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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 490 Wednesday August 27, 2014

The adventure is now Huanchaco, Peru. Last Thursday I left Vilcabamba and rode to Macara where I departed Ecuador and entered Peru. The border between Ecuador and Peru at Macara is very laid back, the border officials on both sides are friendly and it took just over a hour at the border and I was riding again. Peru, west of the Andes, is all desert...actually much of the western coast of the Americas, from California to Chile, is desert. The roads that I have ridden on so far have been quite good and many fuel stations here offer four choices of octane levels of gasoline, from 87 to 98. It is quite a thrill riding a 100 horsepower bike at sea level with 98 octane fuel. The Triumph has developed the first problem it has had in 65,000km. It appears a spring in the gearbox has failed and the shifter will not return to the neutral or stand-by position. I have ridden about 300km since the problem takes a two step method to downshift...I must lift the shifter to the stand-by position then down to the next lower gear while upshifting is much less a hassle as gravity returns the shifter to the proper position. I have rigged a bungey from the frame to the shifter and I hope this will make riding easier. I have contacted the Triumph dealer in Lima and they have told me bring it should be no problem to repair and I will take it there next week for service.

These are photos of a visit to the museum and archeological site of the Moche culture near Trujillo. The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru with its capital near present-day Moche and Trujillo, from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state. Rather, they were likely a group of autonomous polities that shared a common elite culture, as seen in the rich iconography and monumental architecture that survive today.

There are several theories as to what caused the demise of the Moche political structure. Some scholars have emphasized the role of environmental change. Studies of ice cores drilled from glaciers in the Andes reveal climatic events between 536 to 594 AD, possibly a super El NiƱo, that resulted in 30 years of intense rain and flooding followed by 30 years of drought, part of the aftermath of the climate changes of 535–536. These weather events could have disrupted the Moche way of life and shattered their faith in their religion, which had promised stable weather through sacrifices.

For security reasons photos were not allowed in the Museo Huacas De Moche where many of the treasures from the site are on display. The Peruvian government did not gain control of this site until 1991. Before then the site had been looted for many years.

This is the Peruvian Hairless Dog which is a breed with its origins in Peruvian pre-Inca cultures. In Peru the dogs are kept at national site like this one to help maintain the breed and for display.

These are mud bricks each with different markings. Probably groups were required to furnish bricks for construction of the pyramids and temples and each group had it's own marking system.

This is one of the tomes that have been found in the small pyramid that was discovered in the past few years. The small pyramid had seven built on top of the other. The first two levels have worn away due to erosion and looting.

This is Andres from San Paulo, Brazil. He is riding his BMW R1200GS from Brazil to Los Angeles, California.We met in northern Peru and chatted for 15 minutes before heading of separate ways.

These are photos taken in and around Huanchaco where I am staying.

These are caballitos de totora which are reed watercrafts used by Peruvian fishermen for the past 3,000 years.  Named for the way they are ridden, straddled ('little reed horses' in English), fishermen use them to transport their nets and collect fish in their inner cavity. The name is not the original name as horses were not introduced to South American until after the Spanish arrived in the 15th Century. They are made from the same reed, Scirpus californicus, used by the Uros in the Lake Titicaca region.
Fishermen in the port town of Huanchaco famously, but in many other locations practically, still use these vessels to this day, riding the waves back into shore, and suggesting some of the first forms of wave riding. There is currently a minor debate in the surfing world as to whether or not this constitutes the first form of surfing.

A fisherman baiting crab baskets.

I am thinking of leaving Huanchaco on Friday and heading for Lima. I am planning to enter Lima on Sunday...usually less traffic than during the week. More will be revealed...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 479 Saturday August 16, 2014

Since my last post I have left Banos and reentered the Amazona Region of Ecuador. I went through Puyo and on to Macas where I spent one night. From Macaas I traveled to Cuenca in one day. The roads in the jungle are quite good. Which is not surprising to me, since I think Ecuador has the best roads overall of all Latin American countries I have visited. I stayed in Cuenca for three weeks. The city is beautiful, safe and has the feel of a town much smaller than 500,000 inhabitants. There are many expats in Cuenca including 3000 to 5000 Americans at anytime of the year. I made contact with some Americans the first morning and was invited to a regular Wednesday morning breakfast which I attended while there. I had contacts from people that I met in Salinas so I was never bored there. The city has more museums, for a town that size, than any I have visited and I went to many of them. My only complaint with Cuenca is the weather. It is often cold, windy and raining. It is not unusual to not see the sun for days. Many of the American expats there are from the the weather is like being at home for them.

I reunited with Susan and Scott Nelson in Cuenca and yesterday we rode from there to Vilcabamba where I plan to stay one week before heading into Peru.

Some photos from my room on the 5th floor of Hotel Italia in Cuenca.

These photos are of Pre-Columbian ruins within the city of Cuenca.

Glen Short, from Australia, and I reunited in Cuenca. I first met Glen in Villa de Leyva, Colombia. Sorry Glen...this the only pic I have of you in Cuenca.

One and a half hours ride north of Cuenca is Ingapirca the largest known Incan ruins in Ecuador.

Some photos taken around Cuenca

This Mark Hansen from Seattle, Washington. Mark is the first person I met when I arrived in Cuenca. Mark had Susan, Scott and I for dinner one evening.

Some photos after leaving Marks while walking back to our hotels.

This the Iglesia de Todos Santos.

My last morning in Cuenca I toured the Panama Hat and Bag Factory. The Panama Hat is and always has been a product of Ecuador. The hats were shipped by the thousands to Panama during the building of the Panama Canal. When then President Teddy Roosevelt visited the canal he wore the hat and the American press core named it the Panama Hat and it has stuck since.

 Susan, Scott and I on our ride from Cuenca to Vilcabamba.

A few shots of my hotel in Vilcabamba.

 Some Photos from the balcony at Susan and Scotts place.

I plan to leave Vilcabamba and enter Peru in five or six days. I will say now that I have enjoyed Ecuador very much. It is a very beautiful country filled with wonderful people. I hope to return one day. More will be revealed.