Friday, August 26, 2011

Best Ride Ever

August 24, 2011

(Remember, click on pictures to see the full size image)

Wednesday morning we set off reasonably early to head back up into the mountains. At the gas station in Puerto, a man came up to me to shake my hand. I immediately listed off the tank size and engine size since that is what everyone always asks me. But he said, “I am from Pallata”. No way!!! That is one of the small villages I worked in last year, two of the girls from the dorm live there. I couldn’t believe he recognized me, especially 9 hours away from the village while wearing motorcycle gear. I told him I would stop by after I moved to Ollanta.

Outside the city, we stopped at “motorcycle city for repairs on Alex’s bike. They adjusted and oiled his chain, replaced a few screws, and fixed a side cover for a cost of $1. Alright.

Repairs in motorcycle city

After that we started the hours of hairpin curves on our climb back up to Marcapata. I’m tired of trying to describe how scenic it was. Going up we could see all the waterfalls, rivers, landslides, cliffs, vegetation, wildlife, and river valleys about twice as well as on the way down. It was the best ride so far.

Just getting started

Don´t exactly have this in Michigan

Plenty more coming

Still in the jungle


Upper jungle, almost out

Cool waterfall


Almost back to 11,000 feet

Finally, we were able to see clouds obscuring the top of a mountain which was the home to Marcapata. The last 20 miles we climbed 3,000 feet into the town. We parked in front of a small hostel near the plaza in the city center, and there was a volleyball game going on right in the middle of the street!

We unpacked, ate dinner, and decided to check out the city. By now, darkness had fallen and the entire town was still inside the clouds we saw from the road. It looked like the best set ever for a horror movie. There was an eerie orange light that blanketed the town. Right in the main plaza was a huge church with a straw covered roof. It was beautiful but creepy looking all at the same time. We then walked up a side road to the top of the town. At the very top, we approached a half open metal gate with a cross on it. It was a cemetery. We walked in, and to our right was the embalming room. The graves were old and deteriorating. They were packed closely together, and we slowly continued to the far end. There, all the gravestones were facing the massive valley below. It was designed so each grave had a stunning view during the afterlife. The 3,000 feet that we climbed just before the city was visible all at once. We could only see the lights of vehicles on the road, but couldn’t wait until the following morning when it would all be lit by the sun.

Creepy/beautiful church

Streets of Macaparta at night

After thinking of writing a screen play for a horror movie (D. Miles Martin, you interested?) we headed back and were asleep by 8:00 pm.

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