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Old 07-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #601
mightymatt43 OP
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Day 100-102 in South America: Puno to Colca Canyon to Arequipa

Day 100-102 in South America: Puno, Peru to Colca Canyon to Arequipa, Peru



We’ve come to the point in the report where there is sure to be some finger pointing and name calling. We’re prepared for it and, look us in the eye when we say this, it’s really okay. We (almost) deserve it.

...alright...

...here goes nothing...

...we decided to skip Machu Picchu, one of the new seven wonders of the world.

I know, I know. It seems ridiculous but hear us out.
Getting to Machu Picchu is a severe pain even when you have your own vehicle. There are essentially two choices: get fairly close with your own vehicle and walk or break the bank and take a train and bus. After finding that we legitimately could not buy train tickets for less than $250 a person (the cheaper seats were sold out) and getting rejected again and again by hotels and hostels in the area, we gave it up. We are just here at the wrong time - high season. Plus, seeing as my Mom is a major history buff, I have a feeling a trip to Peru is in our near future with my family.

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Instead of heading North from Puno to Cusco, we moved NorthEast towards
Colca Canyon. Because of the great height of the surrounding mountain peaks, Colca is legitimately TWICE as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA! It is 13,650 feet deep. Absolutely mind blowing.



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The winding, quality pavement made it a really pleasurable ride. What made it even more pleasant was knowing that we left the crowds behind at Machu...


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Ah, the joys of riding a motorcycle in the mountains of Peru in winter.


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As we summited before dropping down into the canyon, the landscape became other-worldly and harsh. As we rode along in complete isolation, the nice pavement, looking as if it had been ripped to shreds by the elements, a certain excitement grew in my stomach and I realized that THIS was a big part of the reason that I love to travel: to see parts of the Earth that will never be tamed by man.


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Finally we came to our first glimpse of the canyon. It took nearly an hour to wind our way down to the humble town of Chivay.


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After paying a hefty fee to enter the park, we rode around Chivay for awhile before realizing that everything was severely overpriced. We instead rode to the tiny town of Achoma and found a spacious hostel for half the price of what we were seeing in Chivay. Plus, there was some serious action going on...

We walked into the square to find that a music video was being shot near the fountain. Bad lip-syncing, frantic dance choreographer, mouthy director = good times. The town was exactly what we were looking for. Hardly any tourists, quiet streets, lots of locals milling about.


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After a seriously freezing night (even though the hotel provided 3 floor heaters, it was frigid!) we headed off for a failed shot to see the endangered Andean condor. With that behind us, we decided to move on towards the colonial town of Arequipa.


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It was on the way to Arequipa that my South American confidence got us into trouble. We were winding our way down a curvy mountain road, all the while passing a herd of big trucks, when the traffic stopped dead. A huge number of trucks lined the side of the road and I did what felt natural: I continued riding along. All of a sudden, a police car came round a bend from the opposite direction and began honking and flashing its lights. It stopped right in front of us with a skid and an officer jumped out and began screaming curses at us. He ran up to the sidecar and began pushing it backwards. Not wanting a fight, we jumped off too and pushed it to the side of the road. He gave me a bit more finger-wagging, jumped in his squad car and sped off. 15 minutes later, traffic began to move as usual and we went on our way. I’m still not sure what happened...

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After a dusty, curvy ride in which Kristen literally got car-(bike)-sick, we arrived in Arequipa. After only going the wrong way on a one-way once, a serious accomplishment in this town, we found a decent hostel near a monastery and went out to explore.


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Arequipa is a cool place. Surrounded by 4 volcanoes (one active) and with the entire town center declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we really enjoyed the feel. It is definitely a bit touristy and a bit cramed with traffic but it does have quite a few things to do.


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Probably the biggest attraction in town is a highly preserved, 500 year old mummy affectionately known as Juanita the Ice Princess. This Incan girl was sacrificed on Ampato Mountain and was hidden until 1995 when nearby volcanic activity released her from her icy prison. She is kept in a museum in a glass case under freezing conditions to keep her preservation complete. Photographs are prohibited, although I tried to get some spy shots with my iPhone (too dark), so I’ll have to borrow a picture from the internet. Disclaimer: not our photo!


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The whole atmosphere of the viewing chamber is pretty creepy. Low lights, very quiet, dead body. It was here that we had a serious laugh. In our group was a couple of kids, maybe 10 or 12 years old. The boy was looking carefully into the case with his sister peering over his shoulder when a loud banging sound came from behind the curtain to their left. They literally ran away, screaming - we hope so badly that some of the staff play tricks every once in awhile...

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All this talk of mummies is making me hungry. Food in Peru is CHEAP. Like really cheap. We paid $3 for the meal pictured to the left. In the bottom right of the frame is my love - caldo, a soup with a huge hunk of beef, potato, and veggies. Yum.


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We toured a spectacular cathedral on the Plaza de Armas:


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And spent dusk at Santa Catalina Convent which was stunning. I think Kristen may be contemplating becoming a nun if she can live there...


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After having an altogether great experience in Arequipa, it was all topped off when this guy drove by:


As a child of the 90s, any fan of Transformers is a friend of mine.

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Next up: the sand dunes of Huacachina.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:05 AM   #602
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I've seen ya'll's dance moves in your videos. I'll be severely disappointed if you and Kristen didn't make a cameo as backup dancers in that music video....
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:20 AM   #603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmgs50 View Post
I've seen ya'll's dance moves in your videos. I'll be severely disappointed if you and Kristen didn't make a cameo as backup dancers in that music video....
^ this...
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:05 AM   #604
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As always, great update and beautiful photos!
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:02 AM   #605
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There is a hotel in northern Chile that clains to have the worlds largest swimming pool. Spending a few days there would surely be more fun than Machu Pichu. Anyways I have seen enough pictures of it now the worlds largest swimming pool hell ya.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:25 AM   #606
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report

love this read, I like turkey chili
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:51 AM   #607
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Originally Posted by mightymatt43 View Post
Yeah, it's a car battery that has completely replaced the bike battery. i think we could have gotten away with just sticking with the original but there were enough aux lights and additional electronics that it just made sense. it turns out that the first auto battery went bad for some reason - i don't know if the bike's alternator just can't keep up but it completely died on us. the new one we have seems to be doing well but i guess time will tell. my only real beef with the setup is that it's a bit low on the rig - a couple of water crossings we've been through have gotten a little too close for comfort.
Copy that. I too can drag my alternator down at idle with the aux lights on, on both my bike and tub (stock bike battery). A larger Amp hour battery (as in car battery) should provide a bit of "reserve" or "cushion" prior to the alternator being "drug down" or straining to keep up with demand. In the long run its the alternator that has to keep up with the total demand.

I wouldn't worry about the battery in water crossings until the water level exceeds the top of the battery.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:15 AM   #608
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In!

Sorry for the loss that inspired this journey, but what a journey!
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:09 PM   #609
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Great ride report and pics, thanks for posting, for the rest of us.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:00 PM   #610
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Hi guys,
Just seen your thread and wanted to say hello. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful report and and photos with all of us. I'm really enjoying reading about your travels and adventure.

I wish you both a safe and happy journey. If ever you might pass by my neck of the woods, I'll be happy to buy you a cup of coffee and point you in the right direction. I live in the North coast of Spain and we have some fantastic roads and scenery here.

Adios and ride safe.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:37 PM   #611
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replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmgs50 View Post
I've seen ya'll's dance moves in your videos. I'll be severely disappointed if you and Kristen didn't make a cameo as backup dancers in that music video....
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Dub View Post
^ this...
kristen has legitimate moves - as a 6'5" white guy, i know my place...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daytonacharlie View Post
As always, great update and beautiful photos!
Quote:
Originally Posted by 805gregg View Post
Great ride report and pics, thanks for posting, for the rest of us.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Randomroad View Post
There is a hotel in northern Chile that clains to have the worlds largest swimming pool. Spending a few days there would surely be more fun than Machu Pichu. Anyways I have seen enough pictures of it now the worlds largest swimming pool hell ya.
hahah - dang it. i missed the coolest thing in South America. although, i'd say the ocean is a pretty decent sized pool...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honkey Cat View Post
love this read, I like turkey chili


Quote:
Originally Posted by Strong Bad View Post
Copy that. I too can drag my alternator down at idle with the aux lights on, on both my bike and tub (stock bike battery). A larger Amp hour battery (as in car battery) should provide a bit of "reserve" or "cushion" prior to the alternator being "drug down" or straining to keep up with demand. In the long run its the alternator that has to keep up with the total demand.

I wouldn't worry about the battery in water crossings until the water level exceeds the top of the battery.
i'm definitely going to do some battery research when i get back stateside because the thought of being stranded in the middle of a foreign country because of a bad battery is not a happy thought. and seriously correct me if i'm wrong, but for some reason i figured it would be a bad thing to get the connections on the battery wet. is that an unfounded fear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug.go View Post
Sorry for the loss that inspired this journey, but what a journey!
you know, every journey has to have a beginning. although i wish we could have been prodded by something less painful, i'll claim this story as my own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moss View Post
Hi guys,
Just seen your thread and wanted to say hello. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful report and and photos with all of us. I'm really enjoying reading about your travels and adventure.

I wish you both a safe and happy journey. If ever you might pass by my neck of the woods, I'll be happy to buy you a cup of coffee and point you in the right direction. I live in the North coast of Spain and we have some fantastic roads and scenery here.

Adios and ride safe.
thanks for dropping us a line!
i don't know that we'll be in Spain anytime soon, but we're discussing shipping to Africa from here and heading north into Europe so... we'll let you know!
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:03 PM   #612
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Day 103-105 in South America: Arequipa to Huacachina

Day 103-105 in South America: Arequipa, Peru to Huacachina, Peru




Walking through deep sand was way more difficult than I imagined. As we summited our first couple of dunes, a heavy sweat drenched us both and our shoes suddenly became three or four times as heavy. The sand began to cling to our bodies - our legs, arms and face became lined with grit as the wind swept against us. But without discussion, we continued further and further into the isolation of the desert. Hours later, we sat silent at the peak of a huge dune watching the sun set as clouds of sand played across the landscape. And as I looked over to see the dune beginning to claim Kristen as its own, I recognized a look on her face that I knew must be present on mine as well: pure gratitude.

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After making our way down from Arequipa and the mountains (whew, we can breathe again) we headed up the coast and into the desert.



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After being in the mountains, riding along the PanAmerican was pretty dull business. Luckily, the cops were out to play and kept us busy enough to keep us from boredom.



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We made a failed attempt to see a cemetery where many bodies are buried above ground... Kristen wasn’t too keen on the idea so I have suspicions that she may have “accidently” not been able to find it.


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We eventually made our way into Ica where I had a pretty serious clash with some mototaxi drivers and with the layout of the city in general (main roads lead directly into street markets over and over). Kristen thinks they’re cute, I personally see them more as giant mosquitos...


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Right outside of town, we spotted a community of woven shacks. Seeing as the wind was continually sweeping sand across the ground, I would imagine that it is a very difficult way to live.


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After rolling into Huacachina, we had a quick lunch and wandered around to find a place to stay. Huacachina is a bit of a tourist magnet. Lots of foreigners come to sand board and dune buggy so the majority of the town caters to out of towners. The first hostel I walked into reminded me of being on a college campus but not in a good way. The guy taking me to see a room literally caught a frisbee, took a chug of a beer and told me that he was throwing a “420” party that night if we were interested - all on the way to the room. After seeing the skanky beds they were offering, I realized that I was literally too old to mess with people like that and headed directly after the nearest tourist bus full of senior citizens.


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After dropping our stuff off, we walked straight out of town and into the sand.


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It is unbelievable to think how a magnitude of tiny particles can make up such enormous dunes.


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I've never walked in anything like it. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was not lying.


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As the temperature dropped significantly and the sky became colored, we sat and waited to watch the desert transform.


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With the last slits of sunlight breaching the horizon, we ran back to town from the chill of the night.


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Our reward for the hike:


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Up next: mountain roads are muy peligroso!
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:35 PM   #613
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Just thinking out loud

BOY!!!! If You guys liked those dunes, your are going to love North Africa & Senegal
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:14 AM   #614
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Sittin on a Gasplattform near Karratha in West Australia, I like to see your photos. Hopefully I`m back in germany when you both visit Europe.

My best regards to you and your wife.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:14 AM   #615
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Originally Posted by mightymatt43 View Post
i'm definitely going to do some battery research when i get back stateside because the thought of being stranded in the middle of a foreign country because of a bad battery is not a happy thought. and seriously correct me if i'm wrong, but for some reason i figured it would be a bad thing to get the connections on the battery wet. is that an unfounded fear?
Battery terminals can get wet without shorting out, it happens all the time when I clean the engine compartment of my truck, or when driving through heavy rain storms. While water is a conductor, there is enough resistance for a 12 volt battery shorting is not an issue. However, completely submerging a battery is not a good thing, as even a "sealed" battery has a vent that water could intrude from. I'm told that there are some marine batteries that can be submerged without any issues.

About the dunes, were they composed of "singing sands" that squeaked or "sang" as you walked along??
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