I survived 28 hours in a plane, but finally made it to South Africa. I took what may be the longest possible route from Buenos Airs to Cape Town; first I flew to Doha, Qatar (18 hours) and then from Doha down to Cape Town (10 hours). I had a four hour layover in Doha to stretch my legs and get some coffee, so I was able to fight off the deep vein thrombosis.
My flight from Buenos Aires to Cape Town, South Africa leaves in just a few hours. After months of planning, weeks of working out the logistics and permits, I’m now just hours from being in the air. I can’t wait to see Africa! This will be first time to Africa, but hopefully not my last. I’ll be riding from South Africa to Kenya, passing through Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda along the way.
The ride from Cusco to Puno was beautiful but uneventful, and I was thankful for that. I was still pretty sick and I needed an easy day of riding. After a good night’s rest in Puno I crossed the Andes, reaching an elevation of just over 15,000 feet. Along the way I discovered that my planned route was a dirt road that clung to the side of the mountains with a precipitous along one side. Fortunately I was able to follow the road signs and find a much better route.
I went to Cusco for one reason – to visit my niece Genny and meet her fiancé, Fabricio. They were fantastic hosts and I had the time of my life. As luck would have it their friend Richard was visiting from the United States, he volunteered to bring my new DeLorme inReach from the USA to Peru. The four of us had so much fun. Unfortunately I was sick the entire time.
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.
I’m currently sitting in a small cafe in Buenos Aires writing this post. I rode from Lima to Cusco, stayed in Cusco for a couple of weeks, and then made the rest of the ride across the Andes and down to Buenos Aires.
After much research, a lot of input, and many hours of research I’ve made my final decision about the route I’ll take over the Andes Mountains. I’m currently in Cusco, Peru and the ride from Lima was very educational; I encountered ice, snow peaked mountains, freezing temperatures, high altitudes, precipitous drops, and a very challenging ride. It was beautiful, but I don’t think I want to repeat it any time soon.
I’ve been in Lima just over a week now. I planned to stay for awhile so I could have some time and really dig in and get some work done. I’ve been working on my blogging workflow, I’ve hired a graphic designer to help spruce up the site and the videos, and I’ve spent a lot of time continuing my preparations for Africa. But most importantly – I’m trying to figure out how to get over the Andes.
Once I arrived in Lima I made a beeline for Touratech, Peru. I wanted to get my pannier repaired and I wanted to buy a few odds and ends for my bike: new handles for the side panniers, a new helmet, thermals for the cold weather. I also wanted to get some off-road training.
Once I left Cuenca, Ecuador it was just a short ride to Peru. The lush green mountains and twisty roads fell away and I entered a land that of dirt and sand, gusty winds, and a horizon that seemed to stretch out forever. I was facing the first of many days in the desert.