Hard Week

Its been one of those weeks were I have been dealing with things that need to be solved. Non fun stuff. Then of course its not just dealing with the item itself but also the knock-on consequences.

I arrived into Lima with a couple of things to fix or replace: my computer wifi card, a new rear tyre and to fix again the occasional cuts out when the engine is not in acceleration. A repeat of the issue I had in Medellin.

First of all I was glad to dealing with the above in a beautiful city which I had no idea was so big – population 11m. I spent one afternoon visiting various electronic repair shops before giving up. Either they did not have the parts, could not do it or I just went to the wrong stores. So I have been visiting internet cafes for the past ten days.

On Wednesday evening I started to write up my Ecuadorian blog which I would upload using a USB stick. I had to stop immediately as the top line of letters on the keyboard do not work. El Repairman did not put the bits and pieces back together correctly. Mare. Not sure when the next blogs will come as I usually write them in bed or in a cafe. And internet cafes do not count. Dont (excuse hyphen absense, key not working) know when they stopped serving coffee or if they ever did.

As for the bike. Its running smoothly again. Apparently dirty oil and something wrong with the electrics. Well thats what I thought the mechanic said, cost Euro140 including an oil and air filter change. Tested it fully and 600kms south of Lima and its all good. Bad news on the tyre though.

As expected, there is a two to three week lead time on delivery. I cannot wait that long. Admittedly this caught me by surprise. I expected the tyre I bought in Costa Rica would get me to Santiago as they usually last 10K km. Clearly the road surfaces were harder going than I suspected. I decided to drive onward as a new tyre should be awaiting for me in Antofagasta, north Chile.

Now todays bad news. I am now in the city of Ayachua which is just under half way to Cuzco. The base from which people visit Machu Picchu. The first 450km on my eastward drive were fantastic. Amazing mountain scenery with good roads and altitudes of over 4,700m. I expected to finish the second leg today but had to turn back after only 35km. The major road (S3) from Ayachua to Andahuaylas (260km) is 60% dirt track. I never thought to check as its clearly a main artery on both Google and Garmin maps. I returned to Ayachua to consider my options.

Even though my bike is not made for clay road I would have risked the journey if my tyres were relatively new. However I cannot risk the tyre coming apart in the Andes and then having to wait 2-3 weeks for the tyre. So now I have to redo the same 450km I did yesterday before heading south. I hate backtracking. A complete waste of time these last three days. Yesterday and tomorrow being full days on the bike.

So now I have to decide about Machu Picchu. Once I hit the coast tomorrow evening the following options are on the cards:

1. Drive two days from Nasca to Cusco. Of course I will have another two days drive back to the pacific coast. This can be broken via a different route. However still four days in the saddle which will push my balding tyre further.
2. Drive south to Arequipa in one day and take a flight to Cuzco. Will be a couple of hundred euros but I will save gas and hotel costs were I to drive.
3. Skip Machu Picchu on this trip. I expect to return to both Ecuador and Peru in the near term.

Would welcome any advice you might have. Also, please send me some good news as I need cheering up to face this drudge drive tomorrow.

Thanks for listening, I feel a little better already.

Good night.

Al x
12 August 2011