Sunday, December 30, 2012

To Salta

George and Arial picked up Ali at 8 am and we left about 30 minutes later going south to Salta which we wanted to spend a couple of nights there to get transport to Buenos Aires for Ali's bike.

About an hour in to the ride we passed Ali in the car and continued along a nice and  mostly straight road towards Salta. On the way we needed fuel and stopped at a gas station with a line of cars and many bikes waiting for fuel. We asked and found out that the tanker is filling the tanks and that it would take about an hour. Since we had enough fuel to get us to the next gas station we continued on to San Salvador de Jujuy took a break and filled up the bikes. Ali on the other hand arrived there a bit later and stopped to talk to the bikers while on a coffee break.

We then continued along the route the GPS had picked for us along route 9 , which about 50 km before Salta turned into a very narrow road , enough for only one car but with lines and markings for two lanes. Apparently only cars and motorcycles travel this route. it was a nice route through some mountains and rivers with many locations for a day out with the family.

Only 3 meters wide

We got into town and to the Hotel where we were met by Juan Carlos at the reception. Minutes later Ali arrived with George and Arial. He was very optimistic since all of the pain in his wrist was gone , there was only some pain in the arm. So we decided to stay three nights here and ride together to Ushuaia.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Good Bye Bolivia

Ali was met by the truck driver and one of the hotel staff at 6 am to go to the Argentine border. While me and Hussain packed out bikes and waited for breakfast. We had to wait for another half hour for the hotel owner to move their car for us to leave.

We headed straight to the border which was about 4 and a half hours away without stopping. From reading posts of other travelers we know this border crossing was difficult with long lines and a sense of carelessness. It took us 2.5 hours to finish and then me and Hussain went to the hotel that we had reserved yesterday and left Ali with his bike.

The plan was that we go to the hotel, Then I take a Taxi back to the border while Ali gets into the Taxi and I ride his bike to the hotel. Well finding the hotel was a problem since it wasn't as per the location on the website and when we called and had some one talk to them who knew the area for directions , they stated that there were no rooms available and very obtuse about giving directions.

We decided to go to another hotel (Hotel Turismo) where all the travelers were staying. Later that evening Ali with the help of the Hotel staff managed to find George and his son Arial to transport the bike from La Quiaca to Salta. Then right after dinner we saw five travelers from Brazil who were at the Salt flats in Uyuni and had taken the road to La Quiaca stating that it was 200 km of narrow off-road with cars speeding by, and that they had felt it was really dangerous.

Friday, December 28, 2012

What to do ? What to do?

After breakfast we went to the doctor's office exactly at 9 am. He didn't speak English so we had to do with what little Spanish we had plus sign language. The doctor stated that it might be tendinitis and wanted to put Ali's arm in a cast so he doesn't move it. Ali refused if he was going to go home he will need the movement , what little there was to get around and manage.

We left the doctor's office with a fresh bandage and went to discuss what to do. We have already been down this road before we all agreed that if one of us couldn't make it that we would see that his affairs to go home are in order and the other two continue on. But how to get Ali to Kuwait ? we asked the Hotel owner to help in getting us a transport for Ali's bike first it was to Chile for sea freight, then it was to La Paz for Air freight. Then when things were not working out we decided to continue on to Argentina and get another transport to Buenos Aires either in La Quiaca or Salta.

Ali could fly from Salta and I contacted a shipping company in BA who specialize in motorcycle air freight.  We were all set, the truck came at 11 pm to pick the bike up and will be at the Hotel at 6 am to take Ali to the Argentine Border where we will meet him and cross together.

We were planning to go to Uyuni after Potosi but with what happened we decided to continue on into Argentina.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

To Potosi

We estimated that the ride might take as much as 8 hours from La Paz to Potosi depending on the condition of the road. and sure enough for the first hour we had traveled only 40 km due to traffic and bad roads. But the road started to get better with less traffic only the occasional light rain.

We stopped at a rest area that looked like a local spa . There were rooms to rent that had water cumming in from the mountain we assume for people to bathe. We then continued on until we reached Challapata , there the road got interesting with very nice scenery.

We saw llama crossing warning signs and decided it was a photo opportunity. We filled up with gas before entering Potosi. I always like it when we reach a hotel early it gives us more time to rest and look around. Unfortunately this wasn't the case. Our hotel was on an incline and we had to wait for a car to get out then put out bikes in. Ali went in first then I , then Ali went to help Hussain bring his bike in and while pushing the bike and I guess with the low oxygen level and low concentration the bike lent towards Ali and instead of letting it fall he held the heavy bike up hurting his wrist in the process.

We put a cold towel (couldn't find ice) on the wrist and sent him to the doctor with the owner of the Hotel. Two hours later he came back all bandaged up, they took an x-ray and bone is fine apparently it is just a sprain. The doctor wanted to see Ali tomorrow at 9 am. and since he cannot ride we are not going any where. So we decided to stay as long as it takes until we decide what to do.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

To La Paz

After breakfast we got ready to leave and said our goodbyes to David and Uli who were going towards Chile since Uli has made arrangements to go home from Valparaiso Chile.

We left Puno breathless at an altitude of 3800 meters above sea level and drove along the banks of lake Titicaca for most of the Journey to the Bolivian border. Along the way a Police car flashed their lights at us as many do here we didn't thing anything of it until he made a u turn and followed us speeding in front of us with lights flashing. We stopped and they asked about our papers and insurance which we had gotten at the border when we entered Peru. We know from other postings on the net that some Police regularly check for insurance and some go as far as getting paid to let you go. Since all our papers were in order he let us go stating that we should be careful and monitor our speed especially when crossing populated areas. We thanked him and went on our way towards the border.

Lake Titicaca

The Peru side was fairly easy with many tourist crossing especially German youths on buses. The Bolivian side was a bit different since we had to photocopy most of our documents for them to process our entry.

About 3 km from the border we were stopped by a check point that made us register and pay for what we don't know but since it was only 10 BOB we didn't care. We were told that the roads in Bolivia are not that good and it's true but nothing the GSs can't handle we entered La Paz as it started to rain and reached our hotel in the early afternoon. Tomorrow we head towards Potosi.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

To Puno

After that nice rest in Cusco we were ready to move on to Puno and lake Titicaca. I had mad a reservation online as I usually do and left early on a very nice road with great natural scenery of mountains and rivers. we reached Juliaca a town before Puno fairly early since we didn't expect the roads to be so good.

While crossing Juliaca Ali and Hussain spotted a couple of motorcycle travelers and stopped to say hello. I made a U turn and found out that it was David on the 800GS who we met in at the BMW dealer in Lima. and with him was Uli from Germany on a Triumph Tiger.

We chatted for a while and they joined us on a convoy for the rest of the Journey to Puno. When we reached the hotel it was closed with a notice on the door addressed to me. stating that the Hotel was closed and that arrangements were made at another hotel nearby that was even better. We went to the other hotel which was very nice. They even gave Dave and Uli the same rate they gave us as walk ins.

We rested for a while and since it was Christmas day most of the restaurants were closed. We managed to find one that wasn't and in true middle eastern tradition invited David and Uli for dinner.

As usual every one gets really tired towards the end of a riding day so every one went to sleep early as we got ready to go to Bolivia.

Monday, December 24, 2012

City Walking in Cusco

Ali and Hussain really liked the Guesthouse and city , and the fact that we got in really late from Machu Picchu yesterday made us decide to stay another day to rest and walk around Cusco.

We visited some hand crafts places and went to the main square were there was a temporary market setup before the holidays. We walked around and saw many different things for sale.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Train to Machu Picchu


When we got to the hotel yesterday we found out how to go to Machu Picchu . It turns out that there are several ways and days to Machu Picchu ranging from 7 days to just one which we were interested in.

The Guest house we stayed in helped us with information to first go to Peru Rail and get the tickets to Machu Picchu station which turned out to be a 3 hour train ride. After that we had to buy a bus ticket and the entrance ticket. The bus took about 20 minutes to reach Machu Picchu and then we got Niomi our tour guide to show us around.

It was quit a site and there is no wonder that people like to visit the craftsmanship and the fact that it is virgin ruins where a stone still has the wooden rollers underneath it from when they were being moved.

The picturesque mountains and landscape was quit exciting also with steep rises and paths. Once we were done we went back down and had lunch before riding the train back to Cusco. on the way we were entertained by a fashion show of Peruvian made alpaca garments. We all bought scarves on the train and found out next day that the prices on the train were better than the one's in town.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Up and Down to Cusco

After a restful night in Hotel Tampumayu we headed on route 3 for about 289 km to Cusco which kept going through mountain-passes which made us go up and down with a big difference in temperature from 10 Deg. to 27 Deg. C. Stopping several times to put on or take off the jacket liner.

But the scenery was amazing and the roads were nice and twisty until we reached a big valley full of farms and villages.

We reached our Guest house not knowing where it was just that as per the map it was here. We then found the address and a door leading to a courtyard which had another door to the Guesthouse which had a local rustic style to it.

We parked our bikes under a shelter in the back and got to meet the owner. We like staying at there small local owned Hotels. you really get great service, and you also get a sense for the locals.

Tomorrow we venture out to visit Machu Picchu.

Friday, December 21, 2012

To Tampumayu

As per our new plans we left Nazca on our way in the direction of Cusco but to stop at mile marker 361. Why because that is where the hotel is, the one recommended by the guy we met at the BMW dealer in Lima.

The rout was great especially for our tires since riding the Pan-American highway was creating a flat patch, and we wanted round tires which we got via the mountainous rout that got us more than 4500 meters above sea level. With little oxygen and getting really drowsy, I had to let Ali become the road captain since I couldn't talk until we got down to a sensible level.

The last 40 km it started to rain and then we reached the hotel, and it was just us no one else is here especially since it is not tourist season.  There is no internet and our phones didn't work. So it was time to send messages through the SPOT Connect just to tell everyone that we were OK.

Later after dinner a couple came in who were from Germany driving a camper heading in the other direction.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

To Nazca

When we were at the BMW dealer in Lima we met a guy who does tours and he recommended a different route to Cusco than what we had planned. So we decide to take his advice and after spending three nights in Lima we were ready to continue our journey. 

So we headed south on the Pan-American Highway all the way to Nazca. The weather was great when we were riding along the pacific coast , but when the road diverted inland it started to heat up and got all the way to 37 Deg. C . 

We got to Nazca in the late afternoon and dipped right in the Hotel's pool to cool down. Nazca is a touristic town and the Hotel we stayed at was lovely as well. We had our dinner at a local restaurant then went back to the hotel to get ready for tomorrow's ride.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The City of Lima

After spending yesterday relaxing, resting and fixing things we decided to take a city tour of Lima .We are staying in a very nice Apartment Hotel called Daniel's, in fact Mr. Daniel was very interested in our travels and his staff have helped us get the guide for the day to tour the city of Lima and get a sense for the capital of Peru.

We headed to several landmarks and got to see an old map of the city when it had a wall around it. We also managed to witness the changing of the Guard at the Palace.

Tomorrow we head towards Cusco and Machupiccho.