Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Houston, TX
The KTM dealership did a great job of putting our bikes back into top working order. They washed then completely and check all fluids and did whatever routine service was required. They cleaned and oiled the chain and sprocket so that they looked new again. The bikes were ready Thursday morning as promised. I have to give a big thanks to the dealership for taking care of us so well and especially to Jesķs Paredes who went well above and beyond what would be required or even expected to see that we had a place to stay and knew how to get to and from places in Lima. It is workers like him that make a business successful.
After picking up the bikes we headed south along the coast out of Lima. What we found was pretty much the same as what we found north of Lima. There were mountains to the east and some rolling hills along the coast but most of all was a vast desert. In most places it was mile after mile of drifting sand. The ocean looked inviting but we knew it was cold because of the cold wind blowing in off of the sea. We found that we had to keep our jacket liners on and everything zipped up tight because of the cold along the coast. For most of the way to Pisco the road was four lane divided and traffic was light. The road was in super condition and we could easily have done well over the speed limit. We have tried to keep our speeds to the set limit which is either 90 or 100 kpm (56 mph to 62 mph) because one we donít want to get stopped and two we are doing our best to conserve our rear tires by keeping the speed down.
If you are ever looking for it, here's what the KTM Dealer in Lima looks like.
It is large inside and this is just one of the two arched buildings. Lots of parts too.
Here is a photo of Jesķs Paredes who had dinner with us and was most helpful at the dealers.
We stopped in Pisco because it was a reasonable distance from Lima and we were not sure exactly where we needed to go to book a flight over the Nasca Lines. Pisco is actually about 3 Ĺ hours north of Nasca and we found out that to fly over the lines we needed to get to the Nasca airport. We were able to book a flight from our hotel by having someone from one of the sightseeing services visit us and set up a reservation. Our cost was $110 US each. It seems like a lot but we had come a long way to see them and we gladly parted with our dollars. Our only concern was we paid in advance and we had to get to the airport the next day by around 11:30 to make our flight.
Not a lot to see on the way to Pisco but more sand. One thing that one sees a lot of before and after cities are little huts built with grass matts. Nothing else, just little huts in the sand.
We left our hotel early and started our ride to Nasca airport. The ride wasnít eventful and the scenery was just about what we had seen for the last several hundred miles. The biggest change was the highway switches to two lane and once it turns inland the temperature rises. There really isnít much to see along the coast and even inland it was more of the same with an occasional irrigated field of grapes, sugarcane or some crops I didnít recognize. However, one should expect to encounter towns that arenít really listed on the GPS maps that go on for miles. The towns were our only slowdown and we made it to the Nasca airport around 10:30 and they quickly moved us to a flight that left around 11:30.
The Nasca airport is a small airport that appears to be primarily for use by tourists flying over the Nasca Lines. When we pulled up a lady came out and called us by name so they had expected the two giant gringos on the motos. While I was waiting in the lobby some people came up and wanted their photograph made with me because I was about twice their height. We are truly giants in their land. The airport personnel quickly processed us through and after paying a $25 airport tax, being weighed to see that we didnít exceed the planes capacity and going through security we were led to our plane by the copilot. There were four of us, two small women (I guess they countered our weight) and the two giants.
After squeezing into the plane we were off to see the Nasca Lines. We didnít have to fly far because they are only a few miles outside of town. We were given a paper that showed each thing we would see and the location and order of our flight. The plane would go over each item tilted to either the left or right and then circle back and tilt the plane the other way so those on the other side of the plane could get a good view. It all went by pretty quickly, all 14 figures I think, and the total time in the air was only about 35 minutes. But, as far as I was concerned 35 minutes was adequate. The day was hot and windy with lots of updrafts and with the plane constantly circulating back and tilting one way and then the other, I was feeling like I needed my feet back on the ground. I took several photographs but with all the bouncing around of the plane and trying to frame them on a small viewing window, I didnít get as many good shouts as I would have liked. There is a tower along the highway where one can look, but only two small figures are visible from it and they are not easily identified from the low tower advantage either. All in all, I feel like the flight was worth it but I wouldnít do it again. If there was a way I would really like to be able to walk some of them but thatís probably not possible.
Only this one photo of the Humming Bird because there are lots of them out there, but this does show I was there.
As we left Nasca and headed to Puquio we rose high into the Andes Mountains. From Nasca it took about 40 kilometers to reach a height of 14,960 feet. There was a high plane where sheep, alpacas and llamas were grazing along with their protective dogs and a few shepherds. It was probably 15 or 20 miles across the high plane before we began our decent. We encountered several indigenous peoples that were tending their flocks. There would often be people sitting along the road miles from any structure or other people. The temperature dropped to 38 degrees F and it was quite cold riding before I finally stopped and put my heated jacket liner on. The weather was mostly overcast with a few patches of rain and even one place where there was small BB sized hail that turned the road white but wasnít a problem riding. The highway was in great condition but if one doesnít like curvy roads, they had better stay away from these mountains because other than the fairly straight road on the high planes there is virtually no straight road and one is either ascending or descending with some very tight corners. We found a decent hotel on the town square and the owner put up a ramp so we could ride our bikes into an extra room on the lower floor.
On the high planes there were livestock pens made of rocks.
There was a large lake at almost 15,000 feet.
Large flocks of sheep, llama and alpaca were grazing on the highlands.
Not too much to say about Abancay. It was a reasonable sized city, much larger than what was shown on our maps, and a place where we met a fellow biker, Will, there that was doing some traveling about in South America. We had dinner with him and as is always the case, got as much information from him as possible about places he had been where we wanted to also visit. It seems as though we meet someone every place we go that has some information to share with us. We have never run into unfriendly people and everyone is helpful. For instance, when we arrived in Abancay we couldnít find the hotel we were looking for. Joe asked a taxi driver if he knew and he said to follow him and took us to it. Nothing asked for by the driver either.
Ollantaytembo 10/28 10/29
To avoid having to stop and put on rain gear or cold weather gear, we decided to put it on before we left. It always seems warm when getting ready to go but quickly cools when we go up into the mountains. Most of the cities we have been in other than the coastal ones are close to 9,000 feet in elevation. No air-conditioning in the hotels and heavy wool blankets on the beds. Once out of the city we were quickly up above 12,000 feet and glad for our cold weather gear. But, go another 75 k and we drop down into a long river valley where itís hot. So, we stop and take off our extra things. Then we rise up again and it gets cooler and when we turn off on a gravel road to cut across to the highway to Ollantaytembo, it begins to rain. Somehow gravel roads seem to always bring out the rain for us. Fortunately the rain only went on for 30 or 40 minutes and the road never got too muddy. I did have a little encounter with a bull while riding through one small village on the gravel road. Joe had just passed the bull and as I approached the bull started to bellow and when I got close it put its head down and charged me. It was time for me to crank open the throttle and while he got close to my left side, I got just out of his reach. I donít know what Joe said to the bull, but it seemed to have pissed him off.
Ollantaytembo is the very small town that is the crossest to Machu Picchu and we are staying here one night (Sunday), taking the train to Aguas Calientes (Monday), and then visiting Machu Picchu the next day (Tuesday). By taking the train and staying the night in Aguas Calientes we will be able to get up early on Tuesday and beat the crowds to Machu Picchu. We will then take the train back in the late afternoon to Ollantaytembo where we will spend the night (Tuesday) before heading to Cusco on Wednesday. The town seems to be here for the tourists and also has some ruins that one can hike up to and walk around on one side of the town.
Last night in Ollantaytembo was an interesting one. There was some kind of celebration going on and it included lots of locals. We had noticed that there was something going on in the town square because when we arrived there were people setting up sound systems, stages and bleachers in the middle of the street. Later as we ate dinner we say several floats going past. The floats were shaped like rocks and had people on them dressed as Inca warriors and kings. Once we finished dinner we went to the square and got a seat on the bleachers and watched for a while. There was a lot of music and singing and drinking. From what we could find out the celebration was to mark some anniversary and the intent was to drink as much as possible. Not being local, we decided that drinking all night wasnít necessary for us and left after about 45 minutes. Joe went to the square (only a block from our hotel) this morning to see if he could get some coffee and there were still some folks left, but they were not in too good of shape.
We're getting close to the mountains where Machu Picchu is located.
We made it to Ollantaytembo which is the closest one can drive/ride to access Machu Picchu.
The locals are starting to fill the stands that were added to the side of the plaza. Between them and the stage that is across from them, the floats and parade took place. However, from time to time trucks and other traffic would also pass through as all shared the narrow streets.
Here are some of the locals as well as a few tourists.
"Right is still right if nobody is right, and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong," ~Archbishop Fulton J Sheen
Cisco_k screwed with this post 11-02-2012 at 12:37 PM