Posts Tagged With: Desert

Day 54/164: Guadalupito to La Gramita – 113km

1,100 meters up – 1,100 meters down

The roadworks went on for most of the night. The next day the stretch of road outside was three-quarters finished. Even though this is only the third day of riding I am really pleased that we have a rest day tomorrow.

The scenery is pretty much identical from yesterday: desert, hills, sand, wind, and once the cloud cover goes at 11:30am it is hot. Stark, but in a way it is strangely beautiful first thing in the morning, with fresh legs, and before the wind picks up and sun hits.

Dirt track to avoid a narrow tunnel (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Dirt track to avoid a narrow tunnel (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Once again there is a separate highway for much of the morning that we can ride on, which keeps us away from the traffic. We were told at the rider’s meeting last night that the place we are staying at is very quiet.

The lunch bus

The lunch bus (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

The view from lunch today

The view from lunch today

The ride after lunch was hard, uphill through endless desert with a head wind. My two year old inner voice was running a negative commentary about this being the back side of nowhere, whilst my adult voice was trying to be positive about the scenery. The two year got the upper hand when I saw from a distance where we were staying: 3 kilometres in the distance down a dirt track to a small town that did not look appealing on initial viewing.

I stopped at the restaurant on the main road, and had a cold beer to deal with the dust in my throat, and tried the ceviche (raw fish) which is a speciality here. Both were delicious. Then I set off to find the hotel.

We are staying at the Las Aldas Hotel, which was actually ok, small cabins but no power switches or wifi. Plus no cash machines which was not expected, and they don’t take credit cards. To add to my joy everything here is really expensive! Captive market. We had to order dinner on arrival which was “Do you want the meal of the day or not”.

I am not sharing with Sue as she has really bad gastro and, unlike me normally, I have said I am not prepared to catch it again so I am rooming with Emma, a 22 year old nursing student on her summer break from England. Emma joined us in Loja.

After sitting sulking on the deck of the cabin, in a hammock looking at the beautiful view, I got over myself and appreciated the stunning scenery.

A little touch of paradise for the next two nights (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A little touch of paradise for the next two nights (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

As I had very little cash thankfully one of the other riders paid for my meal. Hopefully there will be a cash machine in the town although this looks extremely doubtful! Will worry about this tomorrow.

The meal was meant to be at 7pm and finally arrived at about 8:15pm. I thought I was having chicken but for some reason some of the riders had been allocated fish. I was happy, as fish was the better choice.

So after a long day in the sun and wind, plus red wine, I went off to bed for an early night, and happily no 5am start tomorrow.

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

Day 49/164: Lambayeque to Pacasmayo – 118km

800 meters up, 950 down.

It was nice to wake up and not have to pack up a tent etc. I am looking forward to getting into two rest days. I have not ridden 7 days in a row before and my legs are certainly feeling it.

Every morning before leaving my tent (or room) I spray myself with bug spray. Today it helped for the bits I had sprayed, but I was bitten through my bike shorts and top! Just when I was almost free of bites. Due to this I had a very short breakfast and was on my bike by 6:15am.

I rode in a group of 5 for the first 35 kilometres. It was useful for getting through the crazy traffic. Where cars would not stop for one rider, they did for five. We still had to be constantly watching – a few times a tuk tuk got in the middle of the group. The police escort from yesterday may have had some uses today!

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt's Facebook)

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt’s Facebook)

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt's Facebook)

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt’s Facebook)

The city is the dirtiest I have ever seen, rubbish bags, deal animals etc. The trucks and buses would fail a WOF in New Zealand due to fumes. The drivers are aggressive with cyclists and each other. The horns are constantly blaring. Some of the rubbish at the side of the road has been lit, so there is also the fumes of burning plastic and other waste. Overall not pleasant riding.

Once we got out of the city we were in the desert, endless sand as far as the eye can see. Then more dirt towns. At about the halfway point add to this a significant head wind!

Lunch stop today

Lunch stop today

With about 15 kilometres to go, we went back into the desert, with a strong head wind, little road shoulder and trucks and buses going past blaring their horns and covering you in fumes. The landscape is bleak and dry with very little vegetation. I was developing very low expectations of the rest day accommodation.

We turned left with 5 kilometres to go still, there was sand and old – almost derelict – buildings. We got down a steep road, came round a corner, and there was the most quaint little seaside town, with a promenade along the sea shore, little shops and a nice hotel! And best of news – I have been allocated my own room for three days! The joy! Not only do I have a view of the sea, but the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach can be heard from my room.

We arrive at the Pacific Coast of Peru (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

We arrive at the Pacific Coast of Peru (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I unpacked and took the washing to the laundry, and then Jackie and I met for a cold drink on the hotel balcony. Nice outlook looking at the sea, warm and sunny, and only 2pm. A feeling of contentment and relaxation pervades. Then I was introduced to an innocent looking drink called a Pisco Sour. This is made with cane sugar liquor, lemon and egg. It does not taste like it contains the punch it does.  During the evening I had another 3 of these, thankfully I only had to navigate my way upstairs to my room. I was sensible enough to drink a litre of water before bed.

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments