Week 59 & 60 - Huaraz to Cusco via the Sierra's
In the morning we got onto another Cruz Del Sur bus for the last leg of our non-biking journey back to Huaraz. It was actually quite comfortable and this time we were armed with motion sickness tablets! We didn’t reach Huaraz until early evening so we rested and sorted stuff out before going to meet Helber the mechanic the next day and take him my bike key...I had stupidly forgotten to give it to him before we left. Doh! The bike seemed to be great, and the new oil pump was all fitted and off we went. Back at the hostel we repacked everything before meeting up with Jael for a drink in the evening. We also bumped into a fellow DR650 rider in the square by the place we wanted to eat, and after a quick chat we invited him to join us for a drink as well. It was quite amusing as Jael was really intrigued by his beard! I’m useless at names and for the life of me I can’t remember it, but it was nice to meet him.
The next day we left Huaraz and headed in the direction of Huanuco. This time we didn’t take the road across via Pastoruri Glacier but followed the road down and around, before heading East. It was quite an easy journey due to most of the route being tarmac, and the scenery was very beautiful. Once we reached Huanuco we found Hotel Venecia, which had good secure parking, the only downside was that we had to go to the 4th floor to get to our room! After recovering from the walking up and down the four stories with all our gear, we got showered, dressed and headed into the centre of the town in a mototaxi. It was crazy!!!
The whole city was full of moto-taxi's (tuk-tuks's) buzzing about in every direction. We couldn't imagine trying to ride our bikes in this place and only one or two cars braved it into the centre. We spent a little bit of time wondering around before heading into a funky looking bar with cheap cocktails whilst we waited for the chinese restaurant we'd been recommended to open. It was then another crazy moto-taxi ride back to the hostel.
The next day it was off to Huancayo and we were super happy to discover that the vast majority of the route was dirt roads, surrounded by beautiful scenery. What a great day! We ended up in Huancayo late in the afternoon and found a friendly place to stay called Hospedaje Americas. This time we only had to haul our gear up three floors...at least it was a mild improvement, although on opening my bag toiletry bag I discovered one of my freebie shampoo sachets had exploded and coated everything in a nice layer of slime! At least the sun was still shining so I quickly showered everything with me and put it on the windowsill. Once again, we were recommended a good, local Chinese restaurant so off we went. The good thing about many Chinese places in Peru is that so far they've been tasty, cheap and they give you big portions! In the morning the hostel owner was really keen to get some photos of us on the bikes in front of his sign, so we happily obliged, and then off we went again.
The next destination was Andahuaylas. We'd been there before after an awesome back-road trip from Santa Teresa (North-west of Cusco), so we had an idea of the towns layout and aimed for a different place to stay. The ride was almost 500 km with loads of winding, dirt roads, however it also came with a lot of dust! As I was in front, Kelvin got the brunt of it, but there were also a lot of other vehicles using the road so we both looked a different colour when we finally got to Andahuaylas. Yet again, the beautiful surroundings of the Sierra's didn't disappoint and we were gifted with stunning views the whole way. We made it to a new, cheap hostal called Hotel Terra Andina before it got dark and were greeted with a warm welcome. We both laughed as we discovered the closest, decent place to eat without venturing into the centre of town was another Chinese place! We were too tired to go into town so we walked across the road to the Chinese and sat down. It was a very small, drafty place, but luckily the food was excellent, so although we initially were very cold to start with, we walked away happy.
The next morning, whilst trying to maneuver my bike over the bumpy ground in the car park, I managed to drop the damn thing. The owner ran over to help and was very concerned, however I knew it was going over and half-gracefully dismounted before the bike could trap me or cause me any harm. I laughed at myself then we all picked the bike up. Luckily I didn't make the same mistake twice! It was then off to Cusco...again! This last section of this particular trip was 400km and would take us back to our 'home-from-home' at ApartHotel Los Condores. The majority of the trip was tarmac however the scenery was very dramatic with huge rolling mountains and smooth, winding roads the whole way. This time, our trip through Abancay wasn't so bad as the previous time. Last time our clutches overheated and I got into a right tizz, but this time it was plain sailing. Phew! Also our clutches didn't seem to be overheating so much since Kelvin installed the fans, so maybe that helped?!
This time, our stay in Cusco involved ticking off quite a few jobs. We needed new rear tyres, supplies like fuses and lubricants, we had to recalibrate my valves as they were tapping like crazy again and we were also going to get new ATG panniers... well new to us. Our friends Michnus and Elsebie (PikiPikiOverland) were bringing back some new panniers for themselves from South Africa, and they kindly donated their old ones to us. We were so happy as our SW Motech 'Dakar' panniers (what a joke) have been held together with odds and sods for the last 16 months, and definitely only designed to handle use from weekend warriors who love tarmac. We went to where their bikes were being stored and swapped over the panniers, which would then be donated to a local biker on our friends' return. Kelvin went about repairing the holes as they had been in constant overland use for the last five years or so and then covering them in water repellent spray, while I went in search of some patches to stick on of flags from various countries.
I hit the jackpot and managed to find a little store with patches of flags from all over the world. I told him I was buying many so I bargained him down from 8 sol per patch to 4 sol. Probably still double what they were worth but compared to the UK prices, it was a steal! Online, I couldn't find any decent patches of the same design and quality for less than £3.95 per badge in the UK...crazy prices! At least these were under £1 a patch. The shop owner loved it and kept suggesting different ones, although I explained that I only wanted ones of places I've been or places I would go in the next 12-24 months. He still tried though. I also managed to find a small shoe repair store with some very strong glue. I think they were a little suspect because I returned three times over the week to buy more!!
On my little shopping escapade, I also managed to find a shop with Dairy milk, cheddar cheese and Reese's Pieces! Heaven!!! Then I went back to the small little tienda we'd bought tyres from before in January and got another two Metzeler Enduro 3 tyres. The lady recognised me and was very happy I'd come back to buy more. I returned to the apartment with most of the stuff on our list, so Kelvin was very pleased, although I think he was more excited about the chocolate and cheese than anything else!
We were actually very lucky on this stay because we actually got the same rates we'd paid previously which were actually relatively cheap, plus we'd given the owners a short drone video of their place and in return they decided to give us two nights free accommodation. We hadn't actually given them the video to get anything in return, because we were flying it in order to tick all the boxes to renew Kelvin's DJI drone warranty, and we decided while we were out there we'd shoot some footage for them. Saying that, we were delighted with the outcome. It was our third time at the apartment and we'd got to talking to the owners quite a lot, so we really enjoyed it.
The week flew by super fast with all the odd jobs, and before we knew it we were headed towards Bolivia!