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Offline Mooch

Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2013, 12:36:27 pm »
Good stuff Niel.  :thumleft:
You are a brave man. It took me 9 months before I went on a long tour/ride (including some dirt roads etc) after I smashed my knee. That was also with knee braces and I was pretty damn nervous at times too!!

Keep it coming, Its only gonna get better, I can see!  :thumleft:
If in doubt, flat out.
 

Offline J-dog

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2013, 02:09:53 pm »
Neil is back in hospital getting another leg fitted out  :imaposer:
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2013, 10:57:25 pm »
Some pictures just before the fatal clutch problem. Yours truly convincing himself his clutch adjustment will be okay.

It is about 5-6 degrees, so quite chilly despite bright mountain sunshine. Don't forget we are at about 4,000m here.

Bye bye meatball loving doggie. He sure is friendly.  :biggrin:


Daleen told me to ride in front. I was feeling pretty fragile at that point so I immediately agreed.




Tough high altitude cows.




Here is that "oh dang" Moment. My clutch - she is not wekking


Waggling that lever near the red arrow in the picture was easy; so it was not the cable but something inside the engine casing.

Oh crap... So I have no choice but to ride. The road is uphill for miles so there is no ways I am going to attempt to stop now.

Fast forward an hour or so to continue our story.

Despite my clutch we ride like Spartans because we need to make the distance. I want to stop but will myself on by talking to myself, 'Come on Neil, don't be a pissie, yes hurts but you can go a bit more before you really have to stop.'  

I notice my riding is becoming erratic. Am I seriously this tired? I guess I am. I cannot press on like this much longer. I'm going to have to stop and what to do then? I look for a wider section of road and judder to a halt. The sun is about to set behind the mountains, and though its still nice and bright now, once its gone it gets cold and dark really quickly. The sun disappears really fast 10 degrees south of the equator, we will have less than one hour of light left.

The GPS in my head tells me we cant be too far from civilization, and I know it must be down in that valley somewhere. My gut tells me 20-30km which is not far, but I'm so tired and sore. I can hardly walk, my gammy leg caving every time I put any weight on it.  



Daleens stops next to me unaware of the clutch predicament.
'Oh no, your bike broke again? Are you able to fix it do you think?' I'm so out of it I know this will be impossible unless I get some food in me and also some rest. But if I do that we will still be exposed out here tonight.
'No, this time its something inside the engine...no way I can fix it here.' I reply curtly. I'm quite depressed and negative, and she can see I am ready to throw in the towel.
'Well its only 20km to Ayacucho from here, maybe we could-..'
Cutting her off, 'What? How do you know that?'
'I saw a sign about 5 km ago saying 25km to Ayacucho.' Amazing. I missed that one. It lifts my spirits and I start to get teary eyed again. This really all has been a bit much. 'Anyway' she says, 'We can't stay here. We have to go on. We have no choice.' She's right of course. I'm just going to have to pull myself together and dig deep.



The city is so close but 20km still seems about as much as I can take, hell I am hardly able to lift my leg over the saddle without help! Talking about biting off more than I can chew. I suppose I could always just roll the bike into town. The problem is how do I negotiate the busy city streets, traffic lights busses and pedestrians without stalling the bike? Its going to be a difficult and dangerous situation in my condition.



If I stall, I'm not going to be able to push the bike about, and Daleen has her own bike to worry about. Hopeless. This will have to be a faith thing. I take a deep breath and a sip some water. Once again I consider the alternatives but end up with the same conclusion. Postponing the inevitable, leaving the unknown for another day is often too easy in normal everyday life but out here on our bikes is no for procrastination.

I tell Daleen I am going to get going if she can just give me a little push, then I will stop in town at a safe place where I able to roll start the bike. That point we can decide what do to when we are there. No point in speculating what its going to be like seeing we have never been there before. Lets deal with each problem one at a time, and right now our immediate problem is that we are not yet in town.

Daleen gives me a push I'm off down the hill in neutral with the engine running in neutral. Picking up some speed  I toe it into second and I'm off. After that its pretty easy to change up gears by synchronizing the throttle and I stay stay in fourth as much as possible, willing Ayacucho towards me.

We spiral and wind down an amazing road back that curls around the hillsides. The hard part is slowing down behind trucks braking in low range while waiting for oncoming traffic to pass; I have slam down through the gears to 1st on occasion. The clacking and grinding doesn't sound too pleasant and its not too easy to do either but I figure this will be good practice for the city. After a while I can see the town far down almost directly below us, everything is miniature-sized like a model train set. Thank God! We have almost arrived. But city is vast and sprawling. I feel the fear of dealing with the dodgy traffic gnawing in the pit of my stomach with a vengeance.

As dusk falls we enter the city. I have no photos or video - sorry. Its swamped with people bustling about, selling things, people running across the streets, the type of thing one typically sees in any third world city. There are those little 3 wheeled 'moto taxis' erratically flitting about like butterflies looking for fares. They do U-turns in front of us and others. Its a hair-raising, crazy, stressful and irritating place but at least we are at a lower altitude and in civilization. Someone will help us somehow and we will soon have place to sleep. I jump a couple of traffic lights with Daleen hot on my tail and eventually stop in a wide, main street in front of some parked taxis, its steep enough to get going again from here. I figure we can't be too far from the main plaza las armas or central square they have in every latin American city, town and village. We had previously heard there was some good hotels on the plaza so that is where I plan to go.

Daleen is very nervous now too. Its getting dark and she can't see well at night. I suggest that she go ahead and find the plaza and a suitable place to crash while I wait. That way we can decide if I will be able to ride there or not. She reminds me that she would never be able to find her away back to me again, and instead suggests I just stop and leave the bike at a garage. But there is no way I am going to do that for a number of reasons, not least of which is that there are no skills outside Lima which have any kind of experience on bikes this size. I realize that its also too late to split up.

We ask a guy sitting on a park bench for some directions, he tells us we are not too far from the plaza las armas. Just turn right after the second traffic light but just don't follow the taxis they go the wrong way. We are like 'What you mean?' Ignoring our question, he is like 'Two blocks later turn left and then go straight for 4 or five sets of lights.' Great. Is it busy? Yes it is. Awesome, it is not. We shrug and accept our lot in life. What else can one do?  I eye the traffic light changing in front of me and its cycle. There are five or six busses and perhaps fifteen cars that cram into the double lanes each time it the traffic lights change. When it does each time a slow decongestion of traffic takes place. Timing will be everything. I wont be able to pass them or the lights if I get it wrong, and I wont be able to get started again if duff it up. I tell Daleen I'm just going to go for it, after all, what could possibly go wrong? If I crash or get stuck, everyone will just have to drive around the wreckage which will be me.

I wait for the light to go green before I start. Rolling down behind the busses, I think maybe I have started too soon. It gets worse: There is a delay for some reason. Then I see the bus in the front of the queue has stopped to pick someone up. Naturally everyone is held up behind it in the usual fashion horns start blaring without effect. Shit. A slow race in 1st begins. How slow can I go before I stall? Will the light stay green long enough for all the busses to clear the intersection? Go guys go! Go, go, GO Dammit! The light goes orange and there are still 3 busses in front of me, and now they're slowing to a halt. Crap, crap crap crap! There is nothing left but to gun it for the narrow gap between last two busses and try turn right in front of the traffic about to rolling across. Holy, moly this is going to be tight.

My boney's panniers are about 1.3m wide, offset a bit to the left due to the exhaust. I don't know if it'll fit through. Its going to be close but there is simply no time for second thoughts. I hold my breath and feel my panniers scraping along the one side of the bus but I'm still moving. Shiiiit!! The road has these nasty potholes and missing cobblestones as if things are not challenging enough already.  I dart out from the tunnel between cut hard right in front of a gravel truck lumbering along from the left. Unbelievably he brakes and I make it in one piece! The adrenaline high is something else. I wonder how Daleen is going to stay with me but miraculously I see her dodge out from behind the same truck and pass it to join me. But a new set of busses are now bunched up in front of me at the next red set of lights and this time there is simply no way to slip between them. I'm just going to have to go ride in the oncoming lane on a prayer.

Blessedly because the lights are red there is not much traffic in that lane. The problem is the lights don't change by the time I get to the front, so I'm forced to keep going through the intersection.  Somehow its clear as well. The lights at following intersection also red. Here we need to turn across the oncoming traffic waiting at the light. It changes to green as we get there and we flit across like guilty dogs before the rumbling deluge coming the other way cuts us off.

The road is now one way, tremendously in the same direction that we are now travelling. Now, if our directions are correct its just a straight line to the plaza for four or five blocks. They turn into the longest four blocks of my life. Each time I have to look for moving gaps and shoot for them between the crossing traffic, hoping not to become a pavement pizza under something big. Daleen is further back now, unable to keep up with my suicidal antics. At the last traffic light I come up behind two cops also on motorbikes. The game is over now. I'm going to have to stop this time. Funny how we can risk life and limb breaking rules but then will stop for authority.

Just then the light changes. Stunned by my change in fortune, I innocently slip past them into the plaza las armas. The only problem is too late I realize the road I'm on has been closed for construction and there is no way out so I have to stall the bike. That's it. I'm just happy to be here and alive. I slump over my bars, relief washing over me quickly turning into a dazed exhaustion. I'm too tired to get off my bike. Daleen joins me, parks up and goes to look for a hotel while I guard the bikes. The place is a mass of people enjoying their Saturday evening in the park. Our BMW's become a center of attraction, no one here has anything bigger than a 125 or 250cc. So I pose for photographs, the exhausted adventurer together with smiling kids, aunties, uncles, grandparents you name it. It feels good to have made it and I force a smile or two.

After some time Daleen comes back with good and bad news. The good news is that there is a hotel where we can store the bikes and they have space for us. The bad news is that there is no way to ride them there due to the construction going on. There is one way but this involves riding up a flight stairs. No problem if you're on a trials bike or maybe even a 450 but they're too steep and the steps too big for our loaded pigs, one of them sans a clutch. There is nothing for but to go back to the intersection where we came in, do a U-turn, mount the pavement and ride up onto the walkway where it is a little easier to, then push the bike about one hundred and fifty meters to the hotel entrance through a plethora of people.  

Photo: A daylight view of the said pedestrian walkway from the hotel looking back to the intersection, a lot less people around than on Saturday night.


Daleen is not keen to do this so I get onto her bike and ride it for her. I get only one chance at this tricky move, and I must make it happen. Riding into the intersection I take control and bring all traffic to a complete halt, adopting the a well-known but commanding talk-to-the-hand posture with my gloved hand. Gloves, lots of bike revving, and black riding kit has a certain air of authority at times. Completely disregarding the police officer blowing like a banshee on his whistle, I pull off a perfect tight uwie, ramp the high pavement and enter walkway shouting 'Cuidado!' at a stunned pedestrian audience. They break out of their paralysis when they realize I am not going to stop for them and leap out of the way before I lose all my momentum.

I kill the engine in the walkway amid agitated pedestrians yelling at us that this is not a road, and hand the machine over to Daleen who insists on pushing it all the way to the hotel. Now for my bike. Luckily the hotel manager was there to help me push. We repeated the same maneuver only this time pushing the bike the whole way. Surprisingly I was able dig deep and push the bike without too much trouble despite a very weak leg.  It just shows you that when you have to do something and you have no other option, no matter how much your mind might try and convince you that it is impossible, it often can still be done.

What a drama class. The satisfaction was something else.

We ended up parking our bikes in the hotel's central quadrangle among the breakfast tables, which was very accommodating of them. First order of business was food and beer of course. I wolfed down two meals: A plate of spaghetti and then a second dinner of fried trout, rice and salad. Daleen settled on just the trout.

Its amazing how things looked so much better again on a full stomach. We relaxed in the considerable satisfaction that we had made it despite difficulty. Pleasant gratification, sore bodies and tired muscles: It can't get better than this. Tomorrow would be another day and we would tackle those challenges when they came.

Within the hour we have showered, and crashing to sleep like newborn puppies.  

Day 1 Stats:
Distance travelled - 589km Not very far normall, but really far for us given the very slow roads.  
Highest altitude - 4,750m, three passes over 4,200m
Lowest altitude - 4m
Time on the road - 11 hours, including rest and maintenance stops.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 10:58:40 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2013, 06:25:23 am »
Day 2 R & R - Rest and Repairs

We wake up to a glorious Sunday. The church bell across the square is ringing. We get up late. I decide to take a look outside at the breakfast scene.



My leg feels surprisingly good after some warming up exercises as well.

We get our room sorted out. It was a pretty nice place actually.


Ours has a nice little private nook.


I'm obviously keen to have a look at my bike, so I dump the oil, and at 2.5 liters I forgot what a lot of oil that is! I'm glad Daleen sourced a bigger container for it.

If you're not a wannabe mechanic, please bear with the next few pics and paragraphs.

I whip off the gear leaver and disconnect the clutch cable. The side stand is in the way and comes off. Fortunately the crash bars don't need to come off because those things are a beastly job to do.

I remove the cover careful not to damage the seal and to my astonishment, the whole clutch falls out with it!  :shocked:

I immediately shove it back in to be sure how it goes. This is what it looks like.


Its not all that complicated but I have never worked on a clutch before so I am nervous. I make a few posts and ask some technical questions but no one really seems to know. Thanks to some clever guys I have the workshop manual on my laptop. I look at the drawings. The whole thing is supposed to be locked in place on the bike when you take off the cover. This thing:


I find out to replace a clutch is actually very easy. All you do is take off the 6 bolts in the picture above pulls out the discs and put in some new ones separated by the steel plates between them. Piece of cake. The first and last plate have flanges that are a little narrower and only the last plate is supposed to be offset, all the others are lined up. Should take less than an hour to do. So if you're doing a long overland trip, consider taking some spare clutch plates with you.



I look at my plates but they are not worn. Hardly surprising, this bike has only got about 20 hours on it since the new ones were fitted. So what went wrong? A little later in the morning I take it apart some more have another look at the drawings.





I notice the washer 5 is missing completely? WTF?? How could BMW Peru have missed putting that back in??  :doh: Ah well, doesn't help us now does it?

I look at the next drawing and observe that nut No 1 has fallen off inside the clutch, and washer No 2 is quite deformed. Everything else seems fine.


It looks like somehow that spacer/washer gave the basket nut enough room to work loose and fall off. Well that's what I hope. Hmm. Well I am going to need another washer and today is Sunday so that means we will be here at least another day. I'm also going to need a very, very strong arm to tighten the offending nut to the prescribed 180Nm. What? That's like 3 times tighter than an axle nut has to be! Besides I don't have any torque wrench or a 32 spanner in my kit. I'm also warned by my online friends that tightening that nut is going to be very hard to do without the special tool to stop the engine and everything from turning. I decide to leave that problem for later and have lunch with Daleen instead. Not much more to be done today except maybe see a little bit of the a town and relax.

Does my expression say it all?  :biggrin:


Daleen has a salad and I go for the local dish, sopa criole. Want some of this?  :grin:


Actually, it tastes better than it looks, especially if you are sick with altitude and feeling cold. I'm neither of those today but I have it anyway because I can. Its like a hot bolognaise soup with lots of spaghetti noodles at the bottom with meat and an egg on top for fun. We both have fresh mango juices.

Daleen is not an egg person and is horrified by the scene.   :imaposer:
Our luncheon view:


Life is great.

Below us are the Sunday homemade ice cream ladies, complete with an ad-hoc taxi drive-through. Amazing.


If you look a bit closer you will see they are spinning tubs of liquid ice cream by hand inside bowls filled with ice. The liquid freezes to the side of the tubs and they scrape it off, filling cups of soft, fluffy product for their customers on order. Talk about fresh, and it's fascinating and quite soothing to watch. We decide on ice cream after lunch.  

Then we are treated to a performance of the local oompah band celebrating something or other preceded by a large crowd. This is very typical every week, everywhere in the mountains of Peru and Bolivia.



They're playing a local, but pleasant version of amazing grace. Its loud alright. Thinking about it this lot could quite easily be a school band.


Tambourine girls


Afterwards it's ice cream time. I watch with a smile as the little boy in the foreground manages to get ice cream all over his hands and naturally wipes it off all over his pants and jersey much to the horror of his father. Good boy - Well done! The ice cream lady smiles and I share our amusement.


The flavor of the ice cream was the same. Made with local milk, vanilla bean, cloves, raspberry, cinnamon and some other stuff in it that I'm not sure about. Its tastes pretty good, but also a little wild, unlike anything I have had anywhere else. Cost for a small cup is two Soles, that's less than 70 US cents, or about six Rand in South Africa.

Everyone is into this thing. Clearly Ice cream is a big deal in Ayachucho.


We go for a stroll to walk off lunch to view libertador Snr. Bolivar on his horse and the monument erected in recognition of all those who died fighting in wars for Peru.


The words in the garden say 'Ayacucho, the cradle of American Liberty'.

Ayacucho is famous for its 33 churches, which represent one for each year of Jesus' life. Ayacucho has large religious celebrations, especially during the Holy Week of Easter.

This one, just off the plaza, was built in 1644. That's almost 400 years ago!


These celebrations include horse races featuring Peruvian Caballos de Paso and the traditional running of the bulls, known locally as the jalatoro or pascuatoro. The jalatoro is similar to the Spanish encierro, except that the bulls are led by horses of the Morochucos.



This is an old place.

Vestiges of human settlements more than 15,000 years old have been found in the site of Pikimachay, about 25 km north of Ayacucho. From 500 to 900, the region became occupied by the Huari Culture (Wari), which became known as the first expansionist empire based in the Andes before the Incas.

The Ayacucho region was inhabited by varying indigenous cultures for thousands of years, including the Wari, Chanka people, and Nasca before the Inca.

The Spanish colonial founding of Ayacucho was led by the invader Francisco Pizarro on April 25, 1540, who named it San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga. Due to the constant Incan rebellion led by Manco Inca against the Spanish in the zone, Pizarro was quick to populate the settlement with a small number of Spaniards brought from Lima and Cusco. On May 17, 1544, by Royal decree, Ayacucho was titled La Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad de Huamanga (the most noble and loyal city of Huamanga). The city's main University was founded on July 3, 1677 as the Universidad Nacional San Cristóbal de Huamanga.

Rustic architecture somewhat blocked by the construction going on at the moment.


Cathedral of Vilcashuaman, built on remains of Inca temple.

Picture from wikipedia

On February 15, 1825, Simón Bolívar changed the city's name to Ayacucho.


The city is named after the historical Battle of Ayacucho. Upon seeing so many casualties on the battlefield, citizens called the area Ayakuchu, aya meaning "dead" and kuchu meaning "corner" in the Quechua language. The Battle of Ayacucho was the last armed clash between Spanish armies and patriots during the Peruvian War of Independence. The battle developed in the nearby pampa of La Quinua on December 9, 1824. In it a over 6,000 people fought for Spain and 5,500 for Peru. Over 3,000 people from both sides lost their lives, two thirds being Spanish, and 3,500 Spanish troops were captured. The patriot victory sealed the independence of Peru and South America. La Paz, now the capital of Bolivia, was similarly renamed La Paz de Ayacucho following this battle. You can read more about it here.



The city's economy is based on agriculture and light manufactures, including textiles, pottery, leather goods and filigree ware. It is a regional tourism destination, known for its 33 churches built in the colonial period, and for the nearby battlefield of La Quinua, where the Ayacucho battle was fought in 1824.



In 1980, the terrorist organization known as the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) used Ayachucho as its base for its campaign against the Peruvian government, even staging an assault on the Ayacucho prison in 1982. The campaign faded after the leader Abimael Guzmán Reynoso was captured in 1992 and put in prison. Some followers are actively allied with the narcos for cocaine's traffic and earn cash by protecting them; people are concerned that the movement can revive if social issues remain unchanged. The region headed by Ayacucho is rural and one of the poorest of all the country. With the peace of the last 20 years, the citizens work hard to improve the living conditions and attract jobs.

While some people here are still very poor things seem to be going well for the city.


Later in the afternoon we meet a very nice Dutch guy called Charlie from Suriname, which until 1976 used to be a South American Dutch colony and is situated north of Brazil. He is a manager for a company that leases diesel generators, and he tell us they have nine 600kW generators in Ayacucho that run at peak power times in the evening to supply the city with power. If this is anything to go on, it indicates the economy is still ramping up here. Certainly Ayacucho is a lot better off than many Bolivian towns I have been to.

He also has a mechanic who has the tools I need to fix my bike and will make him available in the morning!

Day 2 Stats:

Distance travelled: 0km

Day 3 is pretty much the same. its a lot busier in town today.



I spend the morning rushing around from ferreteria to ferreteria looking for a washer the size I need without much hope. Eventually I find a guy who has one but its not an exact fit. It fits but is not perfect. It will have to do.

Then I go with Charlies mechanic to see his generators. They're in containers quite impressive. We also pick up a torque wrench in imperial units but without the necessary connections for the metric nut. Useful - not. But we do find a big wrench and a 32 socket. So we rush back to the hotel and put it all back together.



It eventually takes the weight of two people on the back of the bike with it in gear to stop turning the engine with the spanner while we tighten that lock nut, and it goes on as tight as we can make it.

There, 180Nm,  :thumleft: and it had better hold!

In two ticks we have it all back together again with an oil change to boot. She started up great and after some adjustments to the cable the clutch worked just fine. We are good to go baby!

Woohoo!!  

We spend the rest of the day chatting in Spanish with two Swiss cyclists Stefan and Magali. They had taken the year off and were doing South America on their bicycles.



Crazy if you ask me, but that is quite a popular thing these days. We normally see more of them than moto guys out in these parts, which is strange really because the roads are amazing.

We have waste two days but at least the trip is still on and we have re-charged the batteries not to mention things in the confidence department. I am good to go and will just wear my knee brace loose and move my leg more while riding, that's all.

Day 3 - Ayacucho - Huancayo

A distance of 2-300km which is a little more reasonable in terms of distance and certainly, it  looks like it will be pretty exciting. We are to set out North now staying in the main, central Cordillera belt.


Our route was originally going to follow the mountain tops but we asked around and locals reckon the road in the valley (arrow) is nicer.


We are up early and at 06h30 we are packed and ready to go.


I'm feeling much, much more confident today. Like chalk and cheese. Traffic does not scare me. My leg is good. Maybe it was the broken clutch that I was able to fix, maybe it was the sleep, the good food, perhaps the ice cream, perhaps the committed local culture. Truthfully, I think it is was a bit of all of it. Blue bull is back!

Bring it on!  :ricky:
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 06:32:02 am by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Minora

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2013, 07:32:15 am »
 :blob1: :blob10: :blob3: :blob5: :blob6: :blob7: :blob8: :blob9:
Ek weet nie wat hier aangaan nie, maar dis 'n moerse sukses!!!
 

Offline >>Thump°C

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #45 on: September 02, 2013, 07:33:56 am »
 :ricky:
Awesome
Boys will be Boys.
And girls are darn thankful for that
 

Offline Offshore

Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #46 on: September 02, 2013, 08:06:50 am »
What a way to start my Monday Morning! Thanks Neil, keep on rolling :ricky:
 

Offline RD

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #47 on: September 02, 2013, 08:08:45 pm »
Lekker  man Lekker ! ;D
 

Offline SteveD

Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #48 on: September 02, 2013, 09:34:07 pm »
Epic, you tough bugger  :thumleft:
You should write a book, you have a gift. Put a cover around your last few ride reports and I'd buy it....  :pot:
 

Offline J-dog

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2013, 09:54:55 pm »
neil, you got fat since dos sertos.
 

Offline jimjim

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #50 on: September 04, 2013, 01:22:45 pm »
Now this is one thorough ride report! It's always nice to be served with the complete picture: the road, the bikes, the location, the food, the people. Thanks, really enjoying it  :thumleft:
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.  - W. C. Fields
 

Offline Minora

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #51 on: October 29, 2013, 02:09:40 pm »
Hi Neil

Know you are very busy but please don't let this report die a silent death....

We need to know what happened next  :ricky:
Ek weet nie wat hier aangaan nie, maar dis 'n moerse sukses!!!
 

Offline Draad

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #52 on: November 30, 2013, 09:47:26 am »
 :thumleft:
Sies jou VARK !!
 

Offline Orangeswifty

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2013, 01:09:54 pm »
 :laughing4:
Me thinks this RR was all a farce :o
A case of identity theft.
Some-one high-jacked Neil and his lovely wife, stole their camera's, tortured him to get his password for wilddogs and posted here on his behalf...............only to leave the rest of us hanging in suspense

Does anyone know where Neil is?
.................probably still held captive in some mountain hut outside Ayacucho by some Militia Rebels?
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #54 on: January 27, 2014, 01:54:38 pm »
I must apologize for the delay in finishing this report. Life caught up with me I guess, stress at work, then the silly season hit, and lastly the Dakar!

I have no excuse, but I will finish it now. So I will start with something I forgot to mention about the ice cream ladies from Ayacucho. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.



This ice cream is made by hand! No machines involved. They put huge blocks of ice in tubs, and then in a smaller pot have a liquid which contain all the ingredients they want in the ice cream. They then deftly spin this pot in the tub of water and ice with one hand. It reminds me a little bit of someone skateboarding, you know pushing off with repeatedly with the foot as they get going?  We its almost, but not quite - totally unlike that, but they flick these pots repeatedly into quite a spin and a thin layer of the fluid freezes to the side of the pot. They then scoop this fresh ice cream out and into little cups.

One medium sized cup cost me S/.1.50, which is about R5.00.
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #55 on: January 27, 2014, 01:58:55 pm »
We roll out of Ayacucho and stop to refuel.

The petrol attendant is delighted to meet some people from South Africa, who are touring his country on these bikes.


"Impresionante!!" He says, and asks me in Spanish the questions they always ask everywhere we go.

"How fast can this go?"
"How much does it cost?"
"How big is the engine?" when we tell them, they always exclaim "Pucha Madre!" They are used to bikes up to 250cc, no more.

Daleen waits patiently while the men have a yarn. I think she may be rolling her eyes at us behind those glasses. She wants to get going already.




The road takes us for about 80km over these hills set beneath mountains that rise 2,000m up around us.




There is hardly any traffic on the road at this time of day and its fantastic.





We are on a good, reasonable asphalted piste, with lots of curves and as we get into things we lean lower and lower into the hairpin corners, scraping our foot pegs on the rough tar beneath.  I'm not that brave yet to risk scraping the pegs and shooting pictures one-handed at the same time, so this is the all I am able to get.    ::)





I am feeling so good today I consider twisting the wrist and really ripping up the corners, but then I would not be able to record the trip with my camera. Not that we are going slowly, mind you. We are maintaining a fairly decent pace, but we are also in our comfort zones. Whats more, this is our first trip in a while and it wouldn't be nice to ruin it, doing something stupid. I remind myself that we are in the Andes mountains after all, and its a minimum of 12 hours driving back to the world and a hospital.  So I am content to just take it easy instead, just enjoying riding at the back, and taking pictures of myself taking pictures.

Amazing how bright the sun is so early in the morning in the thin air.
 



Its a glorious day and all is well in our world. Its a gift to be alive and experience this magnificent place. I am living in the moment, and I think Daleen is too.

Soon enough we get to the little town of Huanta. Its a nondescript place of under 10,000 people, but its big enough for us to get lost in it trying to find our way through to the other side.





Stopping to ask directions I notice the local Ferrari (Look carefully on the front of the car).  I'm guessing they were pushing it a bit too hard. :ImaPoser:





People never retire in these parts. Life is short, hard and brutish, and older folk work with their hands until they can work no more.  They often get caught out by the fast paced modern life...like trying to cross the road as two bike moto's come cruising past.







After stopping a couple of times, we find ourselves on a dirt road at last!! Whooohoo!  :ricky:








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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #56 on: January 27, 2014, 02:00:00 pm »
The view...well...the pictures don't do it justice.







It never seems to end.






Its like something out of a western movie.














And then in the middle of nowhere, we come across this suspension bridge.




















I'm so busy marveling at the engineering, I nearly manage to lose it on the slippery surface and ride off the bridge!




I save it though, but without a lot of margin to spare.  The landscape unrolls and we soak it up. Its impossible to put the miles of marvelous views into words, so I'll let the photos do the talking.























































Soon enough we pass a group of surveyors on the road...oh no, another dirt road to be surfaced! We ride on, but I am expecting construction ahead. Never nice.





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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #57 on: January 27, 2014, 02:00:16 pm »
Instead we are gifted with another cool bridge.





Come on, lets ride it together!!  :ricky:


























After the bridge we hit a village and asphalt road again. After just 80km.  :sad: This is a huge shame.











Our hopes are lifted when we see this




But it is short lived.  It looks like it may be black top all the way to Hunacayo now, but the road is very narrow. This was something we did not expect.











It time for breakfast. We have done 120km already and progress has been great. So D's bike decides it want to lie down for a rest. 


I of course do the right thing and take a picture, while she talks her bike out of it.  :ImaPoser:





I may as well make a mention about the top box you can see there. Daleen hates the thing but it works quite well. She says it make it look like a delivery bike. See how it a tied on? Not pretty I know, but there is a story behind that. Anyway, it contains  some tools, a sleeping bag (which would prove fortuitous in a day or so!!), some spare tie downs, emergency rations (biltong), and spare tubes. Its a Hepco Bekker top box. I have a set of Hepco panniers too. Had.

Well, Hepco Schmecker is what I say now.

Its an overrated, overpriced, larney, way-too-shiny piece of bike bling - is what it is. We got it from Cytech back in RSA when we were still new to biking and swallowed the whole  "these are the best bike luggage in the world," story hook, line and sinker. The lock-on, lock-off bracket has long since broken along with the brackets for my side hard panniers on my bike. We tie it on now so it wont go anywhere, and that works better. Its the only thing we still use. Those and the pannier brackets on my bike.

I have discarded my hard boxes for soft panniers: Soft panniers don't break when you put the bike down, they're more streamlined and narrower too. Hard luggage have also caught riders out and broken legs in slow speed off's. Given, the soft ones are a bit of a pain to take off and mount, but they're easier to carry around and we live with the 10 minutes required to pack our clothes in plastic to keep our stuff dry.

But enough of that - On with our adventure.

There is nothing around for miles as we unpack breakfast. The ambiance and tranquility of the place is unbelievable. The only thing we can hear are the cicadas warming up, a flock of wild, bright green parrots nearby and the rustling river in the valley far below us. Its timeless.






After a long while we see a tiny figure on the far bank with his dogs, he must be a farmer making his way to work. We sit there on a rock, taking in the view while chewing on our dates and biltong, pausing to sip water out of my camel back. The place has a bushveld feel to it, but for the parrots. I wonder what people farm for a living here. They do irrigate and citrus down there must be oranges or apples. He also has prickly pear.





Its a harsh beauty and we find it difficult to drag ourselves away to press on with our trip. As it turns out the road is a lot of fun to ride, often with dizzying drops off to the one side.







These two guys panicked a bit when we arrive. They had their legs tied together to keep them from running off I suppose. Effective, but quite cruel, I reckon.





Lots of these, this must be our tenth already.

























Dont look down...





It feels like this road was made just for us. Its awesome. But we are careful, because meeting oncoming traffic on a blind corner would be fatal. There are tons of blind corners, and these slow us down a bit.


Remains of a old mine and its transport.










We ride on and on. I'm sorry for all the pictures but there was just so much that we have not shown you. It goes on for over 100km.







At one point Daleen stops. Is it safe ahead?





Ja, I'm sure it will be fine. It is.










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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #58 on: January 27, 2014, 02:29:31 pm »
Well worth the wait!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline Orangeswifty

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Re: From the Andes to the Amazon
« Reply #59 on: January 27, 2014, 02:56:06 pm »
Keep it coming Neil :thumleft:
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