Day 106, Mile 9040: I survived Peru, Barely.
26 March 2017
So I ended up spending 3 nights in Caraz and looking back, I am glad I did. This gave me time to get some much needed repairs on my motorcycle and it let me recharge for the upcoming difficult drive. Also I was hoping that it would stop raining, but every day there were thunderstorms. I thought that it would get easier from here, but I was wrong.
I really liked Caraz. My hotel was really nice and cheap, the food was delicious and cheap, and the town was great for walking around and exploring. Oh and did I mention they had beer flavored ice cream?? I spent my time sleeping, checking out the center market, eating ice cream, and more sleeping. It was awesome.
On the fourth day I was up early and ready to go; I had places to be. At first the road was pretty decent with that well known epic Peruvian view to help pass the time. I don’t think they know how to make a straight road here though; it takes 3 times as long to get anywhere here. Something that would like maybe 20 minutes if I drove direct would end up taking easily 2-3 hours.
I ended up stopping in the village of Huanuco exhausted from just all the switchbacks. As I climbed the mountains, the temperature really started to drop as well. I’m thankful for the heated gear that honestly up until right now, I haven’t had any need to use. Let me tell you, my heated vest was worth bringing. Of course at this moment of my trip, my heated grips start acting up, so I need to find some gloves.
The next day it was evident that I wasn’t the only exhausted one. I think my motorcycle has had enough of Peru. The clutch cable that I fixed in Caraz started to be a problem again. Also the front fender broke off and while I was waiting for bridge construction to finish, someone pointed out that my rear rim was cracked. I discovered a motorcycle shop that is ran by an expat on iOverlander in Huancayo. It was a long day’s drive but I figured that I could do it in one go.
The decision ended up in a very long day with a scary ending. It was at night(breaking my golden rule) on my most likely 12000th switchback. A large truck was the opposite traffic on basically a one and a half car width road and we both meet at the center of a switchback. The truck driver stopped, expecting me to pass him, and of course I’m on a cliff. So I walk my bike along the truck on the outside and at about halfway mark, I didn’t feel any ground under my outside foot. I ended up just crawling it along on the last little bit, leaning against the truck with my foot on my peg. I’m not sure how close I was to coming off but I’m kinda glad I don’t know. I was so tired that I didn’t realize I did this until the next morning when I reflected about what happened. I guess I was just on autopilot at that stage.
After getting my bike fixed yet again, the next couple days were more of the same; very cold and numerous switchbacks. For the most part I didn’t see any more flood damage which was nice but I sure missed the warmer coastal area. It seems that my repairs were very short lived though. My clutch started acting up on day two, my new fender ended up getting cracked, and the new tires I had put on rub on bumps.
I finally arrived in Cusco yesterday and I have to say I really wasn’t that impressed. Driving in, my first impression was that it was a cold, hard looking city. I ended up staying near the cultural center at a hotel that was well known for bicyclists and had a little patio where I could drive my bike in. Let me tell you, those bicyclists that I met were crazy. Never, ever would I want to ride a bicycle that far. I guess I appreciate my testicles a little more than those guys. I ended up walking to the town center which was nice but really nothing special. It was too cold to stay so I decided to move on.
Today was a better day. The elevation started to go down so it’s warming up which brought a smile to my face. I also saw my first llamas right out of Cusco, so that was cool. I’m spending the night here just short of the border in Juli. I’m so close now to getting to Melissa that it was hard for me to stop. I saw Lake Titicaca which was pretty neat too. Originally I had plans on kiteboarding it, but now with the cold and the pressure to get where I’m going, I guess I’ll do it on the way up.
Peru has been amazing on so many different levels. I’m glad I finally got the difficultly I’ve been seeking on this trip. While everywhere has been great, to be totally blunt, it’s not been very demanding and kinda boring from time to time. The roads have been easy, hotels are everywhere, and there’s really not been much challenge. Peru has changed that and I’m thankful for it. If you are looking for that adventure, Peru will deliver.