Facts and Figures
Feb 7th - Feb 16th 2011
Start Mileage - 33722
Miles - 162
Ollantaytambo (Hostel Los Polados) - Aboncay (Hotel Imperial)
The French couple at the hostel had told us about a back road they had taken to the ruins at Moray and the salt pans at Maras. A good dirt road with a dodgy bridge crossing as the only difficult part. We left Ollantaytambo in good weather so the road shouldn't be too difficult. We found the turnoff for the “footbridge” to get onto the track, the track was still a bit wet from the rain yesterday. We got to the dodgy bridge we had been told about and parked up to take a reccy at it. Rachel positioned herself at the other side to get the “dump shot” if me or Skip didn’t make it! The planks were uneven, not flush with the road surface and were spaced wide enough to drop the front wheel through. There was also a big chunk missing from the middle!
A safe crossing of the little bridge and no pictures for Rachel. The rest of the ride to the Moray ruins site was easy, a good ride on the twisty dirt with no other traffic and great views back over the Sacred Valley. At 3.500 Mtrs we arrived at the site, believed to be an experimental Inca agricultural site. With the temperature varying between the top and lower levels of the circular terraces it was possibly used to study the effects of different climatic conditions on different crops. We spent around an hour at the site then headed on to the next stop, the Salt Pans at Maras. Back onto tarmac after a few KM’s then we had to keep our eyes peeled for the sign for the salt pans. Few people must do the trip to the two sites the way we had come as there were no signs visible in the direction we were headed, I just happened to catch sight of a brown tourist sign in my mirrors and stopped to check it out. The sign just had “Salinas” on it so we guessed it must be the correct turn. Back onto dirt again for about 19KM’s to the pans. Salt has been obtained here in Maras since before Inca times. The salty water comes from an underground spring and is funnelled through the maze of channels and into the terraced ponds, none of which are more than 4Mtrs square and 30cm’s deep.
Time is getting on, we had planned on getting to Aboncay tonight and we still have a lot of miles to do. Climbing again to over 4,000Mtrs it is once more getting cold and the mist is coming in. We arrived at Aboncay in the dark. A busy town, lots of traffic and one way streets. We pulled up to ask at a shop for directions to hotels and were given two options, one just up the road which would be easier to get to riding against the traffic and another which the guy in the shop offered to escort us to. Skip has slipped into one of his down moments again so we opted for the closest and wound our way up the wrong way of a one way road!
A good Chifa and a beer or two and Skip is happy again.
Start Mileage - 33,884
Miles - 195
Aboncay (Hotel Imperial) - Puquoi (Hotel Los Andes)
Not overly happy today after receiving an email telling us that the boiler at home has packed up and we need to fork out £2,000 to replace it. My turn for a Skip moment!!!!!
Trying to get out of town we took the wrong road and were headed back towards Cusco, fortunately it wasn’t long before I realised and we got back on the right road. There are a lot of water crossings to contend with due to all the heavy rain that has fallen here lately, some of the crossings were quite fierce and wide! We also had a lot of rock falls to dodge around because of the weather.
While we were stopped for coffee and lunch in a little town we noticed a coach rolling through that had been in a bad accident, all the side and front was stoved in. it was still driveable so why pay for truck to transport it?!!
After lunch we started climbing into the mountains again, getting colder! At one point we lost Skip and Rachel so pulled over to wait for them and take the opportunity to get the wet weather jackets on just for an extra layer against the cold. Skip and Rachel caught us up, the bike has broken down again, no power and sounding like a bag of spanners. Eventually get going again and the freezing rain comes in, soaked within seconds, pointless stopping to put wet weather trousers on. The Dommy isn’t well at all, we had to keep stopping to let them catch up through the fog. We were all glad to reach Puquoi and found a hotel with good parking easily enough. Garage doors open park up and just leave everything strapped on, everything is soaked through anyway :-( We found a restaurant with cheap food, grabbed some beers and back to the hotel.
Soooo cold and no heating in the rooms I ended up in bed fully booted and spurred. Not a lot of sleep!
Start Mileage - 34,079
Miles - 104
Puquoi (Hotel Los Andes) - Nasca (Hotel Alegria)
Not far to go today and as it’s cold we stayed under the blankets until it started to warm up. No need to pack up as everything is still on the bike.
Coffee and breakfast consumed we get going by about 11:00. Gloves and helmets still soaking but at least the sun is up today , it’s a bit warmer but there are still a lot of grotty clouds around. We weren't on the road long before the rain hit us again, stopped at the first sign of it to gear up but got soaked again. The weather is starting to get through and no sign of us going down in altitude yet. We ran into three Canadian bikes Cusco bound, that had stopped to gear up, looks like we are nearly out of the wet stuff. Got a hotel recommendation from them and gave them our info. Quick chat then get moving again, we are soon out of the rain, descending, and the temperature is rising slowly. As soon as we are below 2,000Mtrs the heat comes in … 30+DegC .. Nice.
We got into Nasca nice and early and went to check out a couple of recommended campsites in town. The first one was closed and the second wanted 20 Soles per person and 20 Soles for electricity, more than the cost of the hotel the Canadians had mentioned, hotel it is then.
Off loaded the bikes, into the pool then shower and out to sort flights over the Nasca Lines. Flights booked for tomorrow, pick up at 09:00.
Nasca (Hotel Alegria)
10/02/2011 - Nasca Lines Flight.
Woken to the sound of Coughing and the jangling of spanners outside the room. Skip couldn't sleep so got up early to strip the bike down yet again. Dommy was stripped down before we were picked up, have a look at it when we get back. We noticed a Canadian registered GS1150 in the airport car park so went over to have a look at it and saw one of Darryl and Angies (met them in Moquegue) stickers on the pannier. I saw a guy in the waiting room with a tank bag so guessed he was the rider of the GS and went to chat while the rest stood in the queue to check in. While we were chatting I discovered that Andre also knew Brian and Marie who we met last December in Viedma, small world!!
Everyone weighed off we had to wait until 10:45 before we got called through to our flight.
The little 6 seater took off for a very bumpy 30 minute flight, difficult to get pictures through the windows but well worth the money.
The Nasca Lines are a series of geoglyphs created by the Nasca culture between 400 and 650 AD. They were created by scraping the surface of the land to a depth of 10 - 15cm’s. The largest figures are over 200Mtrs across.
After the flight Rachel and Andre were looking a bit green around the gills, when we got back to the hotel Rachel had to go and lie down so we left her and went out for lunch. Lorraine went back to the hotel and me and Skip went looking for parts for the Dommy, Skip thinks it might be the HT leads or plugs. New plug leads and plugs sourced, no better, back to the drawing board. The timing has slipped again,
Cannot believe this weather, in bed fully booted the other night and moaning it’s too hot now ... not really!
11/02/2011 - Spent the day on the internet trying to find solutions to the Dommy problem. Skip’s mood is boiling over again due to the bike, Rachel stayed in the room while we went out to dinner followed by a pub crawl … mucho Cerveza, Pisco Sours and Tequilas. Ended up in a Karaoke bar (I must have been wasted!!). We got back to the hotel at 02:00, a bit wobbly and Skip decided he wanted a swim .. straight into the pool fully booted :-) Managed to coax him out and sent him to bed.
12/02/2011 - Hangover!!!!
13/02/2011 - We found a possible solution for the Dommy but have to wait until tomorrow for the shops to open to get a sleeve welded over the camshaft. Not a lot we can do with the bike so we booked a trip to Chauchilla cemetery, a prehispanic cemetery about 30KM’s from Nasca. Discovered in the 1920’s and not used since around 800 AD it includes important burials dating back to around 200 AD. Most of the graves have been emptied by grave robbers or “Huaqueros” who scattered the bones and pottery all over the site. Some of the mummified remains have been recovered and placed back into tombs but the bones of the more damaged mummies have been left as they were found laying around the site.
Went out for pizza for dinner. We should have picked up on the clue when the waiter had to take two empty bottles and run up the street to get us beer. 1st beers consumed and we are still waiting for pizza so order more beer, again he takes two empties from a cupboard and legs it up the street. Eventually the pizza arrives .. It’s sh***, the base is so soggy it looks like it has been boiled! We walked out.
14/02/2011 - Skip got the camshaft sleeved and we put the engine back together. Still no good, the timing is slipping every time we reset it, could be the chain or the bottom cog so it isn't going to be cost effective to get the parts and fix it, Dommy is officially dead. Now Skip has to find out how he can legally dump it. Final decision to be made tomorrow.
15/02/2011 - Decision is made, Skip and Rachel have found a bike shop in Miami selling KLR’s at a giveaway price, now they have to find out the legalities of dumping the bike in Peru. A trip to the local police station to enquire about leaving the country without the bike comes up trumps. The Nasca Police Department have been after a bike to patrol the archaeological sites rather than using 4x4’s that are damaging the sites but every request they put in for extra funding is refused by their bosses. They will gladly take the bike off their hands.
Old bike sorted and within a few hours a new one ordered from the dealer in Miami. Skip is happy again!!!
Start Mileage - 34,183
Miles - 151
Nasca (Hotel Alegria) - Paracas (Refugio del Pirata)
Not far to go today so we decided to stay and watch the ceremonial handover of the keys.
The cops turned up in civvy’s after the commotion caused yesterday when uniformed police came into the hotel asking for the two Australians that were staying there!!! A sad farewell to the Dommy as we watched her being wheeled away, hopefully there is a few more years left in her!
After the ceremony we left Nasca and Skip & Rachel heading for Paracas, we will find a cheap hostel and S&R will take the bus and meet us there. An uneventful ride, not a lot of interest on the way though we did see a few geoglyphs on the road. Arrived Paracas at 15:30, lots of accommodation in such a small town but not many with parking. after checking a few hostels out we went back to the guy that was trying to wave us down at the end of town on our first sweep through. We managed to knock him down on the price because we were going to stay a couple of days and we were bringing friends along. Emailed S&R with the details of where we are and went out to check out the cost of a trip to the “Poor mans Gallapagos Islands”, Islas Ballesteros.
Not a great deal to do in the town, the Islands are the main draw here. Most of the town is quite new after the rebuilding needed due to the massive earthquake in 2007 that wiped out most everything.