From the moment I crossed the Ecuadorian border into Peru, I could feel the mad dash was on. I needed to make it to Arequipa by Jan, 16. The roads through lush equadorian highlands, once twisted, now straightended for miles and miles through flat Peruvian desert.
First night in Peru, I could feel a difference of environment, I wasn't as safe as I was in Ecuador. At this point I was really thankful for riding with a male companion (Ulyses). It wasn't just that the policia officer wanted a kiss for a needed stamp on my paperwork because mi novio no esta aqui, men as a whole were more aggressive here. And my feelings were confirmed by the campestre we stayed at...it was the height of Mango picking season, so watch your shit.
Sand dunes raised high above our thumping motorcycles, pushing 300+ miles/day. Peru is bigger than I gave it credit.
We decided to fit in quick detour, riding down Canon del Pato, along Death Valley-esque landscapes.
It was one of the most spectacular roads in Peru.
It was also where we found the necessity for the signs to honk before entering the tunnels... my heart was definitely beating hard when pinned between a tunnel wall and massive work truck.
The road let out to a bustling mountain town of Huaraz (about 10,000ft), surrounded by the snow-capped Cordilla Blanca.
I could have stayed there longer with friendly people, good food and beautiful scenery. But I needed to keep moving.
Passing more miles of desert and crops where crops shouldn't be grown:
We found the beach town of Huanchaco had its charm and an amazing suset...
Riding down in elevation to sea level, my bike began running like crap again. I have been chasing a carburator air/fuel mixture promblem since Mexico. It chugs, but not all the time. So I tried different octane of gasohol (they cut all thier gasoline with ethanol) which I thought was the culprit, but alas, no... (more on the next post)
Next we headed to Lima for a little bike maintenance. I was having charging issues, so would find my bike unable to start at really inopportune times - I got really good at parking it at the tops of hills. The guys at the shop were very friendly and helpful, and even gave Oscar a wash (probably the first time in a over a year).
Unfortunately, they didn't have the part I needed at a reasonable price (I wasn't going to pay $360 for a voltage regulator in Peru when it costs $99 in the states and I was able to kindly have one brought to me in Arequipa.) So they sent me on my way, all shiny and clean.
But not before introducing us to the local mercado for lunch. Which is what I think did me in. The words of the lady who tended the hostel in Cuenca, Ecuador still rings in my ears... don't drink the water in Peru, not even the juice. But the juice looked so refreshing during the hot Lima days. I wish I would have listened.
I headed off solo for my date, Two more days of riding Peruvian coastline that reminded me of home in California.
Up next...Arequipa and beyond.