An overlander's account of South and Central America by motorbike - the trusty Suzuki DR650. Within are great travel tips and hints (2011).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Peru 1 - Lago Titicaca to Nazca (8-14 April 2011)

After farewelling Bolivia (and Bolivia farewellling me with a near nail puncture) I headed through the busy border crossing at Desaguardero.  I don´t recommend this border for bikers (bikers note). 

8 April 2011 (500 km) - Cusco (Casa Grande)
The sheep shed was a great place to camp!  It shielded me from the wind and oncoming storm in the arvy!  After waking and leaving I quickly stopped in at Tiwanaku for some pics and archeological visiting.  I made it to the border at Desaguardero for Peru.  The streets were packed with markets!!  Riding through the streets a local guy hit my pannier bag as he was riding by on his pushbike cart and stacked it!  He got up and a bunch of people started abusing me saying I shouldn´t be here (at the border crossing, on the road!!!).  I tucked slowly through the mess into the migrations area.  Man!  The exit process was easy, though aduana on exit wasn´t open at 830, when it was supposed to be, so I ducked over to Peru to check myself in.  The line was HUGE!!  I jumped in queue with a yank guy who was about 50m from the front who´d been there since 5am.  After clearing customs and aduana in Peru I began to return across the bridge when a parade started on the bridge!  I believe it was a Peru Bolivia relations parade.  So I slurped down some local juice and ceviche (fish cooked in lemon juice) and eventually got out of there!

Finally I´d made to Cusco after a nice ride in the hills!  I found a hotel with parking at Casa Grande and then proceeded to Norton Rat´s tavern for a beer (its a travelling moto bar).  You wouldn´´t believe it...I asked for beer and was denied!  Too ugly for Peru I guess!  Turns out the elections were on Sunday and today (Friday), Saturday and Sunday were no drinking days!  Oh well.  Another time.

Pig transport in Peru!

Lago Titicaca from above Puno

A common sight in south washing in a stream.  And llamas!

Muy frio aqui!

The courtyard at Casa Grande...its always nice to meet other bikers!

9-10 April 2011 (300 km) - Cusco (Casa Grande)
The next couple of days I spent checking out the sights of Cusco, servicing the bike and doing minor repairations on things (bags etc).  I bought a new horn (which sounds more feminine than the last), fixed the started button, got my front and rear bearings and front brakes changed.  Along the way I met a Peruvian/Dutch guy who was on a moto as well and we took a ride out of town after getting the bikes eat some CUY!  In english...guinea pig!  And wow its tasty! 

The next day I caught up with a mate from home and went for a ride through the sacred valley.  The markets at Pisaq were wicked and we checked out some ruins and a pass in the mountains further on.  I joined a few of the others for a couple of drinks later on and met a security guy dressed like Van Damme maybe?!  Cusco was a fantastic place to chill out for a couple of days but eventually I had to leave!  I decided not to do Machu Picchu as I want to do it with someone to share the amazing experience rather than do it solo and meet people.  As Arnie says...I´ll be buck!

A street of motorbike shops, and the lads that changed my bearings and brakes!

Where we ate cuy...GOOD parking.

The plaza by night in Cusco.  Beautiful, but my pictures do no justice.  You will get asked here if you want to buy cigarrettes (loudly), then more quietly...marijuana? cocaine?  Hilarious!

Markets at Pisaq.


I like taking photos of ass.

The nice road winding up to the pass on the road to Macchu Picchu.

Bike maintenance in Cusco.

A crew of travelling bikers at Casa Grande.  Argintineans I believe


A common scene at markets like this.  Beautiful locals and tourists taking photos.

Never figured out what the lines on the left were from.  Perhaps some sort of farm?

11 April 2011 (131 km) - Curahuasi (Camp)
After leaving Cusco late I headed towards the coast to Nazca.  After about 120km the bike started stalling frequently.  I eventually made it to a town (Curahuasi) and pulled over and ripped out the spark plugs and cleaned them and cleaned the fuel filters and everything.  I wanted to take it for a test ride so some lovely ladies put my bags inside their house (I had to take everything off to work on the bike).  By this stage it was about 1700h so I asked if I could camp in a soccer field next to a couple of houses!  I pulled in under a bit of a cliff and some kids came over and quite possibly saved my skin!  Apparently rocks drop off here every now and then and the said to move near the goal posts.  It was an amazing night!  Even though I had problems, my problems led me to an amazing experience.  About 15 kids circled me while I set my tent up (and helped me) and cooked dinner.  I gave them some cards and shared all my photos with them, and their smiles and constant questions, "donde?" (where) showed they were enjoying having this gringo in their backyard.  My stove was playing up and blew out BIG fire a couple of times...hilarious!  They brought me some bread and I cooked up a stew with some carrots I was given when I took the bike for a test ride.  They only left me when I finally said I have to sleep now. 

The view when leaving Cusco.

Some nice driving here...don´t stay still for too long or park your bike where the rocks fall.

The kids that joined me at camp for storytime!  I played some aussie music (mostly John Williamson) and danced a bit for them!

They are cheeky kids.  And this is a constant problem with my camera when other people take photos.  Bummer.

Today was also the day I decided to change my plans (see older posts).  I was riding and using my unlimited "helmet time" I decided to take my time through South America and blast through USA and leave the bike there while detouring to Europe without it to see family.  I´d return in September to continue the bike trip...A good decision considering the problems I was having with the carby!

12 April 2011 (190 km) - Abancay (Camp on mechanics roof)
After packing up and talking with a couple of the kids in the morning I jumped on the bike excited for the ride through the deep valley down to Nazca.  As I took off the bike died in the *another name for donkey* again.  I asked where the nearest mechanic was and I was about 3km away it seemed.  I rolled the bike down the hill and then pushed it 2km uphill (amazing stuff at 3000 m with a loaded bike,about 200 kg).  After cleaning the carby at a car mechanic for a few bucks I was back on the road and made it 135 km down the road when it died again.  I pushed it another 3 km to a peaje (road toll) where I played with it for a while.  I got given some jelly by the police there and had offers to put on a truck down to Nazca or back to Abancay (55km from where I´d just come).

I got the bike going and decided to ride back to Abancay as I really wanted to ride the valley down to Nazca.  Every 10km or so she´d die so I´d blow air through the fuel line into the carby and that´d get me another 10 clicks.  After arriving in Abancay I spent a few hours cleaning the carby (and my coleman multifuel stove which had a dead generator).  Finally she got going and the mechanic offered me to stay on his roof in my tent.  Sweet as!  All done for about 8 bucks.  Turns out there was some gunk in one of the jets.  Possibly from a new stone filter I´d installed about 200km in the last service or bad fuel I´d used from a plastic bottle.

 Near Abancay...everyone washes there cars here.  And trucks wash you if you pass when they do!

The view from the mechanics roof the next morning.

No shortage of fresh landslides in South America.  These 2 cops on the moto pulled over for a yarn. 

DV.  Stand for "da village"

...or sometimes desvio (deviation)

13 April 2011 (469 km) - Cusco (Camp@ Hotel Maisson la Suisse)
After finally getting on the rood for good I headed towards a pass over 4000m! After a climb through farmings valleys, I reached the was beautiful!  And COLD!  The tingling sensation on my skin forced me to don some extra layers and grab a hot rice and lentils meal at nice chilled out restaurant at the top.  Eventually the day brought me to the Pacific coast as the road rolled down into dry dusty hills, windy roads and a hazy sunset.  A beautiful ride!  I found a beautiful place to camp on the grass at the hotel above for 20 soles a night. 

 A beautiful waterfall a couple of clicks west of Chalhuanca.  Its possible to camp here about 50m off the road if you get stuck and is at good altitude.

 The view up on the plano.  Sensational!!!

 Straight down to the Pacific Coast...for the first time in a couple of months!  I couldn´t wait!

The views on the road heading down to Nazca.


Unfortunately on so many of these corners there are tombsites.  Many people have died on this road.  There were 3 sites with about 6 people within 1 km of curves.  Take care on the road hombres and chicky babes!

14 April 2011 (293 km) - Pampa (Camp in soccer stadium)
 I woke up in my beautiful green house (tent) and saw geese nearby.  I turned on a sprinkler to wash me hands and the came a runnin!  Hilarious activity!  I proceeded to order the continental breakfast at the hotel for 15 soles (5 bucks).  I sat sitting in front of my bread and tea, talking to a South African couple and waiting for something I looked like a silly goose!  When I asked I found out that was it (bread costs 2 soles for about 5 pieces)!  I guess they felt bad and after I´d finished and gone back to the tent they brought me a bit of fruit!  Cool!

I went to the airport across the road early in the morning (730) and asked if there were last minute tickets to fly over the Nazca lines.  $90 USD was the cheapest and they wouldn´t budge so I decided to check out the miradors (viewpoints) later.  I took a detour about 30km south to the Chauchilla cemetery where the are some old tombs with mummies in them.  Quite nifty!  You can satisfy all your needs to see a dead body here.  Eventually I made my way north and checked out the natural and steel miradors on the highway about 30km north of Nazca.  After a celebratory cigar, I headed further north and managed to find camp on a soccer oval in Pampa.  I chatted with some painters and maintenance guys for a while and made some tasty sangas from vegies and cheese I bought in the highlands!  The sun set and I tucked Nessie in and retreated inside my house for another cosy nights sleep.

Thirsty ay fellas!?

Nessie waiting for my return at the Chauchilla cemetary museum and carpark.

Mummies...and daddies?

 Prickly pear cactus farm!  You can eat the fruit.  In Australia these plants are a major pest and are being controlled with poisons and insects.

 Damn skippy!

 It´s that time in the trip!

 Hmmm...not sure.

Until next time...take care.  Big love.  And for those of you who ride (and drive)...RUBBER SIDE DOWN!

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