The original plan was to make it to Pallasca, which I did not, and then get to Caraz the next day. Well I was about 1-1.5 hours short of Pallasca on a crazy mountain road. It was 5 PM when I called it a day in more torrential down pour and staying in my little dirt floor shack was the right move. The rain never let up and the fog moved in thicker and thicker. I will say I am getting a little discouraged at this point. On no day have I made my desired destination. My goals aren’t excessive its the weather is causing me to have to travel way slower and its also hammering the road conditions. Lots of mud, washouts and landslides. The rain isn’t stopping so that just means the roads are getting worse. Rives are really high and flowing hard causing more issues. Just keep pushing is my current plan. Peru hasn’t given me any easy days since my first one or two days on the coast when I entered the country. No signs of that changing anytime soon!
I woke up from my rustic accommodations to partly sunny and I was pretty excited to see blue skies at all. Loaded up and was on the road by 830 but now to light sprinklses. My dreams of a day of no rain were crushed before 9am. Left with no breakfast and was planning to eat in Pallasca where I had hoped to end up the night before. Much happier to be on this road with a few sprinkles during the day than in the evening with heavy rain and fog.
Nice little morning though.
I got into Pallasca around 9:30 and thought that I think I can make Caraz from here. A gallon of gas from a jug, quick breakfast standing next to the bike of tiny bananas and some sweet bread and it was time to get back on the road. About to hop on the bike and go a few locals started to chat me up. I was polite but quick about it because I new had a big day ahead. As I had tactfully kept the conversation quick and was about to escape a cop or military dude came up to me. He was really nice and started to tell the road was really muddy. I said thank you very much for the heads up and took off. Once again because my Spanish is on par with a first grader(pre K actually), I couldn’t figure out why he kept pointing to the large front end loader and emphasizing the mud. About 10 km into the ride I understand very clearly. There was a very think deep mudslide blocking the road and he was trying to tell me in about ten minutes the loader was going down there. Well it was at least a ten minute drive to the slide and a ten minute drive back and the loader hadn’t moved and no one in sight to drive it. Yep this project is on South America time.
Video of the slide no pics. oops
I knew there was another route around and it appeared a little longer on the map but better than waiting all day on the loader. After asking some locals how t get to the other route and finding it on my phone GPS I was boogieing along. The road was in surprisingly good shape. A nice ride and I could see the next town I was heading to down in the valley. Just as I was only a corner or two away from it a came to a river that would have been very questionable to cross solo.
I stared at it sighed and thought oh well that just gave the loader 2 hours to clear the road on the other route. I turned around to leave and there was a younger guy standing down the hill from me shouting over the river and pointing at a little trail in the woods. The trail was good for motos he said. Ummm my moto is big though. “Bueno bueno.”
“Ok will you help me?” He says no problem. I ride across this sketchy little bridge that doesn’t worry me too much. It’s the short but steep hill on the other side with a switch back that I know will be a problem with all my gear. Picture makes it look flat, it wasn’t!
I never would have made it without the guys help or known about the path. It was no easy task getting my very reliable but also overweight wing girl up that hill. We were sliding and falling. Hitting the rev limiter of the bike because I was falling and spinning out up the steep grade. But I made it and on y way I went.
Not long after I came to another river crossing. This one was very doable but there was the small liability of going over the dam. I picked a line to prevent that and what a bad line it was. Between the bad line choice, being too close to the river to carry momentum and the concrete being as slippery as a slip and slide, I spun out and went down in the water. Another great video that I will share someday. After dumping the bike in the river and having two guys help me get it out, here I am happily on the other side. Lunch of mini bananas and bread while very wet but on the right side of the river!
After hours of riding varying dirt roads with varying rain I started to drop down into a desert valley.
Black river roaring
I pulled into a very small at about 3PM roadside town with produce stands, a gas stating and another pretty poor hotel. I wasn’t into it so I asked how far to Caraz to several people. I heard answers from 2-6 hours, which is very common in Peru. 3 hours was the prevailing answer and after already a very big day on the bike, I gassed up and was shooting for Caraz at 330 in the afternoon.
As with most days in Peru I had many curveballs thrown at me with route conditions and detours throughout the day. I had covered almost twice the distance needed normally get to where I was. Tired and unsure as I hit the road through the famous Canyon de Pato not really knowing how far I had to go, I had a feeling the other shoe was about to drop.
Cool terrain around me, crappy road
As I got on the road it was pretty harsh was board and I felt like I was just rattling the bike to pieces. Thinking I could average about 30kph and my phone/GPS telling me it was 90K, I thought, I can do this. As I continued on the washboard got worse and I was not averaging 30kph. No chance of rain really though since it is more desert conditions, so keep pushing. I took no break and no pictures because I was looking forward to Canyon de Pato. About 20km away from this famous motorcycle road I stop in a town to ask how far to Caraz. Guy says on the moto you can do it in 1 hour 2 max. Others concur and after already 1.5-2 hours on harsh roads I believed I had it in me. Then the guy drops the bomb on me. Because of all the rain there was a huge rock slide and the road is closed. Oh Peru how you challenge me! Oh how I make bad choices for riding Peru in the rainy season.
Me -“Umm ok for how long?”
Guy- “ mayb a month it was very big!”
Me – “Seriously?”
Guy – “Very”
It was a Sunday and seems to be in the small towns the Peruvian men do a lot of day drinking. I believed him that the road was closed but not for a month. Since where I was had one way in and one way out I thought, what to do now. I asked if the next town had a hotel knowing it was 5km or so from the Canyon de Pato road. All the guys said yes and that there is another way around to Caraz other than the Canyon. Instead on an hour its 3 but there is another route. A ray of light since back tracking and going around would have been two days.
I roll into Huallanca and confirm the road is closed now but not for a month. There is another “long” way around. Good enough for me, shower, food, bed!
The sweet old man hotel owner ripped me off for 5 soles. I basically told him he was an asshole and he just shrugged. His daughter (adult 35-40) said 20 soles and I agreed. When he came to collect he said 25 and I said no because you daughter said 20. He got irritated and left. When he came back by I asked for a towel and he said no. I asked if I get one for 5 more soles to make 25. He said yes I said asshole and paid him because my towel was filthy. I then told him when tourist come to AK we are nice to them and don’t try to steal from them. He didn’t like that and every time we saw each other that night and the next morning we just ignored each other.
Who knows what is in store for tomorrow. I make no assumptions with Peru!!
Keep in mind all that you just read was one day! A lot of things happen in a day around here. And trust me that was the short-medium length version.
No pics of my afternoon saga but I promise tomorrow pics wont disappoint! Great pics and less babbling by me, should be a good post! Haha