Week 50 to 52 - Lima Part 2!
Just before we left our AirBnB, we were invited on a day ride-out with Peter Documet, the owner of Documoto. It would also be a great way to test-ride my bike before departing Lima, plus it meant riding without any luggage...excellent!
On the sunday morning we met Peter at 6am, and rode to a petrol station on the way out of Lima. Luckily, being early Sunday morning, and heading East, the traffic was really quiet. There we met Peter's daughter Ale, Lucho and Manuel. Those who needed fuel fulled up, and we also got some snacks to fuel ourselves up. We'd also taken a 'Soroche pill', which was meant to alleviate altitude sickness, as we'd be heading up to over 4000m straight from sea level!
We all headed off and soon the roads narrowed and became a little less well maintained. Before we knew it we were on nice dirt road, heading off into the mountains. We stopped at a huge gorge where some instructors were all ready to take a group climbing or abseiling...not for the faint hearted! After a quick nosey about, we headed off again along some nice dirt roads running alongside a river. The route was gorgeous and eventually we got to a gorgeous blue lake with snow-capped mountains in the background. Stunning! It was a quick snack stop and photo time before we headed off again. We'd passed through several water crossings, and not having any luggage on the bike made me so much more confident. Minus the extra 50Kg or so was fantastic! There were some beautiful waterfalls as well. One of the stops saw us riding off the dirt road, along a field and to a huge waterfall that was really awesome to see. The only downside was a big plastic pipe to the right hand side, but it was still good to see.
We stopped at Nevado de Rajuntay for a few photos, however the mountain itself was surrounded by thick grey cloud, so we didn't get to see it in all it's glory. We passed along some dirt roads that were covered or lined with snow and then we started heading back down the valley. It was definitely cold and the altitude was taking it's toll having been acclimatised only to sea level due to our long stint in Lima.
A little later we hit the tarmac again, and stopped at a little tienda that sold cheese. We probably should have got some but my head was banging from the lack of oxygen, as was Kelvin's, and we were looking forward to getting back to a reasonable altitude. I don't think the pills did the trick sadly. It had been an awesome ride though.
Heading back along the road it started to rain a little. We were riding along and all of a sudden a dog looked like it was about to dart accross the road in front of Ale. Unfortunately she snatched her front brake a little too hard, and because of the water covered tarmac, before I knew it her bike was down, she was down and tumbling along the road. She slammed down into the storm drain, a deep ditch along the side of the road, where she eventually stopped, as did the bike. I had been braking hard as well, but luckily I didn't come off. I feared the worst, the fall had looked pretty bad. I stopped at the back of all the other riders and immediately started flagging down the traffic, indicating for them to slow down and go onto the other side of the road. Kelvin, Peter and the others attended to Ale, who to my amazement got straight up and was more worried about her bike and whether we'd caught her acrobatics on camera...sadly not. Hardcore! One of her mirrors had been decapitated and her handlebars were a little wonky, but the bike still started. After a quick pat down, and before the adrenaline stopped, she was back on her bike.
Next stop: Chicken!!! We pulled up at a little roadside restaurant. I got to ask Ale how she was, but she was smiling and quite fine. What a lucky lady. It could have been so much worse. We all sat down and ordered chicken and chips. Mmm, mmm! It was soooooooo good, especially after a day of riding. We sat around and chatted, then the owner came for a chat as well. Photos were taken and then it was back to Lima. Riders peeled off as we went, however luckily we were able to follow Peter most of the way back. I didn't fancy negotiating the Lima traffic just on the GPS and Peter knew the quicker back roads. Also, being a Sunday it was actually quite quiet, which was a blessing.
We parked the bikes up, went indoors, showered and went to sleep.
Highlights video of our day.
The next day we noticed that the front mudguard on Kelvin's bike had broken and also, the rear wheel bearings needed re-doing. The bikes were filthy and Peter had offered to clean our bikes for free as his place was at a carwash as well as a workshop, so we took them there, went back to Socopur to buy a new mudguard, a snazzy KTM orange one no less, and asked Peter to get new rear wheel bearings, sprocket carrier bearings etc.
The next day was the day we were moving out of our AirBnB, and off to Felipe's flat, which he hadn't rented out before and was due to go on AirBnB as well. We would be his guinea pigs and for a very reduced rate, which was so nice. With the bikes being at Documoto, we needed to get a taxi to the new apartment. Fourtunately Felipe was kind enough to collect us, and as he drove up he shouted out the window 'I'm here'! Felipe is one of those larger than life characters who you'll never forget!
The appartment was lovely and the bed was super comfy, plus we were allowed to park our bikes in the courtyard so very safe. The other thing was, we were a block away from the president of Peru's house, who was about to be evicted in two days time. Also, there were a lot of other fancy houses about with plenty of security staff, so we weren't worried about the saftey of the bikes in this neighbourhod.
We were soon introduced to Felipe's brother Carlos. He was really lovely and again spoke excellent english. We were invited up for some nice coffee and quickly got onto watching videos of his various bike expeditions. He also had a nice BMW F800GS sat downstairs.
It wasn't long before we were BBQ-ing with Carlos, and chatting about bikes, life and everything. We also met Carlos' friend Payo, who had doctored his scooter, and it now appeared as if it was a BMW M series-scooter. He he!
Payo was also a keen biker and owned a KTM990. He was soon planning a two day trip and invited us along. We accepted and thought it'd be another good opportunity to ride some dirt roads without all the weight we were normally carrying around.
We left our appartment super early (about 5.30am) in order to meet Payo and Victor at the Ancon Peaje, North of Lima. Firstly it was dark, so recognising roads and places was a challenge. The GPS kept wanting to take us on the 'Via Express', which motorbikes are not allowed on. Normally there are police stationed every few hundred metres, whistle at the ready. We tried to re-route, but it kept trying to take us back to the entrance to the Via Express. F**k it, it was still dark and we had no clue which other way to go, so we entered the Via Express and went very quickly a few Km up, where we finally exited. Being stupid o'clock, there was a noticable absence of police...maybe it was change over time? Phew, we didn't get caught. The trip from San Isidro to the Ancon Peaje took us about one and a half hours. Even at that stupid hour, the traffic heading North out of Lima was already building up. Just as well we didn't leave any later!
We first stopped at a petrol station for a quick toilet stop. This time we had taken some Acetak, an altitude pill which is the equivalent of Diamox in the UK. It's a lot better than Sorochepill, and as we'd be going from sea level upto about 5000m, we thought it would be wise. The downside...it's a diuretic, meaning more frequent toilet stops! We stopped again at a tiny little tienda with a couple of tables once we got off the main highway. Another toilet stop! Plus we had some breakfast: bread and boiled eggs. We also took the other half of an Acetak tablet each and drank plenty of water.
We were off again. The roads became dirt and the scenery was lovely. We passed through several water crossing as we meandered up through the mountains. We came to a place with a thermal hot spring, however we hadn't brought our swim stuff and the thought off getting out of all of our bike gear and then getting it all back on seemed too much of a mission. Also, being in super hot water normally gives me a bit of a headache, and can be dehydrating so it didn't really appeal especially as we were going to be climbing in altitude an awful lot after this.
After another wee break we continued onwards and upwards. The roads eventually became more compacted mud rather than gravel, but luckily it was nice and firm with some big puddles rather than sludge! We made it to Huayllay and found a small hostal in the main plaza. A little tricky to find due to their odd maze-like roads, but we got there. We sorted out rooms and then headed out to Bosque de Piedras, an amazing area with some very impressive rock formations. We stopped at a little cabin and had some tea, plus another toilet break. We chatted to the guide there about taking the bikes into the area, which he was actually happy for us to do under his guidance. Sadly there was a huge storm coming in, and the sky was dark. He advised that we wait until the morning so we arranged to go there at 8am. We then went to fuel-up a few Km away and then head back to the hostal. Needless to say, after we got the fuel the dark skies opened and it absolutely bucketed it down. Just in time to get all our stuff soaking wet, and staying at high altitude in the cold meant that it wouldn't be fully dry before the morning. Damn it!
After a 2 hour sleep, we all met for dinner, and then it was bed time. We were shattered. Me particularly as I had slept all of about one hour the night before for some reason.
The next day was dry. Woohoo! Payo and Victor decided that they would like to go to the hot spring on the way back instead of going to Bosque de Piedras, so after breakfast we headed off again, taking a slightly different route initailly on some mining roads. When we reached the thermals it was packed beyond belief, nothing like the day before. It was good friday and every man and his dog was there. There were people horse-riding, camping, drinking and just having fun. We therefore decided to give it a miss because it was just far too crowded. The road from that point back to the little tienda we had stopped at on the way up was mental. There was so much traffic on the dirt roads and in some places only room enough for one car/bus, yet people were flying along. I was glad to be off it.
We stopped again at the tienda for a drink and then headed to a restaurant just before Ancon. Kindly, Payo and Victor bought us a lovely lunch and the sun had come out. We sat around chatting and eating, then later it was time to say goodbye. We stopped at the Ancon Peaje and said our fairwells, and thank you for two days of great riding. Then it was time to navigate our way back to San Isidro. It was beyond easy. Being good friday of 'Semana Santa', Lima was deserted. I had never seen it so clear of traffic, it was strange. Also, using some co-ordinates from maps.me and some guidance from Payo, I managed to plot a route back to the appartment without being forced onto the Via Express.
We got back and were shattered. Carlos greeted us and we gave him a quick overview of our trip before crashing in bed. Another two great days of riding without all the luggage.
Highlights video of our trip.
Carlos had a friend from Mexico coming to visit called Tine. She was really lovely, spoke several languages and loved to travel, so we had a lot to talk about. One evening we all went on a long walk to get some amazing ice-cream Carlos had been talking about. It didn't disappoint! Then, one of the following days Tine and I went to the local pre-Inca ruins called Huaca Huallamarca, just a couple of blocks away while Carlos chilled and Kelvin continued to work on the bikes installing fans, brake pads etc. It was a small site however it was interesting to see. The most interesting part was seeing the funerary bales from the sites second occupancy: "It is characterized mainly by the way of burying individuals in funerary bales that were placed with the limbs flexed and wrapped in successive layers of cloth. These were adorned with false carved heads or painted cotton from the middle horizon and accompanied by offerings made up of textiles, ceramics, mates, utensils for daily use and food."
Whilst in Lima, we were fortunate to meet up with some other awesome overlander's, Sabine and Wolfgang (Ride2Kite), who are travelling long term on their two KTM 690 Enduro R bikes. We arranged to meet up for some dinner and it was great to finally catch up with them. We follow a lot of travellers online, and when they are close by and not on a speed mission (i.e. never staying longer than one night in a place, as it's often very difficult to arrange anything), it's great to take the opportunity to meet up. They were a truly lovely couple. Before we all left Lima we decided to meet up again, and we were also joined by Philippe (MotoPhil). This time we splashed out a little and went to an awesome Italian place in Lacomar mall. The food was awesome, so no-one was disappointed. Sadly food that good is a very hard to find outside of the big cities, so we made the most of it. Then it was time to say goodbye. We really hope to meet again!
My final Lima mission...find a dentist! Much to my dismay, it needed to be done, especially as at least one of my fillings was looking a little worse for wear. Thankfully, I had picked up a leaflet in Hitchhikers hostal a few weeks ago about an english speaking medic. I contacted him and he was able to recommend an english speaking dentist. My spanish wasn't good enough to understand technical stuff about teeth, so I was thankful to be able to overcome the language barrier. It turned out my teeth were in need of a bit of TLC, but fortunately the cost of dentistry work was much, much lower in Peru, with one filling costing a grand sum of 60 soles (£14 - ish) and that was in white as standard. A full initial check-up and thorough clean was about 100 soles (£22) and my first appointment lasted about 45 minutes. Far better than the rushed 10 minutes you get back home for the same price!
Two days later, it was time to finally leave Lima and head South-East to Huancaya. We were gagging to get back on the bikes, and although we had met so many great people and eaten so much yummy food, it was great to finally be back on the road. We decided to leave on a sunday to ease the traffic issue and we also found out that Felipe was going on a morning jaunt South with some of Lima's Triumph crew that day, and we quickly got invited along!