I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there is nothing quite like riding a motorcycle long distances.
You become part of your surroundings, experiencing the changes in road surfaces, air temperature, weather and wind in a way you don't when in a bus or other vehicle.
Like a turtle, everything you need is with you, compactly put away with little room for anything extra.
When you decide to stop, finding a safe place for your bike is as important as finding a place for yourself to sleep.
It was amazing to be back on the road. It got very cold for part of the ride, but I was so happy to be moving on finally that I didn't mind.
- Ryan and Arun waiting for me to join them at the gas station in Cusco.
That first day back on the road Ryan, Arun and I rode to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. Cricket ran great, as long as I didn't push her too much in the thin air.
- Arun and Cricket, taking a break on the road to Puno.
We stopped for lunch in a small town where all the restaurants were closed because it was 3pm, in between lunch and dinner. We rode on and found lunch in a bigger town. Went we reached the hotel that had been suggested to Arun by some other bikers, they let us park right in the hotel lobby.
- Cricket settled in for the night with the sofa.
I was still feeling bad for leaving Phil, but the joy of being somewhere new, of seeing the huge expanse of Lake Titicaca, of being with new people, was helping make me feel better about my decision.
- Lake Titicaca
Allow me to introduce my new riding buddies:
- Ryan on the shore of Lake Titicaca
Ryan is 31 years old, from Massachusetts, and has been riding his 2011 KLR for the past seven months. He rode up to Alaska and has made his way down a lot quicker than Phil and I. In his previous career he built lasers. One day he might open a hostel for motorcycle travellers somewhere exotic.
- Arun playing his cool clarinet
Arun is 39 years old. He was born in India, but most recently lived in London, England. He is a photographer. He is filming his trip to make a documentary. He is riding a 2005 BMW 1150GS Adventure. He also went up to Alaska and is making his way down to Ushuaia. Arun plays the clarinet, and has a bamboo clarinet with him on his bike. In Cusco he had a map of the world tattooed on his back. Previously he has ridden motorcycles from London to India. He owns land in Italy.
People are endlessly fascinating, and I am incredibly lucky to have found some particularly great ones to travel with.
The next morning I wanted to go see Lake Titicaca's floating islands where the Uros people live. Ryan and Arun came with me to investigate tickets, but in the end Ryan wasn't feeling very well and so decided not to take the boat trip out to the islands.
- On the way to buy tickets we found some pigs on the railroad tracks
- At lunch before the boat ride, I was entranced by this elegant Peruvian lady.
Visiting the islands is very touristy, and there is some debate whether any of the people actually still live on them, but I still enjoyed myself.
- The boat we took to the floating islands
- Me and Arun standing on top of the boat
- The reeds they make the floating islands with
- A house on a floating island
- Uros handiwork (available for purchase of course) To the left you can see a section of the roots the islands float on.
- Near Puno part of the traditional dress is for women to have their hair in two braids with pom poms on the end.
- Me and my new "friend" Linda. She basically forced me to dress up like her, bit of a hard sell.
- Inside Linda's house
- This is what our guide called "the Mercedes Benz" of reed boats.
- After our boat trip, I wanted cake, so we took a bicycle rickshaw to a bakery.
That evening Josh, Jordon and Alan arrived from Cusco. Arun and I met them for dinner. They decided to go see the islands the next morning, so we planned to rendezvous across the border in Bolivia.