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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Puquio, Ica/Huacachina, Lima... Phew!!!

***Edited to include video....***

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
First off, thanks Stephanie B. from Omaha.  I'm glad you are enjoying the blog, and the donation will keep the wheels rolling just a little bit longer, which is much, MUCH appreciated.  

I last wrote from Cusco, which means there is quite a bit to catch up on.  Cusco turned out to be one of my favorite cities on the entire adventure.  It's clean, full of history, beautiful architecture, friendly faces, enough of a party if you want one, and of course one of the best bars around (Norton's - thanks again Yahira for the pint the night before we left).  I had a blast hanging and exploring the town (and nightlife) with Sam, and my friend Caroline (my beautiful and fun Irish friend I met in Granada, and randomly linked up with in Cusco).  Not to mention it's the stopping point before Machu Picchu, which was amazing.  I know, I know...  Thanks Captain Obvious!  It really is a special place, and I'm sure everyone knows everything they need to know about it, but don't miss it.  Definitely worth the crowds of people and challenges to get there.  Due to the bike issues, we ended up not doing the hidroelectrica route unfortunately, and took the traditional gringo cattle route via bus, train, then bus.  Not bad, but a bit much to squeeze/do in one day. 

Speaking of bike issues, I have a couple of 'thanks' for getting those all buttoned up.  First, the folks at Motoviajeros in Lima.  Ivan, Johaan, and Inés all helped in getting a new Heidenau rear and fork seals shipped two-day to Cusco via Cruz del Sur.  They were incredibly helpful, provided a fair cost for the parts, and kept in touch frequently to ensure everything went smoothly and arrived.  I'm not sure if it's standard for them to ship parts like that, but if you are in need of anything for the bike, please look them up.  They are also a Touratech distributor, so if you need any accessories while in Peru, they're the ones to see.  

The other major 'thank you' goes to Alex at PeruMotoTours.  Alex helped communicate with Motoviajeros, drove me two-up over to Cruz del Sur once the parts arrived, and allowed the use of his shop to get the bike fixed up.  Again, all at a very fair cost.  We ended up straightening the rear wheel, putting on a new chain and sprocket set, replacing both fork seals, and spooning on the new rear tire.  The only issue, we found that my front wheel bearings are shot, which is another story.  Basically, we got everything back together, but left two things for Lima.  The fuel pump issue, and the newly discovered front wheel bearing problemo.  Regardless, we took care of the pressing items, and I'm writing this from a cafe in Lima, which means that I arrived with no issue.  Thanks Alex!  If you are in Cusco and want route info, bike repair, moto rentals, and/or very fairly priced tours, look no further.  

Sam and I had amazing rides from Cusco to Lima on both paved and dirt roads.  The route from Cusco (back up and through Abancay) to Puquio took us up and over mountains, around thousands of curves, by beautiful high altitude lakes, huge groups of llamas and alpacas, and loads of scenery that I'll never forget.  Not to mention sunshine the entire route, which is a rarity as you near Lago Yaurihuiri from what I understand.  The next day was the highlight of our riding together for sure.  We left Puquio around 8am and immediately found ourselves climbing higher and higher on 26A.  Before we knew it, we entered Reserva Nacional Pampa Galeras, which was stunning and full of vicuña, which are slightly smaller and more skittish versions of llama/alpaca.  Apparently endangered because of their sought after fine wool, with numbers down to ~6k in the 70's, the vicuña have made a comeback in/around the reserve with numbers around 350k currently.  From there, with frost, snow, and temps around freezing, we descended into the desert (by way of Nazca) and ended the day surrounded by some of the biggest sand dunes in the world (after f'ing around making fresh tracks in the desert along the way).  We parked the bikes and slept in Huacachina for the evening, which is an oasis in the desert, and can be seen on the back of the 50 Peruvian Nuevo Sol note.  And then this morning, we dusted off the bikes and made the ride from Huacachina all the way up to Lima.  

I've had a blend of emotions over the past few days.  Mostly elation and extreme happiness, but also tough and challenging moments due to bike issues, and a number of other things.  Having Sam around has been a nice reminder of home, and I've had an amazing time riding through parts of Peru with him.  I love sitting back and hearing him talk about his adventure here, and am glad I could be a part of it.  However, and in no way is this his fault, having him here has been a bit of a reminder that I do have a life back home that needs tending to at some point.  Great conversations with him, and others over the past few days, have brought up several negative thoughts/emotions/reminders of my past life, the way things 'were', the way they are 'now', and several fears looking into the future (what the hell is next?, am I being selfish/reckless with this whole adventure?, etc).  I feel a bit hypocritical as I gave a nice girl advice the other day that she thanked me profusely for.  She was telling me that she wanted to travel more, but was concerned that her future career would limit that (keep in mind she was telling me this in Peru, whilst traveling).  I found myself explaining to her that she can't forget to "appreciate the now", and that she "can't worry about a future that doesn't even exist".  And now here I am doing the exact same thing.  Oh the perplexities of life...  Interesting, you strap a helmet on and it all seems to come rushing through the head.  Anyway, like I said it has mostly been mint, but it can be trying at times (at least for me).  I met a guy today on a motorcycle that drove down from Los Angeles.  His intention was to make Tierra del Fuego, but said he was currently working on the bike because he was going to sell it here in Lima.  I asked him "why the change of heart?", and he simply said, "I'm tired".  Needless to say, I understood exactly what he was saying.  However don't get me wrong, I'm still having the time of my life, and I'm not ready to stop the grand adventure just yet!  I will say taking this trip makes me appreciate the folks that I've met along the way that have been at it for 2, 3, even 6+ years (Jeffrey P / RideForPeace)!!!  

Tomorrow I plan to wake up early and go for a jog around Miraflores and the beaches nearby.  After the MUCH needed exercise, I'll be driving the bike over to the BMW dealership here in Lima.  I'm hoping that we can pull the fuel filter and pump, and that they'll magically assess and be able to repair the issues that I've been experiencing with the bike.  I'm fearful though as I'm wary of dealerships, and I've heard mixed reviews of the one here.  Then again, maybe I should heed my own advice (AGAIN), and quit worrying myself to death about it (the future) until the time comes.  In any event, the problem needs to be resolved as it continues to get worse.  Sporadically, and more frequently as of late, when I come to a stop the bike will die.  This happens in neutral and first with clutch pulled.  I'll start it, run for a bit, come to a stop again and...  cuts out.  I can tell when it's about to happen as I can feel it surging/stuttering when lightly on the gas.  Sounds like a new fuel pump is in order, and I'm hoping it's just that simple.  I guess we'll see tomorrow.  It has gotten more and more frequent, and more severe over the past week.  I changed the air filter, reset the EFI, and have received advice to reverse polarity to the fuel pump.  Haven't checked venting in fuel cap assembly yet, or looked at fuel pump/filter.  I'm hoping we can all do this tomorrow together at the dealership.  Having experienced watchful eyes over me while I do mechanical work is always a good thing.  I'll be sure to report my experience at the dealership after we're done there.  

Let me fast forward to the future...  yeah yeah, I know...  doesn't exist yet.  Anyway, Sam flies out on the 30th, which gives us a couple more days together.  We'll explore Lima, and then once he is gone, and assuming the bike is all dialed, I'll continue the journey south.  I'm still planning on Bolivia, Chile, then Argentina.  The remainder of my route through Peru should lead me through Colca Canyon, Arequipa, then into Bolivia around Titicaca.  I have a rough route planned, but any advice is always appreciated (i.e. choice roads, small towns, good lomo saltado, whatever).  All that can be sent to my e-mail address -

The riding and scenery here has been absolutely spectacular.  I crossed paths with a girl a couple of days ago who is running the opposite direction I am (she south/north, me north/south).  She was telling me about some things in Bolivia she had seen that sounded unreal.  I can't wait to experience them.  That said, I'm gonna slam the laptop shut and enjoy the present here in Lima with Sammy.  I think we're off to gorge ourselves with yet another massive Peruvian hamburger.  Did I mention that jog tomorrow is long overdue???

Hope everyone is well back home...  Chat soon, 

~ D

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