Planes, Trains And Motorcycles
After a very lazy Christmas and New Year in Huaraz, it was hard to get back in the swing of biking but we needed to get to Lima to meet Lisa’s mum and dad and to see the start of The Dakar Rally 2013.
Mike and Chris had already set off a couple of days before and were heading deeper into the high mountains before getting to Lima. We later found out they’d had quite the adventure after getting lost, breaking down and then they lost each other for over a day in the difficult terrain on New Years Eve.
The route we took was a beautiful winding road from the chilly mountains to the humid coast as we joined the Pan American Highway into Lima.
Lisa made a surprise visit to her mum and dad at their hotel in Lima (We originally planned on meeting them in Cusco a couple of days later).
We then met up with Mike and Chris the next day to check out the Dakar Village on the beach.
Team HRC gained quite a bit of attention after 24 years absence from the event…..Go Honda!!
Lisa was taking a few days off the bike and flew to Cusco with her mum and dad and we arranged to meet up a few days later.
I didn’t mind as the next 1000km’s would be all boys stuff anyway – The Dakar and riding the Nazca to Cusco road!
Mike, Chris and I rode out of Lima down the coast towards Ica to check out The Dakar spectator zone.
We were staggered to see thousands of locals out on the streets waving and cheering us along!
(They might have been confusing us with someone else but we didn’t want to disappoint and just waved back)
The first few stages was in the desert sands. We managed to get pretty close to all the action.
After having our photo’s taken all morning with Dakar fans who think that all Gringo’s on bikes must be part of the race, we made our exit and headed to the small oasis town outside of Ica in the dunes.
We met up with some other bikers in our hostel, chatted, drank beer and Pisco Sours, before getting some sleep as we had a long day of riding the next day.
With our tanks brimmed with fuel we agreed to meet up later along the road if weather and light permitted, otherwise in Cusco a couple of days later.
This was to be the last time all three bikes would be together unfortunately…..
There was still another 600km of windy roads to Cusco and as I needed to get there within two days to meet up with Lisa and her mum and dad, I headed off in front to cover some road quickly.
The road out of Nazca was spectacular! Amazing scenery and beautiful bitumen….
You know you are at altitude when Llamas are around…..
Later that day, a man overtook me in his pickup truck and was frantically trying to flag me down as I rode through the town of Puquio.
It was bad news – his friend had telephoned him from just outside a town 20kms back and told him that my friend on a motorcycle had been involved in an accident with a taxi.
I raced back to the scene of the accident as quickly as I could. Chris was not far behind.
Mike had been in a head-on collision with a minibus taxi but was thankfully okay. The taxi driver was on the wrong side of the road going around a corner which unfortunately is not uncommon in Latin America.
The KLR was dragged along the road for several metres but Mike only suffered bruising and shock after the accident. He was unbelievably lucky.
The impact was so great that the front wheel on the taxi was shunted back.
We loaded Mike’s battered bike into the back of the taxi and attempted to get to the town of Puquio. The taxi was in a poor state too and the driver had to pull into a mechanics to get the front axle banged out.
The guy who pulled me over earlier that day left me with his mobile number in case we needed any help so we called him from our hostel in Puquio that evening.
The payphone ran out of credit while I talked to him and so I fumbled around for some more change when he entered reception and greeted us all.
Osirise with Mike – this guy is a hero and went well out of his way to help us out.
He drove us around town all night as we tried to arrange for Mike’s bike to be transported to Cusco in the hope of getting it fixed in a bigger town.
Osirise negotiated a deal with a truck driver who was heading to Cusco that night so we loaded it with the help of Osirise’s family.
Mike took a night bus to Cusco and we hit the sack after a long day.
Chris and I got up at the crack of dawn as we planned to catch up with the truck driver and meet him in Cusco.
More great riding as we rode up to over 4500 metres.
Mike arrived before us in Cusco in time to collect his bike with the help of some guys at the hostel that he had checked into.
He decided that the bike was not worth salvaging as the frame was bent pretty badly so made a deal with a local mechanic and sold it to him after some negotiating. Mike’s trip is sadly over.
We have enjoyed traveling with Mike on and off since Guatemala and are both gutted that his trip has ended so suddenly.
Cusco main square – tourists everywhere!
We pre-booked the trip to Machu Picchu so caught the train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
Bev and Dave enjoying the train ride…choo chooo!
One of those hairless sun-smart dawgs….
We woke up at 5am the next morning and arrived at the ruins early to beat the crowds….
To quote Dave (Lisa’s Dad) “It will be nice when it’s finished”
I can see why it is one of the Seven Wonders Of The World. It’s amazing!
We are now back in Cusco for a day but we ride to Puno tomorrow, where we will see Lake Titicaca, the largest, highest lake in South America.