(written 11/03 @ 6:30PM) Yes, you notice that don't you? I actually arrived at my destination BEFORE DARK tonight! Yay! No internet at the hostal I'm at though, which means I'm going to have to run around and find an internet place that isn't full of kids playing games and see if I can hook up my laptop and upload the last few days of stuff… ugh!
This morning we got up around 7AM, packed our gear, and headed up to the Lifan dealer (which turned out to be a simple Yamaha mechanic). Lloyd and Mark happened to be there, so we sync'd up for awhile. The mechanic took Rob & Will's bike apart completely, and changed the oil, checked the chain, etc. on mine. Around 11PM mine was all set to go, Lloyd and Mark had already taken off, and Rob & Will were looking at a few more hours of repair so I decided to head off for Cusco… alone at last!
It was an awesome ride, huge climb through the mountains on paved roads where I could have a bit of fun without worrying about hitting a rock and bouncing off a mountainside. Right outside of town I got stopped by the policia for the first time, but they did a cursory inspection of my paperwork and let me go on. Within thirty minutes of leaving Abancay I had climbed enough to put on all my cold weather gear, then I spent awhile way up in the mountains.
Eventually I started to descend again, and within thirty or so of this I was low enough that it became scorching hot and I had to stop and take off all my gear again! I started to notice that my clutch wasn't quite right after the mechanic had adjusted it, and eventually I tweaked it a bit myself to get it right. I then got on a roll, just riding the pavement in the zone through this deep canyon, not really pushing hard but definitely having fun. Even stopped to take part of the roof off so I could enjoy the sun and the scenery more.
At some point I noticed my bike started to feel funny and I pulled over to find… A flat! My first one, and lucky me it happened to be on my drive wheel, which is the hardest one to change! I spent the next 40min on the side of the road dismantling half the bike to get the wheel off, then ripping off the tire and replacing the tube with a spare, then getting it all back together. Luckily I had no major problems aside from dropping a critical spacer while I was holding the wheel and having it roll down the hill and get lost – took me a good five minutes to find it.
After the repair I drove quite slowly for a bit and checked it frequently to make sure I had put it all together right, but it seemed fine so off I went. The day ended with hours of straight boring road (ugh), then suddenly a quick turn and Cusco was spread out in a canyon in front of me. I rode through town not really sure what I was going to do when I was stuck in traffic and spotted a yellow moto parked across from a hostal.
I quickly pulled in next to it and walked into the hostal and asked whose it was – low and behold, it's Lloyd and Mark's! I'm now crashed in their room (which has five beds) while they are out on the town, payback for the other night (though I guess I'm not coming in at like 2AM). Texted Rob & Will who said they are about 50km out of town, so maybe we'll all meet back up soon!
Tomorrow I think some of these guys might hang out in Cusco while I push on, but I need to get some internets to find out what the deal is with the paperwork, figure out if I need to delay my flight back, and all that good stuff. So, without further ado, off I go to find some internets!