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Old 01-19-2013, 05:39 PM   #16
805gregg
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Great report, keep it comming.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:36 PM   #17
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Awesome!!

It's sure nice to have such great riding partners,eh?


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Old 01-21-2013, 01:56 PM   #18
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Thursday, January 17, 2013 – Cusco

We spent today in Cusco, not doing a heck of a lot. My stomach is still bothering me, as is the knee that I aggravated a few days ago. We toured the cathedral, got some lunch and napped. Also walked out to Wayna Capac to buy a new battery for the KLR, as the old one appears to be toast. Unfortunately, I forgot to retain the nuts for the battery terminal screws, so another trip to the moto shop is in order for tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll check out Sacsayhuaman tomorrow morning, and then head out to Ollantaytambo.

Chapel off the main plaza in Cusco:

IMG_2384 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Old doors to the Cathedral:

IMG_2385 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

There's no photography of any kind allowed in the Cathedral, so of course I had to take some pictures...

One can only imagine how much Inca gold was melted down to make this:

IMG_2386 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Another gilded altar:

IMG_2387 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

This is the central section of a huge altar carved out of cedar:

IMG_2389 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

An example of local custom influencing religious art... if you look closely, the meal served at the Last Supper portrayed in this painting is cuy (guinea pig):

IMG_2390 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The Incas were pretty good at carving rock. Their temples and palaces are made of granite which has been cut and polished to mate up perfectly with its neighbors. Here's a famous stone that has twelve sides:

IMG_2393 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A pedestrian alley near the plaza:

IMG_2394 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Lots of street dogs everywhere in Cusco. They're pretty mellow animals, and some manage to look quite distinguished:

IMG_2392 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr



And I'll leave you with another cool door. I like doors:

IMG_2396 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Late in the evening, four Argentinians roll in, soaked. They’re coming from Ushuaia and they too are heading to Ollantaytambo.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:06 PM   #19
enduro0125
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Very nice pictures!

Hope your ailments heal soon.

This guy in the middle looks familiar.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:15 AM   #20
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I'm enjoying your chase
We are having a good time with your riding buddies Sara & Dan here in Antigua .
All the best to both of you !
Great pics, BTW

Julio
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:31 AM   #21
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Did the lift the "No Photography" ban inside the church, or did you have to sneak the pictures?



Enjoying your report...
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:53 AM   #22
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Awesome!!!!! Really enjoyed the pics and hearing about your adventure. Sounds like so much fun. Safe journey.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:16 AM   #23
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Wicked RR. Really enjoying reading.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:56 PM   #24
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Marcin, I've decided we are not friends anymore. In fact I'm pretty sure I hate you. It started when your damned bike was so much prettier than mine.

And now this.

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Old 01-25-2013, 03:56 PM   #25
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Friday, January 18, 2013 – Cusco to Ollantaytambo

The day starts for me with a trip to the motorcycle shop where I got the battery last night. I got the terminal nuts and headed back. Hewby had in the meantime packed up the room, so that all that needed to be done was to button up the KLR and we could be on our way.

We head out to Ollantaytambo, bypassing Sacsayhuaman. The road is nice, and as we near Urubamba we drop down to the valley via some pretty twisties. We stop at a mirador and soak in the view before us. The brown river, the green valley and lower slopes, and for the first time on this trip for me, rocky, glacier-clad pinnacles.


DSC00869 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr


IMG_2400 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The mirador above the town of Urubamba:

IMG_2402 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Hewby looking lovely as ever:

IMG_2403 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

As we approach the bridge, we see traffic get very heavy. Lots of stopped minibuses, trucks, people with wheelbarrows. We soon see why. When we get to the bridge, we are told we cannot pass. Only pedestrians. They have put in bollards to keep vehicles from getting on the bridge. I think I’d have had to remove my side bags to fit between them. Eventually we are informed that if we’re going to Ollantaytambo, there is a road that heads out of Maras that will get us over the river.

The closed-off bridge:

IMG_2406 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Snow-covered peaks:

IMG_2407 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

We retrace our steps, and soon find ourselves in Maras. We head out on what we think is the road – a reasonable dirt tract – then turn around and head back, as we realize we’re riding in not quite the right direction. We then spot what we think is the right road, but it looks kind of muddy and tracked out. Hewby wants to go down it, I want to get gas, as the KLR has already done 165 miles since the last fillup. I think I can get gas in Huayllabamba, which is the road Google Maps had routed us through this morning. Only I didn’t see any other paved roads split off the 3S that we were on… Odd.

The nice dirt track heading out of Maras. I'm still not sure why I didn't want to go this way:

DSC00888 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

With my limited Spanish and bullheaded conviction that I want to get has in Huayllabamba, I pull a reluctant Hewby with me. There is a little village in which the tract to Huayllabamba originates, but we get conflicting inputs on which of the roads out of the village actually leads to Huayllabamba. We finally encounter a friendly man who first draws us a map, and then offers to show us the way. I ask him to hop on the back of the KLR, and we go where he points. He gets us out of the village, points down the tract, and tells us it is only about 8 kilometers. He assures us that the bridge in Huayllabamba is just fine, and we will have no problem getting across. We thank him profusely and start down the tract.

Hewby getting written directions from a local, before he hops on the back of my bike to show us the way:

IMG_2410 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The road is mostly a dual-track clay road. Given that this is the rainy season, some of the mud and clay is slick. Occasionally there are slides and small washouts, as well as lots of evidence of recent repairs. This gives us confidence that this is the right road, and that people actually use this. Somewhere we miss a turn.

The not quite as nice dirt track:

IMG_2412 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Me piloting Hewby's bike through a rougher section. Long legs FTW!

DSC00890 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Somewhere here we begin to lose the track, I think:

DSC00897 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

More rought stuff:

IMG_2414 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Hewby's relieved to have made it down that:

IMG_2416 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

We find ourselves on an ever rougher, ever narrower path. Hewby drops her bike a couple of times. With my longer legs, duck walking is the one type of motorcycle riding where I do better than she does. The single track eventually ends at the ruins of an old house, effectively cliffing out. Crap.

Scenic place for a dirt nap:

DSC00900 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

At the house remnants where the track cliffed out:

DSC00906 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Bringing the KLR around:

DSC00916 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Yay, backtracking:

DSC00918 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Riding past Hewby's downed bike:

DSC00921 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

At least the views are still pretty:

DSC00926 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

I look back, and see that way back there is a dual-track that heads down to the valley, and realize this is the turn-off we missed. I bring the bike around, help Hewby with hers, and we head back. We’re not looking forward to this, as the Pirelli MT60s on the KLR are not the best for wet clay, and Hewby’s front is getting kind of bare. We came down what seemed like some steep, slick stuff, and coming back up it would be a bear.

The ride back to the turn we missed actually starts to let me understand why the KLR is beloved by so many. Yeah, it’s not the perfect bike for anything, but five days earlier it did 85 on the pista, it did the twisties in the mountains, and now it is kind of managing the rough tract. My V-Strom would have schooled it on the road, my Husky would have schooled it in the dirt, but I can’t very well carry a trailer full of bikes. The geometry sort of fits me. I’m starting to like the bike. It just sort of chugs along. I point it, and like a tractor it goes.


IMG_2417 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Unfortunately, Hewby’s heavily loaded (and lowered) F650GS has a harder time of it. Hewby has a particularly unfortunate fall where she breaks the mirror mount (yet again), and shatters her newly installed windscreen. D’oh! I offer to ride her bike through the more difficult sections, and we move some of her luggage to my KLR. Riding her lowered bike I get a couple of painful reminders that duck walking a heavy bike with panniers through rocks is fraught with peril, as I nearly get my ankle trapped.

Man down, man down:

DSC00927 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

We find the missed turn, walk it a bit to confirm, and then head down. The road is once again a nice dual-track with sharp switchbacks. Hewby has another small get-off, but otherwise things are going well. We realize we’ve now been on this tract for over three hours, as we can see the shadows getting longer on the peaks across the river. Part of me does not care, as the view is gorgeous, with new snow-capped crags emerging from the mists.

Back on track:

IMG_2418 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Walking Hewby's bike down a section that has been torn up by a tractor or excavator:

DSC00951 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

I notice that the KLR is starting to handle like a pig, not tracking straight, sliding sideways on the switchbacks. Uh oh. My front is flat. Hewby offers to air it up, but I think I’ll be fine just kind of slowly rolling down the hill. Only now I try not to use the front brake, only the rear one, which is much harder to modulate. I have to fight the bike to go straight, but somehow we make it down to the bottom of the tract. There we have one last surprise. The tract ends in a stream. We can sort of skirt the left side of it through a rocky shelf, and then cross it and go up the dirt on the other side, and we’ll finally be in Huayllabamba. I take the KLR over, and Hewby asks me to take her bike across the rocks and the stream. We’re in town.

Bringing the KLR down to the crossing:

DSC00969 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The actual crossing. Looks pretty wimpy now, but we have had lots of practice since. Also, we were kind of knackered after our little ordeal, so it seemed biger than it was:

DSC00971 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

I use Hewby’s compressor to inflate the front tire, as we find out there is no llantaria in town. The nearest one is in Urubamba, right near the bridge (the same bridge that we had tried to cross much earlier in the day). The air holds for a bit, letting me get through the village. I have to reinflate again, which gets us to the pista and on to Urubamba. We find a shop that’s still open, and the man tells me he can fix it for 10 soles. Music to my ears. We find out that part of the support for the bridge has collapsed, and while they’re putting up a new one, the old one cannot support vehicle traffic. Of course there is absolutely no signage anywhere indicating that a major bridge on a major road is out.

We have another 13 miles to Ollantaytambo, which we risk in the dark. At one point a white dog runs out, I swerve to avoid him, but I’m pretty sure that the pickup that was tailgating me mowed him down. We get to town, to be greeted by Hewby’s favorite road surface – cobblestones. Hewby has the name and address of some Hostel, an we try to find that. We soon come to the realization that a lot of the “roads” are actually pedestrian-only alleys. We ask a policeman about the street, and he says it too is pedestrian-only. Hewby had previously spotted another Hostel, right by the little bridge in town. 60 Soles for the night, with nice, hot water, but somewhat weak wifi that only exists in the common areas. Given we feel pretty beat, we take it. They have room for our bikes in the courtyard. We shower, and go to the pizzeria next door for dinner. We’re tired and hungry and not really caring about an authentic experience – we just want some food. The place works.

I never did need the gas. I switched on the reserve a couple of miles outside of Ollantaytambo. Which probably means my gas worries about the dirt tract out of Maras were unfounded. It likely would have been easier to navigate than the one we went on, and would have gotten us here sooner. So I dragged Hewby through some rough stuff, causing her to break a few things on her bike for no good reason. Sometimes I can be a pretty pig-headed boyfriend.

huzar screwed with this post 01-30-2013 at 05:10 PM Reason: fixing pictures
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:03 PM   #26
chabon
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Oh man, don't stop now. What a cliffhanger. I will keep hitting refresh until you post again. Liking your report......
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:19 PM   #27
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Quote:
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Oh man, don't stop now. What a cliffhanger. I will keep hitting refresh until you post again. Liking your report......
Sorry, didn't mean to turn this into a literal cliff-hanger. I think ADV chopped off the end of the post. I've fixed it and added the last couple of pictures
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:05 PM   #28
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Saturday, January 19th, 2013 – Ollantaytambo to Santa Teresa…. Errr, Ollantaytambo

We had the best of intentions of hitting the road to Santa Teresa this morning, so that we could catch a bus to Agua Caliente tonight. We would spend the night there, and have Machu Picchu mostly to ourselves before the hordes of day tourists arrive.

Right next to the hotel we stayed at was a nice place called the Hearts Café, which through its Living Hearts foundation does a lot of good work here. They also had a nice menu and good wifi. So we lingered. It got hot. We were dressed to ride, but the magnificent ruins that tower above the town would not be denied. Eventually we hatched a plan that would have us stay one more night in town, do the run to Santa Teresa tomorrow, and today see the ruins.

The market below the ruins:

IMG_2422 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The pre-Inca terraces leading up to the Inca temples at the top:

IMG_2425 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr


IMG_2432 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Looking down at the town and ruins across the other side. Also, note the "face" just up and left of center of the picture. That's a natural formation supposedly representing the face of Wiracocha, the Quechua god:

IMG_2457 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Tight fit and polish. The knob sticking out was for tying ropes to the stone for transport:

IMG_2466 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr


IMG_2472 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The stones of the Temple of the Sun. They weigh 70-80 tons each, and were transported over 4 miles from the quarry up the hill to here:

IMG_2474 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Someone's taking all of this lying down:

IMG_2476 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The terraces at Ollantaytambo were only used to farm produce for use by the priests and for sacrifices, not for commoners' food:

IMG_2483 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A storehouse, undergoing reconstruction:

IMG_2493 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A restored storehouse roof:

IMG_2496 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Stones carved for baths, where people would purify their bodies before entering the temples:

IMG_2502 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The "Princess" baths:

IMG_2507 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Oh, hello again Mr Dog:

IMG_2508 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Young Quechua women in costume:

IMG_2520 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

I’m glad we did that. The ruins are meant to be the second most impressive ruins in Peru, right after Machu Picchu, which means Machu Picchu is going to be jaw-dropping, ‘cause these were very, very imposing. We got tickets for 70 soles each just for this site (they also sell a ticket for 130 soles that gives admission to this place, Pisac, and two other ruins, but is only good for two days). They don’t take plastic, but there’s a BCP ATM that dispenses up to 700 soles at a time, rather than 400 soles for the GlobalNet ATM in the plaza, so this is a reasonable place to stock up on cash. We also sprung for a guide for the two of us – an hour and a half-long completo tour cost S70, and I thought it was well worth it.

My knee was tweaking after the tour – it feels unstable, and my muscles are having to work overtime to stabilize it, so I lay down for a while, and now I’m back at the Hearts Café, as the Hotel has really crappy, on and off internet with almost unusable wifi. Hewby is exploring the town, and she’ll probably come back in an hour all excited about the people she met and the new friends she made.

Hewby makes a new friend:

IMG_2444 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

We’ve got a chill evening tonight, and tomorrow we ride to Santa Teresa. I will stash my stuff and the bike there and catch a bus to Aguas Calientes, and Hewby will ride on to Hidroelectrica and walk the train tracks. The luggage will come with me. I wish I could join her on the walk, but I don’t think my knee would like it and I want to conserve it for the expected walking around Machu Picchu.

huzar screwed with this post 01-25-2013 at 07:28 PM
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:40 PM   #29
huzar OP
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Did the lift the "No Photography" ban inside the church, or did you have to senak the pictures?



Enjoying your report...
No, they definitely did not lift the "No Photography" ban -- these were taken on the sly
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:19 AM   #30
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Quote:
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Hiya Jeff

How are you and the bike healing up?

I'm pretty sure it was aliens. I think this guy Erich von Daenniken wrote about it
Healing up well, thanks! I'm positive that wonderful brown elixer helped immensely . Shelly and I both agreed that it tasted as much like candy as it did whiskey.

The deep valleys, monstruous peaks, very interesting terraces, etc, are awesome, indeed . And you say the next day is better at Machu Picchu?
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