The big trip

Where have you been riding? Tell us all about your trip. Prove it with pictures! If ya didn't take pictures, it didn't happen...
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Re: The big trip

Post by Lokiboy » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:30 pm


Buy a house down there. The inmates have finally taken over the asylum and no one dares call them nuts
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:37 am

I wrote this back in April and forgot to post it. I hope you are all well and staying safe. Isn't it great that you can still ride a bike safely?

When we finally arrived in Celendin got a hotel and headed out for a late lunch, we discovered it was fiesta day. This fiesta seemed to consist of trying to wet as many participants as possible. The plaza was full of what we old farts refer to as “the young people” throwing water at each other. The action was fast and furious. We as old farts we presumed not to appreciate this type of “fun” and were spared any direct shots though a few strays came close.

The only waitress in our restaurant kept filling jugs of water from the fountain and running outside to hurtle it at some target. We as customers were definitely an inconvenience that day. The whole town seemed to be around the plaza the “youths” in the middle and the more responsible members of society around the perimeter. You will be glad to hear we made to the hotel dry and safe. I have no idea what the fiesta was but it seems water throwing is part of the fiesta spirit. It makes sense if you live in the tropics.

The 100k to Cajamarca was the complete opposite of the day before. It was a good road through the foothills with sweeping curves, scenery that I could enjoy and a gentle downhill. An absolute pleasure especially as the weather was perfect too.

Cajamarca is situated in a fertile valley and the climate was perfect. It is famous for its hot springs, which of course we didn’t visit. They were on the other side of town from our hotel and the thought of beating our way across town was too much for these road warriors. Hot springs in a hot climate sort of lose their appeal for us any way.

It is a nice city a bit different than most as the local stone is the predominant building material. In many places they built the houses with stone for the first 2 feet or so and then adobe after that. The ‘el centro ‘is well preserved, with the usual churches monasteries/convents scattered around. They have being repurposed now into museums, offices, galleries etc.

The overview was perfect distance from the hotel for a walk and did give a great view of the city unlike some we have experienced. That, a museum and getting our laundry done are my memories. Death, The taxes and laundry there is now escape. With a review like that I am not applying for a job with Cajamarca tourismo.

Next on the agenda is to meet the Lord of Saipan, unfortunately we were a few hundred years late. We were so late we didn’t even make the funeral. The only thing left was to see the grave and luckily there is a very good museum on the edge of Chicalyo. Judging from the contents of the museum the funeral must have been a no holds barred affair. The amount of gold objects and the level of workmanship eye opening. Bracelets, arm bands, nose rings, buckles, helmets, anything you can adorn yourself he had. To me the most interesting things was all the bead clothing when you think each one was made by hand. Even the smallest item had multiple thousands of beads each one made by hand. The small one were probably less than 3 or 4 millimeters. An unbelievable amount of work, all we saw were the pieces that were in the tomb. Bead making must have been a big employer just like car making in Detroit in its heyday.

The actual tomb was replicated in the display area. He was buried with all the items on display and a number of women a child some poor sap you was killed and then buried up in the corner to guard his lord and master. Last but not least a headless Llama, not ask me what that symbolizes and the experts don’t know either so I am in good company.

After battling our way back to the hotel we were too knackered to go and see his city so that was tomorrows plan. Chicalayo has the worst traffic and streets of any town so far absolute anarchy with battle field road surfaces. They don’t have potholes they have chasms.

All that is left of old city is a few weathered pyramids made out of adobe brick. How many millions went into each structure is anyone’s guess but if you had a penny for each one you’d be set for many life times. The location again was beautiful with the Andes about a mile behind and the coastal plain lush and green beside the river.

We got back in time for a late lunch, as we looked for a suitable place we were passed by a naked man strolling down the busy street. He didn’t have a care in the world and most people didn’t bat an eyelid either. It reminded us of the time we were in Ulaanbaatar and another guy strolled along dressed in frilly knickers and a bra. Very I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok. He took off his check shirt and causually twirling around crossed the street. It was the only time we saw traffic stop there so maybe he had the right idea for crossing the street safely.

We had decided to travel down the coast again before turning back inland and hooking up with the 3N again. We stayed outside Truillo where surprise, surprise there is more history. The adobe city and the temple of the sun and moon are nearby. Thankfully Huanchaco is a seaside town so the heat was tempered by a seabreeze. It is another surf spot and is becoming popular with expats.

The adobe city was right on the coast and the entire complex is very big a most of it is unexcavated. Unfortunately we had no guide as there were no English speaking ones available. None of the signs were in English so we tried to translate but in the end it had to be googled when we left. It is amazing what you can build with adobe and how long it will last in the right conditions.

Next on the eduacational circuit was the temple. routed us through the city a f*cking nightmare. Many lifetimes later we broke on through to the other side. It is built at the base of a mountain using a combination of adobe and stone. It is remarkably well preserved with some of the original murals looking like they were done yesterday. No planned obsolescence here.

It was a place of worship, and ritual sacrifice. Apparently most of the victims were POW’s generals and the rulers. You were given a lot of drugs for a few days before and then taken to the ceremonial spot and dispatched. At least the leaders couldn’t hide behind the troops in those days.

The site was in use for many hundreds of years and they built on top of the previous structures many times. The archoligsts are still working here and will be for many years in the future. Only the temple has been started on and the total site including settlement covers a large area.

The last stop before the 3N was in a quickly forgotten town. The usual combination of traffic, heat and potholes, the hotel was fine which is the most important thing.

Load the bike again, I do get tired of that, and then it was time to head for the hills. let us down again and showed the ‘shortest route’. That might have been correct in k’s but 35k’s of beat up dirt road was not going to get us anywhere fast. A 3 point turn and back past a village dump. A burning toxic mess guaranteed to shorten the life of anyone who lingered in the area.

Back on the right road again and more traffic but at least it was paved. The main roads here are pretty good, off them is anybody’s guess from ok to the Somme. We lost quite a bit of time, now at last we are heading in the right direction.

Before we headed up the mountains we fueled at a truck stop. Y needed to use the bathroom, which was more toxic than the village dump. Such are for problems for traveling women, I only have go around the back thank God.

Finally on the right road and heading for Duck Canyon, it is always nice to unlose yourself. It is amazing how fertile a desert is when you add water. As I said before all the roads in the mountains follow rivers and the land on either side is heavily cultivated where ever possible.

Duck canyon creeps up on you and almost without noticing it you are in it. It is narrow and steep with many tunnels. The road varies from nice 2 lane to crappy single lane even though it is a 2 way road. Luckily traffic was light and we only met one car in a tunnel, no lights of course and going way to fast.

There must be a lot of minerals as the colors varied all the time from rust red to coal back and every color in between. We passed a number of places where some locals were mining coal on the side of the mountain. A tough and dangerous way to try to survive, hand tools, wheelbarrows and frayed ropes to tie you in. Some of the work sites were 50m above the road and if you fell many hours from help.

There are no bridges across the river except where the road crosses over, the locals use a cable crossing. We were lucky enough to see one of these in action. The carrying cable has a small platform slung underneath with ropes tied to it and stretching across the canyon. You climb onto the platform and then get pulled across. Not something I would volunteer for and I am sure the locals would prefer a proper bridge.

It took us most of the day to get through the canyon but well worth the drive. Late in the afternoon we arrived in Caraz. The agenda here is to see the glacial lakes and the mountain that the Paramount Pictures logo is modeled on,

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Re: The big trip

Post by Mr Wazzock » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:28 pm

Mike H
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Re: The big trip

Post by grumpy geezer » Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:00 am

When you get to the Alti Planno, make sure you sample Cuy, which is roasted gieuna pig(?-hamster).Don't knock it until you try it. There is a great assortment of potato dishes, they developed the plant and have had a lot of time to make it taste good. The seafood along the coast is great, try cervichi(kind of like sushi, not so bland). Stop signs and stop lights are more a suggestion rather than a requirement :D .

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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:50 am

Here is the latest. We hope you and all your loved ones are safe and well.

We have been in lockdown since 3/16. It has been quite strict starting with 2 weeks of 9pm to 5am curfew and only allowed out for essential services, banking, food and medical reasons. It was supposed to last 2 weeks but kept getting extended. Unfortunately it didn’t work; we thought in the beginning that we would ride it out and then continue on our merry way. Mother Nature doesn’t care about your plans she does what she wants.

We left Lima on the Sunday I didn’t feel well and nearly postponed by a day. A good thing we didn’t as quarantine was announced the next day starting in a few hours. The thought of been locked down in our Lima place made us both shudder with horror later. It was fine for a few days but not 5 months.

We had a nice drive down the coast with the idea we would be in Huacachina for 2 days and then on to Nasca and the Sacred Valley. After that Bolivia and the salt flats. We set off from Oxnard with 3 places to see on this trip and the salt flats were 1 of them. The Atacama desert another, so near yet so far.

The hotel was nice, 10 rooms and outside of town with pool, kitchen, and little garden. We were the only guests. That first afternoon we climbed the sand dunes overlooking the oasis. That evening the quarantine announcement was made and we were lockdown. Mask wearing became compulsory alcohol sales banned and all non-essential travel stopped. No problem it is only for 2 weeks and the numbers were very low. We can do this we thought not a problem.

Quarantine kept getting extended and the numbers continue to get worse. The province of Ica is still under lockdown at least until the end of August. At the end of the first week 2 other guests came to stay. We were not happy but it turned out that where they were staying closed and our owners let them move in as they were homeless. Mellisa and Henrique were fellow travelers, she is Chilean and he is Spanish. They had met on the road and traveled together for 3 years. They turned out to be the perfect fellow guests, quiet and boring like us. Quickly we developed a routine, have a walk in the morning for an hour or more, breakfast then what ever business needed to be done. That took a surprising amount of time. After lunch we did a lot of catching up due to time differences between Peru and Europe and for us it was perfect as we could time the calls better. Also as everyone we knew was under lockdown somewhere they were all available and had time to chat. That is one of the few upsides to this disaster.

In the beginning it was nice to have time without responsibilities and we had many a happy conversation about the future travels. Less people at the places we wanted to see cheaper hotels and tours. What a rosy picture we painted for ourselves. Slowly the reality began to dawn this is not going to go away soon.

Peru and most of South America tried to do the right thing but it is very difficult. There is a lot of poverty here with many street vendors and others working for their next meal. Most people get their food in the markets and they turned out to be superspreaders. Also many people had moved to Lima from their villages over the years to try and survive, after a couple of weeks they were faced with a choice of starving or returning to their villages. Not surprisingly they chose to return, 160,000 did so thereby spreading the virus nationwide. That combined with high density living is not a recipe for cutting the infection rates. The Peruvian government has not invested in a medical system that can cope in normal times so what hope has it now?

Because we were so isolated and comfortable in the hotel it took a long time for reality to sink in. We realized that our dreams of continuing on were just dreams now. Time for plan B.

On July 16th I started to research shipping to Europe. We are both Irish and no longer have US medical insurance so back to the US was not an option. Returning there from here would be just out of the frying pan into the fire. On Friday I was contacted by a shipper and told that if we could be in Lima by Tuesday he had room in a container of bikes going to Germany. After checking on flights and booking the first available 8/24 (we are not the only rats leaving the ship it seems), we confirmed with the police we could travel to Lima. First thing Monday we were gone. It was nice to be moving again but very sad also. We didn’t want to do this and heading north was all wrong. After 4 months of being parked Pferdi fired up no problem bless his heart.

It turned out the first shipper had got it wrong and didn’t have room for a sidecar so it was a good thing we had a backup. After running around getting documents all was arranged for the crating. The crate was tight mirrors, sidebox, luggage rack and almost the sidecar mudguard had to come off. Tie downs and shrink wrap fitted, the crate was sealed. It fitted into the truck with less than a centimeter clearance on the sides.

Then off to the port were Pferdi sat for a few days because customs would not process it until we paid the fine for overstaying our temporary import permit. Never mind that the borders had been closed, and all the customs offices as well. The fine needed to be paid. It was official corruption as you pay the customs fine at the bank into a government account.

Customs is a 2 stage process step 1 is verifying the vin etc. and stage 2 supervising the loading of the container. Pferdi is in the container now and left on the 12th. It should arrive in Hamburg in about 3.5 weeks.

We fly as soon as possible to Amsterdam then Dublin and quarantine for 14 days. Yvonne will then visit her family for a while. I on the other hand will head for Hamburg get Pferdi reassemble him, put a new battery in, it had to come out for shipping not even in the crate was ok.

We have gone through every emotion in the book in the last 3 weeks from ultra-high to ultra-low. We console ourselves knowing when the world settles down we will return and complete this trip. It won’t be on Pferdi unfortunately but we will do it somehow on some bike.

Just got a flight out on the 21st. Sorry the above is so disjointed.

Here is a link to Y's blog better written and has photos.

Stay safe on the road and when you are out and about.

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Re: The big trip

Post by grumpy geezer » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:35 am

Sorry to hear the trip is interrupted :( . Soon this will pass and you will on to the next stage of your journey.

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Re: The big trip

Post by Wildhorse Cafe » Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:09 pm

Fran, you are an excellent writer and your stories are engaging. Thank you, for taking us along.
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When you set out on your journey to Ithaca
pray the road is long , full of adventure, full of knowledge
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage

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Re: The big trip

Post by Desantnik-VDV » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:38 pm

Wildhorse Cafe wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:09 pm
Fran, you are an excellent writer and your stories are engaging. Thank you, for taking us along.

You are very courageous people. Hope you will arrive home and relax.

P.S. Itchy Boots (girl from Holland) got lucky and returned home early enough.
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Re: The big trip

Post by ruans187 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:43 am

Nice plans, I was curious if the borders of these countries are open yet. I am originally from Colombia, and the country is still closed.
I will follow your trip, good luck. :D

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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:39 pm

In these days Yvonne and Fran should get access to internet again... You all will be astonished about the turn out of the story!
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