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Archive for December 23rd, 2009

Day 380 – 23rd December 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on December 23, 2009

Wednesday – Puno, Peru

My brain has gotten sillier, now I seem to be waking up at 5am, not 6am but I think it is more the altitude than anything else. The people up here chew on Cocoa leaves which reduce the effect and there is a tea bag called Cocoa Matte which when drunk does relieve some of the effects. I mainly seem to be suffering from a nagging headache and of course shortness of breath, but the tea only fixes the headache of course, until I get acclimatised. I managed to get some internet work done before the surprise birthday party for Judi, age undisclosed 🙂 This had mainly been organised by Gino, a funny chap and he had bought us all silly hats to wear 🙂 Of course this meant birthday cake for breakfast and did we make a mess up there 😆 HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDI

After that we grabbed a few group shots of the masses before heading out of Cuzco and south towards a town called Puno, it is on Lake Titicaca and a good jump off point for the Bolivian border crossing the following day.

The ride was great and fast through the valley to start with as we were following a river, it was a tad cool, but up this high that is normal. I was riding with Gino and we stopped for some photos, he was very surprised by the way my bike worked on the road and tried it out for size. 🙂

We waited until everyone had caught up then I shot ahead and passed most of them again while trying for action shots. Three of the bikes are single pots and carburated, so they have not as much power at this altitude while poor old Ingo has more problems than just that, besides the above his DR lost 5th gear a while back, it destroyed itself, and on top of that he became involved with Cecelia the other week and is now riding two up, the bike is pretty much overloaded and is not working all that well.

By now I was well ahead, because I am not used to riding in a large pack, so I just rode the same way as before. I stopped at a major junction at the other end of a town and waited for them to catch up, as it turns out they had stopped for dunny breaks in town, so it was a bit of a wait, but the location was nice with the locals using the local stream to wash clothes and cars etc.

[If you are wondering why I am now riding with a group rather than solo, well, it is getting close to Xmas and they all seem nice people, so rather than be alone during this time it seemed like a good idea 🙂 ]After the break the road wound through more mountains and villages and some of the mountain peaks even had a fresh covering of snow.

We arrived at a larger town and we stopped at the roundabout to regather and make a decision about lunch.

Now, the other day I posted that video of the overtaking maneuvers needed in this area, and it was mentioned to me to maybe stay back and not pass, but the next photos will show why I have no intention of staying behind.

Just about every vehicle down here seems to spew out some type of pollution which on top of less actual oxygen at this altitude means a very dizzying time, so get in front and learn when to breathe and when not to, that is the only answer 🙂 After everyone got there we went and found a place to eat and paid someone to look after the bikes, apparently things go walkies here. A funny event just before we ate, a chap on a pushy was being hounded by dogs, it turns out he had a dead pig on his handlebars and they wanted some, he managed to chase them away though 🙂

After lunch we continued on, with the agreed on meeting place being the central square if we get split up. Well, that did not take long as we all stopped at different times for whatever, photos, piss breaks etc and in fact it was quite hard to navigate the next town, the signage was pretty much nonexistent, but I managed to get behind a car going to Puno, so I followed him until I spotted a distance sign. Riding through tight traffic is hard to do without a rear brake, I will have to look into that soon, I think I may just have to bleed it.

It was not long after this that I got into Puno and eventually, after a few hit and misses and bad directions from locals, I found the main square and met up with the ones who got in front of me by virtue of my riding around in circles 🙂

After some walking around by the girls looking for accommodation, they found a place which had underground parking and was quite a posh hotel, 4 stars and a bit of a higher cost, but for one night, who cares, it was still only $40 with breakfast and WiFi 🙂 At this point, it was time for some maintenance, because twice now at low fuel levels my bike has been coughing, so I think I may have picked up some bad fuel and maybe dirt in the tank. I had just put in one gallon,I wanted to keep the level low and now I removed the tank and washed it around and tipped it all out. I am hoping this is all that is needed, we shall see, I had a spare a gallon on the back, so I had fuel to get out of town with. While the tank was out, I replaced the air filter, this was something I should have done a while back and it was as black as, but it did its job and the air box was crystal clean 🙂

There were some other workers as well, but I noticed it was only the Suzuki and Kawasaki riders doing their own work, obviously the BMW riders just ‘get a man in’ to do the dirty work 😉 In the meantime I got the bike back together, all done within an hour, easy as 🙂

After a rest and internet check and some people had showers it was off to find some dinner, we found a place that according to Gert was expensive by Peru standards, but well within our budget. I ended up having stir fry Alpaca, it was scrumptious 🙂 Here is our party in sequential photos, L-R, Chris, Melissa, Gino, Johannes, Judi, Gert, Mark, Graham and Sue. The two lovebirds Ingo and Cecelia were otherwise occupied 😉

I had a few beers here but not too many as this high up I am a cheap drunk 🙂

Day – 250 miles and 402 km
Trip – 47,266 miles and 76,067 km



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