18 to 20 May Kms travelled – 14,546
My flight from Lima was delayed as I decided to repack the panniers after using up the chain – quite a weight loss from the one side. But when I did hit the road it was more a fright than a flight north. While I loved the Miraflores area, the further north we went in the city, the worse the driving and surrounds became – and the road surface for that matter. I had pretty much got used to around 10kms of nonsense on the road leading into and out of major Peruvian towns, but I guess as this was the capital they had to go one better. Nevertheless we survived without any scrapes and after over an hour and a quarter, settled into the Pam American north (1).
After running through the surrounding towns the road opened up into desert again, with more of the straight breezy bits, and then traversing desert hills and valleys. We also had that morning mist again, which prevented any meaningful snapping by the happy camera. I had been warned that this run north didn´t have much to say for itself and that there were much more interesting, beautiful and fun biking roads back inland. But I felt the need to make some progress and was, in fact, enjoying myself.
As the temperature increased into the afternoon, with the sun coming out in force, and the wind picking up enough to take the shine off the ride, we rolled into Casma and upto a nice hotel (half the price I paid in Lima). I also had a great bit of fish in the hotel restaurant for dinner – but I was concerned about a persistent noise from Idris (despite it running really well).
The run from Casma to Trujillo the next day was fine, but the noise from the bike persisted. I knew that Trujillo boasted some pretty impressive pyramids, and was hoping to see a sign so I could detour – but before I knew it I was in the town... which was nice! But I had seen a lot of Plaza de las Armas by now and was looking for something different.
This was provided by the short ride out to the coastal town of Huanchaco, where local fishermen still each day use a form of reed surfboard to beat the surf and get out to retrieve their daily catch. Perhaps a little touristic, but there is nothing like staying at the beach to ease the mind and kick back. I had a great afternoon and evening there, sampling the local fish delicacy Cerbeche. For the first time in the journey I was also offered drugs – I guess beach resorts are the same the world over!
With the bike´s noise persisting, and the journey through a series of not so nice looking towns the next day hardly inspiring, I resolved to stop early and find a place to do some more serious investigations. Chiclayo provided the answer, and the large secure car park at the Hotel El Sol became my workshop for the afternoon as I stripped the bike´s rear hub and cleaned and refitted the chain. This helped, and was left with the conclusion that it might have been a combination of things, including the new chain and sprockets bedding in. One thing I did notice at the Hotel El Sol was the amount of blood stains on the walls, where previous residents had clearly set about massacring the mighty mozzie. And they must have been mighty given the quantity of red! On sight of this I went straight to the panniers and retrieved my mosquito net – which did the job and facilitated a good night’s sleep.
Thought for the day
Am I fearful of the unknown country or nervous about border crossings? It struck me in an otherwise uneventful ride that I seem to slow down as I approach a new country. I spent a few days in Mendoza before crossing into Chile, and the same in Arica before taking on Peru. While I was not planning any rest days before Ecuador, my daily mileage was clearly dropping as I headed further north. I think the subconscious mind had been playing on me, but now it has been found out and become very much conscious I will strive to progress to Ecuador in good style!