Posts Tagged With: Cycled the whole day!

Day 45/164: Macara to Las Lomas – 61km

Up 600 meters (turned out to be 700), and down 1,100 meters.

I had a reasonable sleep, with the usual roosters dawn chorus competition of course – but at least they waited until about 5am!

We had a nice short day, allowing plenty of time for the border crossing. We set off about 6:30am with 9 kilometres to ride to the border. School is back in and at 6:30 the children are arriving for school. A number of utes and small trucks arrive with their back-trays crammed with school children.

Welcome to Peru - where the old bridge used to be (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Welcome to Peru – where the old bridge used to be (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Getting out of Ecuador was pretty quick, then across to the Peru border counter. This took ages as they had a network issue, so the line seemed to hardly move.

The queue for Immigration (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The queue for Immigration (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Waiting at the border (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Waiting at the border (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

While we were waiting in the line we noticed a puppy that was about 4-5 months wake up, stretch, then wander over and start gnawing on the handle bars of one of the rider’s bike. When the puppy was yelled at he moved down to the saddle bag and started gnawing that, and when yelled at again he slinked off to find mischief elsewhere.

Then a healthy adult goat appears and wanders up and down the road chewing on plants.

Finally the queue starts to move and our passports are stamped. We still have to wait around for the dinner truck to go through in case they want to search the bags, so we go to get a drink while we wait. Next thing Mr Goat appears again, and trots into a restaurant across the road confidently like he has a reservation! Then suddenly he see the owner, and he’s off down the road at rapid speed with the owner throwing stones after him. I suspect he has had enough success in the past with this manoeuvre to make the risk worthwhile. The dinner truck is waved through and we are off.

Welcome to Peru, on the new bridge (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Welcome to Peru, on the new bridge (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Immediately you can tell we are in a differently country, the people look different, the houses are different, and there no yellow taxis. There are Tuk Tuk’s galore (motorbike in front and covered seats behind) as well as some white ute taxis. The country is very dry here, you can tell we are not far from the desert with cactus and dry dirt roads, and houses without grass.

A Tuk Tuk

A Tuk Tuk

The local taxis (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The local taxis (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The people are more friendly than in Ecuador. A number smiled and waved at us. There are a number of loose donkeys grazing at the side of the road, and herds of goats. Unlike in Ecuador they are not tied up.

We had rolling hills which are great as you can get up the hill quite a way with the momentum from coming down. As it was only a 60 kilometre ride I was pushing myself to go as fast as I could. I am also concentrating on changing to smallest gears as late as possible and changing up as soon as I can. On rolling hills you can do this as you know you will soon have the downhill to recover.

There are lots of dogs, at one shop I saw about 11 dogs, and some quite large dogs, milling around. Thankfully none so far (bar one very small dog with big dog aspirations) have been aggressive.

The town where we are staying is basically a town square with some surrounding shops. It is very hot and dry. We are staying tonight at Salon Communal Santa Isabel, which is the community centre, so tent city again! But the other option is outside in the beating down sun, on a patch of dirt, in 38 degrees heat and possibly will get hotter.

Tent City

Tent City

A number of the locals have lined up outside the building to watch our goings on with great interest. There are adults sitting on the tuk tuks, and children milling around the door.

Taxi drivers watching us (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Taxi drivers watching us (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Passers by stop to watch (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Passers by stop to watch (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

After getting the tent sorted I went off into town to find a cash flow, and a cold beer. The cash flow worked ok, thankfully, as I suspect it is the only one in this town. I have had some problems in some other towns where some cash flow machines don’t work and others do. The machine only gave $100 dollar notes which are too big to cash in most of the shops. So I went into the bank, which has an interesting system where you don’t queue in a line or at the teller, you sit in a seat and as each person gets served you move up one seat.

Playing musical chairs at the bank (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Playing musical chairs at the bank (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

I had a cold beer and then returned to the camp site to get my clothes to have a shower – the restaurant down the road was letting us use their shower. The restaurant also has wifi. I had a shower, but despite trying a number of times did not manage to get onto the wifi.

The place where we are staying has no running water, and the toilet has to be flushed by using a bucket, and pulling the water up from a well.

By dinner time there were about 30 townspeople gathered around watching us eat with great interest.

Dinner was Israeli couscous, beef stew, and broccoli.

Locals watching dinner preparation

Locals watching dinner preparation

Categories: Ecuador, Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 29: Pasto to Ipiales – 72km

2,296km down: 11,345km to go. 1,400 meters up, 1,600 meters down

I decided “I can do this, I am going to ride the whole day”. I got dressed really warmly as the start was a 25 kilometre downhill. I have never gone down 25 kilometres in one go. I stopped halfway down to give my rims a rest, as the last thing I needed was a tyre to blow out from overheated rims. At the bottom of the hill I removed a few layers before starting the climbing.

I am taking much better care of nutrition and hydration. I got up the first climb alright with only one stop just before lunch. I got to the lunch spot and felt ok, so decided to carry on. The first 10 kilometres was ok but then not sure if it was the altitude or what, but my legs turned to jelly and I was breathless. I ended up walking up a 7 kilometre hill! It just kept going, up and up and up! Every time I got on my bike I lasted about 100 meters before having to get off each time!

At 60 kilometres I had worked out that at this speed I was nearly 3 hours from camp! Thankfully we then got some downhill, and after that I managed to ride most of the rest of the way.

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

About 4 kilometres before camp I came across the distressing sight of a young motorcyclist who had been knocked off his bike. Unfortunately he won’t be going home again. About 1 kilometre before the camp I then saw a dog nearly get run over. I was quite upset when I got to camp.

The camping site is a restaurant with grass where we can put up tents. They have hot showers! With pressure, and not too hot, bliss! TDA generally gets a couple of rooms when they are available so we can use them as well for the shower queue. I was standing waiting in line, and the housemaid took me into another room they had not yet cleaned and let me use that shower. Heaven! I could take as long as I liked without waiting in line.

As I had got to camp by 1:30, I have washed a couple of things, hopefully they will dry before it gets cold. I have caught up with the blog, had some vegetables and noodles, and a cold beer. Tomorrow we cross the border into Ecuador. It’s four weeks today since the bike ride started. We certainly have gone up and down in altitude and temperature.

Chicken for dinner tonight.

View from today's ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from today’s ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Columbia, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments