I pulled into the town of San Ignacio Peru just at Dusk this evening. Christmas eve I spent camped on the side of the road in a torrential downpour at 8000' while trying to get over this unknown pass but didnt make it... Lets see. Since Vilicabamba on the map looked like a pass then down a long river valley to a border crossing. It has been much much harder than I would have imagined. That first day leaving vilicabamba had over 6000 ft of climbing all up one valley then dropping into another, repeat. Christmas day was an interesting one, started out reaching that big pass then dropping like a bat 6000ft down into the Oriente again in a torrential rainstorm turning the road to craziness. So after passing a few smaller villages who I dont think have ever seen a gringo bike touring.. (this is the most seldom used border crossing) started following this long and huge river valley, but it was again anything but downhill. I jumped in the bed of a truck on one because it was so steep. Temps were warm as they are here, misty rain but warm, and that amazon like rich brown mud and vibrant greens vegation.. just like cinnamon bay.
This whole time I'm feeling my bad knee acting up a bit and dont want to climb any more than I need to. Just as I think I'm to Zumba i pass through another village with a soccer game going on in the street. and am crushed by the sight of another huge valley to descend and a huge 2500 ft climb up the other side...oh well, at the bottom on the bridge crossing the river I stop to contemplate life and sure enough, my christmas present arrives.
Three great guys in a pickup drive up and are totally psyched to see me, and I immediately take them up on a ride. we round a corner to another village, where along with the donkeys,chickens and guy hacking up animal parts with amachette for the grill, are beers! The four of us shot the shit in the first sun of three days and replenish my carbo supply. Two of them were actually civil engineers and one an operator. so it was funny, that we were collegues.. So we then proceeded to make short work of the hill on the otherside and Pulled into Zumba at dusk, and found a $3 room..Zumba was quite the frontier town. It was sunny for 15 minutes then rained hard non stop until I left today. I've learned that the maps lie. What was 11 km on themap was over 15 miles and took me over 3 hours to get to the border. The road is sledom used and absolutly horrible. Washed out, rockfall, landslides, cobbled hell, and mud. I walked pretty much all the climbs.Anyway bla bla. said screw it and got in a taxi at the border for a hour long rally race in a toyota tercel wagon along more crazy and muddy roads to San Ignacio. I think Im going to put off biking more until I get back into the highlands again. The terrain and roads here are very very hard, and the mud will kill my bike if I keep at it. Probably on a buss to Jaen tomorrow.
Lots of love!