Tuesday, February 16, 2010

High Mountains

I’m sitting at around 15,000 feet in a little hut that’s set back from the road by about a couple hundred feet. My bike is parked up at the road and I’m cozy and settling in for the night.

I left Hauraz today and rode North up the western edge of the Cordillera Blanca. I took a detour up into the mountains and enjoyed the scenery. When I got back to the pavement, I stopped for breakfast. There I met a man who works as a guide in the mountains of Peru. He also does metal work and welding.

When I went to leave, I realized that the frame for my luggage had broken. The occasional dropping of the bike bent the rack. Of course, I’d straighten out the rack. The metal became work hardened as this happened. Then, the riding on the rough roads, finished it off. Perfect timing for me to meet a welder.

We went right to his shop, which was close to the restaurant. We took the panniers off the bike and straightened out the rack. He tack welded it back together and then we took the rack off. He then got his other welder ready. I’d never seen one like this. It was a torch, but it partly ran on sulfur. He’d put a piece of sulfur in a pan and then close the door. Then he’d turn on the water which would flood the sulfur. After this, his torch was ready. I knew that when sulfur and water are mixed a flammable gas is released, but I’d never thought to use it for welding. He fixed it up nicely and then added some steel as reinforcement.

Afterwards I rode further North and then stopped for lunch before I headed up into the high mountains. Just as I was finishing lunch, my Columbian motorcyclist friends pulled up. We had a happy reunion and discovered that we were headed in the same direction. We really enjoyed riding up the high altitude lakes that is to the North of Mt. Hauscaran. I decided to continue up and over the pass to the west side of the range and they decided to return to Hauraz.

It’s nice to be in the mountains with the wind, rain, glaciers and cows. Tomorrow, I’ll head south and see where I end up.

1 comment:

  1. I am in awe and stunned that I am able to on this journey with you through these photos and blogs.. incredible!