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Old 04-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #331
Romanousky OP
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After finishing the bottle “Old Times” whiskey nobody was feeling too great in the morning. After some pears and granola I fell back asleep on a concrete pad for an hour or so. We didn’t get picked up and out of the area until just before noon. The plans was to head for a crater lake (Quilotoa) up around 14,000 ft. We drove very slowly, got lost in Quito (gps maps not updated and Marnix’s unit was broken), got caught in the rain, so time was short.



A "Full Retarded" bus:



Quito....ramshackles packed tightly on the hillsides:









We stopped for lunch at 4:00 because the restaurant sign said it had Guinea Pig (which Marnix and I want to try) but they were all out. We settled for chicken and discussed the plan. In the end we decided to head for Banos instead of the Crater.





Dropped the 4,000 ft into Banos in the pitch black which is very unfortunate. You could tell it was a fantastic rode but at night it was full of traffic and my headlight makes night riding less than comfortable. Quickly ascertained a hostel dorm room just for the 4 of us for $15. I wish I had more time in Ecuador because the prices are very very appealing. (Diesel is $1/gallon for all you big rig fanatics).
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:59 AM   #332
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Hostel had a great beds so we slept in and then went to the roof top for pancakes and fruit. It is always interesting to driveinto a place in the dark and then see where you ended up in the morning. Banos did not disappoint. Sharp rocky mountain faces sticking straight up all around the city.


After breakfast we took a cab about 8 miles out of town to a “troll/gondola” that supposedly goes between a couple of waterfalls. We are expecting some glass enclosed carriage that took you up a mountain side. That was not the case. It was an open air job that just flys off a cliff at about 25mph and shoots you over to the other side where the waterfalls are at which point it screeches to a halt and while you dangle back and forth and you snap some photos before you haul ass backwards to the center of the ravine where you screech to a halt and swing around staring down about 600 ft while I contemplate browning myself because heights are not my friend. We made it back safely but I have no intention to ride another one of these diesel powered roll cages hanging by twine.















Our cab left so we tried to hitchhike home....ended up on a bus.





Then roamed the streets and landed in a little shop for a typical lunch (another epic fail on the guinea pig….they only serve it on Saturday and Sunday here….must be special).





Spent some time uploading and typing and then headed for the grocery store for dinner. Marnix and Lisan have a different time frame than us so this is our last evening together…..at least on this journey. We bought dinner supplies and they got the rum and we had a great evening together.







During dinner we also met Fritz from Portland, OR who is riding south to north. He is one tall dude.

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Old 04-19-2013, 11:28 AM   #333
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For whatever reason we decided to deviate from the PanAm and head east into the outskirts of the amazon. This turned out to be a fantastic decision. A little rain early on but I would say it is the best paved road I have ever been on. Literally 150 miles of twisting turns not overly tight but enough to make you down shift for each one. The road was also brand new so no potholes…..just a few construction surprises. Then to top it all off the following 150 miles was packed full of waterfalls gushing from the mountain sides. Swollen rivers and epic scenery for the entire 370 mile trip to Vilcabamba! I fricken love Ecuador!!!

Banos in the morning:

























Cresting a pass at about 10,000 ft.










At one point we deviated a little and found a sketchy suspension bridge to cross….oh what fun!



































American Camping!!

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Old 04-19-2013, 11:31 AM   #334
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Landed in Vilcabamba. Nice little town.

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Old 04-19-2013, 02:59 PM   #335
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Vilcabamba to San Ignacio…..Ecuador to Peru:

We have opted for a “less traveled” border crossing knowing that a portion of the road is not paved. In reality, 90% was unpaved, there were 6 small river crossings, a portion of the road at 10,000 ft. in the cloud forest with heavy construction and wet muddy conditions. Couldn't have chosen a better route!

I climbed out of the bowl that is Vilcabamba, snapped a photo, then dropped off the backside twisting and turning on a lovely paved road. 30 miles later the pavement ended and the real fun began. 60 miles of Mud, dirt, gravel, water crossing, rain, construction, etc…. and we made it to the border. This was far and away the best ride of the entire trip. That is pretty impressive to have back to back days in the top 3 of the whole adventure. It is so unfortunate that I don’t have more time for Ecuador.































Covered in mud we pull up to the Aduana and exit the bikes. Next door the passports are quickly stamped…..all in 15 minutes. Needless to say there was no line here.



Across the border bridge we get our passports stamped and then off to the Aduana. The customs guy was an older gentleman and quite the character. Every 5 minutes or so he would belt out an Italian Opera line as loud as he could. This process took about 90 minutes because the internet kept going down. The old guy actually let me sit next to him and type in the VIN number so there weren’t any mistakes. He was very nice and the delay was not at all due to SBS.

The road to San Ignacio was primarily paved with only a few miles of dirt.

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Old 04-19-2013, 03:08 PM   #336
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Tires needed

If anybody knows anything about tire availability in Peru I am all ears

I plan to spend about 4 days in Cusco with a friend and this is where I would like to purchase them. If Lima is my only real option just let me know because i will be passing through. Thanks a ton for any help!
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:31 AM   #337
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Great adventure and report- you guys are badasses! DRZs look like are handling it great- seems like couldn't have taken better bikes.
Be safe.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:57 AM   #338
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 46Harley View Post
Great adventure and report- you guys are badasses! DRZs look like are handling it great- seems like couldn't have taken better bikes.
Be safe.
Thank you Mr. Harley! The DRZ's seem to be taking every blow we dish out. I'm starting to take it for granted that it fires up everyday and cruises 300 miles without complaining. All I do is keep the chain greased and change the oil on occasion. Very happy with the bike selection.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:03 AM   #339
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:15 PM   #340
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So we rolled into San Ignacio last night and I thought it was supposed to be somewhat “touristy” but it really isn’t. Found a “Hostal” that was more like a hotel with a small bar attached and asked the lady if we could park the bikes here. Sure no problem, “after 10 PM the bar closes and you can park inside”. Okay, great. At 9:30 she tries to change her mind after I’ve paid for the place and this puts a very sour taste in my mouth. I think she is trying to say that they bikes are too dirty. This is after she takes a bunch of pics with her on the bike and her friends and I tell her she can get f*cked and give me my money back and I’ll camp in the woods. Eventually she changes her mind.

After I am borderline passed out from watching Will Ferrell imitate George Bush in a terrible standup show I go outside and push the bikes into the bar area.
I slept like shit and she wanted them out at 6:00 AM sharp. I roll out of bed at 6:15 PM and struggle to find someone to open up the bar to let me get the bikes out. I knew no one would be astire at this hour but whatever. I’m married to this thing at this point so whatever it takes I will give.

We depart at 7:00 AM for a quick grab at the ATM and then hit the road.



Muddy gravel for 15 miles and then drop below the clouds along a river for some high speed chase along unpaved roads. Mostly 60mph through a gully in the Andes along a muddy swollen river that is just beautiful.















After this it is 100 miles through mountainous terrain with small towns spotting the Andean foothills. It was very interesting to see all of the stepped rice paddies through this area. I had no idea that rice was a staple crop in Peru.









Lots of goats on the roads up here in northern Peru:





Why build a bridge when you can do this all day:







After scaling yet another range we dropped into an abysmal desert and onto the Pan American highway. This is no mans land in sand dunes and garbage dumps. Northern Peru is an absolute shithole. We planned to go to Cajamarca but my GPS maps are garbage. When we got to a questionable intersection we opted for the coastal route which dropped us onto the PanAm.



Some uninviting town that I can't recall:











After 200 miles we landed in Chiclayo which seemed to be dump. I hadn’t eaten today so I was bound to find something. Stopping at a restaurant we were coerced to park the bikes inside a garage and then ate some of the best fried chicken and rice and avocado with tomato I’ve seen on this side of the hemisphere.





Now that out plans are completely f*cked….meaning we have no hostel or hotel or anything laid out for this route we just keep on trucking. Another 60 miles down the road (after 300+ already) we land in Trujilllo. On the northern side we find Huanchaco which is just great. The first thing that we have seen in Peru that seems remotely appealing. Sat down and had some of the best Mixto Ceviche I have ever had!



Today we seriously went from raining Amazonian rainforest, to the peaks of the Andean mountains, to a desert full of sand, to a coastal town with some of the best mixto ceviche I have ever had. If life was continuously this full of mystery and adventure I’d just crap my pants in the joy of it all. I love South America more than you can imagine!!!!!!!
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:28 PM   #341
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Didn’t do a lot today. Checked out the reed boats and nobody was offering fishing poles so I declined. Walked around on the beach, ate some ceviche, and did a lot of internet work planning for my week ahead.













I will add that I had a fabulous dinner. Split a plate of shrimp ceviche and then got an entre of fried mixto (crab, shrimp, oyster, mussel, squid, etc…). Hands down best seafood meal since Mexico!



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Old 04-21-2013, 04:47 PM   #342
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Hammered down the PanAm for a couple hours and then cut inland. Anyone that just rides the PanAm through Peru is missing the good stuff. I have yet to look around and say, “Yeah, I’m happy with this portion of the ride,” while on this highway. It is trashy, cloudy/foggy/misty, and the beach is not impressive. There are large mountains looming behind the fog but the hectic traffic and constant filth along the roads is a major turnoff. I’d like to leave the highway and get into the sand but fear of a flat tire in the first 10 ft keeps me on the pavement.









We did however see the Peruvian version of the Tuk-Tuk with some sheep on board. At first I thought they were dead but when I got behind this guy for a photo the sheep were turning there heads looking around probably wanting a little help….what an uncomfortable way to travel.



Thousands of huts in the sand:



Finally we broke off of this terrible road and turned inland. Sugar cane fields nestled in the flatlands between the rising mounds of solid rock.





It wasn’t long before the road turned into a single lane the width of a common sidewalk. At first we snaked our way up rolling hills of cactus and rock that soon gave way to a greener vegetation filled with flowers and running water.












After a few photos here the switchbacks started….switchbacks that we only dream of in the states.

SWITCHBACKS!!!









Another hour later we were up in the clouds diving from one side of the mountain, up 50 ft, back to the other side, again and again and again. It got wet, it got cold, and at 11,000 ft. we thought that soon we would drop off the other side….we thought wrong. Crested the invisible mountain at 14,000 ft. and my hand warmers were not making up for the differential.





Twenty minutes down the backside and we dropped below cloud cover. The view opened up into a spectacular scene that my vocabulary cannot and could not comprehend. Vertical mountain walls and in the far distance a snow covered mountain, that I would later learn stands at 22,000 ft. loomed, between the lush Andean peaks.













Absolutely incredible watching the indigenous people farm their lands up here. Men were plowing fields with cattle on slopes that I couldn’t imagine standing upright on. Women and children in their bright dress attire with tall straw top hats wandering the fields begged the question, “Where the hell do they live”. Mud/straw huts could only be seen two ranges over it really starts to make you feel like a pussy.

As the sun soaked through my outerlayers warming my skin we dropped steadily in elevation over hundreds of switchbacks bringing a smile to my face.



Due to the 7’ wide road and blind corners speed was not attainable but I enjoyed every minute of it. As the glacier slipped out of view we attained the basin floor at 7,000 feet.

Just shy of Caraz the bridge had collapsed but the makeshift one over old pillings seemed adequate. Until I saw each van approach, everyone exit the vehicle, van drives across, and then the locals pile back in, it made me think twice…but what can you do.







Caraz seems like a decent little town and we found some nice cheap accomodations and settled in for the night. But first some chicken over open flame at the local Pollo shop.



Today was better than good….I am starting to have an appreciation for Peru. Can’t wait for the morning!

Romanousky screwed with this post 04-21-2013 at 04:57 PM
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:11 PM   #343
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Our primary goal today was to see the Canon del Pato. Basically a very narrow road down in a canyon with thirty some odd tunnels to pass through. Only a 20 mile ride out of town and it did not disappoint. The ledge in most of the sections is completely vertical down to a small river in the bottom. Not much else to say….it was fun.

























Made it back to town before noon so we decided to go check out a lake that is formed due to a melting glacier. After 25 miles of off road riding up gravel switchbacks and an increase in altitude of 7,000’ (14,000’ in total) we made it to the lake. We just kept going up and up and up towards the snowcapped peaks. Lots of pigs, cattle, sheep, wild dogs, donkey, and indigenous folks working in their corn fields along the way. An interesting was of life to say the least.







Once we made it the lake we found the information center empty so we carried on down the walking path….it got sketchy pretty quick so we went on foot for a bit. Nice and brisk at this altitude but the wind was calm and the sun shone down. Riding up through this canyon to the foothills of the Andeas was spectacular. Small shoots of water cascading down the slate faces of the hillsides creating translucent blue streams all along the roadside. The pictures look nice but they don’t do it any justice. Absolute Epic Beauty.













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Old 04-21-2013, 05:59 PM   #344
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" If life was continuously this full of mystery and adventure I’d just crap my pants in the joy of it all. "





Catching up with you guys every day lately.......maybe tripping my face off on psilocybin on the Alvord Desert...........would be better but probably not.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:34 PM   #345
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glad you guys could catch some of the corderilla blanca... it was totally clouded over and raining cat and dogs 3 weeks ago when i was there. you win some, you lose some...

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