Monday, November 24, 2014

Nevado Mismi.



Off the boat and on the road by about 0930. The roadside scenery, once again, was magnificent. The roads 1st class. My F800GS gave me 28kms/litre at a 65km/hr average. And on shitty 85 octane petrol, with ethanol. Amazing.

All good things come to an end. There had been a massive landslide. The road had been completely cut since 5am. We rode to the head of the line and waited about 1 ½ hours. Our plan to be in Cusco by Sunday was shot.

This has to be one of the all time most scenic rides. Through farmland, jungle, alongside and high above the river. Mostly a tremendous surface, lovely corners. Very little traffic. It doesn't get much better than this.

We hadn't given our Metzeler Karoo 3's a workout on tight, smooth surfaced asphalt corners before. We were surprised how well they hung on. The Metzeler guy in Sao Paulo asked for us to give him feedback. He will be pleased with mine.

There is a serious security problem in this area. I don't think the Government has much control over the highways. We see guys dressed in black, wielding auto shotguns stationed at the side of the road. They are Farmer Vigilantes. They are the good guys. In years gone by, this was prime Shinning Path Rebel territory. Now the good guys run the show. Only problem is they go home to their families at sunset and Bandits have been known to roam. Their tactic is to roll a car across the road. So, we would have to stop. We are prime targets. Finished for the day at 4pm and stayed in a quaint town, Juanjui. Parked our bikes in the photo studio next door to the Hotel. Found a small grotty dump of a restaurant. The food was to die for and the Cusquena Negro beer as good as it gets.

On the road as day broke, headed for Cusco. Today’s ride was one of the best. The Perivians know how to build a fcuking good road. They must have a few motorcyclists in their design department. It was the grouse!

We had planned to ride over a 4,330 metre pass and sleep at a lower altitude. As they say, “best laid plans of mice and men”. Later in the day we were stopped at road works. For two bloody hours. It got cold, and dark. We waited. And waited. Then waited some more. Met some great people though.

Eventually the road opened. We were at the head of the queue. It was like the start of a Dakar Rally, but with cars, bikes and trucks taking off together. What a shit fight, and dangerous, and cold. The two hour queue from the other direction had been let go at the same time as us. We all met going through a large town. Fcuking chaos. It was dark, dust and the surface was shit. All great fun though. We loved it.

Arrived at Pasco and pulled the pin. It was 4 degrees and getting colder. Some new friends from the road block helped us find the best hotel in town. Clean rooms and beds, hot showers and slow internet. Lovely people as well. Our rooms were not heated, Julio and JC's was 6 degrees in the morning! Parked the four bikes in their restaurant. Pasco is a mining town, spread over the top of a mountain. They mine silver, lead and zinc. The joint is a dump.

In the morning Marcelo felt and looked like shit. JC had been talking on the big porcelain telephone most of the night. They had massive headaches, and thought they might be dying. I knew they had AMS. Both still wanted to ride. I pointed out, you can't ride if you can't walk. AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is caused by a lack of oxygen in the air. Riding from 200 metres above sea level to 4,300 in one day was pushing the envelope to far. People have died in under 10 hours. We caught a taxi to the Hospital.

This joint was also a dump. The nurses and doctors the best. Put both our boys on oxygen for a couple of hours. Gave them both a gigantic needle in the arse. Said go back to bed for the day and get the hell out of here in the morning.

JC said he hasn't been to Hospital since he was circumcised. Until this trip. Now he has been 3 times!

We all slept for a few more hours and walked to the local Sunday markets. Marcelo bought a sweat shirt. I think he has worn it 24/7 since.

After dark we walked to a pretty good sort of restaurant near our Hotel. It was 2 degrees and snowing. Decided we wouldn't leave until 0700 tomorrow. It rained all night.

Monday. Bright, sunny and at 4 degrees relatively warm. A great day for riding. The boys felt a lot better. I had lost my appetite, another sign on AMS. Bloody Julio was as fit as a bull.

We rode 260kms to Huancayo. Good roads. Fast riding. We loved it. Our BMW's loved it. This is what we came for.

As we rode into town JC's bike kept cutting out. Each time he managed to re start her. We tried every trick in our limited repertoire. She still wouldn't behave. Even hooked her up to Marcello's computer diagnosis tool. No problems. Decided, as we were less than 400kms from BMW Lima to put her in a truck and all divert to Lima. I liked this idea, as I like Lima.

Found a truck and headed for the big smoke. Only 10.5kms from town and my bike started to play up, 150 metres further and JC's spat the dummy. Julio's went for another 10 or so kilometres then became neurotic. There was only one answer and only one easy solution. Bad fuel and put them all in a truck (or 2 trucks) and head for Lima.

The security guy let us into BMW Lima. Left our bikes and checked into the Hitchikers Backpackers Hostel at Miraflores. This was great place last time I was here and still is. Got to bed at 4am, up at 8 am. Marcelo went to BMW, we played tourist, Julio and I the guides. Met Marcelo for a long and wet Cebiche lunch. As good as it gets. Our bikes were ready to go at 4pm. Eduardo and Julio from BMW told us we had been asking them to run on a mixture of petrol, kerosene and diesel. Not recommended practice.

Lima's traffic is notoriously bad. To avoid it we were gone by daylight. Rode our bikes like we had stolen them. They were running beautifully again. We planned to ride 985kms to Arequipa to meet our film crew.

I had ridden the first few hundred kilometres earlier in the year with Dale and Lindsay so knew what to expect. Stopped at Nazca and climbed a tower for JC to see the Nazca Lines and headed further south.

The road followed the Pacific Coast, most of the time only metres away. The Pacific on our right and sand hills on our left. Little traffic, only the occasional truck. JC and I rode fast. Possibly a little to fast. A young Columbian guy on a 650 V-Strom overtook us. He was riding like he thought he was Cameron Donald. A guy on some sort of Harley tried to keep up. He caught us at a couple of road works. I have never seen a Harley ridden this hard. We played with him for a while, then left him in our dust. This was as good as it gets.

It got dark, the road headed inland. Plenty of trucks and it was cold. To make things more interesting there was a small rain shower. We went from sea level to 3,300 metres in about 200kms. This is another motorcyclists dream road. Absolutely grouse.

Arequipa is lovely. Beth had an excellent Hotel for us. The Flying Dog Hostel. As usual, parked our bikes inside. The guy made us push them in, wouldn't let us ride them in. He must have had a bad experience. Pizza and beer for dinner with Beth and Mariana. They had been to Cusco. It looked like we weren't going to get there this trip.

Next morning we played tourist. This time Mariana our guide. Arequipa is a magnificent city. I could have spent a few days there. Later in the afternoon we rode the 160kms to Chivay. I don't know enough superlatives to describe this ride. Most of the time we were above 4,000 metres, a lot of the time it was around 4,900 metres. The F800GS's lost a bit of power at that altitude. We had them nailed most of the way. JC said we rode to fast. He was probably correct. It was definitely the best.

Metzeler Karoo 3's. Brilliant. They are an off road tire after all. We rode like they were a sports bike tire. Our BMW F800GS' handling, brakes and suspension are superb. This is a perfect combination for this type of trip.

One of the Worlds best road riding trips would be: Lima, Nazca, Arequipa, Chivay, Cusco, Lima. It would take about 2 weeks, with sightseeing and acclimatisation, and I know where to rent bikes in Lima. Anyone interested?

Chivay is quaint. Our Hotel good. Showered and headed for a meal and beers. We were still walking on air. The restaurant had a band playing Andean music, which I love. This had been a special day.

Our film crew arrived by bus at 0530. Beth had arranged a guide, and 4 wheel drive, to take them to Nevado Mismi. We left by 0700. About 20kms of superb asphalt then 26kms of narly, shitty, steep, winding, lovely dirt,sand and gravel track to about 5,250 metres. The scenery was beyond description. We all loved it. What a ride.

At one point I left the track to chase and film some wild Lamas. I tried to take a short cut back, through a not as dry as I thought, swamp. I got fcuking bogged. This is called “getting your ambitions mixed up with your capabilities”. What a dropkick! I tried to get her out. Nearly collapsed from the exertion. Fcuk all oxygen in the air up here. JC came to help. He got bogged, although not as bad. He is a little smarter. Julio had to come and help us both. He didn't get bogged. Must be very smart.

Eventually caught up to the 4X4 and made it to the top. We had to walk about 500 metres, down a bank and clamber across a field of large rocks to Nevado Mismi. We were all stuffed.

I was very surprised to find the water coming out of the cliff froze before it reached the ground. The Amazon River starts off as ice! This was good for us. I gathered some ice and covered our warm champagne bottles with it.

We took photos, did interviews and acted like school kids.Drank icy cold Amazon water and Brazilian champagne. I dropped my dacks and did a good old Aussie moon. Bet I'm the first to do that at the Amazon's scource! Even our guide hadn't been here for 2 years. People seldom come to Nevado Mismi. He thinks we are probably the first motorcycles to come up here. Not even the locals ride up this high. Our guide was the best. He was having fun, and champagne.

The walk back was a killer. The last hill, although not big, was murder. We had our riding gear and boots on. I, and everyone else, were completely buggered when we finally arrived back at the bikes. Almost in a state of collapse. Maybe the champagne didn't help.

I had to ride very carefully for the first part of the trip down. I was to stuffed to ride properly. After we dropped below about 4,500 metres I felt better and enjoyed the ride. At the Hotel everyone else had a siesta. JC thought his head was about to explode and Mariana thought she would hurl her guts up. The poor kid looked completely stuffed. I walked around the town. Eventually, we all seemed to gravitate to the Chivay's main Plaza. Mariana and JC had survived. All was good in our world.

An early dinner, a long interview each and we were all in bed at a respectable hour.

Once again we were on the road before 0700. We climbed to 4,900 metres. JC and I rode like we were teenagers. Dropped down to 3,300 metres and felt good. The bikes had there power back. Up to 4,900 metres and back down to the Amazon. After 22 hours we slept at 300 metres and passed out at 2am. I don't even remember the towns name.

On the road early. We are so far behind we can't hear the band playing. JC has to get back to France for business and I am a week late for work. Julio is meeting his girl in Sao Paulo. This was another great Peruvian road, through jungle and farmland.

I like Peru. I love Peru's roads. I even love Peruvians. This country is road motorcyclist's nirvana.

The Brazilian Border was 400kms. No problems. It was a quick crossing. Helps when you are accompanied by a Portuguese speaker. The first Brazilian town was another 100 odd kms. We arrived after dark. It was such a shitfightI didn't take the time to remember it's name.

We left early for the 200km ride to Rio Branco. Our mate Eduardo, the local Honda dealer was helping arrange to truck our bikes the nearly 4,000kms to Sao Paulo. This will save us 4 days riding. Eduardo sells plenty of bikes, nearly 10,000 per year. That's almost 200 per day. Every day, 7 days a week. I find that hard to comprehend. He is also a keen motorcyclist. One of his mates drove us around town. Even bought us lunch. He was a farmer, reminded me of Ron Campey.These are great guys.

Marcelo tried to book flights to Sao Paulo. All flights were full for 5 days. The only solution was to catch a taxi to the next large town, Porto Velho, 560kms away. This we did. At 1am we caught a 2hr flight to Brasilia, had a 2 hour lay over, then another 2 hour flight to Sao Paulo.

After the 1 ½ hour taxi ride to Marcelo and Beth's we had to have a sleep. Then a swim. Then some beer.

So. That is the end of this trip. Was it good? Fcuk yes. Would I buy a BMW F800GS and fit it with Metzeler Karoo 3 tires? Of course I would. They are a magnificent combination. Did I like my Mormaii jacket and helmet? Yes. I will wear them on my ride to work to work next week.

What about “Smiles”? They are the grouse.

And Marcelo, Julio & JC? Ride with them anywhere, any time. All three were team players and had a fantastic sense of humour. Particularly JC, he has a wicked sense of humour and of the ridiculous. And of course, we all love Beth & Mariana. Miguel is a good bloke a well.

I only hope Marcelo doesn't lose my fcuking phone number before his next project. I have grown fond of being a sponsored rider.

Chris.
xx







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  1. Off the boat and on the road by about 0930. The roadside scenery, once again, was magnificent. The roads 1st class. My F800GS gave me 28kms/litre at a 65km/hr average. And on shitty 85 octane petrol, with ethanol. Amazing.uber black maui alternative

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