2017-09-16T05:22:35+00:00February 17th, 2016|2015-16 Ride|

The Galapagos Islands were a wonderful, luxurious break for us and an absolute treat! My “land sickness” hung around for nearly five days after the boat so it made for interesting times just crossing the road – let alone walks through tunnels in the dark! It is wonderful to be back on the bikes – to clear the city traffic and get the wind sailing through our mesh jackets! We head south – through masses of banana plantations! Any time we see an Ecuador sticker on a banana in the future we will know exactly where it comes from!! The border crossing is a cinch after all the Central America beauracracy! We switch to our N.Z. passports – as Kiwis can get in to Bolivia, Argentina and Chile for free!!

Aside from the fact that Machu Picchu is down the road – we know very little about Peru. The road-sides have lots of grazing goat herds – and once “Mummy” starts to cross the road, you know the rest of the mob are not far behind!! There are donkeys, dogs, chooks and pigs wandering freely and we are back in horse and buggy country. We take a great back road and end up in a very basic small town – the side roads are all dirt – but we find a good hotel. The mode of transport here is called a “bajun de las moto” (pronounced bar-hun) and we can’t decide if it’s most like the old Model T Ford or a stagecoach buggy!! Besides being a source of income, they  are the family vehicle, useful for furniture removals, produce movers – we even saw one with a car spoiler attached to the back of its roof!


Classic “bajuns” in Chulucanas


The bajun looks like a stagecoach buggy!

We are on secondary roads and going through lots of sugar cane plantations, rice paddies and very basic towns. Then we come in to spectacular desert as we follow the coast – blowing across the road in drifts – with massive sand dunes – and views of the ocean when you hit the peaks.


PanAmerican Highway through the desert of northern Peru

We see hundreds of “poultry farms” – all through the desert – but this is not surprising at all when you consider Peruvians seem to eat chicken for breakfast, lunch and dinner!! We hit the coast at Trujillo and meet a German guy at a biker bar who is setting up bike tours.


We thought KTM had sent us a “support vehicle” for a moment!!

We turn off the PanAmerican at Casma and take the 14A towards Huaraz – the change is immediate and we feel like this is the Peru we imagined! The mountains start “growing” in front of us as we come over a moonscape area and drop in to a valley full of crops with a fast-flowing river meandering through it. Some of the crops here are on vertical slopes – so steep they defy logic – the locals must be so fit!!


Highway 14A with it’s hairpins and awesome views as we start to climb the Andes Mountains


We keep gaining altitude and go over a 4230m pass to Huaraz

The 3N Highway from Huaraz is motorcycle heaven – just perfect riding conditions with spectacular scenery – remote villages – and lots of dogs who snap and chase the bike in front (Paul) – running like mad!


Beautiful remote valley’s that seamlessly blend up in to the peaks


We stop to buy fresh “queso” (cheese) and find this little sweetie!


The scenery on this road is breathtaking – and we are struggling for “breath”!


Our lunch spot looking down on another remote valley – so serene!


We reach 4700m – our highest road ever – and the light mist is the only indication of our altitude!

The road starts to deteriorate as we come in to Huallenca – a remote and basic mining town surrounded entirely by large mountains and we feel like “aliens” here as we wander around!


The next bullfight is in July!

We have many river crossings and the road is becoming a challenge – especially when there’s been a mud-slide and the lingering rain is keeping things moist!


Mud-slides are not my favourite type of motorcycling!


Where there’s no mud-slides – the road is full of potholes!

The small town of Chavinillo is our lunch stop and a crowd gathers – with one little lady coming straight at me with her hand outstretched. We make eye contact and I take her hand in both mine and we smile at each other – just beautiful! She talks in Spanish and I talk in English and we have a great conversation!! We tell her we need “comida” (food) and she takes my arm and guides us to a restaurant up the street and straight in to the kitchen! We can see what we will get for lunch (menu del dias) and she then serves us – the soup is sensational! When we finally leave town she is standing on the road to wave to me – so precious!


My new friend, Dahlia!


Some locals are “brave” enough to have a photo!


And some not so impressed!


Typical scenery in the Andes


These quirky closed-in bajun are made in India and have tiny little wheels

Tip of the Day

If you are travelling through Peru on a motorbike and need to get new tyres or repairs of any kind done – it pays to stop at Toby’s Place in Huanuco. He is U.S. born but has been in Peru with his wife, Sara, doing missionary work for 35 years. He’s set up this bike workshop with his friend, Jaime (pronounced Hi-me) and boy, do they know their bikes! His knowledge of the country and good bike routes is also amazing! They organise bike tours and rent out bikes – Toby can even buy you a bike and have it ready to ride away and will buy it off you again – or store it when you’re done! You can see more here. My cooling fan has “done it’s dash” after 87,000km so the boys fit me out with a replacement and do Paul’s at the same time.


Jaime and Toby – aroundtheblockmotoadventures.com

Worst Food

We have been travelling for several hours on a remote mountain road and it’s well past lunchtime – our stomachs are growling and we are approaching the border crossing with Peru! We are usually “fed and watered” well before we start proceedings so by the time we have exited Ecuador and crossed the bridge – we are really hungry! There are about six food places before the Peruvian customs so we just choose one and have a go at ordering, aware that our hostess is NOT putting up with any lack of Spanish! I ask for the “soup of the day” and Paul orders meat and rice. The soup comes out quickly – it is chicken – lukewarm – but there are beans, pasta, noodles and what appears to be veggies floating around in it! In we go and so far it is going down – until we spy the chicken “foot” – and then realise it’s attached to the whole spindly leg as well!! As the tide goes out I can see other “unmentionables” and can’t go on – so I push it towards Paul and he has a “go”! He thinks one of the “parts” could be the chicken’s heart so he gives in as well! No photo is necessary – the image is still “right there” in my head

On Two Wheels

Crossing the border in to Peru we meet Kalil from Israel and Hans from Holland – who met working in the States and have come through Central and now South America over several months. (You can read their stories here). We head off in different directions but discover we are in the same town the following night – so we hook up for dinner and beers! It was great to chat with these two like-minded individuals and who knows – we may cross paths again!!



Story of the Week

We are on an open highway in Peru – carving it up at around 130km/h and clocking up some miles. On a huge sweeper I “take” a truck on double-yellow lines – as you do – and up ahead are a couple of cops with bikes. One comes out onto the road and flags me down – hello hello – am I done for speeding or the overtaking manouevre?! It seems it’s about the double lines but he starts saying he wants some “dollares” and I tell him to just write me out a ticket which I will take to a bank. Then he asks for my “permiso” and “seguro” (temporary vehicle permit and insurance) and I point to my “esposo” sitting on the bike ahead waiting for me. The other cop gets on his bike and goes and “gets” Paul! The officer wants me to sign a blank ticket – with none of my details on it – or pay some dollars! At this point I whip out my phone and take a photo of his name badge and tell him we will phone Lima and tell them about him. Immediately he hands all the paperwork back to Paul and shakes his hand with a big smile. Then he hands my licence back and shakes my hand and tells us we can go!! NB: All of these conversations are in English on my part and Spanish on his with neither of us understanding each other at all!


Constable A. Trujillo – doing his best to rip off a gringo!

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  1. Aynsley February 27, 2016 at 1:42 am

    Lima was certainly a very crazy taxi ride for us and I can’t imagine trying to navigate through that on a bike and try to keep track of each other to boot! I would say your decision for a beach was a smart one!

    • Lee February 28, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      Hey Cuz! Yes, but now we have to go in to La Paz for bike maintenance!! Some guys we met in Ecuador are stuck there with one broken bike so will be catching up with them! Where’s your next holiday?! xxxx

  2. scott February 18, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Wow Lee Great blog! Well done giving to the coper got to watch the F@&kers!!

    • Lee February 18, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Thought you’d like that one mate!! Hey, you doing the “big” ride in May?

  3. Linda from Tucson February 18, 2016 at 5:57 am

    Hello Paul & Lee!
    Jeff & I so look forward to your blog and love your adventuresome spirit. While in Peru, make sure to eat some “anticuchos” de corazón (Incan word for marinated beef heart). It’s still my favorite food on the planet, ever since living there as a foreign exchange student in high school. The guinea pig & iguana are delicious too, but the tender, spicy anticuchos are divine.

    • Lee February 18, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Hey Linda and Jeff! Will certainly look out for the anticuchos – thanks for the tip! We’re both not sure we can “do” the guinea pig!!

  4. Beverley February 18, 2016 at 4:41 am

    It sounds like you are still on your game…well done with the cop. That mud didn’t look too good but presume you made it fine. Take care and safe travels.

    • Lee February 18, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Hey Bev! Since the “deviation” in Mexico that brought us back to Tucson – I don’t “do” mud anymore! Lost my confidence a bit and the repercussions are too big!! Paul gets me over them with those long, lanky legs! Waiting on parts so a couple of days off and some wifi!! Then we head for the beach again… xxxxx

  5. Nick Monaghan February 18, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Tash and I got engaged in Huarez! (at 4,800m) Special place for us.

    I remember the tough roads through Peru and Bolivia!

    Also you can let Paul know I didn’t use the urinal in Colombia but I did nearly use the one all in the open in the Pool Hall.

    • Nick Monaghan February 18, 2016 at 3:19 am

      **Huaraz not Haurez!

      (Haha, very special!)

    • Lee February 19, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      So now we can relate to the setting for that big moment in your life! The Andes are pretty magical. Lee and I were wondering how you “nearly use” a urinal though….

  6. The Koffee Baron February 18, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Every time I read your blog, I start wishing away the months until I can get back to my bike and continue my journey south into Mex/Ctrl. America. I will definitely pick up some of the places/routes you have visited so you can read all about them again in July-October. Love your work!

    • Lee February 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks Alex! Will look forward to reading your adventures very much!! We’re in very capable hands currently waiting on new fans from Lima! The bikes are just starting to get “tired”!! Keep in touch xx

  7. Kelly Carter February 18, 2016 at 2:59 am

    That “worst food” soup reminds me of a time i got some eggs of a neighbour and boiled them. When i went to crack and peel them, one was a chicken. Given that i have a bird phobia it did not go down well at all! I think you did bloody well to continue eating the soup after you spied the foot!

    • Lee February 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Man, that could almost put you off boiled eggs for life!! Do you still eat them?

  8. Hilda Pye February 18, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Great photos again and am so glad I am not riding those mud slides – even on a push bike! You guys will love Peru – they have amazing food – and yes, they love their food!! There are some amazing restaurants in Lima – and lots of chicken and guinea pigs on the menu! Try the cocktail – Pisco Sour – each Sth American country reckon they invented it but the ones I tried in Peru were amazing.
    Make sure you acclimatise in Cusco – Lee you will love that town. And I am sure Paul will find the engineering of Macchu Picchu a challenge even to his thinking mind!! Have fun and take it all in and stay safe xox

    • Lee February 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Hey Hil, we’re giving Lima a big, wide berth – too much traffic for overland motorcyclists! Will definitely try the Pisco Sours – we seem to be in quite a “dry” area – no-one seems to drink – or smoke! Most of the local restaurants don’t even have beer! Heading down to the beach from here…can’t help ourselves!! xxxxx

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