Penang Malaysia to Bangkok Thailand

We left Medan, Indonesia with Tom and Tracy on the 8th of June with Tracy suddenly feeling ill while we were waiting to board our flight to Penang, Malaysia.   We thought perhaps it was food poisoning from lunch.
The next day in Penang the four of us took a bus tour of Georgetown.  Tracy was feeling better but Tom was feeling poorly.  We thought that they both were dealing with fatigue after their intense ride through Indonesia.
Penang

 

June 10th, time to pick up the bikes. The bikes were in perfect condition. Were we ever pleased that the voyage had gone trouble-free!
Picking up bikes in Georgetown.
Picking up bikes in Georgetown.
 Tom and Lindsay spent the day getting the bikes cleared through Malaysian customs, but Tom was still feeling really drained.  So much so that that evening he had to leave an amazing tandoori meal with friends, one of whom (Fazil from KL) had just returned from a solo around the world ride and had his bike on our vegetable boat.

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We postponed leaving for Thailand until the 12th hoping that all would be well by then. But that morning as we packed our bikes, Tom and Tracy decided they would catch up with us in Thailand as Tom still needed some down time.  So we left for Phuket to wait for them. The border crossing into Thailand was really busy with bikers going to a big rally just over the border and it didn’t help that it was pouring. Riding in Thailand proved to be such a nice change from Indonesia due to so much less traffic and better road conditions.

 

Getting soaked at the Thai border.
Getting soaked at the Thai border.
We headed to Phuket which we had visited in 2001. We were anxious to see how Karon beach had recovered from the terrible Tsunami of 2004. We certainly saw a lot of change and hopefully for the locals very positive. While in Phuket we got the terrible news that both Tom and Tracy had contracted Dengue Fever and had been admitted to hospital. They ended up there for a week, and then were instructed to take several weeks of down time before riding again.
Karon Beach Phuket

 

This left us with some difficult decisions to make as we were dealing with time issues for travel in Mongolia and Russia.  Things had already been delayed in Australia, and now we were not certain how long it would be before Tom and Tracy would feel strong enough to continue.  Also, there was the uncertainty of them getting a Russian visa, as all our research showed that as a result of rule changes, UK citizens could not get a Russian visa outside of their home country, although the possibility existed in Phnom Penh. We considered completing the journey by ourselves, but as we were about two months behind in our plan, it meant that we would have to rush through Mongolia and Russia, something we did not want to do.
So the four of us decided that all signs were pointing to home.  We enjoyed the ride up to Bangkok via Hua Hin and spent about a week in Bkk before shipping ourselves and the bike home while Tom and Tracy waited out their time in Penang.  Funny thing was, although we planned our flights home independently, we both flew home on the same date!
Hotel in Hua Hin

 

 

 

 

Mt. Fuji
Fujiyama
Although our voyage came to a premature end and we did not get to ride through Mongolia, Russia and Europe, it really had been an unforgettable experience. The actual riding was incomparable with any other trips we have done. The scenery, especially in South America, was spectacular. Everywhere we rode we were met by the friendliest people and never did we feel in danger or threatened in any way. The days were not all easy, as weather, poor road conditions, insane traffic and getting lost kept reminding us that this was “adventure riding”. The good days vastly outnumbered the bad. All told we had been on the road for ten months and had put 54,000 kms on the bike.
What’s next?
We are currently drawing up plans with Tom and Tracy to continue our jouney where we left off. We are looking at flying ourselves and the bikes from Vancouver to Korea and then take the ferry to Vladivostok where we will ride to the Lake Baikal region in Siberia and then through Mongolia, Khazakstan, the ‘stans and the rest of Russia to Europe. This is planned for late spring 2018 as Lindsay has to go through two hip replacement operations in the meantime.

Latest,  February 2018 – hips done and detail planning underway for a mid-June departure to Korea.

 

Bike preparation for RTW second leg

As of February 2018 the bike has done 90,000 kms. In addition to oil and filter changes and tires, the following maintenance has been done since the return to Canada in June 2015 at 57,800 kms;

61,100 kms

replaced chain and sprockets (16-42).

67,800 kms

replaced fork fluid.

replaced brake  and clutch fluid.

79,900 kms

changed fuel filter.

cleaned air filter

82,700 kms

replaced rear brake discs and pads.

replaced battery OEM.

88,300 kms

performed 90,000 kms service including

upgraded air filter box installed at no cost and cleaned filter

replaced spark plugs.

tested fuel pressure – on spec.

89,000 kms

replaced front brake discs and pads.

replaced chain and sprockets  (16-42).

replaced swing arm chain slider.

checked clutch plates. Steel plates 10% worn, bonded plates 30% worn. Replaced inner steel plate due to slight groove from Belleville washer.

replaced water pump impeller, seals and circlip and renewed antifreeze  (Motorex M 3.0).

checked rear wheel bearings and seals – ok (will carry spares).

replaced front wheel bearings, spacers, seals and circlip.

replaced brake and clutch fluid.

installed larger rear brake master cylinder reservoir.

installed fuel tank filler neck filter.

replaced front fork fluid.

replaced fork gaiters.

installed Barkbusters

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did the bike fare???

The bike performed amazingly well during the 54,000kms. A summary of maintenance  and comments are as follows;

Oil (Motorex Cross Power 4T 10w50) and filter changes were done roughly every 10,000 kms.

Installed Metzler Karoo 3 tires in San Diego. Wore out quickly (7,000 kms) and changed to Heidenau Scouts in Bogota.

Radiator developed a leak in Panama and was replaced under waranty (17,300 kms) in Bogota.

Changed fuel filter in Cuenca Ecuador (19,650 kms). Replaced brake and clutch fluids.

La Serena Chile 27,800 kms performed 30,000 kms maintenance including

replaced rear brake pads

replaced chain and sprockets with 17/45 ratio

replaced fork seals which had been destroyed on ride from Uyuni

replaced front brake pads as a result of fork fluid contamination

replaced 4 spark plugs

replaced fuel filter

replaced front wheel bearing and seals

installed KTM fork gaitors

Perth Australia, 51,900 kms performed 60,000 kms service including

replaced fuel filter

replaced spark plugs

replaced fly by wire throttle twist grip (failure covered under warranty)

UniFilter was cleaned at 17,300, 27,800 and 51,900 kms. Throttle body air intake was always absolutely clean.

used 1 front and 1 rear Metzler Karoo 3 tire and 2 front and 3 rear Heidenau Scout K60 tires.

overall fuel consumption was 45 mpg (imperial).

zero engine oil was added.

Denpasar, Bali to Medan, Sumatra

After a good two months in Australia it was time to transport ourselves and the bike to Bali, the gateway for our journey through Indonesia and SE Asia.
Bali….First Impressions.

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An Australian playground.
An Australian playground.
First stop was Kuta, where we stayed for a week while waiting for the arrival of the bike. For the most part the town and the beach were very quiet, as we were on a shoulder season, but on the weekend the beach filled with locals as well as tourists to watch the sunset.

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Watching sunset.
Watching sunset.
The bike arrived on the Friday, we picked it up at the cargo area of the airport, and with the incredible help of the people that worked there got the bike uncrated and restored to a two wheeler, and we were off.
Couldn't have done it without these guys.
Couldn’t have done it without these guys.
Ready to go.
Ready to go.

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Stops along the way to catch the ferry from Gillimanuk to Ketapang.

Temple at Uluwata
Temple at Uluwata

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Some help finding our way there.
A little help finding the temple road.
Enjoying watching the monkeys at the grounds.
Enjoying watching the monkeys on the temple grounds.

Overnighted in Ubud.

Rice fields behind the accommodations.
Rice fields behind the accommodations.
Our room patio.
Our room patio.
At the rice terraces the next morning.
At the rice terraces the next morning.

Next stop Lake Batur.

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We arrived at the ferry to Java and were issued onto a waiting boat in a hurried manner, with us not confirming that we were indeed taking the right boat.  As we were nearing Java the boat was navigating away from the port we were scheduled to dock at.  We began to think that we had boarded incorrectly…..but it turned out we were just lining up a distance away to wait our turn to dock…..almost an hour wait!

Boarding the ferry.
Boarding the ferry.

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After spending a couple of days in the Banyuwangi and Genteng area searching out family history we made our way to Bromo.

Once again the scene that met our eyes matched the hype it had received.  After enjoying an evening meal looking out at the volcano we made our way to our very small and rustic room in the complex that was built right on the craters edge.  We had noticed the room had an odd smell to it, but we accounted age as the culprit.  But as we were settling in for the night the smell became worse and ultimately unbearable.  Lindsay went outside to check what the atmosphere was like, and sure enough, we were engulfed in sulphur fumes from the volcanic discharges.  When we got up in the morning the atmosphere actually burned our nose and throats.  Once the mist had risen,  a couple of hours later, the air quality improved greatly.

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Evening at Bromo.
Evening at Bromo.
Mount Semeru is still very active
Mount Semeru is still very active

After some exploring it was time to move on to Surabaya to meet an old family friend and delve into a bit more family history.

Good bye Bromo.
Good bye Bromo.

The ride to Surabaya was uneventful until we stopped at a rest area just off the toll road. We were hot, very thirsty and not too sure where we were going in Surabaya as we could not access the internet in Bromo before we left.  We pulled up to an A+W. ready to quench our thirst and access their free wifi.  As we were parking, an attendant approached us and said we could not park there….we asked, where then….he said, we weren’t allowed to park anywhere at the complex as motorbikes are not allowed on the toll roads!!!  OK, we were in shock….now what to do.  Of course everyone turned out to be very generous when they realized we had no idea where we were in relation to our hotel and we were dying of thirst, so they gave us time to access google earth and quench our thirst with a Root Beer before we had to leave.

The next hurdle came as we approached the toll booth to pay our completed passage, once again people didn’t know what to do with us.  After some laughter on their part and then discussion, it was decided one of the attendants would lead us via an unused road to enter Surabaya.  He guided us down a very new and very empty artery to the proper access road for motorbikes.

We spent three days in Surabaya enjoying some of its history and art before leaving for a look at Krakatau via Surakarta, Yogyakarta, Tasikmalaya, Bogor, Cilegon and then Anyer.

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There were many incredible sites enroute , but for the most part Lindsay had to give the road 150% of his focus as traffic intensified as we left the Surabaya area growing into sensory overload as we neared the outer reaches of Jakarta.  There was so much going on, both on and along side the road, it was even difficult to take pictures as one scene just melded into the next.  But here are a few visuals from our ride through the rest of Java on a mainly two lane roadway that was the main thoroughfare for commercial, local and general travelers. Our pit stops were taken at Indomarts as the parking was easily accessible, the refreshments were cold and the conversations were friendly.

There's a lot of diesel exhaust...
There’s a lot of diesel exhaust…

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A great crew at Honda.
A great crew at Honda that helped with a failing side mirror.
Sorting out some issues in Anyer.
Sorting out some issues in Anyer.
HInt of Krakatau at sunset.
A hint of Krakatau at sunset.

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First police check in Indonesia, as we were leaving Java.

After checking our paperwork, a biker handshake.
After checking our paperwork, a biker handshake.
We and the bike were an ongoing focus of attention all through Indonesia.
We and the bike were an ongoing focus of attention all through Indonesia.

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Sumatra
Nearing Sumatra

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Throughout Indonesia there are “self-appointed” traffic cops, parking attendants and flag persons. They really do control the chaos and are paid by passing drivers – bikers exempt!
Although the riding in Sumatra was not as difficult as in Java, because of the long distances between accomodations, the days were long and tiring, with the constant 35 deg heat and very high humidity not helping.
An unwelcome guest in our hotel room!!!
An unwelcome guest in our hotel room!!!

Along the way…..

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We rode around the southeast corner of  Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world. It occupies the caldera of a supervolcano which erupted about 70,000 years ago and is  the largest known explosion on earth in the last 25 million years; impressive!

Storm over Lake Toba.
Storm over Lake Toba.
Arriving in Medan.
Arriving in Medan.
We reconnect with Tom and Tracy.
We reconnect with Tom and Tracy.
Celebrating a milestone.
Celebrating a milestone.
The bike transport to Malaysia...
The bike transport to Malaysia…
The only way to get bikes from Sumatra to Malaysia, other than by air, is by vegetable boat. These boats sail between Belawan and Penang Malaysia once per week and take about 24 hours – weather  dependent. It takes a leap of faith to hand over your treasured bike on the dock!!

 

And once again we are on our way…..next stop Penang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia

After two days in transit we arrived in Sydney on Saturday the 7th of March. We had flown from Buenos Aries via Lima, El Salvador and LA.  We made our way out to the northern part of Sydney to settle into our hotel anticipating the bike on the 10th, giving us a few days to explore the city and get acclimatized to the time change.
Our hotel was located across from a bus stop allowing us easy access to the downtown and waterfront areas where we spent our afternoons site seeing and enjoying the abundant Australian comfort food.
Darling Harbour.
Darling Harbour.
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Circular Quay.
Circular Quay.
Tuesday the 10th arrived, but not the bike.  It’s new date of arrival was the 12th.  A few more days to while away.  We enjoyed time with an old friend, Ian, walking the beautiful waterway from Spit Bridge to Manly.
The route.
The route.
The hikers
The hikers
D day.  The bike arrived. We made our way to Customs Clearing at the cargo area of the airport to process our carnet and quarantine documents.  The process was very fast and the officers friendly and informative.  What we hadn’t realized was that from the clearing house we needed to make our way to the Quantas warehouse down the road to arrange to have the bike transported to a Quarantine area a few kilometers away for inspection before we could take possession.
Sitting in the Quantas waiting area for our turn to arrange possession of the bike we approached one of the many men sitting waiting with us.  We realized they were all picking up freight for customers, so we asked if it was possible for any of them to assist us with the transport of the crated bike to our next destination.  Turned out it was all possible and within the hour we were  our way to Quarantine.

 

Bike arriving at Quarantine.
Bike arriving at Quarantine.
After the inspection the warehouse operator asked us where we wanted the bike delivered to have it uncrated.  We had already said good bye and thank you to our truck and driver as we were under the impression we would be riding the bike from the warehouse. After some discussion we came to an agreement regarding the dismantling and disposing of the crate and we finally managed to ride the bike away and were once again back on the road.
Our original plans were to make our way to Perth, across to Alice Springs and Uluru, then up to Darwin to ship the bike to East Timor.  But we decided to shorten the travel gap between Tom and Tracy and ourselves by riding the East Coast first then make our way West.
Visiting old haunts.

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Where we lived for four months in 1980/81.
Where we lived for a few months in 1980/81.
Riding North towards Brisbane.
Port Macquarie.
Port Macquarie.
Yamba.
Yamba.
Coffee break.
Coffee break.
En route to Surfers Paradise.
En route to Surfers Paradise.
Surfer's.
Surfer’s.
Packing up.
Packing up after a night of camping.
From Surfer’s it was a short visit to Brisbane for Lindsay to reconnect with his old work mate, John. We had contemplated going further North but cyclone Nathan was playing havoc with the coastline. So Brisbane became our turn around point.
Brisbane.
Brisbane.
We left Brisbane in the pouring rain Wednesday morning.  We had to stop and suit up in our rain gear.  By the time we stopped for a bite to eat in Beaudesert the rain had stopped, we were wet and the sun was poking out from behind the clouds.  We laid our coats out to dry on the bike and went in to enjoy some fresh baked goods and a cappuccino.
Everydays Cafe.
Everydays Cafe.
From Beaudesert we rode the New England Highway and Thunderbolt Highway to Gloucester, beautifully cultivated landscapes filled with historic English and Celtic towns.

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Walcha Royal Cafe
Walcha Royal Café

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Breakfast in Gloucester before riding to the Nabiac Motorcycle museum.

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School kids out on a field trip in Gloucester…..

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Nabiac Motorcycle Museum.
Nabiac Motorcycle Museum.

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From the museum we made our way to Maitland to visit some of Lindsay’s old work mates from Kurri Kurri, Malcolm and Doug.  Then it was on through the Hunter valley.  As it turned out the vinyards were finished for the season with the vines losing all their leaves.  We still enjoyed the countryside and seeing the expanse of the growing areas.
The center of the Hunter Valley wine district.
The center of the Hunter Valley wine district.
Peterson House Wines.
Peterson House Vinyard.
From the Hunter Valley we made our way around Sydney to the coastal area of Wollongong.
Sea cliff bridge en route.
Sea cliff bridge en route.

 

North Beach Restaurant, Wollongong.
North Beach Restaurant, Wollongong.
From the coast we rode inland towards the Snowy Mountains overnighting at Jindabyne.  We left Jindabyne in the rain which lightened to a mist as we made our way into the mountains.
Packing up.
Packing up.

 

Morning mist.
Morning mist.
Sky lifts for a look.
Sky lifts for a look.
From here it was to Melbourne. When we took a break at a roadside café we ran into several guys making their way to the annual Ulysses gathering…. a motorcycle club that is the largest social club in Australia with over 40,000 members, membership criteria requiring member to be 40 years of age or older….. its motto, “growing old disgracefully”.  Two riders on vintage Ariel Red Hunters – a ’48 and a ’53 – one pulling a bike trailer!!
Two vintage Ariel's....one pulling a bike trailer!
Two vintage Ariel’s….one pulling a bike trailer!

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A little eye candy along the way.
A little eye candy along the way.
One of the really great attributes of being on the road in Australia is all the little cafes and bakeries that are full of charm, character and history, making roadside stops one of the main social events of the ride.

An old beauty.

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An old beauty.
An old beauty.
Charming roadways.
Charming roadways.
Mail delivered the Australian way.
Mail delivered the Australian way.
Dinner in Melbourne with Geir and Wenche.
After a short visit to Melbourne we took the Portsea ferry to Queens Cliff.

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Now the ride we had been looking forward to since our arrival to Australia, The Great Ocean Road….and it lived up to it’s reputation of beauty.
The twelve Apostles.
The twelve Apostles.
The Grotto.
The Grotto.
View from Peterbourough.
View from Peterbourough.
After the Great Ocean Road we visited with Tom and Mon, friends we met during a ride to New Mexico. It was great meeting  again and sharing riding plans and stories.

 

Tom and Mon :-)
Tom and Mon 🙂

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Then it was on to Adelaide for the Easter long weekend.  One of the most beautiful rides just outside of the city, the Barossa area, small country road undulating through the hills and valleys of the wining estates with Fall colors setting in.

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We rode into a deserted Adelaide on the Easter long weekend and lucked out finding a great deal at the Intercontinental located right on the river.

Streets of Adelaide are deserted.
Streets of Adelaide are deserted.

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Along the River Torrens.
Along the River Torrens.

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The city came alive as the weekend progressed, even giving rise to protest.

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At the finish of the long weekend we started to make our way into the Outback with a small diversion to Port Lincoln.
Port Lincoln.
Port Lincoln.

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 We left Port Lincoln in the morning and spent the night in Port Augusta before starting our route through the Outback to Uluru, our route and stops were Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Erldundo, Uluru.

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The scenery.
The road.
The road.
Pit stop.
Pit stop.
The view.
The view.

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More road.
More road.
Road texture.
Road texture.
Originally we had planned to stop at roadside picnic tables to enjoy refreshments and snacks, but as it turned out we found that the bush flies found us the minute we stopped and it was hard to enjoy a meal while keeping the pesky little kritters out of our eyes, nose and mouth.  So ultimately we used the roadside pullouts for body breaks and made use of the Roadhouses for our meal breaks.  As it turned out, the Roadhouses had a captive audience and  charged accordingly for their sustenance.

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A rider from Holland who had just arrived from Indonesia.
A rider from Holland who had just arrived from Indonesia.
Roadhouse pets that want to share your lunch!
Roadhouse pets that want to share your lunch!
We reach Uluru.

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Set up camp.

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And find Uluru.

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It is worth the ride!
It is worth the ride!

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Saturday, April the 11th we received an email from Tom and Tracy, they are on their way and will be in Uluru today.  So after saying good bye to them in Buenos Aires on Feb. 25th we will once again be travelling together for a short while.
When they arrived we hiked Kata Tjuta, near Uluru.
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The next day were on the bikes again and making our way to Darwin, originally our final destination in Australia, where we were to ship the bikes to East Timor.  But due to shipping complications our plans changed with Lindsay and Marian travelling the West coast to Perth and Tom and Tracy making their way to Sydney via the East coast with plans to reconnect in Indonesia.
Cannonball Memorial.
Cannonball Memorial.

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Cooling off!
Cooling off!
A couple of refreshment stops at Roadhouses along the way.

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Local art.

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Creatures to share your lunch with.

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Stories to share.

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No speed limits....Stuart Highway.
No speed limits….Stuart Highway.
Road trains….AB-Quads, up to 53.3 m or 176′ long…..
The odd ‘roo’

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An overnight stop at Mataranka Resort.

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A roadside attraction.

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We reach Darwin.

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We spent a few days in Darwin taking a day trip to Litchfield park to see the termite mounds, waterfalls and swimming holes.   Termite mounds litter the northern Outback……literally fields of them as we rode from Katherine to Darwin, and from Darwin to Carnavarn.
Fields of termite mounds.
Fields of termite mounds.
A cathedral mound for the books.
A termit cathedral mound for the books.
Litchfield Park.
Litchfield Park.

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April 21, we said good bye to Tom and Tracy in Katherine and started our journey to the West coast. Lindsay wasn’t feeling great, fighting the flu, which would follow him until we arrived at Broome.  To add to his difficulties we were riding 600 km days between accommodation and the flies increased from being a nuisance to being a plague.  Apparently the worst investation the West had seen in years.  Good news, no flies while riding…..bad news, clouds of flies the minute you stopped.

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Shark Bay, shell beach
Shark Bay, shell beach

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Denham.
Denham.
We had hoped that the onshore breezes would keep the flies at bay, but that was not to be.  While visiting the Stromatolites we kept all our gear on as the temps were cool enough and it allowed us a bit of protection from the bush fly onslaught!
Under attack.
Under attack.
Taking in the view!!!
Taking in the view!!
Jurien Bay and the flies are gone!
Jurien Bay and the flies are gone!
Wanagarren Nature Reserve.
Wanagarren Nature Reserve.
 May 1st we arrive in Perth. Our time here will be used to get the bike maintenance done, have it crated and then shipped to Bali where we will start our journey through Indonesia.
Perth.
Perth.
The bike needed new tires and the 60,000 km maintenance as we were heading to Indonesia with 52,000 km on the odometer. Heidenau tires were found at Steve’s Motorcycles where the bike was taken in immediately, the tires changed and balanced. The 60,000 km maintenance service was done by KTM West.  Being a major service including valve check and possible setting, the bike was left overnight to be picked up the following day.  Following the service it had been arranged through our shipper, Bikes Abroad, to have the bike crated by BMW. When trying to start the bike the morning of the crating it would not start and error codes showed up on the control display. Lindsay managed to get it going and rode back to KTM West. It was discovered that the twist grip electronics had failed and needed replaced. Luckily the KTM Australian distributor was located in Perth and the part was available immediately and we were on our way to crating by noon.
ktm west.
ktm west.
Our very excellent mechanic.
Our very excellent mechanic.
Once again the heavy luggage was packed and we were ready to go.  The bike was scheduled to meet us in Bali on the Wednesday May the 13th, we flew out on the 10th.  Looking forward to Indonesia.

 

 

 

A family interlude…Indonesia

 After waiting in Bali a week for the bike to arrive we packed our bags and journeyed to Java. We left Bali on the Gillimanuk to Ketapang ferry.

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The crossing took about 30 minutes, then we waited off shore for about 45 minutes before docking.
One of the older ferries waiting in line to dock.
One of the older ferries waiting in line to dock.
Watching night fall as we wait.
Watching night fall as we wait.
Upon arrival we were booked into Ketapang Indah Hotel.
A welcome site after a long day.
A welcome site after a long day.
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In the morning we made our way via Bunyuwangi (where mom taught after WWII) to Genteng to meet our guides to the property.  Mom and Dad had put us in contact with an old family friend from Indonesia, Sai, without whom all we did and saw in the next couple of days would not have been possible.

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First we were taken to the back of the estate to see some of the existing cocoa trees which have replaced the original coffee plants.
From there we backtracked to the living/working area. As you can see the road leading to the estate was built up with residential properties.
The dam taken from the bridge.
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 Before crossing the bridge looking away from the plantation.

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Workers coming from the plantation.
Workers coming from the plantation.

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The next day we left Banyuwangi for Surabaya to visit my grandfather’s grave and some old haunts.

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From here we visited the old cigarette factory, House of Sampoerna.

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Then it was time for coffee at the historic Oranje Hotel….now Majapahit…..where the family stayed enroute to Holland.

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After coffee we drove by what Sai believed to be the historic Bendo Kerep offices in Surabaya?

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I wonder if the familiar places are still recognizable 60 years later?  Happy 90th Dad.

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bolivia – Chile

It was a short ride from Puno to Kasani to cross from Peru into Bolivia.  The crossing was straight forward, and took about 45 minutes to process the bike and us through.

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After the border we rode the 8 km to the resort town of Copacabana on Lake Titicaca.  The town is a vibrant tourist resort with many young foreign tourists roaming the shops and cafes.  Temperatures were cold and as evening closed in so did a storm, making for some beautiful views.

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 The following morning we took a ferry off the Peninsula of Copacabana to San Peblo du Tiquina. The ferry was pretty basic with several holes in the deck and powered by a 50 hp outboard motor.

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A refreshment break when we land.
A refreshment break when we reached shore.
After our break temperatures dropped with periods of rain.  We layered up with electric vests and water proof shells. Luckily it was a scenic ride and the rain did not persist.
A lonely church
A lonely church
The main road into La Paz from the north was in surprisingly poor condition, made worse by a heavy rain just before we rode it. There were many potholes, lots of muddy water and chaotic traffic.
After getting lost a couple of times following the GPS, we finally got a glimpse of the main area of the city nestled in a bowl. It was quite a steep ride down a series of switchbacks to the main downtown, which was quite modern.
First view of the main area of La Paz
First view of the main area of La Paz
On January 1, we left La Paz and started riding towards the salt flats (Salar de Uyuni), a three day journey. En route, in Oruro, we encountered our first hassles finding gas. There are special gas stations that can sell gas to foreigners, and there is no premium gas in Bolivia. (The KTM has a low octane fuel option which allows the bike to run well with regular gas)  The first station we stopped at had a line up of vehicles and after waiting in line for about ten minutes, when it became our turn we were told we could not buy gas and were directed to a station several kms away. Same situation there. After criss-crossing the city several times we finally found one that would sell to us. It had taken us an hour and a half!
On the third day, from Potosi to Salar, the ride was very scenic and we were starting to see a landscape of dry valleys and mountains and the odd volcano in the distance. Late in the afternoon, as we crested a hill, the Salar, came into view.
The landscape is getting drier
The landscape is getting drier
Time for a rest stop
Time for a rest stop

 

The scenery becomes a little more diversified
The scenery becomes a little more diversified
One of the ever present valcanos
One of the ever present volcanos

 

Our first view of the  Salar de Uyuni (salt flats of Uyuni)
Our first view of the
Salar de Uyuni (salt flats of Uyuni)
One of the sights in Uyuni is a graveyard of old steam locomotives, which we went and had a look at. The ever present signs advertising the upcoming 2015 Dakar off road race were starting to appear. We started riding north to our hotel, and ran into very loose gravel and sand making the ride virtually impossible two up. Marian and Tracy got into a taxi and Tom and I rode the 23 kms without difficulty. Our hotel was right on the Salar and was made of blocks of salt. Outside offered an amazing view and we sat and enjoyed the amazing sunset.
The train boneyard behind Marian
The train boneyard behind Marian
A locomotive is a sorry state, proclaming the upcoming Dakar Race.
A locomotive in a sorry state, proclaming the upcoming Dakar Race.

 

Our hotel, Sol Luna Salada, was built out of blocks of salt
Our hotel, Sol Luna Salada, was built out of blocks of salt
Looking across the Salar
Looking across the Salar
Setting sun
Setting sun

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 The next day we rode onto the Salar. You can ride for many kilometres but because we had been unable to get gas in the small village nearby, we were limited in range. We had been warned that the salt gets everywhere on the bike and it has to be washed off thoroughly. We rode for a couple of hours and returned to the hotel before a cloudburst. Tom and I then spent an hour washing the bikes off with pails of water; a high pressure washer would have been easier and more effective.

 

 

On the Salar
On the Salar
It's a wide open place
It’s a wide open place

 

One of the few places we got to use our chairs
One of the few places we got to use our chairs
 The following day was a long one,  all on dirt roads.  We ran into an intense storm a few kilometres before the border crossing into Chile at Ollague. It was very windy and little did we know that the slight coating of road mud we were riding through would prove to be a problem later on. The crossing was in the middle of nowhere but surrounded by beautiful peaks, volcanos and salt flats.

 

Wild and beautiful
Wild and beautiful

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Another volcano
Another volcano
A common sight
A common sight

 

A storm coming our way; little di we know..
A storm coming our way; little did we know..

 

Raingear time? No we'll be ok
Raingear time? No we’ll be ok

 

Amazing windstorm
Amazing windstorm

 

Lonely border crossing
Lonely border crossing

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Early scenes in Chile as we make our way to Iquique

 

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According to our map we were supposed to be on pavement
According to our map we were supposed to be on pavement

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Some vegetation is starting to appear
Some vegetation is starting to appear
Bad news - both fork seals are leaking fluid badly
Bad news – both fork seals are leaking fluid badly

 

Seals shot!!!
Seals shot!!!
 After many kilometres of dirt road in Chile, and spectacular scenery, we stopped for a breather and to our horror it was noticed that both front brake calipers on our bike were covered in fluid. It turned out that the mud film we had been riding on had hardened like concrete on the lower fork legs and when compressed over some major bumps the hard material had destroyed both fork seals. The next morning at the hotel in Calama, Lindsay tried to clean and fix the seals but to no avail. They would have to be replaced at the next KTM dealer in La Serena, several hundred kilometres away.
Meanwhile, the same mud had had an effect on Tom and Tracy’s bike as well. A vibration had developed in the rear wheel indicating wheel bearing problems. The following day Lindsay and Tom took both bikes to a repair shop. After a thorough steam cleaning, Tom’s bike was vibration free. The mechanic said the wheel bearing was ok. It took one hour of intense pressure cleaning to get our bike mud free and most importantly the cement like material off the forks. The shop was unable to repair the seals.
We set off for Iquique on the coast where we were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the 2015 Dakar off road race machines. The ride was uneventful as the road was very straight and monotonous, until we rode over the coastal dunes and the city appeared, hugging a narrow strip of land between the dunes and ocean. It reminded us of some the coastal cities we had seen in Mexico.
The road went on and on and it was very hot riding
The road went on and on and it was very hot riding
A much needed refreshment break
A much needed refreshment break
First view of Iqique
First view of Iquique
 The next four days were spent enjoying waiting and watching the arrival of the Dakar bikes, cars and trucks.   Watching competitors crossing the finishing line of stage 6 after they had just navigated through 688 kms of mainly rugged desert tracks was amazing! On the way back to our hotel Lindsay noticed Robbie Gordon’s race car and transporter at a garage next door. We were able to drop in to shake his hand and take some photos. On Monday we were once again watching as the trucks came over the  400 metre high dunes to race to the finish line!

 

Tom and Tracy setting in the wind
Tom and Tracy setting up in the wind
Marc Coma, four times Dakar Champion eventual 2015 winner arrives on his KTM
Marc Coma,  four times Dakar Champion and eventual 2015 winner arrives on his KTM

 

Robbie Gordon arrives first
Robbie Gordon arrives first
Cutting into Robbie Gordon's hamburger break
Cutting into Robbie Gordon’s hamburger break
Gordon's cockpit.
Gordon’s business centre
 We set off for Antofagasta on the coast after having watched the first trucks and cars make it to the finish line. It was great to be riding beside the ocean again, but disaster was about to strike. Marian and I stopped at a police checkpoint when a guy in a car came over and told us in broken English that our friends had problems. We rode back along the highway and sure enough Tom and Tracy were stopped beside the road with the police. It turned out that the bike’s rear wheel bearing had not been ok and had seized while they were riding at 90 kph, luckily on a straight. There was a 30 metre black rubber strip on the road and Tom had managed to keep the bike upright. The two policemen had been very helpful, already having arranged a truck to transport the bike to Anotfagasta, 280 kms away. We rode on ahead with Tom and Tracy arriving at the hotel later that evening.
Tom and the police discussing..
Tom and the police discussing..
A sorry sight
A sorry sight
Coast of Chile
Coast of Chile
The following morning Tom located the BMW Dealer and we loaded the bike with seized rear wheel, onto a flat deck. It appeared that fixing the bike could take up to two weeks, and as we had an appointment for our bike’s 30K service and fork seal replacement in La Serena, Marian and I rode south and we agreed to meet up with Tom and Tracy somewhere in Southern Chile or Argentina.
The ride along the coast was uneventful, scenery and ocean in shades of grey as we rode through the Atacama desert. We stayed in a funky hotel in La Serena and the bike service and front fork seal replacement went according to plan.
Breaking up the monotony
Breaking up the monotony

 

There were some breaks in the flatness
There were some breaks in the flatness
 North of Santiago we headed inland as we wanted to cross the border near Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Andes and outside of the Himalayas at 6,961 m (22,837′). It turned out to be a beautiful, relaxing ride through wine country and we stayed at a converted old monastery, Vina Monasterio, in Los Andes en route.

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A very old tree in the hotel courtyard
A very old tree in the hotel courtyard
From here we made our way to Argentina, our final destination in South America (already posted).    Next Australia.

 

Peru III

We left Chalhuanca with the decision to ride only as far as Abancay as the ride from Abancay to Cusco had been billed as a ride not to miss, so we didn’t want to find ourselves doing it at night fall.  The ride was a relatively short one, we checked into our hotel, caught up on some chores and then enjoyied an evening meal on site.
Tourist Hotel, Abancay.
Tourist Hotel, Abancay.

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We encountered our first incident of ‘wrong doing’ on the journey in Abancay .  Tom and Tracy had left their dry bag containing their camping gear strapped on the bike as we were in a very secure parking area.  But it seems some kids managed to get in and slashed the netting and bag while taking a water purification bottle.  Fortunately the wet bag could be repaired with a bit of duct tape and the bottle replaced, but it was a bit of a security reminder.
Inspecting the damage.
Inspecting the damage.
We left Abancay the following morning enjoying the warm, sunny riding conditions.
Stopping for a frozen mango treat along the way.
Stopping for a frozen mango treat along the way.
...and the people watching...
…and the people watching..

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Lunch with a view.
Lunch with a view.
We arrived at the outskirts of Cusco around 3pm.  What met us was a city in transition.  Construction and disorder were our first impressions.
Once through the outskirts and into the center of the city, things were more organized.  We arrived at our hotel to find that the parking for the bikes was a few blocks away.  Lindsay and Tom headed only to return a short while later still with the bikes.  The lot that the hotel had arranged resembled a junk yard with vehicles parked amid the debris.  The bikes were allotted a space in the midst of broken glass and discarded metal.  The guys talked to management about the situation and it was agreed that the bikes could be left on the sidewalk in front of the hotel where there was 24 hour security.  Everyone felt better.

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We spent a couple of days in Cusco enjoying the sites before taking the train to Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu.
Private enterprise.
Private enterprise.
Beautiful architecture.
Beautiful architecture.
Weaving demonstration.
Weaving demonstration.
The ever present pack of dogs in the square.
The ever present pack of dogs in Almas square.
We left for Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu on the 22nd of December via Peru rail.
Lunch is served.
Lunch is served.
Along the way.

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Arriving at Aguas Calientes.
Market at the train station.
Market upon arrival at the train station.
Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes.

 

Hotel Sumaq
Hotel Sumaq
We arrived in Aguas Calientes  around noon and caught a bus up to Machu Picchu right away as the skies were relatively clear with high clouds.

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One of the main historic trails into Machu Picchu!
One of the historic trails into Machu Picchu!
Back in town enjoying matte tea.
Back in town enjoying matte tea.
After two great days of exploring the sites we travelled back to Cusco to celebrate Christmas.
Christmas morning at church.
Celebration overflows from the church into the square.
Celebration overflows from the church into the square.
Christmas dinner at
Christmas dinner at Hotel Palacio Inca.

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Next morning December 26th, Boxing Day, we packed up and rode to Puna to see Lake Titicaca, a cold and beautiful scenic ride.
Leaving the Cusco area.
Leaving the Cusco area.
A stop in the Park.
A stop in the Park.

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A hail storm.
A hail storm.
A village along the way.
A village along the way.
Puno and Lake Titicaca.
Puno and Lake Titicaca
While in Puno we arranged a Boat excursion on Lake Titicaca to see the Floating Reed Islands.  Historically these were thriving villages, now mainly a tourist attraction, but very interesting to see how a whole culture carved consolidated masses of reeds from the lake, joined the carved blocks together and created islands to build their homes on.
The Islands.
The Islands.

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Back to our hotel.....Sonesta Posadas del Inca Puna.
Back to our hotel…..Sonesta Posadas del Inca Puna.
Outside the gates of the hotel.
Outside the gates of the hotel.
After an incredible ride through an amazingly beautiful and diverse country it was time to cross borders once more and make our way into Bolivia and Chile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peru II

We left Cajamarca on December 10th to make our way to Truillo to visit the Chan Chan ruins, capital of the Kingdom of Chimu.  As we neared the coast we ran into a back up of transport trucks that went for about five kilometers. We cruised past the lineup to find an overturned transporter blocking the only road access for all heavy traffic in and out of town. People, trucks and cars were everywhere with everyone trying to get through the congestion. There was an old dilapidated bridge that was being used to move smaller vehicles, allowing us to pass, only to be greeted across the bridge by an equally long backup of vehicles. Definitely an advantage to being on a bike during times like these.
Leaving Cajamarca.
Leaving Cajamarca.
Rio Jequeteque valley.
Rio Jequeteque valley cultivated with rice.
Through the chaos.
Past the chaos.
Central square Trujillo.
Central square Trujillo.

 

Outside our hotel Torre Norte.
Outside our hotel Torre Norte.
Restoration of Chan Chan.
Restoration of Chan Chan.

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From Truillo we travelled to Huaraz.  We started out on a rough packed dirt road through barren and impoverished landscapes.  We passed many industrial vehicles and sites and passed through the saddest looking and most desolate villages we have seen so far.  After riding through a no man’s land for about two hours we were beginning to wonder if we were lost as our map and gps were indicating that we needed to cross the river we were skirting, Rio Chuquicara.  We finally came to the bridge and crossed thinking that we were leaving behind the gravel and dirt, but that was not to be.  In fact we passed some of the most rugged terrain we had encountered so far.

The beginning.

Finding our way to the river crossing and the road to Huaraz.

The rio Chuquiara.

Skirting the rio Chuquiara.
We reach the crossing.
We reach the bridge crossing and stock up on supplies.
Across the river.
Across the river.

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After a few hours of pretty intense riding we crossed a second bridge which we believed would bring us to pavement.
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There was more traffic,  that was a good sign.

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But then the rains came and conditions deteriorated considerably.

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Glad we did make it to pavement as we were riding into Huaraz with night having set in. We arrived exhausted, damp, cold and muddy. Then to add a bit more challenge our gps wasn’t cooperating so after struggling to find our hotel we finally gave up and hired a tuk tuk driver to lead us; turned out we were only a couple of blocks away and the driver charged us double what we negotiated.
But we had reached our destination for the night, the San Sebastion hotel, which turned out to be an oasis of warmth in the center of the city. We enjoyed our first taste of matte tea followed by a warm meal and a glass of wine as we sat by a hot woodstove.

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After a good night’s sleep we were off to Huacho over a 10,000′ pass that would give us views of the Cordillera Blanca and Mount Huascaran, at 22,208 ft above sea level,  Peru’s highest mountain. The ride was cold and damp with a bit of hail thrown in for good measure, but again we enjoyed every minute.

Leaving the San Sebastion.

Next door as we were leaving the San Sebastian in the morning.

Leaving Huaraz.
Leaving Huaraz.

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Mount Huascaran
Mount Huascaran

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We arrived in Huacho around 4pm, found our hotel and tried to check in only to be told the hotel was undergoing fumigation so our room would not be available until 8pm.  We decided rather than wait we would continue on to Lima.
Sunset riding into Lima.
Sunset riding into Lima.
We arrived in Lima as night fell and were greeted by the most tumultuous traffic we had encountered on our trip so far. It took us almost two hours to navigate through the masses of vehicles that were literally pushing and shoving their way to their destinations.  At one point we were sandwiched between two vehicles as neither one wanted to give way….fortunately we managed to remain upright. The highlight of our stay in Lima was our Peruvian celebration at the historic Gran Bolivar hotel with  ‘Cathedral Pisco Sours’.
Plaza San Martin.
Plaza San Martin.
Foyer Gran Bolivar hotel.
Foyer Gran Bolivar hotel.

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We left Lima on December 17th riding the Panamerican Highway to Nazca before turning East to ride to Cusco.  Our ride from Nazca to Chalhuanca saw us reach an elevation of 14,980 ‘ (4566 metres), passing though plateau areas with herds of Alpaca, cows and sheep and seeing Cerro Blanco, the world’s highest sand dune at 6,818’ (2078 metres).
Nasca Lines.
Nasca Lines….hands.
A viewing platform Nazca.
A viewing platform Nazca.
Nasca Oasis hotel.
Nasca Oasis hotel.
Cerro Blanco, world's highest sand dune in the background.
Cerro Blanco, world’s highest sand dune in the background.
A stop for lunch.
A stop for lunch.

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Alpaca and llamas grazing.
Alpaca and llama grazing.

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Leaving the plateau descending into the valley.
Leaving the plateau descending into the valley.
Along the way.

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We arrive at our destination for the night.
We arrive at our destination for the night.
Dogs of Peru.....aways chasing us....
Dogs of Peru…..aways chasing us….

 

At the Tampumayu Hotel.
At the Tampumayu Hotel.

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 Next thread Cusco, Machu Picchu etc and then on to Boliva.

Peru 1

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.

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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.

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 Our first destination in Peru, Mancora, a very popular resort town.
The Sausilito Beach Hotel
The Sausilito Beach Hotel

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Mancora
Mancora Beach
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 After a couple of relaxing days at the beach it was time to make our way back to the Andes.
Leaving the Sausilito Hotel for the interior.
Leaving the Sausilito Hotel for our ride back into the Andes.

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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.

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On the road to Olmos.

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Starting to see the foothills of the Andes again.
Starting to see the foothills of the Andes.
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.

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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.

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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.

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Riding along the river we were surprised to find working rice paddies, felt like Asia.

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Hugging the river.

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We reach hotel Villa de Paris in Chachapoyas.
Hotel Villa de Paris.
Hotel Villa de Paris.
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.

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We start to climb.
We start to climb.
The view.
The view.
Conditions worsen.
Conditions worsen.
Weather starts to close in.
Weather starts to close 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.

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Sharing the road.
Sharing the road.
Almost down!
Almost down!
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.
Leaving Villa de Paris.
Leaving Villa de Paris.
Fueling up.
Fueling up.
Leaving the Valley.
Leaving the Valley.
Village in the Amazonas at the foot of the climb.
Village in the Amazonas at the foot of the climb.
Arriving at Leymebamba.
Arriving at Leymebamba.

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Along the way.
Along the way.

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We mark the summit.
We mark the summit.

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The summit is foggy.
The summit is foggy.
The descent begins.
The descent begins.
There is literally no room for error!
There is literally no room for error!
The fog stays with us a bit longer.
The fog stays with us a bit longer.
We pass through a small enclave of humanity.
We pass through a small enclave of humanity.
and their livelihood.
and their livelihood.

 

Tending the livestock.
Tending the livestock.

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More views on the way down.
More views on the way down.

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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.
Arriving in Chacanto.
Arriving in Chacanto.
A welcome site. Refreshment.
A welcome site, refreshments!
On our way again. One more pass to Cajamarca.
On our way again, crossing Rio Maranon.
On top of the world again.
On top of the world again.
Others crossing the pass.
Others crossing the pass.
Arriving into Celendin.
Arriving into Celendin.

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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.

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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.
Photo taken next morning at the square
Photo taken next morning at the square