May 5, 2010 – May 7, 2010
So, left relatively late to drive to 600 KMs to Cuzco but feel good and bike is running good. The drive to Abancay about 400 KMs was simply amazing. Truly a bikers wet dream. You had freshly paved roads that were immaculate, very little traffic, beautiful crisp and clear day, and constant turns in high mountains with beautiful scenery. The side of tires were worn down much more than the center today. So get into Abancay around 6 and have a decision to make. Stay or head to Cuzco in the dark since it gets dark at 6:30. Weather was clear, feeling good so decided to push on the final 200 kms. Going through the Andes at night again is not one of the smarter things I have done, but assumed the roads would be as good as they were in the afternoon. Big mistake. Roads were crappy and constantly going between asphalt, dirt, rocks, pot holes, road construction, etc. I could not believe they were that bad after the experience I just had. It was very slow going and can't believe I didn't puncture front tire after several epis0des of running into speedbumps, or potholes at speed. I am simply amazed my front rim is not bent or dented either and checked several times. At times the ride was amazing since it was pitch dark, very clear and had a sense of utter solitude. The stars were so vibrant and so odd. None look familiar being in the southern hemisphere and got the sense of how out there I was. I didn't get into Cuzsco until 10 and it got very cold, down in the 40's. Even though I had some of my winter gear out it was still cold and was shivering by the time I made it into Cuzco. Cuzco is actually a big city for this part of the world and very touristy since it is a jumping off point for most people to Machu Pichu. I was here about 7 years ago when I backpacked through South America and wanted to stay in the Hostal I stayed in last time which was in the Plaza del Armas in the middle of the city. I found it with no problem but it had been converted to a hotel by the same name, it was no longer hostal Loreto it was Hotel Loreto and the price reflected that much. Negotiated with them for a bit and got a discount and then took a long shower since was freezing and shivering uncontrollably. What is interesting is the last time I was here in which I was delirious and seeing spots due to altitude sickness. Cuzco is at 11,500 feet and the last time I was here coming from Bolivia I lost it and found myself passing out in the Plaza and a lady at Hostal Loreto took me in and made me a herbal concoction of cocoa leaves and other natural remedies and smeared herbs all over my head. I remember when she was doing this freaking out and demanding being air lifted to lima and passing out a couple of times and feeling wretched. It was bad and since then have been leary of altitude sickness so thought I would be cautious this time. The most amazing thing is at the time I thought I was on my death bed and thought it would take days to recover if I did. Instead woke up the next morning feeling fine and actually walked around the town with no problem. It was all very strange. So here I am the second time freezing and feeling light headed and start thinking great here we go again. Feel much better after the shower and then grab some dinner and getting stronger. Head home and then go to bed.