Sunday, February 21, 2010


What a grueling day. I rode 9 hours on dirt roads through the mountains of Southern Peru. Both me and my motorcycle took a beating. The roads varied tremendously. Sometimes the hard packed gravel was so smooth and reliable that 50 mph was reasonable. Other sections were so severely potholed that any attempt greater than a crawl thrashed the bike. In the high passes, there was slushy snow that I had to ride through. It was soft, though, and the tires cut through to the gravel.

One tricky section resulted in a spill. The emergency shutoff switch broke, so I wired it so that it is bypassed. I read about how to do that a month ago.

The bike is taking a beating. The rack has broken in two more places and is held together with wire, a piece of wood and a piece of inner tube. The locks are mostly clogged with dirt and I have to struggle to get them to work. The panniers are all beat up and dented. The front right fork seal is leaking, though that may have been from a big hit. I don’t know which it is, but time will tell. There are multiple layers of grime on the bike. I have to wipe my brake and head lights clean so that they are useful. My turn signals have stopped working. I believe it is the relay, so I’ve no choice but to do without.

At the end of the day, I was checking the bike out and I realized that the forward engine mount bolt had shed it’s nut. The owner of the hotel offered to take me to find a nut. I gladly accepted and we both hopped on his bike. It was neat to be on one of the little motorcycles that I’ve seen around. But it was scary not being in control of the machine. The driver did a great job. We found a nut that fit…and I was grateful at the way it all came effortlessly together.

Some of my gear is showing wear too. My tank bag zipper is blown and the plastic map case is coming apart. The top case lock is sticky. My motorcycle pants knees are beginning to become unstitched. The strap that holds my jacket back to the pants is broken. My rain jacket zipper busted and I had to sew it together.
My but is sore and has a tendency towards rashes.

I look like the people here. Perhaps not in the face structure and skin color, but definitely in my dirty clothes and motorcycle mechanic stained hands. Everything is dirty it seems.

Canyon de Colca and the highland mountains were beautiful. Flowers, deep vertical mountains, glaciers, rushing rivers, rain, sun, green meadows, alpaca, sheep, chasing dogs, smiling and waving shepherds, curious looks. I saw animals that looked like rabbits and I saw a large hawk or eagle of some sort. The terraced rice patties are so beautiful.

Many people want to buy the bike. I seem to get two or three offers a day. Perhaps I’ll sell it when I’m done.

I’m on my way to Cuzco, the high Andean legendary city of Machu Picchu. From there, I’ll head to Lake Titicaca and then I’ll be on my way to Bolivia. In Bolivia, I’d like to see the salt flats. Then on to Chile and Argentina.

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