or less hit the fan, but gradually, and it has slowly escalated ever since. It started out with mostly peaceful protests, and a lot of road blockades. But the situation has grown more violent over time. People have died in clashes between pro- and anti-Evo factions. After we left, just a few days ago, the pro-Evo mayor from the small town of Vinto was dragged barefoot through the streets, her hair cut off and then doused with red paint, to cries of "murderess" from the mob. This was because a student had died the day before in a confrontation between the people of Vinto (anti-Evo) and Evo supporters that were reportedly bused-into the city by the mayor to overtake and remove a blockade setup by the people in the city. Just an example.

    That needed to be laid out to understand our time in Bolivia. It was the backdrop. We probably should have turned around from Copacabana and gone back to Peru - but as I said, things escalated gradually, and in the first few days after the election, it didn't seem unreasonable to continue on to La Paz, so that is what we did.

    _109567262_mediaitem109567253.jpg
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  13. Ohio_Danimal

    Ohio_Danimal If I die trying, at least I tried Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    3,457
    Location:
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (The Crooked River)
    Glad you two made it out ok Jim
  14. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Oddometer:
    834
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Wow... the climate in SA is way different than it was last year. You guys be safe and adventure on!
  15. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    464
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Indeed! Not what we expected. I sure appreciated your ride report from last year - it has been very helpful. But nothing prepared us for the civic unrest we've experienced. But it is still all good in the balance. No regrets, and we are so glad we are on this journey.
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  16. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
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    San Jose, CA
    Thanks Daniel - it is a relief. We feel so bad for the Bolivian people, but it isn't our fight, and it is good to be out of there!
  17. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Here is our route from Cusco to Copacabana, including our forays to the floating islands and Isla Taquila.

    Cusco to Copacabana.jpg
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  18. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
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    464
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    San Jose, CA
    After four nights in Copacabana, we headed to La Paz. While we were in Copacabana, Marvin (he of the Cusco guitar lessons) caught up with us, and we agreed to try and re-unite in La Paz, so he and I could ride the Death Road together; Carol was not that interested :-)

    The route from Copacabana to La Paz takes you across a short ferry ride. The views of the mountains and the lake along the ride to the ferry are stunning, and there are several miradors (vista points) along the way. The ferry transit is straightforward, except for the deck of the ferry itself. For a motorcycle, it is a bit challenging - the deck boards are somewhat iffy, and there are big gaps where you would definitely not want to drop one of your wheels.

    I wasted some time at the ferry dock trying to find where to buy a ticket - you do not buy a ticket! You just pull up in front of the ferry that is currently loading, and watch for the directions from the man that is loading it - he will signal for you to board. After you are under way, you pay the man on the boat (I forget the fare, but it wasn't much).

    20191023_102754.jpg
    The views along the route to the ferry were amazing - a wonderful ride.
    DSC05680.JPG Zoom shot of the Andes behind Lake Titicaca.

    DSC05681.JPG
    Sketchy ferry platform. I rode both bikes on, and off, the platform - saved Carol the stress. When we got to the other side, they pushed me backwards off the deck onto the loading ramp. Was quite the adrenaline rush, but I managed to not drop either bike. When Marvin crossed a few days later and they tried to do the same, he had the sense to say "No!" and waited until other vehicles had unloaded and then turned around (still not easy on this deck) and went off facing forwards.

    DSC05685.JPG
    Picture of another ferry going opposite direction as we crossed, to give a sense of the size. They were all the same.

    Attached Files:

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  19. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    VA
    Happy you are underway Jim. BTW Morales has just resigned after the heads of the army and police stepped away from him. At least he had sufficient civic interest in the country to step down, or so it would seem...….time will tell.

    Anyway, you are in a better place I feel.

    T2
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  20. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Jan 4, 2014
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    464
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    I just now saw those headlines! I really did not expect that. I hope Bolivia can now move forward in an orderly, productive and democratic fashion!
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