The Peru Divide Route

Rest day had been long due but the mining town of Oyon was not the best place to stop. We scored some "miner-priced" goodies from the fancy bakery and were off.

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It was a big climb ahead and we passed by more mines. Interesting how they all have planted trees and rock sogns about caring for the ebpnvironment but when they shut down everything is just left to rust and rot.

surprisingly good looking mountain with a little bit of snow

surprisingly good looking mountain with a little bit of snow

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how many trees does it take to off-set ditching several buildings?

how many trees does it take to off-set ditching several buildings?

Some switchbacks up I grabbed onto a slow truck and they stopped to let Sylvain grab as well. Perhaps the left side is a little harder and he let go, me I held onto one of the most unomfortable truck endings, also pedaling as I couldn't solely hold on with my hand. Luckily the guys stopped every 20 minutes to flip sheep back on their feet and let the sheep relieve themselves. Even luckier that the liquids coming out of the truck were not dripping to me...

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Eventually the guys gave me a rubber loop to hold onto! 

yeah thats not water or oil... 

yeah thats not water or oil... 

I had a good hour and a half basking in the half sun waiting for my friend.

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The dark clouds came just when Sylvain did.

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but wait, whats that on the rocks?

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Then bam a mine with a big gate, a shepherd told us its on halt but there was still the looming danger of possibly getting turned back as there were fresh tire tracks.

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I was looking around with excitement, such a view. I was about to ask Sylvain if he wants to camp here when I realized that good water may not be that easy to find.

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instead we descended down to a much warmer attitude of 3900m and set up camp at the baseball court. A man said we should register with the Ronda but we just asked him to trow in a good word for us and let them know two gringos will sleep at the court. It was one of those rare days that the concrete was warmed up from the little sunlight in the evening and it didnt rain so we made dinner outside.

we also doublechecked that there are no nocturnal basketball games or anything funky like that!

we also doublechecked that there are no nocturnal basketball games or anything funky like that!

For the first time in a while, we descended down to 2900m, the valley from above looked big and steep yet the walls were covered with carefully crafted terraces to allow for farming (but it seems that now they are just pastures)

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There was a good breakfast on the bottom of the valley and for a brief moment at 3000m we felt like supermen with all that extra oxygen.

typical morning scene at a little nowhere town

typical morning scene at a little nowhere town

and lunch bubbling in the pot while we got a decent egg and bread and coffee breakfast

and lunch bubbling in the pot while we got a decent egg and bread and coffee breakfast

Low altitude (2900m) donkeys with nice colorful earings

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and it seems that the peruvian secret service has ears everywhere. I need to watch what i say about them burros and horses around here!

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now the funny stuff is that the day before me and Sylvain had lunch at a junction, me thinking that this road would be some peruvian mountain super highway with lots of traffic and considering searching for a way across 2km straight line across a ridge that kind of seemed to have some sort of a trail or something... well. This was the road, highlighted as major highway on open street maps:

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and at every valley where there was a stream, there was life, shy girls spinning alpacka wool and stone homes old and new amidst the typical stone fence corrals

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and then there are our houses. I love roads like that that you can set up next to the road and not worry about cars or anything.

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morning was spent pondering just how and why this road was build if there was nothing up there.

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and then I saw two dogs and a sheep (????) run out of a little house to have a look at me. Then as I waited for Sylvain a little a man walked out and we talked. He lives here alone at 4700m while his family is in the bigger town way down. The houses are tiny but with a good reason, it warms up very well, I assume mostly by your breathing.

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lima only 170km from here

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the pass was unusually sunny and surprisingly not windy!

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we went down on the long descend ocassionally getting slowed down by some mud. After looking at this funny little house Sylvain went on, I took a photo and it turned out there was a puppy waiting outside. Easy to miss!

alpacka poop can be very... very sticky when wet. My fat tires swell up to like 5.3¨ when covered in it.

alpacka poop can be very... very sticky when wet. My fat tires swell up to like 5.3¨ when covered in it.

can you see the pooch?

I had to protect the little pooch while the chickens tried to rob him of his crackers. What bullies! Maybe that is why he is so skinny.

i literally had to go all karate on them as they would swoop in and grab crackers from the pups mouth!

i literally had to go all karate on them as they would swoop in and grab crackers from the pups mouth!

then some little alpacka showed up and started sucking on my nose and fingers

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on the descend I keep swirling left and right like a drunk man, looking at the giant walls and their amazing textures. Seeming even much grander in the afternoon sun. The photos conver nothing, the videos neither. You need to look at this in person to appreciate the massive pieces of rock, the only place where the Alpackas cant venture!

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After a good descent we chat for a bit and Sylvain is keen on exiting toward Lima from here. To be honest it had been a non-stop and not exactly easy ride and hike-a-bike from Huaraz. A gentle cruise down to lima seems like a good choice. 

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while munching on some tuna and transfering photos, I see a band of burros making their way up the valley

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Me as well, with my visa time ticking down rather rapidly and many nameless passes ahead I wonder about the feasibility of taking a flatter coastal route. As the burros reach us, we shake hands, thats it! Rad to have company for the last 3 weeks but... as the mountains call John Muir......

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Website choices and few journal posts to catch up on

So, somewhere along the way while wasting HOURS on single pre-written blog posts (with images pre-selected) I decided to try switching to wordpress. Squarespace is pretty but working on it with a slow computer is just very bad. No auto save options and at 3 seperate clicks and waiting to add a single image its tedious and slow. Previous engines of Squarespace worked great though... So not quite sure, as moving would involve significant amount of work AND likely I will love a lot of the past blog/page content when I opt for the free version for Squarespace. So for now, new posts will continue to appear here. More likely done in bulk when I am able to find a decent computer.

Some stuff you may have missed, that is on the wordpress website (all opens in new window):

Cordillera Blanca

The three Gringos and the Rain

Video: STW23 (more info, tracks, youtube playlist)

Huayhuash trek (east side)    -- not in my wildest dreams can I manage to get such a long post here on squarespace for example.

Colombia: Narino

One more province to go in Colombia but despite my best efforts to go faster, there would be no time to zig zag around before my visa expires.

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my friends from yesterday left me with these nice fruits, i dont know what they are called but they are delicious!

my friends from yesterday left me with these nice fruits, i dont know what they are called but they are delicious!

Its time to pump up the tires and hit the tarmac, time to be a highway hero!

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As is typical it is nearly impossible to keep low profile in Colombian towns, gone are the days where I was a gringo now it is all questions, mostly about wether or not I have a motor!

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There was a nie hotel for $9 but they did not let me wheel the bike in the room. I dont think I have ever spent a night away from the bike.

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Luckily the other one did not mind.

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And the best part, a pile of fries and game of thrones!

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Few hours of climbing and I knew how the rest of the day will look like. Down to 1400m or so and back up to 3200ish.

just over that huge mountain on the far side...

just over that huge mountain on the far side...

Colombia is working on a strict share-the-roadprogram: "share the road with rocks"

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And once on the Panamerican highway I was happy to know fathorse is in good hands while I am not looking.

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One could argue about that but on a tarmac, if you can get a hold of a truck its a fair game. Although to be honest, probably not the safest of practices... I zoomed up at least 800m vertical behind an empty truck, moving quite fast. 

hitting the rock bottom!

hitting the rock bottom!

Highway dogs remind me of mexico, scared and shy and always surprised if you feed them.

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This bugger trotted behind me for a bit, a little confused of what had happened.

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Roof dogs always have this altitude, thinking they are above everyone else but once I started howling, we were buddies. Then I kind of realized people were looking at me...

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It could be the panamerican but you still need to move those cows A to B.

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Despite the sundown, I decided to keep going to Pasto. A Burger sounded like a good idea. 

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I booked it past the no cyclists sign after an army truck at first the soldiers pointing to the guy from the booth who is whistling and chasing me. Then all the soldiers start cheering so I keep pedalling and well without the tunnel I wont make it to Pasto today...

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Turns out the highway does a half circle on a hilly route around town and by the time I get there its dark and I truly appreciate the ride, due to safety concerns I have almost never ridden in the dark in Latin America. Its july 19 and its colombian independence day.

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Sadly the verdict for the sony camera and the scratched lenes is "better to by a new one" and no luck fixing the gopro lcd screen which stoppedworking after a dip in a river. The sony actioncam is also in bad state and cant be turned off. After I record a video i need to manually open the door and shut it off.

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Over 3 days, 4 burgers, 2 papayas and 3 mangoes I manage to finish off the 20th episode for colombia and it is one more day to Ipiales and Ecuador.

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I catch a semi out of town for a short climb but no luck on the final climb out of thevalley. The petrol truck was simply weird to hold and dangerous and another gravel one I cought was just too fast. Climb was easy and I had time to record some questions and answers for a new video.

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All shipping companies seem to have an outrageous $50 rate to send my old passport back but with some talking we managed to do it for 5 and wrap it in carbon paper so they cant xray it. Bite me UPS!!! Servientrega and Deprisa too!

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did you read the fine print? "your packages are inspected for security by x-ray and canine anti-explosive biosensor"
aka, a yellow lab in a police uniform will sniff your box!

(and yes, if you are wondering, he does like the belly rub!)

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All done, right? Nope!
At migracion Colombia I get a math lesson. I am one day over and the minimum fine is $150. 
Despite what you would expect, it is colombia after all. After some waiting and talking the guy says that they dont have the exact time of the day I arrived at Colombia so technically its okay.
Stamp. Shake hands. Ok. Ecuador!

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