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Old 03-20-2013, 08:14 PM   #151
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Spectacular photos P & c.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:43 PM   #152
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la paz, bolivia to copacabana, bolivia

with the help of an army of traffic control zebras (only zebras stand out in traffic), i successfully left the complete madness and chaos that is la paz, bolivia. i took nearly 2 hours to leave the city, fighting for every inch with the buses and taxis that filled the streets on the west side of town.


traffic zebra, avenida 16 de julio, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


traffic zebra 2, avenida 16 de julio, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tiny lady making me juice, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


en frente de hotel rosario, la paz, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i made the decision not to head east into bolivia, into the yungas mountains and the "most dangerous" roads in the world. i had frankly had my fill of those roads upon my entry to the south of bolivia from argentina.


la paz to copacabana by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the drive to lake titicaca from la paz metro was very relaxed. arriving at the south end of the lake, the road moved from the lake's coastline to the interior of the mountain range. having grown accustomed to 13,000 ft of elevation in la paz, 15,000 really didn't feel like much of anything today. my lungs have ceased gasping for air, and i feel like i could ride at 20,000. just don't ask me to do much more than sit on my bike and twist the throttle, because just walking around makes you short of breath up here.

i crossed on a ferry at the straight of tiquina, after which was 50km of motorcycle heaven - twisties that wrapped the coast of lake titicaca, with regular vistas of the massive, high-altitude body of water. oddly, today the motorcycle is idling at higher RPM than i have previously seen. it's designed to idle at 1000RPM. today it was idling at 2000. i'm not complaining, because it never died on me the whole day, despite riding at 15,000 ft+. i did reset the computer this morning before leaving la paz, so that really does work.


ferry 2, estrecho de tiquina, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


ferry, estrecho de tiquina, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


other side, estrecho de tiquina, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


route 2, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


lake titicaca, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


route 2, west of copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i arrived in copacabana, took off my helmet, and rode around town for a half hour to get the lay of the land. i settled on a hotel on the lake shore. maybe the best room i've had yet, and for only 140 bolivianos (20 USD).


big fat old church, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


rua principal, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


here is where i'm working on my blog, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


lakeside hostel, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i'm back to feeling a bit of travel fatigue again. it comes and goes if you haven't noticed. it typically manifests itself in laziness and apathy. i have been laxed in my research for the coming destinations, i sleep in a bit later, start riding later, and have an attitude that is not entirely conducive to making the most out of the places i visit. but i'm used to this, so i don't really care all that much. i just accept it and keep moving forward. i'm excited to enter peru tomorrow, and work my way north toward machu picchu.


duckage, lake titicaca, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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Old 03-22-2013, 10:38 AM   #153
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P&C,
Really enjoying the ride report and particularly your photos. Can you elaborate on the photo equipment you are using? I read your trip prep thread and you only mention an iPhone 5. If that is all you are using I need to rethink my photography needs.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:40 PM   #154
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Totally digging the ride!

I've been reading with intense interest and enjoyment for the last 3 or so days, finally catching up with you since your arrival in SA. Dude, you are Everyman, plunging into the unknown with confidence, doubts and curiosity. One of the best threads I've read on Advr, and I want you know how much I appreciate your writing and pictures. I dream of doing what you're doing, but it may not happen at this late stage of my life, so I'm grateful to be along on your ride. Be safe.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:09 AM   #155
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copacabana, bolivia to cusco, peru

saturday, march 23, 2013

thanks again everyone for following along, for your comments, questions, and interest. i'm really happy to know that so many people are enjoying the blog and living vicariously through my adventure...

i enjoyed copacabana, bolivia. it's a nice little town, and i met a lot of other travelers there from all over the world. i considered the trip out to the isla de sol, but felt the pressure to keep moving. i want to ensure that i have time to sit on the beaches to the east of cartegena, columbia at the end of my journey, so i have to make some hard decisions along the way to ensure that happens.


sunset, copacabana, bolivia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


copacabana to cusco by porkandcorn, on Flickr

it was only a 15 minute ride to the peru border, and the crossing went very smoothly. i was the only person there, and was on my way in 20 minutes. the ride along lake titicaca was beautiful, and the roads were amazing. i was planning to stay in puno or juliaca, peru, but decided to just push on to cusco, peru - the cultural heart of the country - and in some ways, the continent.


peru sign, kasani, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


aduanas, kasani, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


lake titicaca, pomata, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


triumph and lake titicaca, pomata, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

leaving the lake, i entered the mountains and began the climb and twist into the heart of the incan empire. the mountains here are covered in thick green grass, and have a velvety appearance. i could feel the ancient history as i passed numerous arqueological sites. in many ways, not a lot has changed in this region in thousands of years. people still farm and live off the land, herd their animals. they just all have cell phones now!


wild flowers, pucara, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


cusipata, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


quiquijana, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


nice donkey, quiquijana, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


triumph at quiquijana, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i wasn't expecting cusco, peru to be as enormous as it was. i came into town at nightfall, and the city was pretty intimidating. i hadn't done any research for where i would stay. i headed for the norton rats bar, a pub in the historical center that pays homage to the motorcyclist and was actually started by a guy from iowa. it was a bit of a let down, because there is absolutely no where to park anywhere near it. i walked down later than night, and it was just another stupid tourist bar - no motorcyclists, no charm, no nothing. skip it.


cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

some travelers in copacabana recommended the loki hostel on the hill above cusco city center. they said it was a fun party hostel, and i haven't stayed at one of those yet. it was a bit hair-raising to go up the hill to the hostel. it was a one way in the other direction, but going up saved me a 3km ride up the 'correct' way. the cobblestones are smooth, and very slippery, and i was smoking the tires getting up to the hostel and parked at their front door for the night.


loki hostel, cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


loki entry, cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


loki courtyard, cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i'm probably the oldest person here, and now i can leave knowing "i've done that." whoopie! i have no idea how these kids drink as much as they do at this elevation. that will catch up with them in 10 years.

alright, now i actually need to focus on how to get myself up to machu picchu...

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Old 03-23-2013, 10:22 AM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71tr View Post
P&C,
Really enjoying the ride report and particularly your photos. Can you elaborate on the photo equipment you are using? I read your trip prep thread and you only mention an iPhone 5. If that is all you are using I need to rethink my photography needs.
just an iphone 5, and then i edit all the photo in iPhoto to optimize framing, contrast, coloring, etc. i have an olliclip lens for the iphone to get the wide angles and gather more light. there are many others that do this too.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:38 PM   #157
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cusco, peru to ollantaytambo, peru

saturday, march 23, 2013

i got a late start out of cusco, so i decided to only ride to ollantaytambo, peru today. cusco was a bit overwhelming, so i was happy to get on the road again. although, getting out of town was interesting given that the GPS is seriously confused by cusco - every street it routed me through was a one-way in the wrong direction. i finally just shut the thing off and started asking locals. that works a lot better sometimes.


cusco to ollantaytambo by porkandcorn, on Flickr


above cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


avenue above cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i stopped off at the saqsaywaman ruins, an arqueological site to the north of cusco,. the construction of this place blew my away... i have no idea how they managed to quarry, move, size, and fit these enormous rocks into position. i will admit that i am not the most patient or qualified individual to tour historical sites. i tend to get bored pretty quickly, and usually become easily frustrated by the amount of people that one must sift through in order to experience these places. but i am here in the heart of the ancient incan empire, and i'm going to do my best to appreciate and experience it.


saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


nice fit, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


ancient doorway, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


ancient wall, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


me, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


me 2, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


me 3, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


me 4, saqsaywaman ruins, near cusco, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the ride to ollantaytambo through the sacred valley was beautiful and there were several more options for historical sites on the way. i decided that if i wasn't overloaded with big, old rocks after machu picchu, i could tour those sites on the way back.


near pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


canyon near pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


valley near pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


pisaq, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

ollantaytambo is a stop off point for people going to mach picchu, and in it's own right a pretty spectacular place. it's an ancient city that is occupied and functioning. the city has the same block construction that the other sites have, but they are built up with homes, businesses, and restaurants. there is a strong tourist business here, but it's much less chaotic than the scene in cusco. i arrived as the sun was going down, so i didn't have a chance to explore. i'll do that either in the morning, or on the way back from machu picchu in a couple days.

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Old 03-23-2013, 09:18 PM   #158
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Machu Picchu and the ancient Inca world are at the top of my bucket list. Meanwhile . . .

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Old 03-24-2013, 05:44 PM   #159
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ollantaytambo, peru to machu picchu (aguas calientes), peru

sunday, march 24, 2013

it's rare that i get an early start, but i did this morning. i was very proud of myself for getting up at 5am. to bad that it took me an hour and a half to get out of the enclosed parking area at the hostel, which erased most of my gains. the management could not be found. i eventually found a key and unlocked the gate myself.

i had some very sketchy coffee and and cheese sandwich from a little old lady at the central plaza before i left. i'm pretty sure she washed my coffee mug in the sewer, and then dried it with a dead rat. but my immune system is strong like an ox - it's ready for the challenges that this continent presents.

immediately out of town, i began to climb toward the abre de malaga pass. this is the "back way" to mach picchu. most people take the train from cusco, or a bus to ollantaytambo then a train to agues calientes, peru (machu picchu village). as you know, i have a very nice motorcycle that gives me other options.


nice morning, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


mirror, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


ollantaytambo to aquas calientes by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i have become desensitized completely to these gnarly, high mountain passes. it's kind of sad actually. i hope you, the humble reader, are not tiring of them. however, as i topped the pass, the clear skies turned to an eerie, cold mist. i put on my sweatshirt, chugged some water as is required for these high passes, and dropped down into the abyss half blind.


tiger, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


green, paso abre de malaga, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the road was mostly paved until i reached the turn south at santa maria, peru. here i found the usual suspects: mud, pointy rocks, and today, some very deep river crossings. this road had a steep ascent, and i was spinning the wheels to climb in many places. this is hell on a motorcycle tire - it is like industrial sandpaper. i am wishing i held onto my first set of tires a little longer. i'm going to have to look for a new rear tire for sure once i hit lima, peru.


dirt, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


river crossing, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


rio urubamba, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the end of the road for a motorcycle trying to get to machu picchu is at hydroelectrico, peru. it's not a town. it's actually a construction site where they are diverting the river for a power plant. in one place, they drilled an enormous tunnel through the mountain from the other side to divert a tributary into the main river. there is some serious civil engineering going on here. i wonder what the side effects are up and down stream?


near hydroelectrico, road to machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

if you motorcycle to hydroelectrico, your only option to park the bike is with a guy named elico escóbar. elico has lived in a modest compound of houses since before the construction on the river began. he guards the occasional tourist car, moto, or whatever is needed. i hope that he was paid a lot of money by the peruvian government to let them destroy his backyard and set off explosions every 5 minutes. somehow, i don't think that happened. but he's a happy man, and he really seems to like his place in life. good for him. i promised elico that i would make him famous in exchange for taking care of my baby… i hope it's still there when i get back.


motorcycle guard, elico escóbar, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


elico escóbar, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

after i parked the bike, and packed what few things i would need into my backpack, i hiked the train tracks toward agues calientes. well, the 6 hours had taken a toll on my back, and someone mentioned a train was leaving in 90 minutes. i turned around and had a beer with some backpackers, instead of walking 2.5 hours.


train station, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

gringos pay 18.00 USD for the train. peruvians pay 5.00 soles (2.00 USD). it's fair. for that special price, i had an entire air conditioned car to myself, while about 50 other people crammed into a crappy old rust bucket next to the engine. i felt like a total asshole. i asked if i could ride in the other car with everyone else, and they said i could not. i tried. me and the stewardess enjoyed the 30 minute ride to machu picchu village. the train was rocking back and forth violently. i think the tracks could use some work. regardless, i have lived a long, full life, so i just kicked back and enjoyed it.


train to machu picchu, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


the gringo car, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

aguas calientes is the stereotype tourist town. you walk off the train and immediately everyone and their dog wants to sell you some garbage that 50 people in the place next to them are also selling. i would be lying if i said that it wasn't annoying. i have warned your about my attitudes toward hyper-tourism in general. i trekked around looking for a hostel, and was offered dinner aggressively no less than 50 times in 10 minutes.


aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


arriving, aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the sad thing is that it really doesn't need to be this way. i have noticed a similar trend in other tourist areas of south america, now that i think about it. these places are all over-built. in this small town, there are about 200 restaurants - and each of them has 1 or 2 people dining. they fight over the gringos like wild dogs. in a perfect world, the number of businesses would be limited, the quality would be better, pollution would be less, and the experience in general would be richer. but i am a gun-toting capitalist, and i shouldn't be thinking things like that... free enterprise rocks man!! ted nugent for president!


street, aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i was very productive after a 6 hour ride and 3 hours of arrival logistics... i bought my bus ticket to machu picchu city for 5:30am. i bought my entry pass to the park for 7am. i bought my return train ticket to hydroelectrico for 12:30pm. and i now have a hostel waiting for me about 50 meters away. this is why i am having a 3rd glass of argentine malbec with my very tasty trout fillet, peruvian soup, and second piece of chocolate cake.

viva los incans!
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:50 AM   #160
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machu picchu, peru

monday, march 25, 2013

well, i can take machu picchu off the list of things to do.


i was here, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i was one of the first people up to the city, arriving somewhere around 6:30am. i opted for the bus, as opposed to the walk up. i felt bad as the bus passed those hiking up for 2 hours, thinking they were going to beat us there. leave earlier next time… maybe 4am would be better.


waiting for the sun, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

we waited for the fog to roll back for about an hour, sitting up above the guard house of the city. there were occasional glimpses as the clouds disappeared and reappeared - an incan strip-tease. i was worried that it would be like this all day, but apparently this is how most mornings start out here.


the lost city, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


opening skies, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

soon, the sky openings grew larger, and the scale of the place was laid out before me. almost instantly, the entire site was revealed and sun shone down strong, illuminating the green grass and lighting up the wet peak of waynapicchu that rests behind the city. i got goosebumps when it cleared, as i was standing in the right spot up above it all. there was a mad scramble for cameras and shrieks of excitement from schoolgirls. actually, the schoolgirls were running away terrified from a llama that wanted one of their bananas.


the gringos are coming, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


insert tourist here, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i worked my way from up top, down into the city.


the lost city 2, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

here, i wandered through the ancient 15th century structures, happily getting lost in the maze. of course, construction in south america was never much friendlier to the gravitationally challenged - i still would have been hitting my head on doorways all the time in 1458 or whenever emperor Pachacuti was living there.


inside the city, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


there goes the neighborhood, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


the field, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


don't forget the little things, machu picchu, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i'm back in agues calients early, having an overpriced omelette with my new friend, milo the dog. he like papas fritas, and why shouldn't he! it's about 10:45am. my train back to hydroelectrico leaves at 12:35pm. i'm hoping to get back on the bike (if it hasn't already been stolen and sold) and on the road back down the mountain around 1:30pm. that should get me back to ollantaytabmo at around 6pm, before it gets dark. i'm looking forward to spending another night walking around ollantaytambo. for my money, it's a much richer experience than aguas calientes. there, i'm like an incan high-priest, with my columbia cargo pants and my iphone 5.


milo, ugly - but well dressed, aguas calientes, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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Old 03-25-2013, 09:48 AM   #161
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Machu Pichu! Awesome!

Its on my bucket list.
Looks to be a great day up there.

I wish there were a road to ride up on bike.
Can you camp there?

Fantastic trip my man!
Loving this RR.

Be safe, keep the adventures going.


Dave
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:45 PM   #162
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yes, a road to machu picchu would be epic, but then every schlup and their uncle would be tromping up there in their hummers. i bet if you were real crafty, you could take a sleeping bag and hide in some corner of the park. you'd probably get caught in the morning, but it would be worth it. a full moon sleepover with the spirits of the sacrificed!!
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:21 PM   #163
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machu picchu, peru to ollantaytambo, peru

the train back from machu picchu was a bit slower on the way back. i didn't mind. the scenery along the tracks was relaxing as we cut through the jungle and alongside the urubamba river. i had a nice chat with a korean girl that i met all the way back in san pedro de atacama, chile.

i arrived back at hydroelectrico and seńor elico escóbar held firm to his promise to guard my bike. i was in a bit of a rush to get out of there, as i knew i had a 5 hour ride and that it gets dark in these deep peruvian valleys around 6pm. i left at 2:30. i rode fast today.


it's still there, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tunnel ventilator, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


hot chicks, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


wish i had less stuff, hydroelectrico, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

heading back down the dirt road to santa teresa was a lot faster downhill, and without stopping to take as many photos. i knew all the right spots to cross the rivers and streams that frequented my path back, blasting through many of them at speed whereas before i was more cautious.


road to santa teresa, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

at santa maria, i began the climb back up to the paso abra de malagra. from 1500 meters to 4300 meters in 20 minutes. for this kind of climb, you need gas. unfortunately, there's not a lot of it on that stretch. i remembered the two locations from a couple of days ago, and picked the one that was the least crappy looking. they both looked pretty crappy. i had my first experience with gas from a mystery bucket, so i got out the mr. funnel gas filter that i've been dragging around through 6 countries, but haven't yet used. it was satisfying, but probably unnecessary. the gas was 84 octane. i'm assuming the other 16% is banana juice or pisco sours. the bike didn't seem to notice any difference.


bucket gas, east of santa maria, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

in the fog on the climb, i noticed a moto pulled to the side of the road. it's almost a reflex to stop and say hello, as there aren't a lot of other intrepid motorcyclists out there. sabrina and maxime are from bordeaux, france, and traveling 2-up on a kawasaki versys. maxime has put a rear wheel and tire on the front of the bike, complete with dual disc brakes. he's running some brand of czechoslovakian tire that i can't recall, but he likes the tread and how the tire wears.


west side of paso abra de malagra 2, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


banana lowland, east of santa maria, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


ad-frencherers!, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


yes, that is a rear wheel on the front, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i answered some questions that they had about the ride to machu picchu, and we parted ways as quickly as we met. i could have talked to them for hours, as the bond between motorcyclists on the road is instant and powerful. but we both had a limited amount of daylight, and places to get to before dark. here's to meeting the two of your somewhere else! don't be surprized if i show up at your doorstep in bordeaux at some time in the future. and of course, both of you are always welcomed to stay at my home in portland if you ever find yourselves in the american pacific northwest... here's their blog: www.maxime-barat.com.


mixime-barat.com, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


new buddies, west side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

on the subject of tires, i'm becoming less infatuated with the heidenau k60's i'm running, as the rear really seems to wear flat in the center of the tire pretty quickly. i have been shredding the tires aggressively on some pretty horrible roads, but it still feels like it's wearing too quickly. this is my second rear and i've felt the same way about both. maybe i expect too much from a tire?

i arrived back in ollantaytambo just after dark. i returned to the same 30.00 sole (12.00 USD) hotel with garage that i used a couple days ago. it's nice to not have to search or think sometimes. i found a bucket outside my room, and immediately washed my 2 pairs of motorcycle socks with a mountain of detergent. they were both soaked from the 'over the boot' river crossings on the way in and out of machu picchu. the first pair had a full day to ferment and mature to a fragrant nose at seńor escóbar's lavish villa. the second pair wasn't far behind from a day of riding wet. not sure what to do about my soaked boots. i'll figure that out after dinner. maybe i'll just chuck them in the trash and ride commando.


west side of paso abra de malagra 3, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


east side of paso abra de malagra, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

meanwhile, i'm enjoying the excellent service and home cooking of my friend dante acurio at his peruvian restaurant - inti killa. dante might be the nicest guy i've ever met in my life. his restaurant is right on the main square in town. eat here if you are ever in ollantaytambo, peru - it's very good and the wifi gets the job done if you've got time and wine.


dante acurio, restaurant inti killa, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 03-25-2013 at 07:31 PM
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:27 PM   #164
porkandcorn OP
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ollantaytambo, peru to puquio, peru

tuesday, march 26, 2013

this afternoon/evening brought the most challenging riding, physically and mentally, of this entire trip. unfortunately, i got a late start out of ollantaytambo due to some heavy rain and needed maintenance...


everything is better with coffee, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

my rear brakes were completely done after i got back from machu picchu last night. i woke at 6am to a heavy rain. i knew i had to change my rear pads, so the rain gave me a good excuse to do it. i'm now on my third set of rear brake pads, while still running on the first front set with some to spare.


workshop, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


pile of triumph parts, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


new rear brake pads, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the rain continued, so i got caught up on a couple of other maintenance items. of course, the chain can always be cleaned and lubed - especially after dirt roads and river crossings.

i got caught in a deep rut in the road yesterday while turning a hairpin, and the bike went down at 0 mph, this time on her left side. the bike is completely untouched, but the hand guards and the panniers took a slight beating.

the touratech panniers have not responded very well to tip overs and are now somewhat deformed. as a result, the lids don't fit properly, and they are both letting in water. thankfully i brought heavy dry liners along to keep all my stuff dry for the next 6 weeks. i banged out some dents this morning, but getting the lids to fit perfectly again seems to be an impossible task.


banging back to shape, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the left-side aluminum grip guard was bent out of shape in the tip over. it protected the controls and the bike itself, but it bent enough to get in the way of the clutch lever. and the 1.5" machine screw that holds it into the bar-end got a good bend in it.


bent handle guards, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i found an old vice in the back parking area of the hostel, so i took advantage of this rare luck and got to work bending the guard and screw back into shape. it's not perfect, but it's much better.


lucky to find a vice, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


bending the screw, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


bending in the vice, ollantaytambo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i finally got out of ollantaytambo at about 9am. i was also very low on radiator coolant, so i had to hunt some down in the next town and engineer a funnel out of a plastic bag to get it down into the reservoir. another 30 minutes down the drain.

then the rain started up again, so i had to put on my water-logged boots at another stop - so much for letting them air dry. i also took the time to fill up my spare 7 -liter gas tank, which i used up coming out of machu picchu. another 20 minutes down. i finally began the climb up over the mountain to the south of urubamba, peru, and was on my way to nasca and the peruvian coast - which i was told would be a 6-hour ride by two separate sources. that was not the case and would prove to be very painful mis-information.


laguna huanypo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


river near cachora, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i climbed from 6,000 ft to 13,000 ft. i dropped down to 7,000 again. switchbacks and curved as far as the eye could see for several hours. i ascended up along an alpine river, to an altiplano (high plain) above 15,000 feet near negro mayo, peru. there was fog and drizzle throughout the day, and even though i continued to add layers of clothes, the chill crept in with great persistence.


up into the fog, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


mountains, route 3s, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


vista, route 3s, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


4600 meters, west of negra mayo, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

by this time, i had 4 t-shirts, a hoodie, and my rain jacket on underneath my klim riding jacket, which was tight with all the extra layers and all the air vents closed. i had my heavy winter gloves on. but i was still chilled. west of negra mayo, the sun was dropping quick, and i was still 4 hours from nasca, my planned destination. this altiplano is a vast wilderness. there is nothing up there for a couple hundred miles, except vicuńas (small llamas) and wind. no cars, no nothing. not even a starbucks.

the sun dropped, and i was shivering pretty good. kilometers were creeping by at a snail's pace. minutes felt like hours. my teeth were chattering, and my toes were frozen inside my wet boots. my fingers were cramping and stiff, even with my heavy gloves and the heated grips on high. i felt a little fear creep in as the sky turned to fire red, heralding the impending nightfall in the middle of the peruvian andeas.

at twighlight, a very beautiful and eerie several minutes passed. and even though i didn't want to take off my gloves and make my fingers worse, i couldn't pass up the following photos - the colors were incredible and the light was other-worldly. these photos bastardize what was one of the most incredible sunsets i've ever seen. it was an odd mix of extreme beauty and "oh shit, i'm screwed-ness". my thermostat read 29 degrees before i kicked the bike out of neutral and started moving again.


high lake, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr


high laken 2, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i had been riding nearly frozen for about 2.5 hours. my neck, shoulders, and back were burning and needed a break. my head was pounding from the sudden elevation gains, and too few water stops. but i had to keep riding, because the longer i waited, the further the sun dropped and the colder the temperatures became. there's no fuel up there to burn if i wanted to camp, and i was completely exposed to the full brunt of the andean wind howling over the pass. even if i decided to camp, by the time i got it all set up, i'd be totally frozen. and, i was barely outrunning a west-moving front of rain and sleet that was only minutes behind me.


high lake 3, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

so i had to push on. there was no other choice - follow the sun to stretch out the little remaining light. hope that the switchbacks would stop and the elevation would drop. soon, it was dark.


twighlight, route 30a, peru by porkandcorn, on Flickr

a rising full moon was a strange companion, and gave me a boost of energy until full darkness when it's brightness was actually blinding my view of the road each time i swept back to the east on the endless curves. the roads were full of potholes, migrating animals, and patches of frozen drizzle. in general, it was not a good scene.

it was mentally exhausting. i was in this half frozen, half freaked-out, half-fucked state for about an hour in moon-lit darkness. it seemed like an eternity. i finally arrived at puquio, peru at about 8pm. i was too exhausted to even feel relief. i saw a pair of church steeples that led me to the central plaza… and a shitty, weird room for the night.

the floors are freezing, and i'm under all the covers still trying to warm up even after a semi-hot shower. my bike is parked downstairs inside of a pharmacy, next to a display of tampons. the adrenaline is still pumping around my system and keeping me from sleeping even though i'm completely beat…

i'm still 2.5 hours from nazca, which i'll finish in the morning.


ollantaytambo to puquio by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 03-27-2013 at 08:04 PM
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #165
TheLorax
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suicide run

Made the run from Nazca to Abancay in one day during early April sleet once. Entered Abancay in the descending darkness on election day. That was far too much and still several hours shorter than what you attempted. The loudest street party I have ever accidentally ridden into the middle of. Probably the single most "screwed" that I've ever felt on a bike in a foreign country.

But I ordered some chicken and rice in a fluorescent neon Chifa restaurant downtown and watched the insanely noisy festivities. Watching the majority of Abancay celebrate the fact that they COULD vote warmed me to the core. It still amazes me to this day that we take this for granted. That evening in Abancay will make me smile every time I think of it until the day I die.

I need to compliment you. Your photos and narration make every place you go look like the best and most beautiful place on earth.
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