TravellingStrom

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Day 377 – 20th December 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on December 20, 2009

Sunday – Cuzco, Peru

What a long day, extreme height and altitude sickness, hundreds of miles of twisties, dirt roads, wet roads, nice long straight fast roads and hail

I had a bit of a sleepless night, kept waking up and this was not a good way to start a long days riding, but I ended up getting up at 5.30 and sorted some stuff on the bike. Namely I wanted to add the new metal hose clamp to the right hand tool tube, it had broken the other day and was being held on by a cabletie, so that got done and a new Auzzie flag was the main other one, then I packed away the PacSafe bag mesh as it was a bit of a hindrance when I wanted something from the waterproof bags, I believe I am now in safer country with less light fingers. So, after packing and a quick snack we fuelled up headed off out of town, nearly on time at 7.30am, of course we soon ran into road works then lots of climbing twisties, real cool stuff, but it was a very slow pace we were making but within the hour we were up quite high and the views were spectacular 🙂

We had some shitty roads with dirt and potholes thrown in and after another hour of very slow riding we were up way high and amongst new animals to run over, a very welcome addition to my road kill warning signs 🙂

Now, I said we were climbing and it was getting a bit chilly, I had stopped to add my heated jacket and cables and also the heated gloves, that way I had it all available as we were going further up 🙂 I of course lost touch with G&S but soon caught them up as they were held up by more road works. This is where I found out exactly how high we were. As you can also see from the profile I was not at the highest point just yet 🙂

It had taken us 2 hours to do 100km, a very slow start and this was the section we had thought we could get some distance done as there was going to be twisties later on, that should be exciting 🙂 For the next hour the scenery was magnificent with plenty of time to look despite the corners and animals that seemed always to be using the road, I hope they pay road tax!

Not long after this we entered a small town with just about every road torn up, it was a freakin mess!!! After I had stopped for the photo of G&S coming around a corner it meant I was behind and while we were stopped at the works, I could not get around a truck, this meant I lost them by the time I got around through the dust etc. As they had the GPS with road maps and not me, I had to now start looking for a way out and wonder of wonders, they actually had signs which said Diverso Cusco, so I just followed a convoluted path through town and eventually out the other side, but no sign of G&S!

OK, they had GPS so that meant they had skipped ahead, but I was sure they would not be going as fast as I could go, so I planted it and after some time came to a section where I could see the road for miles, no bike in sight, where were they, it was a bit concerning?

I stopped a few times at nice lookout sections and waited but I could not see them behind me either. I was stuffed to know what to do, do I continue on or go back for a look, were they way in front or behind??? In the end, although I was worried, there were two of them and I would continue on but stop at the town we had agreed as a fuel stop. At that point, if need be, I could return and start looking over the edges, a decision not taken lightly. By now I was up over the 4.5km mark and I hit hail, not a lot but it still hurt. It did not last too long and I then started to go downhill which made it a lot warmer. It also allowed me to breathe a bit better, because the air up there was so thin I was starting to get dizzy and this is not a good thing when travelling at 70mph along the plateau!

By this time it was gone 1pm and I was getting hungry, I did stop at a small town, but I could not communicate with the local indians, so I kept on going and eventually found a small village which seemed to have fuel and a few different cafes. I stopped and ordered some lunch and figured as fuel was low I would fill up here, and this time I would use 90 octane, the 84 I had filled up with in Nazca had caused some problems up top and it kept stalling under hard brakes, of which there were heaps!

I was just tucking in to some chook and rice(hmmm) when I hear a beep and G&S turn up, that was a big relief they were both OK and were behind me and not in front!

It turns out they had NOT followed the GPS through that little town and missed the diversion sign and followed the normal Cusco sign, this was bad and they were amongst some bad road and slop and eventually tipped it over. They finally got out of town and were way behind me and their thoughts were in the same frame as mine, was I OK and where was I 😕 After lunch I fuelled up and we hit some fast roads in the bottom of the valley which went on for quite a while which was real good as we were making up some time, but it was gone 3pm and we were still a long way from Cusco, not good, but I figured if we could get there before 7pm it should still be light.

Once we got to Abancay we fuelled up again, I did not need much but it made sense not to have to stop another time later on. On the other side of this town we climbed once again as we had been down near the 2000m mark and it was raining! Not much but enough to dampen the roads and they were slippery as heck, my front tyre was real unstable and this was causing the bike to lose traction at the back as well, I had to back off so much I was nearly at a standstill, I lost a lot of confidence in my tyres on this hill climb, I could not believe they could deteriorate so fast, but whatever, my speed was way down, I hated this section, even though the views were as spectacular as ever, but after about half an hour the dribble stopped and I started to go down the other side of the range, still another 150km to go.

It is now 5pm and all the cows were being taken back to their homes, usually along the damm road, which was interesting I guess 🙂 The dirt sections were an interesting surprise, not much but enough for an ‘ahh bugger’ thought but eventually the high highs were over with and the road was dry and I started to get a bit more confidence again in the tyres, maybe that section of road was at fault, maybe oil and crap with light rain made it slippery, but I am not going back to find out 🙂

I caught up with G&S as they had hit a pothole and their lights were out of wack and so I led in the dark, dodging all the cows, donkeys, moto and nonmoto taxis usually with no lights until about 7pm we got into Cuzco, finally, whew 🙂 We grabbed a cab to take us to a hotel where some other biker friends had been staying and we were soon booked into the Casa Grande hotel and amongst a group of other bikers 🙂

After meeting some of the other riders we headed out for some food and a beer. Now, just outside a young girl accosted me and asked if I wanted to buy some knitted wooly things, I said no, but when I answered her ‘Which country are you from’ question with Australia, she rattles off all these facts and figures about my country, I was so impressed I gave her $5 Sol and in exchange she gave me a finger puppet of a Llama, this is Maria, I reckon she will grow up to be rich and famous, I hope she remembers me 🙂

So, we had a hamburger at a local bar and a rum and beers etc. During all this time, we found out that the rest of the group had booked a Machu Pichu tour the next day and we decided to go do it as well, despite the radical cost, it would save about 3 days of mucking around. Of course this meant an early start, be ready to leave at 6am, so the night was early, then shower and bed. Here is me, Graham, Sue, Gino and Girt.


Day – 421 miles and 678 km
Trip – 47,016 miles and 75,665 km

Salud
TravellingStrom

WORLD

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11 Responses to “Day 377 – 20th December 09”

  1. Craig said

    Say hello to the top of the world for us tomorrow!!

  2. Jack Bowen said

    TS…. Wanted to tell you to have a great Christmas. I have followed you allmost everyday. Really enjoy my Travelling Strom show everyday.

  3. Gary said

    Great days riding, love the switchbacks and the bike eating gutters. Good time had by all.

  4. Gary said

    Don’t you love the high elevation. 4000m you certainly feel it, in India we were at 5600m and healthy blokes were passing out.
    Merry Xmas Richard and safe riding to all.
    (32c in Rockhampton tomorrow for Xmas Day)

    • Hi Gary

      Yep, I have been affected a small bit, mainly a headache and a bit of dizziness, but drinking coco leaf tea does alleviate it 🙂 I am not sure I will be allowed to bring some back though )

      A cool 5 overnight and a high of 13 today, and this is summer time, lucky for me

      Merry Xmas Richard

  5. Art Wallace said

    Merry Christmas, m8! We’re looking forward to following your travels into the New Year.

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