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herbert and i

Dunes and the Blue Pacific

PERU | Wednesday, 15 October 2008 | Views [513] | Comments [2]

Sunday morning arrived with an early morning wake up call. After loading Herbert, i looked out on a wet cold Lima morning. They told me it never rains in Lima. I organised a taxi to escort me to the Pan American Highway $7.00 well spent. It was freezing cold and wet making the roads slippery, luckily being a Sunday the traffic was light. I made good time south on a 4 lane highway for the first 100kms. The desert then opened out into low mountains and dunes reaching the road. As i topped a rise the sun appeared and suddenly it became suffocatingly hot, the dunes disappeared and the desert became a jumble of stones of varying sizes.

The stones stopped as abruptly as they began, it seemed like someone had cleared them. The Nasca plains stretched ahead. A brief stop at the lookout tower but the view of the lines was very limited to 2 objects with only an oblique outlook. It looked like i would have to take a flight. Nasca is a dusty little town surviving on the tourists who visit the lines. A 7.30 flight was organised as to try to beat the early afternoon wind which seems to whip up daily. The little Cesna buzzed into action, bumping its way to the site of the lines. It then tipped left and right for views on both sides of the plane 35 minutes of this saw me feeling a little queasy. The Nasca Lines are amazing, so it was worth the discomfort, the images from the air come to life, why they were built is still a mystery like much of Perus history.

Enough of Nasca it was south bound again. This days ride was incredible the desert scenery was as spectacular as anything i have seen so far. What i thought were mountains were actually sand dunes they were massive. They reached and covered the road in parts then made their way to the Pacific Ocean. There seemed to be several colours of sand from red to pure white with several hues in between, it all dazzled with the sun and shifted as you watched, it was a very special sight. All the while the road curved its way along the coast, with hairpin after hairpin, with beautiful white sand beaches, then rugged rocky coastline as the road climbed the hills. The day gave all sorts of riding from dodging potholes to sand covering the road and thrown in was a large rockslide and always stunning scenery. Pooped i stopped in a sleepy town called Comitan or the such, that doesnt sound right i probably have the name wrong whats new. Tomorrow and the road south beckons.

I outdid myself with a third early morning in a row but after the first mishap i was thinking i should have slept in. When you count the number of zippers on my person and the bikes equipment it is staggering. The first fuel stop of the day saw me unzipping the tank bag as i have done hundreds of times before. I somehow misaligned the zipper and jammed it, It took a good 15 minutes to get it realigned by this stage sweat was dripping from my forehead. It was then that my version of a bad hair day, a bad zip day began. Next to go was my jacket zipper, then a jacket pocket zipper and the peice de resistance my fly. Four in one day, i now believe zippers are as frustrating as anything i have experienced so far. I just had to share this with my loyal readers to show its not all beer and skittles.

Back to the riding now, once again the scenery was stunning starker than the previous days. Long stretches of black tarmac reaching the horizon with sand either side in red, black, white and grey. The road had moved inland from the coast but the wind still whistled across the sand strong and cool. It raised hundreds of little tornadoes with perfect cones in the varying colours of the sand it displaced. This really did feel remote without much traffic except the occasional truck or car. This desert was different in that it was devoid of any plant life whatsoever, the only sign of animal life were the vultures prowling the roadsides. The bike purred away beneath me, then suddenly an annoying rattle, tilting left to right, up, down trying to find where it was coming from. It then stopped as abruptly as it started. On my next stop i realised why, the heat shield on the exhaust headers had fallen off and dissapeared into the desert. Luckily this isnt a critical component, it just means i will have very warm legs.

I reached Tacna early afternoon and after doing my compulsory lap of the city trying to find accomodation, i stopped for a rest. It was then my Peru experience was tarnished somewhat. A lady carrying shopping bags was attacked and her gold necklace torn from around her neck. It took no more than a second and he was gone, boy could he run. Luckily the lady was unhurt just shaken up a bit. Border towns are the pits with the opportunists seeing easy pickings, they really seem to attract the lowlife. Chile awaits.



Hola from Easter Island - where I´m having the rest you deserve - as well as marvelling in the wonders of this remote & tiny island - the vast stone statues, birdman rock carvings, reed-filled volcano lakes, palm fringed sandy beaches and friendly people. Good luck crossing the Chilean border - my heart travels with you always xx Kylie

  Kylie Graham Oct 16, 2008 4:29 AM


Good to see that you are zipping along and enjoying the view.

  Richard English Oct 16, 2008 8:08 PM

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