ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-13-2010, 10:20 AM   #1
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
One Couple's Highs and Lows in Northern Peru

I just love mulling over my world map and asking, "Where do I want to ride this year?" Let the dreaming begin! Near the end of last year, my gaze focused on Peru.

Peru enticed me with its narrow dirt roads that wind up and down the Andes Mountains, countless small villages and towns in the northern area where tourists are still fairly uncommon, the lushness of the Amazon jungle, and the opportunity to communicate with people in my basic (but continually improving) Spanish. The primary lure, however, was Machu Picchu. Like many people, I have had Machu Picchu on my list of “must visit” places for far too long. From the moment I first saw a photo of the extensive stone dwellings stretched out beneath pointed mountain peaks that rose high above wispy fog, I knew that I must one day experience that splendor for myself.

After some planning (okay, extensive planning), my husband Ben and I left our two kids (ages 7 and 10) in good hands and set off on a 16-day adventure. Our trip to Peru can be divided into two separate portions—our visit to Machu Picchu, and our motorcycle journey into the northern area of the country.

I will spare you the details of our time in Cusco and at Machu Picchu--we weren't on bikes during that portion of the trip. However, I will post a few photos from there as an intro, and say that we had a FABULOUS time.

Ben and I arriving in Peru:

We made it to Machu Picchu!


We even hiked a steep set of switchbacks and rock steps to get to the top of Huayna Picchu (the pointy peak behind Machu Picchu, in the photo above).

The views looking down from Huayna Picchu were glorious! Look at all of the terracing around Machu Picchu:
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time

RockyRoads screwed with this post 01-18-2010 at 02:41 PM
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 10:23 AM   #2
GB
Mod Squad
 
GB's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, ON
Oddometer: 55,685
Must be nice to be able to ditch the kids and go off on a moto adventure

__________________
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 10:40 AM   #3
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
Day 1: Lima to Barranca, Off to a Sizzling Start on the Bikes

During the initial planning stages of our motorcycle journey, I had identified several key cities that I wanted to visit in both the Andes and the Amazon jungle; then I had created a lengthy route by connecting the towns on my map. I had then researched the possibility of renting motorcycles and traveling on our own throughout the northern area. However, I couldn’t find a company in Lima that would rent us bikes. We had the option of renting bikes in other towns further south (Cusco and Arequipa), but that meant we wouldn’t be able to travel as far north as we would like.

In the end, we found a company that would provide us bikes in Lima if we allowed a “guide” to come along too. The guide would be the owner of the company; he currently offered tours throughout southern Peru and was looking to expand his market to the northern area, which he called “the mysterious north.” The price was steep—higher even than the cost of our motorcycle tour through Bhutan last year (which had included a chase truck, mechanics, all lunches/dinners, and gas—none of which were included on this trip). However, we decided that the adventure would be worth the cost.

About a month before we left for Peru, our guide emailed us to explain that he hadn’t yet been able to travel northward along our proposed route (due to some violent clashes between locals and the army during the summer). He offered us an option under which we could ride the bikes on our own, without him, and he would reduce our cost by a relatively small amount. Ben and I debated what to do.

In the end, we decided to have the guide along for a combination of reasons (none of which seem compelling in hindsight)--we would be traveling through many remote areas on roads that were reputed to be not well marked (similar to Bolivia), we didn’t know how well the bikes had been maintained or if we would be able to fix a mechanical failure miles (or days) from a big town, our guide spoke fluent Spanish (he was from Europe but had lived in Peru for the last eight years), he had a general knowledge of Peru, he seemed to be a pleasant and professional person (through his emails), the discount he was offering us to go without him was not that significant, and the fact that he hadn’t seen the places we would be visiting meant that we would be experiencing the adventure together, which we viewed as a plus.

We were to meet our guide in Lima today, after our flight from Cusco.

Looking down at the Andes mountains, I dubbed them “the chocolate mountains” because of their soft brown color.


From the air, I could see roads that wriggled from one small town to the next.


I felt a rush of anticipation, knowing that we would be soon be riding bikes on similar roads.

As we neared Lima, which is located along the Pacific Ocean, I caught the first sight of the ever-present layer of coastal fog, sneaking its way into the mountain crevices.


Our guide had arranged for a taxi to meet us at the airport. The man behind the wheel drove fast and furious, whipping us in and out of lanes. I felt as if I were a participant in one of my son’s Nintendo DS racing games. Perhaps I might have felt better if my seatbelt hadn’t been broken. I tried to avert my eyes from the road ahead, while simultaneously squelching visions of my body flying through the windshield; and I tossed out a few prayers for good measure.

We met our guide at the hotel, changed into our motorcycle gear, and set to work strapping our luggage onto our bikes.

Ben and I had initially requested to ride Honda XR650-L bikes, one of the two choices offered. A month before our trip, our guide had emailed to say that I would be riding an XR-400 Falcon instead, but raved that it would be “brand new with 0 miles.” (He had a large southern tour scheduled at the same time as our ride, and my XR650 had apparently been given to one of those riders.)

I was surprised to see that the bike waiting for me in the hotel courtyard was not “brand new”—it had over 11,000 miles on it. Our guide offered no explanation for the change, and his silence bothered me more than the switcheroo did. The bike seemed fine, so I didn’t complain (although my "BS" detector was now fully triggered). We would be spending the next 10 days together, and I wanted to have a lot of fun; I didn’t want to start the relationship off on anything resembling a “confrontational” note.

I must say, however, that this was just one of a long line of “small” things over the course of our trip that made Ben and I wish that we had traveled on our own, without a so-called "guide."

(In writing this story, I discussed at length with Ben the issue of how to handle the description of our experiences with our guide. He has some good qualities, as everyone does, and I don't want to disparage him personally. However, the reality was that our overall experience with him was definitely on the negative side. I finally decided that I would be honest in telling what happened, from my perspective, but that I would change his name to “Guy”--a short version of “guide”, but also a nice French name to reflect his European heritage, although he was not from France.)

Before getting on our bikes, Guy made it very clear that this was “your ride.” He said that he was just along to accompany us and that we were “the boss”--whatever we wanted was fine with him, even if we chose to spend our entire 10 days riding around Lima.
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time

RockyRoads screwed with this post 01-18-2010 at 02:37 PM
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 10:57 AM   #4
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
Lima is a huge city--it has almost 8 million residents, almost 1/3 of the country’s population. We rode for 20 miles amidst buses, big trucks, minivans and cars, all weaving through the lanes and tooting their horns. The heavy mass was very different than the fluid "dance" of vehicles that we had experienced in India last year--I only saw one other motorcyclist the entire time in Lima, and there were no bicyclists. It took about an hour before we finally left the last crazy traffic circle behind.

Our plan for the trip was to ride as far as we could each day and to stay the night at places we found along the way. I had based our route on the lines and dots of a map, with seemingly realistic mileage on paper. But we had no way to know what the true road conditions were, or if we would have any delays along the way. The uncertainty of what each day would hold greatly enhanced the “adventure” element, and Ben and I were both excited.

We headed north, tracking along beside the Pacific Ocean. All around us was barren land, with giant sand dunes on both sides of the road. We were moving fast, and didn't take any photos.

The bleak landscape had an occasional stretch of bushes. In comparison, the New Mexico desert we had seen this past summer looked like an oasis.

We rode through a scattering of small towns. The dominant architecture featured small, rectangular, 1-story, adobe buildings with flat roofs.

Guy was in front, scoping out a place for lunch. We passed through a couple of small towns with (to me) some enticing-looking local restaurants. Near the town of Chancay, we passed a gas station that had a “touristy” café attached. Guy pulled over to the side of the road and indicated that we should turn around. That was our first lunch spot. I realized that Guy was still getting to know us and our preferences. As we were getting off our bikes, I mentioned that Ben and I generally like to eat at places where the locals eat, not places that cater to tourists.

Here we are at the lunch stop:





We sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine. The food actually was pretty good. Ben and I ordered a new (to us) dish called arroz chaufas—it was very similar to the Chinese dish of chicken fried rice in the U.S.

As we continued northward through the outskirts of Chancay, some boys next to the side of the road were waving to Guy. He didn’t wave back. As I reached my hand up to wave, I saw one of the boys pull his arm back and then throw some brown lumpy objects directly at me. Yikes! I swerved to the inside of the lane, missing the impact.

We traveled up and over a long rise. To our right was a vast stretch of green, with sprinklings of yellow and lavender flowers.

Near the city of Barranca, Guy pulled over to discuss whether we should stop for the night or cut inland to start our ascent into the Andes. Ben noticed that his bike was smoking from the tailpipe side. When he had secured his bags to the bike, the tightened strap had pushed the side plastic onto the tailpipe. The heat had melted through the side plastic, the bag, and a good portion of the bag’s contents (extra GPS, rain gear, satellite phone charger, a stash of batteries, and other things).


Ben spent some time sorting out what was lost, seeing what could still be saved, and trying to figure out where he could pack the saved items now that one of his saddlebags was useless.


We were packing light, with only two small saddlebags and a tailbag each. Given the scarcity of space, each item that we had packed had been deemed “indispensible.” Throughout this trip, we came to realize that we had still carried “too much stuff” and left a variety of items behind in hotel rooms along the way.

While Ben repacked, I took some photos of our surroundings. Looking back from where we had traveled:


To our right were agricultural fields:


We decided to stay in the nearby town of Barranca tonight. Guy was not sure if we would be able to find accommodations easily over the next 50 miles or so into the Andes Mountains.

The streets of Barranca were packed with cars. It was a fairly big town (almost 50,000 people) but was not included in my Moon Peru guidebook. Barranca appeared to be several steps removed from the tourist trail, which pleased us immensely.

One important concern when selecting a hotel throughout Peru was whether our bikes would be "safe" overnight. Guy stopped beside a police truck at a stoplight and asked for the location of a hotel with secure parking. The police officers directed us to Hotel Chavin, a high-rise hotel (perhaps 8 stories) on a busy street. The police then followed us to the hotel and then honked their horn long, loud, and repeatedly in front of the hotel—we could only presume that this was to let the hotel owner know that the police officers had referred us here.

The parking lot in the back of the hotel had a friendly and very talkative security guard, who voluntarily assured us he would watch our bikes carefully. The guard had a good sense of humor, and he and Ben talked at length about motorcycles and other things.

Ben and I were given an upper-floor room with a sweeping view of the town and the ocean in the distance.




The hotel had a pool, which looked clean—but the air was a bit too nippy for a dip.


Ben continued to work on how to best reconfigure his bags.


I had forgotten to pack a hair-tie (which would keep my hair from whipping around and getting tangled while riding). We asked at the front desk where we might find one—we didn’t know how to say “ponytail”, so we used charades, resulting in a lot of laughter all around. The desk clerks directed us to the local market around the corner. There, we found a series of stalls spread out in an indoor maze. We wandered until we spied some hair ties hanging on a small stand. The merchant was very helpful and friendly, and I purchased two different kinds for an extremely cheap price (I didn’t bargain).

For dinner, Guy asked the hotel owner for a restaurant recommendation. Surprise! He directed us to the hotel’s restaurant on the second floor, which we hadn’t discovered ourselves. The restaurant was large and empty. We hesitated a bit, unsure how to politely decline. The owner assured us repeatedly that the food was delicious, adding (in Spanish), “If you don’t like it, you don’t pay.” We ordered fish, and it was indeed very tasty. Peru has proved to have excellent cuisine!

We went to bed immediately after dinner. With all of our early morning rises over the past few days, we were still trying to catch up on our sleep.
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 11:15 AM   #5
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
Day 2: To Caraz, Winding Along the Cordillera Blanca

The sun filtered through the morning haze over Barranca, and we could see the ocean in the distance.


From our hotel room, we looked down on the slightly-peaked, overlapping roof-tops covering the market where I had shopped for hair ties last night.


We had a small breakfast of bread and coffee next door to the hotel.

Street vendors were already busy setting up their carts nearby.


We would be climbing into the Andes Mountains today, riding along the range called Cordillera Blanca (“White Range”--for its snow-covered peaks). This range has over 30 mountains that exceed 18,000 feet in elevation. Our destination tonight was the small town of Caraz, nestled near the northwestern end of the range.

We headed inland and gradually emerged from the fog/haze after about 20 miles.

We encountered our first toll booth, which is shown below:


Motorcycles do not have to pay tolls. Guy warned that if we rode up to the toll collector’s booth, past some invisible “point of no return” on the road, then we would have to pay. When approaching a toll, we had to quickly scope out the “go around” route, which often involved squeezing through a narrow gap between barriers, or sometimes crossing to the far left side of the street and slipping around the toll structure. If the route was not obvious, we would slow down to a crawl and try to catch the eye of someone nearby, who would point and gesture largely to show us how to navigate around the booth.

After the toll, we stopped to allow Ben to set up his camera to take photos while we were riding.


To our left was a large sugar-cane field.


We entered a narrow valley that looked fairly bleak, with its naked soil and rocks.


There was a small river flowing on the left, with vegetation. We passed through an occasional tiny scattering of houses. A few people were walking on the side of the road.




These three people appeared to be waiting for a bus—I loved the woman’s red and white clothing:


Some of the people waved as we rode by (and I was relieved that no one threw anything).

Most of the homes were small, with walls made of cinder blocks or woven fronds.


This home appeared to be made of a mixture of “whatever-I-can-get-my-hands-on” materials:


Throughout the rural areas of Peru, there were many political signs that promoted certain candidates in upcoming elections. Here is one example:


Along the roadside were numerous crosses that marked the spot where people had died. One particular set made my heart pang; it consisted of a family of four crosses, two large ones on either side of two small ones.

We passed a road sign that showed a car climbing a tall skinny triangle. The car was almost vertical. I braced myself for a steep hill. I kept waiting . . . and then realized that the gentle slope I had just covered was the “hill.” There were several of these signs, and they always made me smile. (We didn’t get a photo of any of the signs, as there was no safe spot to pull over.)

We wound our way higher and higher. The road curved to the right of this massive rock face.


A view of the green valley below:


Most of the other vehicles on the road were big trucks, such as this one:


Approaching the town of Marca:


Here are some roadside shops:


The mountainsides were steep, and the people have constructed terracing to grow crops. Terraces extended about half way up this mountain:


Near the town of Cajacay, we were stopped at a police check-point. While Guy took care of showing an officer our motorcycle paperwork, which he carried with him, Ben and I chatted with another officer. I asked him if I could have a photo, and he was happy to pose with me:
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 11:35 AM   #6
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
Continuing onward, we passed some adobe houses.


This small group of houses offered a baño (bathroom) for use, but we didn’t stop.


The road snaked up and down.


Me, having fun!


We caught our first glimpse of the distant Cordillera Blanca peaks:


We crested the mountain pass and began cruising at an altitude of over 13,000 feet. Laguna Conococha stretched out before us:




The town of Conococha is located where three roads meet. Multiple signs let us know that if we were craving queso (cheese), this was the place to buy it!




We passed a roadside statue of a shepherd and llama:


The narrow road did not have a painted center line, so we had to be cautious about trucks and buses coming at us around corners.

The golden, tree-less hills contrasting beautifully with the brilliant sky:


The southern peaks of the Cordillera Blanca:


This small house had a place outside to either wait for the bus or watch the world go by:


In the small villages throughout Peru, the most well-maintained buildings often were the churches and the schools. Here, the school looked well-built and freshly painted:


The “children-crossing” sign . . .


. . . perhaps should have also included a picture of a cow (sauntering, not running).


Mineral deposits stretched all along the side of one town, covering part of the river.




(We weren’t sure what exactly was in those large piles, but the close proximity to the water did not appear to be a good thing.)

The entrance to the small town of Recuay was flanked by two carved figures:




Recuay:


Our lunch stop today was to be in the city of Huaraz, a short distance down the road. Huaraz is the capital of the Ancash district in Peru, and is a popular starting point for treks and climbing expeditions into the Cordillera Blanca.

The entrance to Huaraz:


The city was quite lively, with a lot of people, businesses, hotels, restaurants and shops.




The main plaza in Huaraz:


As we circled around the one-way streets, looking for a place to eat, we happened upon this large church that was being constructed:




Next to the new church was a modern building with stained glass panels.


The glass panels had a number of jagged holes, which looked as if they had been caused by thrown rocks.
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #7
Still Running
Adventurer
 
Still Running's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Prosperity,S.C.
Oddometer: 79
Intresting trip. Love the pictures and commentary .
__________________
"Still running against the wind "
Still Running is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 11:48 AM   #8
seatec
Dutch Transplant
 
seatec's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Clearwater
Oddometer: 809
Same here. i'm wearing my F5 key out.
seatec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 12:00 PM   #9
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
We had a delicious and relaxing lunch at Las Tulpas & Chimichurri Restaurant.


The pumpkin soup was excellent.

As we were eating, a petite older woman came by, beautifully dressed in traditional clothing. She stopped at our table and began talking very quickly in Spanish. Guy was off running an errand, and Ben and I were able to catch phrases here and there. The gist of it was that she was asking for the “gringa” (me) to pay her some money. I gave her my unopened mineral water, which she tucked into her giant bag. I talked to her using my halting Spanish, and she said that she liked my “palabras” (words). Ben then asked her if we could take a photo. She asked how much would we pay her, and Ben said 10 soles (about $3). She said, “No, treinta (30 soles).” We said that was too much. We didn’t have any change to give her, but our waitress came out, slipped some coins into her hand, and ushered her out of the small courtyard.

We continued riding, tracking along the west side of the Cordillera Blanca range.


The town of Jangas had a series of three statues. Here is the last one:


The statue’s inscription read: “Jangas, Productor de Oro Verde.” (Jangas, Producer of Green Gold.)

These women crossed the plaza carrying their loads.


Our road ran through the center of a string of small towns. Here I am in one of them:


This home had a small herd of cows in the side yard:


This colorful building had a great message (even though it was part of an ad): “Con Creatividad, Todo es Posible.” (With Creativity, All is Possible.)


An abundance of prickly pear cactus grew along the side of the road. Guy stopped by one and showed us the crimson-colored dye that is contained in the powdery white parasitic insects, called cochineal, that feed off of the plant.








After returning home, I did some research on the cochineal and discovered that they are native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico. The cochineal dye was used by the Aztec and Maya peoples. After the Spanish invaded Mexico, cochineal became the second most valuable export to Spain (after silver), and it was traded in India and other places around the world. The cochineal industry took an economic dive, however, when Europe began producing artificial dyes (such as alizarin crimson) in the mid-1800’s.

Passing through the town of Carhuaz:


There were a number of fires today in the surrounding hills:




A girl and her pigs:


In the town of Ranrahirga, the central plaza was full of flowers:


I walked around the plaza to get a better view of the church tower:


On the way back to my bike, I met a girl, her mother, and her grandmother. We exchanged basic greetings, but they were speaking a language that I didn’t understand (perhaps Quechua). I gave them a postcard that showed my hometown in California, and we communicated quite well with nods and smiles all around.

A few miles down the road, we came upon the entrance gate to the Yungay memorial.


At lunch, I had mentioned to Guy that I had read about this site and wanted to stop here. In 1970, the entire towns of Yungay and Ranrahirga had been buried under an avalanche, and over 20,000 people had been killed. The Peruvian government had declared the area a national cemetery.

Ben and I paused outside the front gate. Guy was nowhere to be seen—he had passed the site without stopping. I wanted to explore the area, so we waited out front for Guy to return. At this point, I was feeling some friction with Guy. It is hard to pinpoint exactly the cause—some of his comments here and there had caused me to bristle and bite my tongue, as I really was trying to get along and have things flow smoothly. Our personalities were definitely not in sync—sometimes it is like that between people, through no fault of anyone.

In any event, Guy did eventually come back (without apology), and I set off to explore the memorial site. Entering the site required that I pay a small fee (less than $1.50), and then follow foot paths to what used to be the old town plaza. Neither Ben nor Guy were interested in venturing beyond the front gate, so they relaxed in the sun while I had a good hike.

Detail of the front gate:


Near the parking area were several exhibits with photographs and a more detailed description (in Spanish) of what had happened to the town. I learned that on May 31, 1970, there was an 45-second earthquake that measured about 7.9 on the Richter scale. (This earthquake destroyed many buildings in the city of Huaraz, where we had eaten lunch today.) Directly behind Yungay is the highest mountain in Peru, called Huascarán. The earthquake caused a large chunk of the mountain to break free and rush downwards. The flowing mass of ice, snow and rock measured 1 mile long and over ½ mile wide, and it roared through the town of Yungay at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. Everything was buried except for the upper portion of the hilltop cemetery.

Here is a photo of what the town looked like before the avalanche:


This photo shows the path of destruction:


And here is a photo of the town after the avalanche—it was completely buried:


Today, one can only imagine the hundreds of buildings that lay beneath the soil.


The area now contains two tall memorial columns, multiple flower gardens, and numerous crosses and gravestones.








The grassy fields on either side contained many crosses.


To the left of the gardens was a bus that had been bent and twisted by the avalanche.


The hillside cemetery that had not been buried in the avalanche now had a white statue of Jesus Christ in the center, overlooking the former town of Yungay.


There were very few other people walking around the site, and the air was very somber.

During my 45-minute hike through the area, the clouds above Huascarán had become darker and more ominous looking.


On a lighter note, there was some humor (perhaps unintended) in the bathroom signs.


The woman’s silhouette was quite curvaceous, complete with high heels (va-va-voom!)


I was curious as to whether the man’s silhouette would show a buffed physique, with bulging muscles . . . but no, it was just “an ordinary guy” wearing baggy clothing:


Hmmmm . . . I bet I can guess what gender created those signs!

Exiting the memorial site:


While I was hiking, Ben watched a group of men hoisting up a wooden pole, accompanied by loud festive music:
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 12:22 PM   #10
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
Guy had heard that there was a beautiful lake, called Llanganuco, up in the mountains; it might be worth an up-and-back trip. We could get there by riding east, up into the mountains on a twisty dirt road. There were two issues. The first was that we were running out of daylight. We had about 90 minutes left before the sun set. By car, the drive to reach the lake was supposed to take 90 minutes, but we thought that we could cut that time by at least half on the bikes. Ben and I didn’t mind riding in the dark. The second issue was the threat of rain. The clouds over Huascarán were very dark and indicated certain rain there; however, we didn’t know if the lake road would lead us directly under those clouds. Ben and I said, “Let’s go!” The possibility of rain and mud in the dark did not faze us.

Guy asked a few people which way to the lake. (Well, he didn’t really “ask”—he just rode up to people and yelled the name of where he wanted to go. Many times the people would simply look stunned. Guy would yell the name again, and the people would point and sometimes provide verbal directions. We never heard Guy say, “Excuse me” or “Please” or even "Thank you" during these exchanges, and his shouting made me cringe. We didn’t see many other “gringos” in the places that we went, and I was embarrassed to think that his behavior would be perceived by the local people as representative of our entire small riding group.)

We soon found the right road, and up we went. The road was dusty and rocky, with numerous switchbacks.

Here is a view looking down:


We rounded one bend and found this huge rainbow stretched before us.


Lake Llanganuco is located in the National Park of Huascarán. We arrived at the park entrance only to discover that the gate had closed 30 minutes ago.




However, the guard was willing to let us through. We had to pay a small fee and write our names and passport numbers in the registration book.

Outside the registration office were these figures set above a shallow pool. (I think the male statue was supposed to be welcoming us, but his facial expression was a bit freaky.)


We continued upward, with more switchbacks. Here is one curve:


We entered a narrow canyon, with rock walls on either side.


This monstrous rock face loomed over us.


The road ahead:


The lake, with its deep turquoise water, was breathtaking.







Ben and I were so glad that we had the opportunity to experience this piece of paradise.


More views of the lake (we couldn’t get enough):





What am I taking a picture of?


I was trying to capture the vision hovering across the lake--the 22,200 foot peak of Huascarán in a swirling mass of clouds:





The ride back down the mountain was a bit slippery (my tire pressure had been set for street riding, at sea level).

By the time we reached the main road, night had fallen.

The town of Caraz was much bigger than I had anticipated. We headed to the main plaza with the hope of finding a good hotel nearby.





Here I am, all lit up from the reflective stripes on my jacket and luggage (this photo should make my mother feel better about me riding in the dark):


Guy found a hotel about 10 blocks from the main plaza, up a long hill. I was hoping for a hot shower before dinner; however, through a series of misunderstandings about flipped hot water switches (on the hotel’s part), and the length of time needed to heat the water (my part), my shower would have to wait until bedtime.

We walked down the hill for dinner, and then back up afterwards (good post-dinner exercise). We passed this church along the way:


We slept tonight under the watchful eye of this angel:


Above our bed in every hotel room in Peru so far has been a painting of an angel holding a sword or a gun. This one was holding a fish. We hoped that she would be a good guardian.
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 12:30 PM   #11
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
[Day 3--TO BE CONTINUED LATER . . . .]

Gadget Boy, yes it's great to get away and have an adventure without the kids. However, they both love zipping around on their dirt bikes at home--a TTR 50 and a CRF 70. And we can definitely foresee a time in the future when they will be joining us on our moto journeys.

Seatec and Still Running--thank you both for your positive comments! Glad you are enjoying the story so far. It gets even better with Day 3!
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 12:42 PM   #12
seatec
Dutch Transplant
 
seatec's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Clearwater
Oddometer: 809
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyRoads
[Day 3--TO BE CONTINUED LATER . . . .]

Gadget Boy, yes it's great to get away and have an adventure without the kids. However, they both love zipping around on their dirt bikes at home--a TTR 50 and a CRF 70. And we can definitely foresee a time in the future when they will be joining us on our moto journeys.

Seatec and Still Running--thank you both for your positive comments! Glad you are enjoying the story so far. It gets even better with Day 3!
Can't wait!
seatec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 01:00 PM   #13
idahoskiguy
Beastly Adventurer
 
idahoskiguy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Oddometer: 1,116
Thank you for sharing.

__________________
2011 Ducati MTS 1200 S Touring....amazing
2004 Aprillia Futura....sexy Italian mistress
2006 KTM 950 ADV....dirty beast
2001 KTM 640 ADV....most versatile
1999 KTM 300 EXC....woods weapon
idahoskiguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 01:32 PM   #14
Flyingavanti
With the Redhead on Back!
 
Flyingavanti's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 1,545
Fantastic!!!!!

Thanks

__________________
"I am in California, but my brain spends 90% of it's time in South America"

Over 27,000 miles in South America -- which is NOT enough!

Here is a link to the South American Ride Report...
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94531

Trip Index Page.... If you are interested in one spot in South America, you can click on this link http://www.ploung.com/south_america.htm and go directly to your point of interest.
www.Ploung.com
Flyingavanti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 02:09 PM   #15
RockyRoads OP
RockyRoads
 
RockyRoads's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Aptos, California
Oddometer: 250
Thank you, Idahoskiguy!

Flyingavanti, I followed your South America journey and enjoyed it immensely--especially all of the "old" versus "current" photos of buildings and other places.

It's good to have you both along for this journey!
__________________
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"
Around the World, One Journey at a Time
RockyRoads is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 10:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014