While I was in Lima I got sick. It wasn’t horrible, but I definitely had some kind of sickness that wasn’t getting better. I waited a few days and finally decided to push on. The ride over the Andes proved to be quite a challenge. It was cold and windy, the roads were covered in oil, the cliffs steep, and there wasn’t a lot of air to breath.
Lima to Puquio
Un Ptit Vélo Dans la Tête
As I was riding through the desert I was stunned to see a family riding along on bicycles. I had to meet these amazing people. I stopped the bike, turned around, and said “hello”. Unfortunately they didn’t speak any english and I don’t speak any French. We were able to communicate with gestures and by pointing at maps. I later learned that the family was on an around-the-world journey. You can read all about it (in French) by clicking here.
While trying to take a closer look at the Nazca lines I met Nick, the nicest guy on two wheels. We met at the top of a viewing platform, from our vantage point it looked like some little kids had carved some lines in the dirt with shovels. I didn’t want to spoil the experience for Nick so I kept my opinions to myself. Nick looked out and chuckled and said, “I’m sure they look better from the plane.” Instant friends.
He was riding a tiny Honda knockoff that he’d bought in Colombia. He was riding to Buenos Aires. We kept bumping into each other as we rode to Cusco. He was such a great guy!
Top of the World
Nick and I were able to stop along the way and take some photos of the mountains. The ride was absolutely spectacular despite the cold. I definitely want to return and see it again when it’s warm.
Puquio to Cusco
The next day was cold, so very, very cold. By the time I got up and out Nick had already left the tiny hotel we’d found the night before. I was riding solo and was thankful that I had my heated vest and heated grips. I was getting pretty cold and started looking for coffee. I was about to riding through a tiny town trying to find coffee when I spotted Nick’s bike. I found Nick trying to warm up in a small shop.
Doing some serious character building today.
It was so cold that Nick’s bike handles had frozen over. Nick had no heated vest, and no heated grips. He was wearing about 8 layers of shirts, sweaters, and bike coat. We didn’t find any coffee, but the shop owner offered us some very tasty hot chocolate, it may have been the best hot chocolate of my life.
Nick and I sat and chatted about the ride for a while, during which Nick said one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard, “Doing some serious character building today.” Here’s a guy who is nearly freezing to death and his attitude is nothing but spectacular. I think it was worth the ride just to meet Nick.
Nick and I agreed to meet at Norton’s Bar in Cusco. I’m not sure what happened, but Nick was not there at the time we agreed to meet. Maybe I got it mixed up, perhaps he broke down along the way. Sadly, we just assumed we’d see each other in Cusco and didn’t exchange contact information. So I don’t know what happened to Nick or if he made it to Buenos Aires.
Nick – if you’re reading this let us know what happened!
More Photos From the Road
The scenery was just fantastic. The curving roads, massive sky, and towering mountains are indescribable. As so many people have said in the past, you just had to be there. If you’re looking for a wonderful adventure in South America, I highly recommend flying into Lima and taking a rental car to Cusco. You won’t forget the drive anytime soon.