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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Long Lonely Roads... Lima, Nazca, Arequipa

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Since the last post, I got stuck in Lima for a few days (various reasons), then took the long and amazing road to Nazca (via Reserva Nacional de Paracas), and then woke up yesterday for the looooong, grey, misty road south along the coast and then inland to Arequipa.  

The bike is still running like a top, which is great leading into Bolivia, and parts south.  I still laugh that all the trouble was caused by a factory installed plastic charcoal canister.  And all the work to repair it, before just yanking that POS.  But my mechanic skills aren't the best, so it was probably good for me to learn everything anyway (fuel filter/pump assembly, air filter, EFI reset, etc).  

The last few days in Lima were great.  I was able to explore a bit more with my tour guide Carmen, and get caught up on rest.  I felt the onset of a cold, so it was probably best to stay stationary for a bit.  Also rediscovered the magic powers of garlic, ginger, lemon, honey tea. Seriously, that gnarly concoction could wake the dead I think.  

The day before yesterday I took the journey down to Paracas and rode through the park for several hours.  Sam and I had passed through Paracas, but missed the turn off for the reserve.  I'm REALLY glad I decided to circle back.  Anyone on a bike not traveling through would be missing an amazing place.  Filled with surreal, ethereal, beautiful scenery.  They tell you to stay on the roads (more like sandy paths), but everyone seems to disobey that guideline.  I ended up riding all around, up and down dunes, making it my personal Dakar-style playground.  I found myself smiling in the helmet on many occasions.  Before I knew it, I needed to get going down to Nazca, so pointed the front wheel in that direction and pressed on.  The remainder of the ride was fast paced on sealed highway.  Equally beautiful though IMO.  Something about cresting a ridge in the middle of the desert seeing a road, straight as an arrow ahead of you, that seemingly goes on forever.  

Yesterday morning I woke up at Nazca Trails Hotel (awesome place, parking, price, and owner) and geared up for the long ride to Arequipa.  The highway down the coast was long, lonely, grey, and full of mist that fogged my visor for hours.  Don't get me wrong, the scenery was beautiful in places, but yesterday was a bit of a slog.  I pressed on.  It finally cleared and I arrived in Arequipa around 4pm.  I'm staying at Arequipay Backpackers Hostel, which is clean, decently priced, and quiet...  Quiet!  Why is that important?  Well, the past few days in Lima I stayed at The Point Hostel, which was filled to the brim with young, incredibly annoying backpackers that had one purpose, to party their collective titties off!  The staff was nice enough, but I needed to get out of that place.  A party is one thing, but people scoring Valium from staff, raunchy sex in the dorms (yeah), people smoking day and night in the courtyard from repurposed Inca Cola bongs, etc makes for a tough stay.  Not to mention the group of Israeli military guys on break that were able to somehow stay awake 24/7, and be the loudest/rudest/messiest group of guys I've ever witnessed.  Anyway, if you want a massive party, stay at The Point (any of them - they have 5).  If you are old and grumpy like me, avoid it.

Today I'm getting caught up on much needed activities (i.e. banking, laundry, e-mail, etc).  I met a nice Arequipeña chica named Diana.  She has offered to show me around the city, and also works in the travel industry, so can hook up route planning advice.  Tomorrow I hop on the bike to shoot over to Puno, on the shores of Titicaca for one night.  Then I'll make the trek over/into Bolivia and will stay a night in Copacabana.  That will mark ~15k miles (24k+km), and country number 12 after being on the road for almost 7 months!  After that, it's down to La Paz where I'll spend a couple of nights.  I've found places to camp in both Copacabana (Lakeside Bush Camp) and La Paz (Hotel Oberland), which I'll probably take advantage of.  After that I'll probably follow the traditional route snaking over and then down through Yungas region (Death Road, etc), then into Sucre, Potosi, Uyuni, etc.  

Sorry this post is a bit all over the place.  Like the ride the past few days (maintenance miles), this is a bit of a maintenance post.  Needed to get caught up...  

Anyway, hope everyone is well.  Chat soon...  

~ D

PS...  For those reading this who ride, I've been in touch with Jerry from Compass Expeditions, and they are looking to find people to help relocate a group of BMW F7's from La Paz, Bolivia to Pucon, Chile in September.  If interested, get in touch with me ( and I'll pass you along.  Would be a great opportunity to participate in your own adventure, on a brand new bike, at a cut rate.  

PPS...  I wanted to give a shout out to my new buddy Laszlo S. from LA.  I don't consider myself an inspiration by any means, but he has been keeping up with my journey, and apparently, according to him, it has inspired him enough to finally undertake his own.  He just picked up a beautiful yellow KLR, and will set off soon.  Good on ya mate...  I look forward to keeping up with your blog once I'm done, and settled back in the 'real world'.  Keep the dream alive, and the rubber side down!  ;)

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