1,925 meters up and 1,925 meters down
Tonight we are camping again, on the white board it says “Beach camping” which sounds quite pleasant.
When our alarms go at 5am the lights are not working in the room, so out come the headlights again. Thankfully about 10 minutes later the lights come on. We are not having breakfast in the restaurant this morning, the TDA staff have set up breakfast outside by the truck thankfully, as with the speed of the service yesterday we would still have been here mid-morning.
To get back to the main road we have to go 3 kilometres back up the dirt road, then off again through endless desert, sandhills, rock mountains and the occasional shacks at the side of the road. We are following the coast and get some glimpses of it. Mostly the riding is rolling hills, with a few reasonable ups followed by some good downs.
There are a number of chicken farms along the way, huge big long structures with white roofs to reflect the sun. Apparently they get the sea water from under the sand, and the sand filters the salt out of it.
The road shoulder is really shitty to ride on. Some of the day we again have our own not quite finished highway, which is great. The rest of the day we are trying to share with the traffic. The truck drivers are really good, they toot hello as they pass us and go over to the other lane whenever they can, or honk loudly if there is no room and we need to go onto the shoulder. The buses give us no space, regardless of whether they could move into the other lane or not, and the cars and taxi honk in an unfriendly way as they race past.
There is still rubbish, other debris and a distressing number of dead animals littering the shoulder. So far Peru is the bottom on my list of places I would come back to.
I got to 123 kilometres and the turn off was another dirt road. This one was a most delightful mixture (not) of corrugated surface, soft sand that I can’t ride in, or slippery rocks.
The “Beach camp” is not as pleasant as it sounded. It is now referred to by the riders as “Dust camp”. Within 5 minutes of the tent being up, even with the fly shut, there is a layer of dust over everything. It gets into everything.
Thankfully the locals have put together an impromptu shop and are selling snacks and cold beer. The Peruvians, as well as having a dislike of cyclists, also see tourists as a chance to charge outrageous prices (when there are no alternative options). I pay a premium price for a beer and then I get no change – so I am now paying nearly double the usual rate. The vendor advises he can’t make the change from the note I have given him, and I have no other smaller change. Whilst I don’t know a lot of Spanish his message is clear enough – either pay this outrageous amount or go without. With a throat full of sand, I pay.
Jackie was meant to be leaving tomorrow but she has decided to go a day early. One of the other riders who is also leaving in Lima decides to go as well – neither of them are keen to have dust through everything they own as their final trip experience.
One of the locals has agreed for a price to take them to Lima but after keeping them waiting for nearly 2 hours, he decides he wants more, and then decides not to take them at all. Cristano manages to organize another option, this all takes place over a number of hours. Then the car finally arrives but can’t fit the bike boxes on so needs to go off and get rope. By this time one of the other riders decides to go to Lima a couple of days early also. They finally set off with the Jackie’s bike box on top of the car, Peter is in Lima for a few days so will get his off the TDA truck there. They did get there all safely, bike box included.
Dinner that night was really nice: kebabs, hot potato salad, and chicken.