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Old 10-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #16
crashmaster
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Did you guys and your bikes make it across the altiplano in one piece?
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:02 AM   #17
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Man, have I been MIA. There's a reason for that. So we left Uyuni following your route almost to a tee. Spent the night at Isla del Pescado (had it all to ourselves!) and made our way down south to Eduardo Avaroa the next day. Needless to say, riding through the Salar was incredible, really gives you some time to think over the hum of the engine.

Next we made our way to San Juan where we refueled with a guy at the end of town after about 30 mins searching. I didn't really know what to expect with the roads in SW Bolivia but man, starting with the southern tip of Uyuni through Eduardo Avaroa they really sucked. Some shady sections of sand/washboard that we had to deal with. Needless to say, we logged most of our bike spills over our tour of the SW. Also, we moved a lot slower than expected given the road conditions so did more night riding than I'd like to admit. At one point when we stopped at 11pm an army truck approached our camp and offered us a place to stay at the army base in Chiguana 15km away, but by that time we were so tired that we didn't want to repack and follow them, though it would've been an awesome experience. Next time.

Afterwards we somehow made a wrong turn and arrived in Villa Mar instead of Chiguana (OpenStreetMaps wasn't very helpful in SW Bolivia most times), but fortunately found a way to cut through into the northern section of Eduardo Avaroa through some gorgeous scenery. Once we reached Eduardo Avaroa though, all the scenery we'd seen up to that point paled in comparison. Laguna Colorada is one of the coolest places I've been, and we spent about two hours two hours on the beach before leaving. Hard to not be floored when you have a blood red lake, thousands of flamingos, and noticeable thermal activity across the lake. Really a special place. We spent that night at Polques Hot Springs and the next day made our way to Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde. We also found a private hot spring right next to Laguna Blanca... next to an abandoned, half-built cinder block shack. Really easy to find, it's on the southeast end of Laguna Blanca and is the only dilapidated building next to the lake.

Next we head to San Pedro and arrive at about 8pm and once they notice we don't have plates on the bikes red flags go up. We thought our temporary plates would work, but no. They issued us an ultimatum: you can spend the night here to refill on gas, do whatever maintenance is necessary on the bike. They kept our passports while we did all this.

So we spent the last three days backtracking and made it to La Paz, back at the comforts (and really loud music) of Wild Rover Hostel. Just picked up our plates and we leave for Peru tomorrow, starting with Copacabana. Really excited to see what the country has to offer (cant wait for some better food for starters). Am doing some research on your route now crashmaster, will let you know if i have questions. From reading it, sounds like a fantastic way to tour the country. Am a little worried about our time constraint of leaving Bogota, Colombia on Dec 7 but I think we can make it work :)

Also, some quick pics from my iPhone. We're taking much better pictures with another camera but haven't had a chance to pull those so these should suffice for now :) Check out the album here: http://imgur.com/a/yzROL
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:36 PM   #18
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Great, you guys made it! Is that not the most spectacular desert you've ever seen? I loved that corner of Bolivia. I totally forgot about those springs on the south end of Blanca, cool that you found them.

Well, now we know that you cant ride in Chile without permanent plates. It was worth a shot though.

Its worth it to take the time to ride that route in Peru, so I hope it works out for you. You can go through Ecuador pretty quickly if you need to.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:39 PM   #19
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Man I can't wait to experience this area. Might happen in a couple months. Very exciting.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:10 PM   #20
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Crashmaster - had a chance to look closer at your route of Peru and did some mapping out on Google Maps, would love for you to check and see if this is close to what you recommended (map)

We take off tomorrow and my sense is that we'll make quick work of the ride from Cusco to Huanuco, and take more time with the rest of the route once we reach Cordillera Blanca. A couple questions I had for you all about riding this route:

- The Cordillera Blanca looks absolutely spectacular and we wouldn't want to miss some of the sights there. Lagunas, glaciers, hot springs, and massive peaks look like they're all possible here. Are there any of the above detours or camping spots that you'd recommend? Would love to have a hot spring or high elevation lake to ourselves
- I know you mention the stretch from Pacasmayo to Cajamarca - Celendin - Chachapoyas - La Balsa is absolutely spectacular (and the pics on your blog confirm!), but it would save us a lot of time to hop on the PanAm straight from Pacasmayo to give us more time in Colombia, our final destination. What do you think of this plan? I've recreated the map to account for skipping the Celendin - Chachapoyas section ... any quick edits you'd make to the northern part of this through Ecuador to make for a better ride?
- Speaking of Ecuador, would love everyone's opinion on one or two detours that are definitely worth making. We want to spend 4-5 days in the country so we'll be riding most of the time to make our way toward Colombia, but I know there is some great mountain scenery, some great campsites near volcanoes, and potentially some great cities worth sleeping in.

Thanks a lot all!
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:14 PM   #21
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The route through Celendin/Chachapoyas/Quelap is worth experiencing..I wouldn't miss it just to make time.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:21 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by kevinballa View Post
Crashmaster - had a chance to look closer at your route of Peru and did some mapping out on Google Maps, would love for you to check and see if this is close to what you recommended (map)

We take off tomorrow and my sense is that we'll make quick work of the ride from Cusco to Huanuco, and take more time with the rest of the route once we reach Cordillera Blanca. A couple questions I had for you all about riding this route:

- The Cordillera Blanca looks absolutely spectacular and we wouldn't want to miss some of the sights there. Lagunas, glaciers, hot springs, and massive peaks look like they're all possible here. Are there any of the above detours or camping spots that you'd recommend? Would love to have a hot spring or high elevation lake to ourselves
- I know you mention the stretch from Pacasmayo to Cajamarca - Celendin - Chachapoyas - La Balsa is absolutely spectacular (and the pics on your blog confirm!), but it would save us a lot of time to hop on the PanAm straight from Pacasmayo to give us more time in Colombia, our final destination. What do you think of this plan? I've recreated the map to account for skipping the Celendin - Chachapoyas section ... any quick edits you'd make to the northern part of this through Ecuador to make for a better ride?
- Speaking of Ecuador, would love everyone's opinion on one or two detours that are definitely worth making. We want to spend 4-5 days in the country so we'll be riding most of the time to make our way toward Colombia, but I know there is some great mountain scenery, some great campsites near volcanoes, and potentially some great cities worth sleeping in.

Thanks a lot all!
Hello Kevin,
until crashmaster gives his thoughts, regarding your first question:
we are currently pinned at Huaraz, waiting for the rain to pass... it's really heavy and it ruins all riding. So we took time to ask around. So, people here said that there are plenty of lodgings and campsites along the detours, as well as after reaching the other side of the cordillera blanca, which is just a day's ride if the dirt roads don't get clogged with mud, something which, currently, is very highly possible :(
There is a booklet that you can get at the tourist office of the city, with local maps and the lodging locations.

I'm also eagerly waiting for crashmaster's answer regarding your other 2 questions, as it is something that is on our plans for the next weeks. The only info that I got from a german guy here in huaraz who entered peru a few days ago, is that the route south from Loja (Ecuador) to the border crossing to San Ignacio (Peru) is full of mud and is a hard riding, for the time being.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:33 AM   #23
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roadspirit - thanks for the heads up! We're leaving Cusco now and have a 1000km ride ahead of us to Huanuco which I think will take us 3-4 days. Do you know if its all asphalt up to that point or will we have some slow, muddy riding ahead of us? Also, do you know of any sites that show a reliable forecast for peru (storm radar too) so we can be prepared for the rest of the ride?

Any tips until crashmaster gets back to us?
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:15 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by kevinballa View Post
roadspirit - thanks for the heads up! We're leaving Cusco now and have a 1000km ride ahead of us to Huanuco which I think will take us 3-4 days. Do you know if its all asphalt up to that point or will we have some slow, muddy riding ahead of us? Also, do you know of any sites that show a reliable forecast for peru (storm radar too) so we can be prepared for the rest of the ride?

Any tips until crashmaster gets back to us?
I just saw this, I'm sorry I couldn't answer it earlier. So I'll just give you an update for the other regions we rode up until now. The main road west of the cordilera blanca, from Conocha lake to Huaraz, to Caraz, to Yungai and up to about 18 kilometers before Huallanca is paved, easy & fast riding. 18 kilometers before Huallanca the road is dirt and essentially is the start of the amazing Canon del Pato, don't miss it! I could ride fast there, so for your light bikes it will be a piece of cake. There are no lodgings in the canyon and camping can be difficult, I wouldn't do it.

Then we headed to the coast. Boring coast, blah blah ...

Next mountain route that we took, from the coast follow the PE-08 road to Cajamarca, all paved, gradually climbs up, twisty, great views. From Cajamarca to Celendin is 110 kms, most of it dirt, and it took us 5 hours! Heavy rain has caused landslides and there are parts of that road that were completely covered by mud. There were construction crews working on repairing the road, so I don't know if it is better now, keep in mind though that since we passed from there - 4 days ago - has not stopped raining.
From Celendin : the road starts dirt but hard-packed, no mud, so we could ride fast even in rain. Gradually it climbs up, and mud starts appearing but not so much that could cause problems. The ride IS amazing, even though we were covered by rainclouds most of the time and had not views of the scenery below us. The first 55 kms are very, very slow, super twisty, countless hairpins. Then we reach Balsa, a small village next to the river. Imediately after the bridge the road becomes paved again for the next ~ 25-30 kms.
After that, it's dirt again, the scenery is super, but the ride is slow. There are scheduled road closings every day on that part that last about 2-3 hours. We were stopped 3 times, 2 because of landslides, and 1 because of scheduled road works. After the last mountain pass (can't remember the name), the road starts descending to Leimebamba, it is a fast smooth dirt ride. From Leimebamba is flat dirt, you can go really fast, to Chachapoyas (where we are at the moment).

We are leaving tomorrow and sadly we are NOT taking the road to San Ignacio because all info is against that at the moment. Road closures, land slides etc... it is not going to be fun.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:28 AM   #25
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Kevin, did you guys get stuck in Colombia, never to be heard from again?
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:45 AM   #26
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Kevin, did you guys get stuck in Colombia, never to be heard from again?
We met them in the Tulcan-Ipiales border, November 24th. Sent kevin a pm, but no response.
Where are you guys? Everything ok?
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