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Old 01-17-2013, 09:14 PM   #3
huzar OP
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Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 - Arequipa to Nazca

I manage to get out pretty early. I have a long day ahead of me, as it is about 350miles from Arequipa to Nazca, where I will finally meet up with Hewby. I am on the road at 7:30, before the city traffic picks up. Navigating out of the city isn’t bad, and I am soon on 30, heading towards the Panamericana. The landscape is surreal – rocky desert, with moutains in the distance. Behind me, Misti and the other volcanoes that tower over Arequipa emerge from their cloud cover to send me on my way. The views soon take a back seat to the idiot minibus drivers that ferry tourists on various treks in the vicinity. They tailgate me, seem genuinely annoyed if I try to take up anything more than the rightmost part of the lane, and generally drive like assholes. Fortunately, most of them split away to their destinations, which do not lie in the direction of Camana. The road is windy, and large trucks often gum up traffic as they crawl up the steep slopes. I soon realize that speed limits are merely advisory. I still do not understand why they bother to place “No Passing” signs everywhere, which are then routinely ignored by everyone. I start ignoring them as well.

IMG_2284 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Somewhere between Arequipa and Camana

IMG_2282 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The environment slowly changes, the rocks and mountains giving way sand and dunes. I can see why they just ran the Dakar through here a few days earlier – those dunes are enormous. Eventually, I start to spy glimpses of the gray Pacific in the distance. The temperature rises as I finally drop down towards the coast. Noticing some shacks and beach umbrellas, I pull over in search of food. I left Arequipa on an empty stomach, so it was time. I order some ceviche and wash it down with a large Callao Pilsner, and then continue on to Nazca.

Dropping down to Canama

IMG_2287 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The beach scene in Camana. I think the KLR improves the view:

IMG_1232 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Ceviche on the beach:

IMG_1233 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The road is winding, climbing up into the hills and dropping back down towards the ocean in sinuous, undulating curves and swoops. It feels a bit like riding Route 1 down the California coast, except the landscape is barren, devoid of almost all traces of vegetation or animal life.

Near Ocono I am passed by seven big Colombian bikes and I fall in line after them. I am thinking about fuel, having gone ~150 miles. The KLR has no low fuel light, and I do not have a good idea of its range. Chasing the Colombians for about 50 miles, I finally catch up to them when they stop for a photo op. We chat insofar as my crappy Spanish allows me to carry on a conversation. I ask them if they know where the next gas is, and am told that it is in Chala, about 60 miles north. Crap. I’ve now gone almost 200 miles, and I’m not sure if the reserve will get me that far. They wish me good luck and take off for Nazca. Fortunately, the Colombians are wrong about the gas situation, as 10 miles later I enter the town of Atico, and they have gasolina.

The Colombians:

IMG_2292 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Fishing boats somewhere near Atico:

IMG_2291 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Fueled up, I press on to Chala. The road changes again… it flattens out and becomes straight. I pin the throttle, and the mighty KLR slowly builds up to about 85mph. I stop in Chala for a jugo, and get an email from Hewby that she’s aready in Nazca at the hotel. The last miles pass quickly. The road is mostly straight and flat, and for the last 50 miles veers away from the coast and into the desert. Hewby has been tracking my progress and greets me at the curb of the hotel as I pull up. Success.

Pulling up to the hotel in Nazca:

8388702794_30e2f61dae_o by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

huzar screwed with this post 01-19-2013 at 08:36 AM
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