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Old 02-11-2010, 10:26 AM   #11
Trailblazer OP
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Oddometer: 246
Notes from the 1st loop thru the Andes, Jan 2003

Echarate, 25 km from Quillabamba, and the bridge over the Urubamba. Still following the Urubamba.

Chahures, 48 km from Quillabamba. Linda and her cute shoes. We had no riding gear so we did the best we could, wrapping her socks and shoes in plastic.

Jan 5, 2003. The rain slowed down in humid Quillabamba by 11am and we managed to be on the road by noon. We took the "scenic" route home, which was also the long way. The rain caused all the rivers coming off the mountains to rise, so we had to cross lots of streams without bridges, in some of them the water waked up to our thighs. There was one place (Quellouno) where no cars/buses were crossing because the rain had not only made the river high but it had also washed down a ton of gravel. Motorcycles could still cross, however. Linda dismounted and I gave it the gas and charged across amid cheers from the sidelines. There were lots of people and vehicles there, waiting. The police too. Later, we learned that a bus had been swept off the road just there, and rolled down the hill. I guess that's why the police.

What a mess! Linda being escorted across the washed out road outside of Quellouno. Later we learned a bus had been swept away from this very spot earlier the same day.

High in the Andes after Dark
Needless to say we got pretty wet and muddy. And we were climbing towards another 14,400 foot pass. The higher we got, the colder it got, plus it was getting later and later in the afternoon (and colder still) and we were a looong way from Cuzco. I couldn't believe the road. Single lane dirt and rock hugging cliffs for hours. It was the coolest motorcycle trip I've EVER taken, and I've done a few. Incredible scenery, lush vegetation, waterfalls coming off the mountains everywhere.

At one point there was a big waterfall that fell crashing right on the road. There was no way around, you had to drive straight thru it. Now we were totally drenched. Then the chain fell off the bike. We put it back on. It got dark. The headlight was bad. The road was slippery and I couldn't see more than 10 feet ahead. Then fog. What else, I’m asking?

We were looking for a little town, Manto, we hoped to stop at. We stopped at some houses in the dark (no electricity) and asked directions from some Indians.
We had passed Manto.
Well, we'd passed it up without ever seeing it so I guess there wasn't much there.

The Indians told us it was half an hour more to the next town, Amparaes. We putt-putted on, very slowly to Ampares, feeling my way around blind curves and along abysses.

Of course, there was not much in Amparaes, a few lights, some buildings. I found an Indian hotel (kind of like some beds in an extra room in somebody’s house). We had to walk thru a improvised video movie theater to get to the room.

Humble but appreciated lodging in Amparaes

Poor Linda was so frozen that she began shaking uncontrollably. Her feet were frozen (wet tennis shoes, wet cotton socks plus cold air and wind). She could barely walk and made funny gulping noises when she tried to talk. The owner of the "hotel" jumped to take care of us. He and the unseen women backing him up brought boiling water and plastic tubs to our room. I added cold water until the temperature was tolerable and bathed her feet in it. She was really shaking. I got her out of her wet clothes and into dry long johns, sweaters, wool socks, etc, then put her to bed and piled on the blankets. The owner (Sr Ramos) delivered hot tea in a thermos, then thick hot soup. What an experience.

Our Amparaes hosts

Trailblazer screwed with this post 02-12-2010 at 03:22 AM
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