THE MACHU PICCHU ADVENTURE (Peru): From Cuzco to Machu Picchu and back

30 05 2009

Plan on going to Machu Picchu someday? Don´t do it like this…

Day 1

Said goodbye to my German buddies Sepp and Martin, who had to return to Alemania.

Climbed a good climb over a ridge to exit Cuzco, then a good downhill on the other side. Fantastic paved road, not a lot of traffic, slow easy climb until a small town with ruins. I skipped the small ruins determined to arrive at the grand daddy asap.

From the town with the ruins there is a short climb and then a HUGE downhill, maybe 20 kilometers?. This downhill covers a good portion of the day’s ride and makes the ride from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo a relatively easy 70-to 80-kilometer day.

After a few kilometers of dirt roads between Chilca and a town simply called Kilometro 82 I found a family to lock my bike in a closet for 5 soles, or 1.30. Talked about the possibility of walking to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu, from 82. Locals said it’s a 5-7 hour walk, so basically a marathon. Igual. I had to get there, and I couldn’t afford the gringo train.

I had plans to wake up at 4am and run the last section along the tracks, but some locals said i might as well try to get on the Peruvian train tonight just to see what happens. After all, they reminded me, I’m not just a tourist. This tour is volunteer work AND I was robbed, so the employees might cut me some slack and let me on for the $1.50 local price without paying the $30-something tourist price tag each way… it was worth a try.

I kept my head down as I tried to board the first train so they couldn’t see my blue eyes. The dark skinned people in front of me got on the train no problem, no ID check. I was stopped at the door. I begged and pleaded and explained my heart out. No.

90 minutes later I kept my head down as I tried to board the second train. They must not have seen my blue eyes. I sat down, kept my head down. The doors shut and the train started to move! You can’t back a train up; I was on my way to Machu Picchu! But there were problems. Read the rest of this entry »


Southeastern Peru: Puno to Cuzco, Peru

19 05 2009

Journal Updates Coming Soon!

LAKE TITICACA: From La Paz, Bolivia to Puno, Peru

13 05 2009

Friday May 8, 2009 

La Paz to Patamanta: 40 kilometers Returning from the hot, humid Amazon lowlands up to a cold, dry Altiplano winter. This after 6 weeks of gorging a stretched belly, but excercizing like a sloth. How would my legs hold up? What about my lungs? Certainly I had de-acclimated. It’s like starting over again, but it had to be done! Here’s what happened… Said another sad goodbye, this time to my friends in the Madidi Travel office in La Paz. Before I left, though, I did manage to get a photo with the ever elusive Rosa Maria Ruíz. Her story soon to come…

 BIKE MAINTENANCE: After 6 weeks away from Skinny Horse, she needed a bit of work. Changed the chain before I left because the Salar de Uyuni salt flat destroyed it with rust, in addition to a few tools that must have touched some salt. (Advice to cyclists on the Salar: washing your bike with water and a scrubber isn’t enough. Read the rest of this entry »