Ecuador, Cuenca - Deep into Ecuador

After our typical lazy morning of bread and blogging, we departed out from the dreaded border town we had made camp in.  Getting right into the feilds of banana plantations, we really felt like we were getting the treatment.  Still hot and humid, although no sun was peeking through on to our faces.

We decided on the flip of the coin once filling the tanks with the cheap gas we would depart into the mountains. Once into the mountains, there was the first of the predicted detours and a long one at that.  About 5 km in, my back tire decided to slide out and land on the precious raditor of the KLR.  After inspection, I noted the bend in the rad and a few minor scrapes elsewhere on the moto. 

After experiecing a little rain and some almost tropical green landscapes, we arrrived at the destiation, Cuenca.  As shown below has one of the most stunning plazas we have seen.  Two beautiful churches along with the landscaped plaza makes for a urban hub like no other.  We love the idea of the plaza, the center, families around at night, concerts, the center of the city, not only by geography, we just dont know why Canada doesnt do this. 

After a nice diner, and the coffee in the plaza, we headed back to our hostel which was restored from a historical home, very interest large room with a loft, all for 8 a piece.  Heading north, as usual, tomorrow, we will see where we end up.


Made it to Ecuador

Just a quick note to say we made it to Ecuador after a 5 hour border crossing ( the slowest so fast) . No problems just waiting around a lot. The border was abridge fillof people going back and fprth which has not changed since 1988. The picture is in Trujillo where I was sitting in a gas

station chilling and this SUV comes full speed and stops in front and this guys starts going on a çbout Trujillo riders. I was mada an honorary member and he send me a nice photo.

Ecuador, Huaquilles - White sand beaches and the border

We arrived late the previous night and I still wasnt feeling 100% so we decided to have a lazy morning.  We woke up late and strolled over to a small cafe to have breakfast.   We then strolled over to the white sand beach and sat on a beach to watch the ocean and the clouds go by.  We decided by mid day that we were spent enough time being lazy and wanted to tackle the border of Ecuardor! 

The border is crazy to say the least.  Trying to find customs and immigration was pretty difficult as there were shops and people everywhere!  The border crossing took along time to say the least.  Lots of running around trying to figure out where things were.  We found out we had to purchase insurance for our bikes.  We paid a whole $4 USD for 30 days of coverage..... ICBC could learn a thing or two.  We sat in the Ecuardo Customs office for 2.5 hours waiting for them to sort out some ¨mission¨they had to go on which involved high powered rifles?  When we left the customs office it was dark so we decided to stay in Huaquilles which is a border town which is pretty crazy.  Smells of pollution and is very humid and hot.  Thank goodness for airconditioned rooms. 

Crazy area where Peru Customs is.

 Our hostel in Mancora let us park our bikes in the seating area.

A view from our room

The beautiful white sand beaches that line Mancora

Peru, Mancora - Miles on the Pan American

Today nothing major happened.  We put down 630 kms and got lost in many little towns.  We rode through a protest that was just ending.  We saw a swat team and the road was on fire.  We just kept riding through no point in figuring out what was going on there.  We ended up riding in the dark to make it to Mancora and we also finally caught up to Eduardo again.  Mancora is a nice place to relax... it seems like paradise. 

Not much more happened today.

Peru, Huanchaco - Into the Coastal Air

Having our typical camping breakfast, oatmeal and black coffee, we went off into the early morning sun. The time change in Peru has been hard to get used to.  Getting dark around 6, you have to get up around 7 at the latest to be on the road around 830.  But we made the most of it today, getting up around 6, just as the sun was peaking and took to the dirt road.

The terrain through the mountains made it known concentration was key.  The pavement was a dream, nice and smooth, little traffic and wide valleys.  Through when the road went dirt, all bets were off.  The traffic seemed to bunch up in the worst places, road was thin single-track, no guardrails against the cliffs on one side and the massive rock walls on the other.  The berms of the worn road made for some exciting riding, in some places you could use it to gain speed through the corners, feeling as though you were on a water slide.  In other places the berms simply made up a hazard, and when hit would send you either to the cliff side, or would pin you against the rock wall, the latter happening with Derrick and his beast.  

 Finally coming out of the mountains, we went on our way up to Trujillo where we were hoping to get Derrick's leaking radiator fixed once again.  Yes, again.  After arriving to town, we had some lunch and then toured around town looking for rad shops everywhere, again with everyone pointing in every direction.  Once arriving on the motorcycle street and being surrounded by about 10 different people, one of them told us to follow them and lead us to a remote place of the town, where we were told, "don't go out on the street" twice.  Bike apart, rad out, rad fixed, rad in, bike reassembled.

We headed for Huanchaco the surfing beach part of town.  We found a great hostel, Hostel Famile Suiza and headed for the beach.  We had some time, a couple of hours before nightfall,  so we rented some surfboards and wetsuits and hit the water.  It was a nice surf sesh, but unfortunately the waves were exactly consistent, with all of the local hitting land, you knew it wasn't good.  But I still managed to get a good wave and a few bails.  This is where surfing took off, with the fishermen taking their small reed boats out to fish, and then "surfing" their boats back into the shore with their bounty.  They still take those boats out today, one when we were out, and are shown in the picture.

After the showers we hit a restaurant and had the local speciality, Chiviche, and then a BBQ'd Corvina with potatos and salad.  One of our best meals yet.  The fish was fresh off the water, and you could tell.

Peru, Huaraz - Cordilla Blanca, Fresh pavement and new tires

We got out of that small town quickly and headed up into the Cordilla Blanca.  The inital 50 kms was all freshley new pavement and it felt great to have new tires to carve them up the mountain side. We twisted and turned our way up into the Cordilla Blanca and set our sites on some hot springs we read about.  We eventually found them from the awful signs along the way.  We went to the Springs thinking it would be a large pool of hot water as the others were before.  Nope it was literally a private room with a large tile bathtub.  Colin and I just laughed and thought might as well since we paid for it.  They said these baths were medicinal.. I guess they felt that way..  After our thermas bath we had some guinea pig for lunch which if you didnt think about it much was actually delicious. 

Below are some pictures of our ride through the Cordilla Blanca.  Beautiful.

We continued on after lunch through some amazing roads.  The road was a cliff on one side that lead down into a raging river and a shear rock face that went high into the sky on the other.  There were amazing tunnels that were pitch black.  Also, to add to the danger factor there were Semis rolling along this road.  You would go into a tunnel see a semi and have to literally back out of the tunnel to let the semi through.  The tunnels would fill with dust and almost make it impossible to see where you were going.  Just at the decent of this road I decided to have a lapse in paying attention and hit some mud and crashed AGAIN.  The bike decided to go up the slanted rock face and pin my foot between the swing arm/pannier rack and the rock face.  I was stuck between my bike and the mountain.  A few cars passed by as if I wasnt there but eventually one car passed, stopped and reversed back.  Another car was forced to stop since that car was blocking the road.  Four guys came out and lifted the bike off of me while all the women in the vehicles just laughed at me basically.  Embarrased and kinda banged up I hobbled my bike over to the side and said my thanks.  All on video too but internet here cant handle that.  I think ive hit my crash quota for Peru.  The KLR is takin a beating but she keeps on going.

Below are some pictures of the ride even tho this was the much milder part of it.


We decended down the sketchy road to a mining town.  The hostels were all completely booked full as all the miners had occupied them.  So we were forced to camp.  It started to rain heavily and we eventually found a camp spot along side the river.  We set up camp, had dinner, and passed out from exhuastion.

Mancora Down time

While the boys are having Lima down time I am having Mancora down time. The place is very nice (long white sandy beaches, warm water and it^s empty. I will try to get my stomach back into shape so I can hit the town beer supply (I really miss one) before moving on.

Peru, Poramonga - Busting out of Lima

The days off were very well needed as my stomach finally settled down.  Speaking of stomachs, Colin the night before had to resurrect his lifegaurding skills to help one of the girls here at the hostel who passed out on the floor.  The ambulance came and apparently she had food poisoning.  Anyways, back to the story.  We obtained one more Kawasaki dealerships number from Eduardo and got the lady at the hostel to help us translate over the phone.  We were in luck they had the front and rear sprocket we were desperately scouring the city for.  We set off in a taxi and picked them up.  While we were there I got myself a lightbulb for my headlight....70 soles which is a hell of an expensive lightbulb but I didnt feel like searching around so I got it.  With all our new parts installed we set off in the afternoon with our goal being around 200 kms. 

Heres a picture of Colins chain and sprocket which are only 20 days old.  That cheap chain did us in.

Leaving Lima is easier said than done.  The traffic is absolutely nuts with trucks and buses trying to run you off the road every minuite they can.  Too say the least Colin and I gave our horns on our bikes a workout.  As we left the beautiful area we stayed in we had to cross the not so beautiful parts of Lima.  We basically went from Yale town to East Hastings in a matter of minutes for you BCers who are reading this.  We also had to cross a toll booth on the Pan American which is normal and motorcycles dont get charged.  However, this one required you to cross into oncoming traffic and pass in the opposite lane through a small gate.  These booths are all over Peru and seem like motorcycles were an afterthought.  Most of the motorcycle pathways are around gaurd rails.  I dont understand why they cant just let us through where the cars go?

Just as we were getting comfortable and buzzing along the Pan American the Peruvian Police decided to pull us over.  They came over and the only word they could say to us in english was speeding.  They were pointing at our odometers and showing us the radar gun.  All we did was say random things in english with a whole lot of thumbs up and smiles.  A whole lot of shoulder shrugging later and random talk they let us go on our way.  The only thing I really understood was they knew our drivers license was a photocopy but apparently they didnt seem to care as they handed it back.  Im sure there will be a few more stops along the way.

We reached a small town just before the Cordilla Blanca and found a hostel.  The hostel was nothing too great and had lots of mosquitoes.  Had a greasy dinner of chicken and fries and went to bed.

Peru, Lima - Down Time and Parts Hunting

Well we have been forced to take some downtime in days past.  Once getting into Lima, we tried to get all the parts we need, derrick need a set of tires, some lights, and I need ANOTHER chain and sprocket set.  The chain which I found in Santiago seems to be of astounding low quality and not only managed to stretch the full length, but also to destroy another set of sprockets.  We had the name of a few places ad tried those, found the tires and lights, no chain or sprockets.  After about 40 soles in taxi rides, we found a larger shop about 10 blocks from our hostel which had the chain.  After a long discussion, and the mechanic taking a good hard look at things, he decided they would make some for me, but it was too late in the day, and we needed to wait until Monday, when the machine shop would be open once again.

In the down time we have done a lot of reading and relaxing.  The hostel has a great rooftop patio with a kitchen which we quite enjoying for making meals.

We also went to Larco Mar the close by very pricey shopping mall, but it was interesting none the less.  Saw some bad movies; it is really hard to translate movie titles to the ones you would recognize in english.  And just walked around a whole lot.

We are planning on taking off tomorrow if possible, hopefully finding the parts early enough, and then putting them on and getting a few 100 km out of town.  Wash us luck on the forthcoming continuing parts hunt.

Tumbas Reales del Señor de Sipan

While the two adventurers try to get their bikes fixed in Lima. I will provide the brainy section. Today I visited the ruins and museum of the Señor de Sipan. They have reconstructed the tombs and they have on display several recovered artifacts and jewelry. The museums starts at the top and takes you down to the reconstructed tomb. They were discobvred pretty recently just ahead of the grave robbers. The graves belong to the pre Inca Mochi culture. The actual tombs look like big eroded mud piles. It´s pretty sad all the people that had to be buried with these guy. They also had a a patio de comidas where I had Pato con Arroz (the local specialty

The town of Lambayeque also has another museum by a german guy who saved a lot of treasures. Really beautiful gold pieces. It was a good day after 2 recovery days from the usual peruvian gut ailments.

North of Lima

While the two young bucks where sandboarding I was slowly making my way North of Lima. I had my tire changed in a Llanteria by Enllantador and then I was off. Of course I missed a turn-off in the highway and asked a taxi driver who told me to go back to the interchange. Not a problem since in Peru you can pull a U in the freeway. After some heavy traffic and smog, I was off to the races. The road is nice as it alternates between desert and greenery where a river comes down or there is an Oasis. I made it to Casma where I asked a moto taxi to guide me to the hotel. One Sol well spent. I stayed in a nice hotel with a garden, a pool and a good restaurant. Next day I went to the ruins of Sechin where there are some stones with really nice reliefs. From there it was on to Huanchaco. I forgot that the Easter holiday here is Thursday/Friday (not Fri/Mon like in Canada). I never knew there were so may SUVs and buses in Peru. Huanchaco was packed and it is not the fishing village I remember from 1987. It´s more touristy and way cleaner.

Peru, Lima - Sandboarding in a desert oasis and another flat tire

We woke up in our tent which was set up on a tile floor just outside the hostel to some reggae. Got a little bite to eat and we were off to try our hand at sandboarding. We loaded up into a dune buggy with several others and headed into the dunes. The driver yells out Vamos and we fly up the dunes and descend down the other side.

We did a total of three runs. Basically a bunny hill, blue run, the a steep black diamond run. The first two we did on our tummies where you just hold on and bolt down the hill head first. The last one Colin and I tried to see if our snowboarding skills would transfer over. That they did not since the boards are literally a piece of wood with straps on them. Colins foot strap fell off and I gain speed and ate it on the sandy slope. Sand would get everywhere. Sandboarding was fun but I think we enjoyed the dune buggy a little more. Can't wait to get to the Baja and to rent some of our own.

We packed up and pushed our bikes through the hostel onto the road. It was pretty hot out so we were itching to get some air flowing through our gear. We headed off towards Lima. We were making good time until my rear tire decided to go flat again. Making a total of 17 flats. Basically, another sh*t patch. I borrowed colins bike and headed to a tire shop to get it fixed up. Tire shops in Peru are called ellantes. This was a good opportunity to throw the new rear tire on that I was carrying around. This killed a few hours out of our day so we arrived in Lima late and grab some Mcdonalds for dinner.

On a side note its amazing the amount of people I've seen cramme onto a small bike. The most I've seen yet is a family of 5 on a little 125 bike. Pretty crazy.

Peru, Huacachina - Mountain Peaks to Desert Oasis

Waking up late into a dead hostel was nice, we got some blogging done, I had my 6 pieces of bread to attempt to make a decent breakfast, and we rode the bikes through the hostel again from the courtyard to the street.  We also said by to some friends we met, Benjamin and Elle who have been riding their XT600 two up down from Alaska for the last eight months.  You can see their blog here: not up to date; get on that you two...

The Cusco hostel with Ben and Elle.  Note: those are the step we had to get up to park our bikes in the courtyard.

Overlooking Cusco

Departing from the great city of Cusco, we ventured off in search of the coast, and first, we needed lunch, we stopped off in Abancay at a small cafe and had some Arroz Chofre, or Chinese style fried rice.  Very good!

The riding through the andes has been an sight to see, with the elevation changes and the multiple strechs of 30km constant hairpins.  I literally think the ourside of ours tires are getting more wear than the center.  There has been an abundance of peg grinding on this journey through the andes.

Once we got out of the sacred valley, we set out sights on Chalhuanco for the night.  Small town in the Andes, which was also very busy due to the street crews stopped there for the night.  There was also and Easter celebration which rolled through the streets, with seemingly the whole village following a sculpture of Jesus on the cross.  

Had an early morning to get a good start and off we went along the river for a gorgeous ride and again up into the clouds.

We gained elevation and lost is about 3 times on route to the coast, all the way up to 4500m and down to as long as 1000.  This over about 600km, makes for some tough riding on the KLR.  This is overlooking our final decent onto the coast, were the clouds and heat had been waiting for us.

The first town we came to was Nasca.  We hadnt planned on seeing the nasca lines, but we were literally driving through them, so we figured we could take a look.  After paying a couple of soles to get up this rickety old tower, and laughing the whole way about the whole situation, we got a see a few of the smaller lines intermixed with some truck treads also.  Albeit, the proper way to see the lines is from the air where you can take in the football field sized pieces of art, but our view was a little underwhelming.

After finished marveling the lines, we headed for the desert oasis of Huacachina.  Where as Eduardo had mentioned, dune buggies and quads have taken over from the classic sand boarding.  Very touristy, although you can see why with its undeniable beauty of the surroundings.  It being easter weekend the place was packed and after searching around, there were no rooms to be found. After chatting with one of the hotel managers for a while, we convinced her to let up set up our tent on her terrace for 10 soles, or about 3 loonies.  It was a little odd, but still a far cry from the ditches we had set up in before.

The roads went from these twistys to

to these
then to this

Chile Final Thoughts

Chile was amazing in a lot of aspects. Its fansinating that the widest part of Chile is around 175 kms.  Which makes sense once you arrive in this spectacular country.  The pacific ocean covers one side while the other side is the Andes mountain range which seperates Chile from Argentina.

The Carretara Austral is probably the best highway ever built in my books.  The scenery is breathtaking as the road curves its way through the Andes.  The lakes and towns dotted along the way adds special character to this unique highway.

Another spectacle that Chile has to offer is the Perito Moreno glacier.  Amazing in its size and is apparently one of two advancing glaciers in the world.  To see it in person is a site to see as you see its many blues while hearing it crack with sounds of thunder as it slowly moves.  Don´t miss this if you are in the area.

Torres Del Paine is a gorgeous national park where you can book trekking adventures or just drive through to take in the sites.  Most national parks in Chile will cost you an entrance fee.

Santiago the capital of Chile is quiet busy but has lots to do and lots of things to see.  Unfortunately there is a lot of smog but dont let that deter you from visiting this place. 

Pichilemu is known as one of the best places to big wave surf in the world.  The hostels in this area are really nice and most provide surf lessons.  Dont miss watching the big wave surfers in the morning or afternoon as they are dwarfed by the size of the wave they are on.

Pan American highway is tolled but is amazingly fast and well paved.  There are always workers on the road cleaning or repaving the road to ensure its great state.  Not a whole lot of traffic and we never encountered a traffic jam once unlike our Highway 1 where theres traffic all the time.  The toll is around 1.20-1.40 CAD every 50 or more kilometers.

What we have noticed is that there is cell phone coverage everywhere!  Even in the subway.  Also, Chile seems to be recovering well from the earth quake and not a whole lot of damage is noticable unless you are looking for it.  Conception was probably the most notable as buildings were fenced off from being unstable from the large cracks running down the sides.

Chile provides too many things to list.  The above is just some of the things we enjoyed as we travelled through.  There is plenty more that we missed.

Peru, Cusco - Do as the Incas do

We finally made it to Cusco!  The ride from Arequipa to Cusco is only around 600 kms but the route we chose was very scenic but was very slow going.  We ignorantly estimated 1 day from Arequipa to Cusco... it ended up taking us 3 days.  It didnt help that I crashed and got a flat tire on the same day.

Before entering Cusco we stopped off to see an Inca ruin called Pisac.  Was definitely a site to see.  We walked around for about an hour and a half checking out the ruins and standing close enough to the english speaking tour guides to over hear what they were saying.  The road into the Sacred Valley where the ruins are located is probably one of my favorite roads.  Just simply put ... you need to ride it to be able to understand how beautiful and fun it was.

The approach to Cusco gave an interesting look of the landscape, passing by cristo blanco and  Sacsayhuaman, we decened into the valley in which Cusco sits.