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Showing posts from April, 2011

Days 14-15: OMG NOOOOO…

After finding out that making it into Chile from Tacna should be easier, I pulled out my map of Peru and drew a line to Tacna. It was not a perfectly paved line, but rather had a large portion of “passable road” (i.e. dirt). What followed was one of the worst roads I’ve ever ridden on, and I guarantee I have ridden on some of the worst… It was ugly. Day 14 Begin: Desaguadero, Peru @ 10:30AM End: Unknown Location at ~16k feet, Peru @ 6:30PM Distance: approx. 183km (~114mi) in 8.5 hours (~21KMH / ~13MPH average) Average Gas Mileage: N/A Stopped by Police : Never saw any The road out of Desaguadero started innocuously enough, with a simple sign that read “Tacna, 458km” and an arrow. As I started along it, I noticed some strange vibration noises and pulled over to find that somehow my moto had started to fall apart overnight. The exhaust bolt and the left rear axle holder thingie were both so loose that the exhaust was almost falling off (ironically, happened to me in almost the same p

Days 11-13: Puno & Bolivia FAIL

Days 11-12 Location: Puno, Peru After the late night arrival, I intended to stay in Puno for an entire day to do some basic servicing on the motokar and look into some options for building a custom cage and the like. Equally importantly, I wanted to edit my first video and share it. Editing video can be very time intensive and is usually done best while stationary (I’ve been known to do it at McDonald’s and the like but there’s less luck at that down here), so I figured it would eat an entire day. I was right, after walking around town and exploring long enough to ensure myself that I remembered where everything was (weird), I banged out my first video for this trip introducing the motokar. I hope you enjoy it!

Days 7-10: Descansar - To De-Tiredify

Day 7 Begin: Abancay, Peru @ 9:30AM End: Cusco, Peru @ 4:00PM Distance: approx. 208km (~130mi) in 6.5 hours (~32KMH / ~20MPH average) Average Gas Mileage: ~60MPG Stopped by Police : 0x, waved through 4 checkpoints with a smile I woke up today, Thursday, April 21 and went looking to buy a SOAT, which is insurance required by law in Peru and without which I had been continually hassled over the past week of travel in Peru. I located a place that sold it and found out it was closed. Then I was shocked to be told that it was a holiday until Monday and that almost everything would be closed! I’m sure you can figure this one out – when I travel I become so disconnected from dates and calendars that it didn’t even occur to me. This weekend was Easter, a hugely critical holiday in a predominantly Catholic country, as I was told Holy Week here is considerably bigger than even Christmas (and most people only get one day off for that in the US!). So without much to be done I decided to head o

Days 5-6: Misery and Glee

Day 5 Begin: Coracora, Peru @ 12PM (noon) End: Puquio, Peru @ 5:30PM Distance: approx. 102km (~64mi) in 5.5 hours (~18KMH / ~11MPH average) Average Gas Mileage: ~45MPG Stopped by Police : Never saw any Misery! Or awesomeness, depending on how crazy you are… Every tried to drive 30km down a mountain through 2+ inches of mud? With horrid ruts torn into the road by trucks and buses that are barely wide enough for your vehicle? This was the end to my day – it was exhilarating and exhausting, endless fun combined with constant fear, and perhaps a bit of doubt. I woke up early in Coracora to pack my stuff and show up at Ponte Honda by 8AM as agreed to have my first service done. It was supposed to be at 500km, but it had taken me 821km to get to Coracora (Google had indicated 600km but did not know about twisty roads). In retrospect the decision to go to Coracora instead of Abancay was… ill inspired, to say the least – but the good thing is that it helped shake out a lot of problems with

Days 2-4: Sand, Mud, and Rock

Day 2: Huacachina Oasis is such an important place in Peru that it’s actually on the 50 soles bill! It’s also incredibly touristy, but an interesting area. I spent most of the morning relaxing before preparing for an afternoon dune buggy tour and – the entire reason I wanted to go – to try my hand at sandboarding! The dune buggies they use here are insane, massive contraptions of steel with a huge engine and a bunch of seats strapped on. The one I went on had seating for seventeen or so people! I thought the dune buggy tour would just be a nice little romp around the desert nearby and didn’t feel strongly about it either way – boy was I wrong!

Motokar Day 1: My Bottom is Sore

Begin: Lima, Peru @ 1PM End: Huacachina Oasis in Ica, Peru @ 10PM Distance: approx. 303km (~190mi) in 9 hours (~33KMH / ~21MPH average) Average Gas Mileage: ~57MPG Stopped by Police : 2x Almost exactly a month to the day from the initial purchase, my mototaxi (henceforth “motokar” or “moto” since the locals use those terms most) was finally going to be ready to go at 11AM today. It took a teeny bit longer, but before long I was tearily shaking hangs with Enrique at Desert Honda and waving goodbye to my home in Lima (at Pirwa Backpackers Hostel) to head out on this brave new adventure. I was quite surprised to escape the clutches of Lima with a minimum of hassle, I only missed a few turns and my map kept me under control. Soon enough I had made it to the Panamerican Highway where my real struggle would begin. I need to take this road south for quite awhile before I can cut away from it and there’s only one problem with this scenario: Motos are prohibited on the Panamerican. Time to

Easter Island Pt 2: Exploring

I got off the plane on Easter Island with a general awareness of the history of the island, yet somehow without having seen any sort of map or having really any idea what I was going to do there aside from a hopeful expectation that I could rent a scooter or something. I had purchased plane tickets barely two days before and was googling for a place to stay literally hours before leaving Peru. With only a cursory inspection, I settled on Camping Mihinoa as an ideal place, mostly because I am carting around my Big Agnes SL2 and love putting it to use… and didn’t want to pay much for a room I didn’t expect to be in very often. I shot them an e-mail and received a quick reply that they would pick me up at the airport and off I went!

Easter Island Pt 1: Musings

The image of the giant stone heads of Easter Island has been engraved on my mind for as long as I can remember – even as a child, there was something mysterious and amazing about the idea. Seeing them for myself has always been on my list and yet, if I’m honest, I never quite expected to actually travel there. I simply haven’t looked into it until recent times, and was shocked to find that this island, considered one of the more remote locations in the world, happens to be the proud owner of one of the largest runways in the Pacific. This runway, the most remote in the world, was completed in 1987 and crosses the entire width of the island, quite literally from coast to coast. It was provided by NASA as an optional failsafe landing zone for the space shuttle, but had the side effect of massively boosting tourism on the island thanks to the ability to land planes as large as 767’s with plenty of room to spare. I would not at all be surprised to find that the paved surface area of the ru

South America Expenses: Weeks 1-3

We have some weird taboos about discussing money in the US, but I personally think we’d all be a lot better of if we shared more. Like the politics or not, you can’t argue with the effectiveness of collective bargaining – from unions to Groupon, there’s a reason sharing knowledge of money is all over the news during a critical time in our economy. Going forward, I will try to summarize my expenses on a weekly basis where possible to give you guys an idea of how much a trip like this costs. One critical thing to note: I am not “traveling on a budget” like most people, but rather the inverse – I have a certain amount of money and plan to spend it. Instead of trying to make it stretch to a certain amount of time, I’m trying to get as much enjoyment out of it and will simply end the trip when it runs out (and slink back home to get a job). Novel, eh? As of April 2, here is my current general expense data (all amounts are USD, I arrived in Peru on March 14): One way ticket to Lima: $520 Mot