Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome Home

August 25, 2011

We awoke early again and went back to the cemetery for the view. We sat in silence and just stared. Wow. Returning to the hostel we grabbed some coca tea and headed off for the 15,600 foot pass.

Church during the day, not so creepy

A few grave sites

View from cemetary

We saw more scenic views, and it was awesome to be back on top of the world after being in the jungle for the past two days. The drive down was a blast! The road was curvy, but you could see far enough ahead to make sure there was no traffic, so both lanes were available to dive down into each turn. We stopped and ate at the same lady’s place in the market at Tinke.

Headed back to 15,600

Panoramic at the pass. Sorry I didn´t find this option earlier.

Headed down to Tinke

Awesome grey river

Yes, that is gas being poured into my tank using a bucket

We continued on further into the valley until we were at the foot of the next pass. Instead of climbing, Alex and Gabe decided it would be way more fun to take a 4 hour detour behind the mountains by Cusco and go to Pisac instead. Why not?! So we hopped off the main road onto a one-lane dirt road that passed through remote villages and had spectacular views of the countryside below. Once again, we played the game “don’t look over the edge”. There were some pretty sharp corners and steep drops. But my motorcycle was designed for roads like this and it excelled. We climbed up another set of twistys, this time the elevation rose to about 14,000 feet. We stopped at the top and the wind was ripping through the pass, it almost knocked Gabe’s bike over.

Backroads to Pisac

The Sacred Valley

The last drop was into the Pisac valley. I have been to this city many times with Rustic students, but it was so fulfilling to show up in the plaza on a bike. After a quick bite to eat, Gabe headed to Cusco. Alex and I took off for Ollantaytambo, my destination for the next four months.

Final pass, 14,000 feet

As I pulled into the plaza and parked the motorcycle I knew that a major goal was finally completed. This was my new home. Once again, it was weird to not have students nearby while walking around. But it was not a bad feeling, just the paradoxical one of melancholy happiness as one story that has ended opens the way for the next story’s introduction.

So, thus ended 7 straight days of heavy riding. What an awesome adventure! I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off my time tutoring at the dorm.

Distance: 1400 miles

Location: West coast of Peru to the east border with Brazil back to the Sacred Valley

Total elevation changes: over 110,000 feet

Bike drops: 3

Total 180 degree turns: 645 (ok, estimated but there were so many)

Honestly, planning this trip I wasn’t sure if I could handle 8,000 miles home to Michigan from South America on a dirtbike alone. It is kind of a stretch for a suburban math teacher, and I might not even be here without Jeff telling me to man up. But now it seems very possible. My motorcycle has performed brilliantly, it is a tank. I know I can get on and ride for hours day after day through difficult terrain. We shall see. For now, it’s time to find a room and finally settle down after 2 months of living out of a backpack.

1 comment:

Kate said...

My friend Kristen introduced me to your blog, and I (normally a very wordy person) only have one thing to say: wow. I have a motorcycle and I love to travel, and right now I am completely in awe of what I've read :) Sending you lots of good wishes and waiting to read more.