Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Peru to Chile

From Arequipa, Peru I traveled to Arica, Chile. I left early because it looked like it might be a full day of riding.

I picked up a few supplies because I knew that I'd be riding through the desert for most of the day. An orange juice, saltine crackers and chocolate cookies.
I passed by desert dunes...
Coastal beaches...
Rock formations.
Along the way I met a fellow adventure motorcyclist from Argentina named Alejandro riding a Honda Falcon NX400. I really like the styling of the NX400. I wish that Honda sold the bike in the states.
Alejandro passed me, then I passed him, then at an overlook we pulled over and started chatting.
He had a pretty nice hard case setup on his bike. Turns out that he made it himself. Also he build a pretty sweet tool tube that fit opposite his muffler. I asked him if he was an engineer and sure enough he was. I have a number of engineering friends and you can always tell the work of an engineer.
We seemed to have a similar riding pace... so on we rode.
We exited Peru with ease.
We entered Chile with ease.
Looking back...
Looking forward...
Simply amazing views all around.

Location:Arica, Chile

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Arequipa and Some Bike Maintenance

I had logged 10,000 miles on my bike and felt like it was time for a little maintenance.

Emi was coughing a bit. I wasn't sure if it was because of the altitude, bad gas, spark plugs or a dirty carburetor.

I rode around town and asked a few people about where I might be able to find a good taller (workshop).

I was directed to this workshop operated by a guy named Lucho. There was a Honda XR650 and Kawasaki KLR650 parked outside. I took this as a good indication that they knew how to work on large bikes from Japan. They said that they couldn't work on my bike on Friday, but that they could make an appointment for me on Monday at 8am. And they said that they could perform a complete tune up and obtain all the needed parts for my bike... oil, lube, filters, spark plugs, chain and sprockets. Great news!

It would be two days of waiting, but if they could provide all the right parts it sounded like a good deal.

On Monday, I arrived at the shop at 8am. Well, the shop wasn't open and nobody was around. I waited.

The shop was on a street that was right in front of this raging river. Was this some kind of omen? It is the rainy season and it had been raining in the mountains and in the city every day since I was in Arequipa. Needless to say I was a little concerned that if I left my bike at this shop and the river overflowed it's bank, that my bike would be flooded or washed away.

I asked a policeman that was patrolling nearby and watching the river conditions if he had any reports as to if the river was going to overflow. He said that it was possible and that he was on guard as a precaution in case an evacuation would be necessary. Not comforting.

Anyways, the shop finally opened at around 9am. They started working on my bike at around 9:30. I did not have anything to do other than to ensure that my bike was worked on properly and that the work was completed before the river overflowed, so I stayed and watched while they worked on my bike.

For some reason the mechanic worked really slooooow. And, it turned out that they could not obtain the correct filter, nor spark plugs, nor chain, nor sprockets. Luckily I had a spare filter and spark plugs. The rest of the maintenance would have to wait until I arrived in Chile.

We cleaned out the carburetor, changed the spark plugs, put in higher octane gas, adjusted the idle a bit, changed the oil, installed a new oil filter, cleaned out the air filter, lubed the axle bearings and lubed the chain.

Lucho did teach me how to change the jet of the carb for high or low altitude. It was the first time that I'd personally cracked open and worked on my carburetor, so I appreciated the lesson. I did the work myself so that I'd know how to do it in the future. Monkey see, monkey do.

It took all day to complete the work. By the time we finished the sun had already set and it had started to rain. I took Emi out for a test ride. She seemed to like the tender loving care.

I had mixed feelings about this workshop. It seemed as if I had to direct much if the work, they worked really slow and they did not have many of the critical parts that they promised they would provide. The positive points were that they did let me oversee the work and showed me how to crack open my carburetor.

I felt like I was at least half prepared to begin some long days of riding through the desert.
Location:Arequipa, Peru

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How Can Ceviche Be So Good And So Bad

I ate this seafood ceviche from a restaurant in Arequipa called Cevichería Fory Fay. The ceviche had fish, squid, shrimp, onions, mushrooms and sweet potato. It was so good. But it was also so bad. About an hour after eating it I had an allergic reaction and broke out with a rash of hives.

Many years ago I had a similar reaction, so I wasn't worried and I knew what to do. I made a quick trip to the pharmacy and bought some benedryl. After some time the inching and hives stopped and I returned to normal.

Totally worth it.

Location:Arequipa, Peru

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chala... Between A Desert And A River

I left Huacachina and headed toward Arequipa.
Along the way, I met a fellow adventure motorcyclist from Paraquay who was riding a BMW1200.
Outside of the town of Nasca I passed by the Nasca Lines.
I believe that these lines represented a tree.
I stopped overnight at a town called Chala that had this nice view of the ocean.
I continued on the next day through some pretty rustic looking areas.
And I passed by some beautiful beaches with a raging surf.
Until I came across this river.
Buses and large trucks were crossing the river, but the cars that tried to cross got flooded and stalled. I thought about riding or pushing my motorcycle across, but then came up with an alternative.
I rode back up the line of waiting trucks and found an empty one. I asked the driver if he would carry me across. He agreed. I recruited four bystanders to help me load my bike into the back of the truck. Then we road across the river.
On the other side of the river, the truck driver pulled up to a sand embankment and I rode my bike off the back of the truck. I kept my bike and my boots dry.
Then it was a little more riding through the desert to the town of Arequipa.
The next day I took a little day trip to the mountains.
I passed through some desert area.
I came across this sign...
Which was a warning to look out for vicuñaVicuña are an endangered species that are related to llamas and alpacas.
I saw a number of vicuña run across the road, so I pulled over and snapped this photo.
I continued riding and came upon these snow covered mountains.
Desert riding and mountain scenary... what else could I ask for.
Certainly made for some fun riding.

Here is a short 3 minute video about crossing the river. There were a number of people along the banks watching as trucks passed through the water. At about the 1:50 minute into the video you may notice a few cars that attempted to cross the river and were stalled. I shot this video on my iPhone.

Huacachina...A True Oasis In The Desert

I found a true oasis in the desert.
There was this little town called Huacachina.
There were a few structure built in colonial style...
That surrounded a laguana.
And just outside of the town was a huge sand dune that was probably over 500 feet in altitude.
While I was in Huacachina, a group of three adventure motorcyclists pulled up. They were riding a KTM990, BMW1100 and a DR650.
The DR650 had a 10 gallon monster gas tank. Pretty cool.

Lima... Food, Art and Blowing My Own Horn

I did not spend much time in Lima.
Just enough time to try these sandwiches and milk shakes at a sidewalk cafe called La Lucha.
Checked out some street art at Parque Kennedy.
And replaced the horn on my motorcycle that unfortunately stopped functioning while I was navigating through traffic in Lima.

Riding Through The Peruvian Desert

From Huanchaco I traveled to Lima.
Through the desert...
The sands were still, but the wind was stirring.
There were sand dunes the size of mountains.
It was a vast distance to cover.
Emi handled it well.
I came across this oasis of a town along the coast call Tortugas and took a break for lunch
There were some twisty parts.
But for the most part, it was long and strait.
Passed by some unknown ruins.
Passed by some farm land.
And as I neared Lima there were fields of sugar cane.

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