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Old 06-30-2011, 05:46 AM   #11
poolman OP
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Darnestown, MD
Oddometer: 754
Urubamba to the Abra Malaga Pass

In the morning I awoke with dry clothes and bedding for the first time in days. The fever was gone. I drank a liter of water, enjoyed a hot shower, and went to the main lodge for breakfast with Culin. The buffet appeared to be self-service, so I made a three egg omelet (duck eggs?), and consumed it along with bread, fruit, ham, yogurt, and another liter of water. I was famished and figured I could deal with the consequences later.

The view from the room:

As I was loading my bike, Culin and Juan suggested that since we were in such a beautiful place, we should consider taking a rest day. Clearly they were concerned about my health. It was a nice display of sympathy, but they were both relieved when I said I was feeling better and ready to ride.

Our route for the day:

We made a water stop at the touristy archeological site of Ollantaytambo.

The water/sanitation scheme is quite simple along the Urubamba River. Clean, fresh spring water emerges from the mountainside and is channeled through town in open troughs for human and livestock consumption. Sewage and waste are added as the water flows downstream and the polluted mess then dumps into the mighty Urubamba. Clearly it is beneficial to live upstream.

Good breathing at just 9,300 feet.

We would be traversing the Abra Malaga high mountain pass at more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Once a treacherous Andean crossing, the road has now succumbed to asphalt. Still, the riding is fantastic with one switchback after another. Our tires were somewhat squared when we picked up the bikes; we focused on properly rounding the sides on this leg of the trip.

Enjoying the twisties, we have climbed 5,000 vertical feet in just 90 minutes.

We reached the pass...

... And were greeted by a girl.

I can't imagine living in these conditions at over 14,000 feet elevation.

More to follow...
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