13 October, 2012

Day 100, 237km: Back to Cusco

Today my objective was pretty simple, making sure that I get back to Cusco in one piece, with no flats and in a single day if possible!

Woke up to a rainy day in Santa Teresa
 It was raining pretty bad when I woke up at the hotel. I was ready to leave but advised to stay until the rain calmed down. Excellent advice as the road to the next city was only dirt. Packed densely enough, I hoped, to avoid turning into a 30km mudtrack. Luckily the road condition wasn't too bad, a few puddles of mud here and there but totally drive-able.
Plus the fact that it rained meant I wouldn't end up covered in dust as I was on my way there 2 days prior.



Shot the video above to give you an idea of what it was like driving up there. The camera's field of view makes it look like I'm going much faster than I was really, never went above 50kmph on that stretch.
It was funny driving on that single lane road, honking the bike's horn in every corner to inquire on cars/buses/trucks coming in the opposite direction.
Reminded me of the "cricket" used by the 101st airborne on D-Day. 1 click to ask "friend or foe?" 2 clicks to answer "friend". And as WW2's cricket was flawed (the Germans' Mauser rifle made the same sound when ejecting rounds), honking the horn in the mountains of Peru is flawed too as huge grasshoppers (criquets again) sometime made a sound that strangely resembles a horn heard in the distance.
Perhaps they're trying to mate with cars.

Fellow motorcycle travelers!
 As I left the dirt and was back on pavement, I saw two motorcycles coming my way. Mike and Jill, who've been driving two-up on their Transalp for a year and a half and Mark a.k.a. Radioman who's been on the road for a year and a half too on his F800GS (Bertha was all excited to see a family member up-close like that).

We exchanged a few tips, information, contact details and will probably meet sometime, somewhere in Bolivia to ride into Chile. They were going to the Macchu Pichu, as I was driving back from it. See you soon guys!

The mountain passes on the road back were really foggy...
 It was cold up there in the pass, somewhere around 4000m, in the fog and rain with about 5C. It was great going down the next valley and seeing (and feeling!) the mercury steadily climbing.

Ollantaytambo ruins
So I stopped in Ollantaytambo, where I spent the night the day I had a flat. While I was stopped next to the hotel where I stayed (to get some sweet WiFi!), I met the Mistrals again! (Remember them in their RV at the campsite in Cusco?). It was fun seeing them again by chance. We bid farewell again, this time probably for good as their adventure's timeline is very different from mine. Enjoy your travels, la petite famille!

On the way to the Salinas de Maras
It was still early in the day and I had plenty of time to make it back to Cusco so I decided to take a different route and stop at the tourist spots along the way.

Salinas de Maras, 60km from Cusco
This was my lunch spot, where I took my time to enjoy the view, talked with the visitors of the Salinas and enjoyed the delicious fruits I got fresh from the garden at Eco Quechua Lodge.

Back in Cusco I headed to a small hotel this time, camping by 7C with a broken back didn't look like a smart move. I'll probably have to get a day of rest or two as it's been 4 days now that I hurt myself and the pain is still there.

Great week ahead everyone,
Guillaume

PS: Oh and day 100!

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