Friday, February 12, 2010

Exploring the Peruvian Desert

I woke up early and spent the morning working on the bike. One of my new friends had a spare mirror that he gave me. I used some baling wire and duct tape to shape a ball for the new mirror to fit around.

Around 11am I bed farewell to the four Columbians and struck out South. It felt good to be on my own again. I do much better when I travel by myself.

The coastal land for the rest of the day was dessert in various shapes and forms. It was exciting to see sand dunes for the first time on the trip. Finally, I gave in to the temptation to ride around in the desert and found some flats and dunes to play in. I’d only read about riding in sand, but the technique seemed to come easily. In sand, one steers with by leaning and accelerating. Turning the front wheel only results in loss of control. The bike seemed to work well in the type of sand that I was riding on.
The sand was wet underneath the top layer. Some people later told me that it had just rained hard after an eleven year stint without rain. Apparently the rain comes every eleven years to this desert. It seems like good luck to be arriving with the rain that brings life.

I ran into four Australians who were biking from the south pole to the north pole. They were neat and friendly folks. Two had BMWs, one had a KLE (twinduro) and one had the new version of the KLR.

I eventually found a road side restaurant to eat at an then rode off into the sand to find a place to camp for the night. Out here, there were no people. The sunset was beautiful over the open and flat desert. There were only two small trees between myself and the sun.

As darkness settled in some insects on the trees began making a shrill sound that reminded me of the whistling vessels that originate in Peru. I’d been introduced to the whistling vessels by Allie and Evie of Spirit Passages and had come to appreciate them. So this felt like a welcome to Peru song.

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