Finally we get back to documenting the rest of our South American trip. Missing are Peru, Bolivia and Chile…..so many experiences to summarize, so while we focus on the blog we will be getting swept away with the beauty of the Australia.
We arrived in Peru on Friday, December 5th. These were the first sites to greet us as we crossed the border.
As we were riding to Mancora we passed many of these enclaves of buildings/shacks/sheds and weren’t too sure if they were summer huts or permanent communities. Some were more inhabited than others.
Our first destination in Peru, Mancora, a very popular resort town.
After a couple of relaxing days at the beach it was time to make our way back to the Andes.
At a roadside cafe in Saman where we first met Fernando and Almu who had been travelling for just over 18 months on a KTM 1190 Adventure R, having started their journey in Spain.
On the road to Olmos.
Olmos turned out to be a very desolate community. The only hotel in town offered shabby rundown rooms, with no alternative we checked in. After unpacking we wandered down to the local watering hole for a beer. It was an interesting experience. They set the table with a large plastic bowl in the center with one glass. Then they brought over a beer. We were a little confused and asked for three more beer. Now they seemed a bit confused, but brought us the beer. As we sat talking about the day we noticed at the other tables people were sharing a beer. They would pour a glass for a person, who would drink it in one shot, pour the dregs of the glass into the plastic bowl in the center of the table, refill the glass and pass it to the next person.
The following day we made our way back into the mountains before dropping to the lowest point of passage through the Continental Divide via the Rio Utcubamba valley.
A stop for coffee along the way, another new experience. You receive a vessel of very strong, thick instant coffee from which you pour a desired amount into your cup before adding hot evaporated milk and sugar to taste.
Riding along the river we were surprised to find working rice paddies, felt like Asia.
Hugging the river.
We reach hotel Villa de Paris in Chachapoyas.
The following day we were up early in search of an ancient fort, Kuelap, high in the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately we did not find it before heavy rains set in.
We are just short of the summit with no ruins in site. We decide to make our way down the mountain to avoid being caught in the approaching storm.
Tom and Tracy arrived a few hours later, soaked to the bone after nightfall and a slow difficult descent….but they did find the ruins!
We left Chachapoyas the next day, Wednesday, December 10th, to travel to Celendin. We were on the road early not knowing exactly what would be waiting for us, just that the road was classified as one of the most dangerous in the world.
We arrived in Chacanto, only to learn we had another pass to travel through before we would reach Celendin. This time the summit was 3600 meters, but not nearly as steep, narrow or difficult as the one we have just passed through, basically it has many long swithbacks to the summit, although still hugging the side of the mountain.
We decided not to stay the night in Celendin as accommodations were not very inviting and Cajamarca was within striking distance. We wrapped up in our warmest gear as the cold was penetrating, the winds were picking up and we were headed for a night ride.
We arrived in Cajamarca cold, tired and hungry after a good twelve hour mountain ride through one of the most spectacular passes we had encountered. We checked into the first hotel in the square, the Costa Sol Hotel, unpacked the bikes and made our way to the restaurant for a hot meal and a warm drink.