what is the difference between a buffalo and a bison?
Even though I went to bed at 10.30pm I still not did get up till 9am the following day must be more tired than I thought. Sun was up looks like it is going to be another hot one. Packed up slowly enjoying the sun and went to pay my camping fees turned out that the 37 CAD included tax which took a bit of the pain out of the price. Hit the road with first stop you guessed it Tim Horton’s for breakfast the usual. Planned to do a long day in the saddle but it turned out shorter than planned. I stopped in Cochrane where I had heard about a polar bear sanctuary where you could swim with them (comment in the same pool but thick glass wall dividing humans (dinner) from the polar bears) Unfortunately it was closed as all the old polar bears had died and they had just got one new one who was being acclimatised to its new surroundings. I was chatting to the girl on reception when she says there he is so got a glimpse and few photos from a distance I tried to persuade her to let me and have a look around but I couldn’t swing it.
I went to the library to use the free Internet to scope out this evening’s accommodation and check my mail. When I hit the road again the weather had changed and in no time it was pissing down quick pit stop to get wet weather gear on but I was well soaked by the time I could pull over and get my kit out. Temperature also dropped significantly. I hit Hearst at around 5 pm and I had heard from here it was about 200km to next bit of civilisations so I decide to call it quits for the night (Moose on the road at dusk) as I was cold and wet and had spotted a sign for a special offer at Howard Johnson motel so I am having an evening of reasonable luxury why because I can ;-). A one horse town but I found a local cafe and had a huge dinner of souvlaki I am glad of the extra inches on me new jeans they are going to be filled very quickly at this rate.
The driving scenery is not so interesting but still having a giggle as I have a big smile every time I see the huge American trucks, the school buses and when I see huge freight train going past all of this is fascinating to me and the fact that even though mundane it all so different for me so having a chuckle to myself as I tootle along.
What do we need to stop for this time?
Waiting for the road to be cleared.
A short run to Cusco Alex and Andrea where couch surfing and I had a name of a hostel so a late start. The problem is that I have lost my ability to sleep in so was up and awake by 8am and we had agreed to leave at 10am so I went for some breakfast on my own and had a lasagne and a meat pasty and a cup of milky coffee (please note I had no supper last night so I was starving Marvin) Back to the hotel where I borrowed a hammer as I had to fix my panniers that had taken a beaten over the last couple of weeks. Twice I had hit a wall going through the narrow roads they have for motorcyclists at the toll booths and I hit a motorcycle taxi a couple of days ago in traffic all with the right pannier. Yesterday I noticed that the lock was no longer connecting so it needed adjusting as it had been knocked out of place and today I was going to knock the dent out and try and seal the hole that had been made as the panel had taking a large shunt so I am happily banging away at my pannier with a large hammer with my bike parked in a hotel lobby. I sort of seal the gap it will need some taping as well. By this time A&A where up so I decided to go and have breakfast with them as well (I had just a coffee which turned out to be bloody expensive) while they where eating there breakfast I decided to do an autopsy on my middle set of gloves. My summer gloves had holes in them and my middle gloves which I have had for years where no longer fitting well the lining had become twisted making it difficult to get them on and of and the little finger never felt right so I decided to change these from middle to summer gloves by cutting out the lining. They’re where two linings a waterproof layer and a cotton layer that I kept whole so that I can use these as extra layer in these gloves or in my winter gloves if it really get cold. So I have a new set of summer gloves without holes in them they are still covered with lots of glue from the lining but this will soon be gone after wearing them for a couple of days so I had salvaged some extra usage out of these gloves. Why not buy some new ones you ask well gloves are like shoes they are horrible to wear when new and get better with age and usage better in the sense of comfort rather than practicality as they leak and have holes in them but are dam comfortable so I find it difficult to get rid of them and get new ones.
Preparing for bad weather always draws an audience it was pissing down 5 minutes later
So a productive morning and another nice run into Cusco except it decided it was going to rain on us. So out with the wet weather gear and Alex was leading at a slow and sensible pace as the road had turned greasy and muddy and as he had his prize possession on the back (His Computer 🙂 no I mean Andrea!) he was taking no risks which suited me fine as I was not happy pushing it to hard in conditions like this either.
Wet wet wet!
stopped at a Market looking for a sheepskin for A & A
We found the Hostel thanks to the GPS sort of but they where full but then they were not it was a bit strange but I had a bed for the night and a place for the bike after riding down a steep wooden ramp (remember awkward parking places not looking forward on getting out of this one). It turns out that the place is full tomorrow so I can only stay one night but I can come back on Sunday preferably Monday so I needed a plan. So after chatting to a French bloke the plan was to leave Daisy at the hostel and get the bus and train to Machu Picchu and stay there a couple of nights and then come back and spend another day in Cusco.
I had a quick wander around town and then back to the Hostel chatting with some other bikers as this was one of those biker gathering spots looking for info on the road ahead and swapping tall stories as that what bikers do (not me of course as I have no tall stories!)
Bed is me alone in 6-bed dorm still confused about the place being full maybe he did not like the look of Alex 🙂 who was not even planning on staying there anyhow!
Back in the mountains again yeah!
Back on the road again, but first another great breakfast in the sun in the courtyard. I had to get the bike out of the courtyard up a wobbly ramp into a seriously busy road. I managed this but for some strange reason my nerves and bottle today are totally shot. I am as nervous as hell on the bike, which is weird seeing as I have ridden 45,000km and today my bottle has gone. So I made my way carefully into the Cusco traffic it felt like everyone wanted the piece of road that I happened to be occupying at that moment. I guess that guy’s accident and all the tall stories had got to me so how do I resolve this? So my solution which is a really blokey type resolution. Get aggressive so before you know it I am blaring my horn at anyone and anything that dares comes near me and effing and blinding shouting at all the taxi drivers and bus drivers that seem to be driving aimlessly all over the road. Not that this has any effect on there driving but makes me feel better and slowly my confidents returns and before you know it I am clear of Cusco back in the mountains back in the groove as there is less traffic once you clear city limits.
Love it outside of the towns and cities!
Destination is Puno its gorgeous except it decides to rain again on and off so on with the wet weather gear and warm gloves on as I have some seriously high passes to get over. A great ride even in the wet scenery is stunning even though sometimes I had no feeling in my fingers from the cold. I finally hit a town called Juliaca, one word to describe this place “shit-hole”. It was awful and the roads the worst I have seen on this trip it was like driving on the surface of mars the whole ring road (I am guessing this is a ring road) had been dug up and then left. Huge potholes and as it had raining so the potholes full of water so huge puddles of which you had no idea how deep they where so I tried to go round them but this was not always possible and this would be just about manageable on your own but as this was a town your loony motor taxi’s and crap bus and taxi driver’s all trying to weave there way through this mayhem throw in all the pedestrian’s into the mix and I must say this was my worst experience of the trip so far and I made myself a promise that I would not come back this way. A short run into Puno which was not much prettier than Juliaca so I am already not liking it I was expecting a nice town on the shores of lake Titicaca not this brown blot on the landscape. I found the hotel I was looking for and checked in the usual hassle with the Internet (not working) and then I went for a walk to see if I could find the positive in this town. I walked down to the lake where they’re where 100’s of tour boats for the trips to the various reed islands. I am in tourist hell mmm not looking good so go for some dinner and back to my room where there is a note from Alex and Andrea who are in town to but I missed them for dinner I will try and touch base with them in the morning.
My idea of tourist hell these boats full of folks gawping at other folks!
So its decision time do I do one of those tours and go and see those floating reed islands or do I head for Arequipa and get my tyres sorted. Easy decision really I had no desire to go on mass organised boat trip to gawp at some folk living an alternate lifestyle that was probably practical originally but my guess is that now its purely for the tourist $ so I am heading back into the mountains I may regret this decisions but I did not fancy being a tourist for the day. Another decision I need to make is whether or not to go to Bolivia or not and that means coming back via Lake Titicaca or figuring out another route. A & A are in town as there is a Bolivian Consulate here and they need a visa so if successful they are going through Bolivia me I will decide in Arequipa once I have sorted me tyres.
Blumenau in the Rain
Todays destination is a Germanic town of Blumenau that Jake had told me about all I know is that there is a huge beer festival every year biggest in the world after Munich and allegedly lots of pretty girls. Not to far so no hurry to leave weather dull and overcast as I leave Curitiba it sort of try’s to rain all day but not enough to put my waterproofs on but damp and greasy in places.
I am heading for a Posada I had the address of and just as I find the place after riding around in ever decreasing circles its starts to rain. I checked in and I was debating on how long to stay as I had no idea what there was to do in this place. There was a mini beer festival, which was starting today which is the universe way of taking the piss out of Philly as he had decided to stay dry till he gets home 😦 lady at the hostel is not sure she has space for tomorrow night so I book in for one night and go for a wander and it is really pissing down. I walk around in the rain for a couple of hours and I am piss wet through I am sure this may be a nice town but in this weather not that attractive a nice modern cathedral and German looking buildings dotted all over the place. I get in to ruck about 50 cents on a bill for a pasty and a coke I had so I am still in a looking for a ruck kind of mood or maybe I was just soaked and tired and sick of getting screwed even if its only for 50 cents so what has happened to the relaxed chilled out Philly it looks like he still hiding I need to drag him out or its not going to be a very nice couple of weeks. I headed back to the Posada soaked to the skin by now and I was going to take a look at the beer festival but it was to far to walk in this weather and the temptation to fall of the wagon and go on a serious bender was there and I am not sure that is the wisest move at this moment 🙂
I spent the evening trying to get my kit dry and reading I have started a new book as part of the lets get Phill to slow down and relax campaign John Grisham novel so not so taxing and easy reading.