(written 11/2 @ 11PM) I woke up last night to a knock on my door at the hotel in Chincheros in the wee hours – it was Lloyd from Peruvian Marching Pair asking if he could crash in my room. Apparently they spotted Will in the window of the hostal but the hostal was closed up – Will let Lloyd and Mark in and they crashed with us.
We took off in the morning in a pack of three, though we spread out very rapidly. We pushed hard from around 7AM in order to get to Andahuaylas as quickly as possible so that we could make for Abancay. Along the way we stopped in a small town for some snacks and were amused by some very drunk townspeople trying to get us to drink with them since it was a major holiday (Day of the Dead).
Just outside of Andahuaylas, Rob & Will again had some mechanical problems, with their chain popping off. After conferring I went ahead into town to grab some lunch and chill out, expecting them to catch up 20-30min later. Instead I met up with Lloyd and Mark in town and we had a nice lunch at a bread store. The Brits ordered "pan con jamon" while I ordered "pan con carne." The store keeper actually went next door to buy some ham to put on the bread, heh. We diddled around for over an hour but Rob & Will were nowhere to be seen…
Knowing they'd eventually catch up in Abancay, we decided to push on. While rolling through Andahuaylas we encountered a few motos from some other teams that were apparently checking into a hotel at 1PM and going to spend the day there because they were exhausted from the mountain roads… two days in? Weak sauce.
Two hours out of Andahuaylas we reached the construction that we knew was taking place – but we had been told in town they wouldn't be working on a holiday! Wrong. Lloyd and Mark were a bit ahead of me and I pulled up to the police checkpoint around 3PM and wondered where they were. After talking with the officer there I found out they had waved at him and blown right through the checkpoint in spite of him trying to flag them down! I eventually spotted them across a canyon maybe 300 meters away, and after a yelled conversation they came back.
So we sat there waiting in the rain until 5PM for the road to open. One of the funny things here is that I tried to talk the officer into letting us sneak past, telling him we'd be careful/etc., but he just kept telling me to chill ("tranquilo") and enjoy the quiet. So we chilled. Around 4:30PM, low and behold Rob & Will showed up! We pushed our motos together and hung out until the road opened. The officer assured us we could make it to Abancay in 1.5-2 hours, which was a lot faster than I expected from my notes.
So we pushed on into the night on the crazy muddy dirt roads. In some places here the road had been flattened so we could go quite smoothly, though it was still mud. As we wandered around the mountain it got dark and still we were nowhere near Abancay. Suddenly we crested a ridge and saw this beautiful city of lights laid out before us – it looked quite close, though a bit below us. We were positive we would make it there before 8PM.
Little did we know… Once again Rob & Will started having problems with their chain. In the pitch black (it was a full moon but incredibly cloudy so little light got through) we sat on the ride of the road putting the chain on, driving a few hundred meters, having it pop off, and repeating. Eventually Will tweaked the wheel a bit and straightened it out more and we started to roll carefully down the mountain.
Okay. This road descended about 2000 meters, looping back on itself again and again and AGAIN. We must've looped back at least 100 times. The entire time we're watching the city of lights and it's not getting closer at all. We drove for ages and slowly we could tell we were going down towards it, but it was crazy. After an hour or more of this, the chain on Rob & Will's moto finally snapped going down a bend. Upon investigation we found out the master link had snapped (I didn't know what that was a week ago), and used one from their previously broken chain to repair it. We then continued the ride and thankfully this completed without problem.
After what felt like ages, we finally descended into this canyon and found… PAVEMENT! Paved roads! Amazing. It felt completely different and a little surreal after three days of fighting the motos on rocky dirt roads… and thus we hauled ass towards town, pegging our little motos into 8000+RPM of insane fury. When we got into town it was quite busy and we were quite tired, so we basically drove straight into town, asked for directions to some hotels, then picked the first hostal that had a garage and parked our motos in there. Rob was quite convinced this was a flop house for teenagers but it was clean and had luke warm water so we were happy!
Popped out for some dinner then crashed early. Hoping to find the Lifan dealer today and get our stuff checked out then smash on over to Cusco! It will be really nice to have paved roads, but we'll miss some of the challenge I think.
Knock on wood, so far I've not had any major problems. Joking with Will & Rob I said this was because I kept helping them fix their stuff instead of leaving them on the side of the road, good karma. If I took off on my own for long I'd probably start breaking things left and right… we'll see!