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Old 06-17-2008, 10:43 AM   #1
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Machu Pichu, the alternate route

Certain members of this board have been giving me grief for not posting a ride report for my trip this year. I tend to not like sitting for hours in internet cafes while life goes on outside. I recently took an interesting trip to Machu Pichu, however, and figured I would do a ride report on it. As I type this I can hear beating drums and pan flute; little kids dressed in bright clothing are parading in the streets. I forgot my camera in the hotel so, sorry, no pictures of the kids.

Cusco is a big city. The historic center has narrow streets filled with churches, restaurants and tourist stores, many built on the foundations of Inca architecture.





Most people take the train to Aguas Calientes to see Machu Pichu. That is the expensive route. I met a guy in the highlands of Argentina who described an "alternate route" that involved taking a somewhat difficult dirt road over a mountain to a town named Santa Teresa, from where you could hike along railroad tracks to Machu Pichu.

Sounded cool, only I was a little concerned over the "somewhat difficult dirt road". This was the guy who suggested the route.


I left Cusco under unsettled skies a little later than planned as my bike got parked in by a truck in the hostal garage.





I blasted through the Sacred Valley as I was trying to make time for the "somewhat difficult dirt road" and most of the towns seemed like little more than tourist traps. I'm sure if I had stopped and looked, there would be cool ruins and such.

According to my GPS the dirt road would start soon after Urabamba. I stopped to prepare for an almost 2000 meter climb and take the obligatory picture to prove I am a true Adventure Rider (note the spare tire )



To my surprise, after Urabamba I ran into the smoothest road I have ridden since leaving the states.



Seriously it ranks up there with some of the smoothest roads in the states.



Heaven on a bike



Coming down the other side wasn't so bad either





Best to keep it between the lines, however.





Talking to locals it turns out the road is less than two years old. Yes this is the road cut. Wonder if they will have maintenance issues down the line



When the pista ended it turned into about 40km of typical crappy, washboarded, rocky peruvian dirt road to Santa Maria. After that it was beautiful, soft dirt down through the mountains to Santa Teresa.









This is Santa Teresa



It appears they value hard work here



I stayed at the Yaku Mama hostal on the main drag. Very nice folks and they had indoor parking for the bike. The next day I took a cab to the start of the train tracks and hoofed it the 14km to Aquas Calientes.

Don't snooze, these are active tracks



Art shot



Machu Pichu

From the top of WaynaPichu



From the Sun Gate



The stone work is amazing







It is hard to take a picture in Machu Pichu that isn't filled with people.



This is what you see the most of in Machu Pichu



I hoofed it back to Santa Teresa good and tired. The next day I decided to do some maintenance.

I think this could go a little longer but why not change it now.



Luckily Max and his brother were there to help out.



I ended up staying the whole day as I found a broken bolt in my subframe. There was a party at the next town over and the only metalworker not at the party I didn't want touching my bike. It would have to wait for Cusco.

This time on my way back through the Sacred Valley I took more time.



Stopped off in Lamay where they were having auditions for Peruvian Idol.



And a BBQ



Back in Cusco I did some minor maintenance on the bike.



That's it. I highly recommend this route to anyone wanting to see Machu Pichu. Apparently before the new road it was quite an epic ride. With the new road it is easily doable with any bike, or scooter for that matter.
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:53 AM   #2
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Wow. Fine business.

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Old 06-17-2008, 10:57 AM   #3
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:59 AM   #4
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While in Cusco, you must visit a local bar called "Norton Rats" for a cold one. Jeff the owner is an avid adventure rider (and Norton restorer).

This is the view from the bar during a Sunday parade.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:07 AM   #5
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Qui

Loved the picture of the Qui barbeque. Qui is Guinea Pig, a staple of the indig people of the Andes. And yes it does taste like chicken.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:15 AM   #6
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fantastic pictures! looks like a great trip.
I was wondering what the bbq was. I always thought guinea pig looked good
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:15 AM   #7
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Just Great

This is really great man thank you for sharing .....................thats a dream destination for me.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:18 AM   #8
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Thanks for posting.
I may be retired before it happens. but I'm gonna do it sometimes.
WOW!
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:44 AM   #9
GSgal
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Great report - thank you!

May I ask what GPS software you were using? I've heard the Garmin basemap has plenty of roads, but does it have little roads this this gem you traveled, or were you using something else?

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:53 PM   #10
boyscout OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSgal
Great report - thank you!

May I ask what GPS software you were using? I've heard the Garmin basemap has plenty of roads, but does it have little roads this this gem you traveled, or were you using something else?

Thanks.
I'm pretty sure that for Peru it is just the Garmin World Map. The road I took, however, wasn't on the GPS. The GPS showed a dirt road heading a bit south of the pista. I didn't see anything in reality matching what the GPS showed.
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:01 PM   #11
munchmeister
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Thank you for taking time to post this report. Fabulous.
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:12 PM   #12
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Great pictures!
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:13 PM   #13
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Most Excellent!
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:16 PM   #14
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Looks like you had a fantastic time and thanks for showing us around.
BTW, did you try the BBQ?

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Old 06-17-2008, 01:23 PM   #15
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Thanks

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