Day 157 – Trujillo, PE to Caraz, PE

Day 157 – Trujillo, PE to Caraz, PE      01/26/11      Mileage: 157

Before hitting the road south, I rode over to see the archaeological ruins of Chan Chan just north of town. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I decided to also hire a guide to make the most of my time there.

Gustave spent an hour with me showing and explaining the ruins and his services were well worth the extra $$.

Chan Chan was and still is the largest adobe city in the world…

Restoration work in progress….

Gustave demonstrating the acoustic quality of the ceremonial chamber….

  For more info….  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chan_Chan

With that ticked off the to do list, I pointed the KLR south and bombed down the Peruvian coast on the Pan American Highway.

Along the Pan Am south….

My planned route took me through the Canyon del Pato which I had read about and seen pictures of many times when researching this trip…and it was one of the roads that I wanted to ride for sure. It also would lead me to the Cordillera Blanca range of the Andes Mountains…the highest in Peru and second only in height to the range that divides Chile and Argentina further south….another must see. So after about 50 miles of high speed asphalt, I turned off onto the dirt and headed up into the mountains. I could have continued on the pavement, then took the paved road part way up the canyon, but where’s the fun in that, right?

So from near sea level the road steadily climbed higher into the mountains. The dirt road started out as smooth as pavement, but you know that wasn’t gonna’ last. Soon I was getting a steady diet of washboard mixed with parallel ruts from the last time it rained here 600 years ago. Did I mention it was dry and dusty? 😉 As bad as it gets sometimes, it still beats a vacation to Cancun with the masses…and it’s certainly better than work. So with a grin on my face and dust coating my teeth, I pressed ahead up the canyon. About a third of the way up, the dirt road crossed the river to join the paved road…and I’d be lying if said it wasn’t a nice little break from the constant pounding being dished out on the dirt washboard.

But alas, all good things…and pavement…must come to an end, so it was back on the dirt. This is where the Canyon del Pato really starts and what makes it famous with adventure riders.

Soon the road entered a canyon so narrow you’d think you could touch both sides of it with outstretched arms. The road crosses one lane bridges and tunnels one after another….some 40 in all.

The scenery is stunning and the air starts to get noticeably cooler…and thinner…as the road climbs farther up the canyon.

At the top of the canyon, the road mellows and I catch my first glimpse of the snow capped Cordillera Blanca. I’m in awe of the spectacle of mountains so high (over 22,000 ft!), they have a permanent snow cap despite their tropical latitude. Being a die hard skier, the sight of that luscious white snow makes me want to march right up there with my skis and ‘git some! The road turned back to pavement for a few miles and it’s always fun to let the bike run after hours of 2nd gear dirt and washboard. Like the aforementioned pavement, this ride too must end, and for me it ended in the town of Caraz where I found a nice room on the main square.

I quickly showered and did the obligatory walk around to see the town.

I had dinner and some beers at Cafe La Terraza (which was great!) before packing it in…another epic day on the bike.

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2 Responses to Day 157 – Trujillo, PE to Caraz, PE

  1. Arlene says:

    OMG…..how do you know that no one is coming through the tunnels???? The pictures are magnificent. That must of been a hard ride on the bike and your back besides the dust in your mouth.
    Good that you got Gustave because didn’t look like anyone else was there but you. I will have to look up about the stuff you are seeing. Actufally, there doesn’t see to be people on the roads besides you???

    Be safe and well. I still cannot believe what you are doing alone. Love ya, Mom

    • Lenny says:

      Headlight, horn and hope…..that’s how you get through the tunnels! lol

      There were 3 SUV’s from the nearby hydroelectric plant on the road…but that’s it that I saw….it’s a pretty remote road.

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