On a longboard through Peru - the adventure continues
Life without adventure? Inconceivable! At least for Franky, Stephan and Thomas - three guys who took their longboards to cross Peru as their personal "expedition life". In the first part of their travelogue the three Upper Palatinatesreport on the first few stages on the Panamerica. Loaded with Tatonka’s Yukon backpacks the "crazy Germans" made their way to Chincha Alta. In the following their journey through the Latin-American-Pacific country continues - marvelled at by inquiring faces…
Nightly shots on the fruit plantation
Around 6.30 p.m. we see spotlights of a motorcycle in the distance. It stops just 20 meters away from us and dazzles extremely. After a short deliberation we decide to talk to the biker but he soon flees. A little conduced we make our way back to the camping site - everything seems to be in order. Half an hour later we once again get a visit - this time there are two motorcyclists. One of the strangers gets off, followed by two shots from a pump gun. In shock we drop our cigarettes and toothbrushes. There are voices around us, but the shock leaves us speechless.
The whole episode did not take long, but it felt like ages. Luckily the situation clarifies soon: the first biker was the plantation’s security man and he called the police, thinking we were thieves. Fruit plantations are highly secured in Peru, as they are often the only financial source of income for a region. After a clarifying discussion with the friendly policeman we can move into our night's lodging - with great relief. Before leaving, the officer takes some pictures of us to inform the later security shifts about our presence Furthermore he bums two of Franky’s cigarettes. Slightly baffled but primary facilitated he gives away his last stubs.
We have a quiet night and the certainty to have the safest sleeping place in the whole of Peru. On the next day the last kilometres to Ica follow. The experiences of the last days let us gain some kind of routine: In the morning we have breakfast at a little kiosk, afterwards we ride until we find a suiting restaurant, after lunch we manage the last stage to our daily goal where we look for a camping site to rest and process the events of the day.
An entertaining cab ride
In Ica we take a cab to our hostel. Seemingly the taxi driver has never had a white passenger. Whenever possible he tells the other traffic participants about us and our crazy project. And it turns out that he has no clue where to find our hostel, which means about 20 more entertaining minutes with him.
Luckily in Peru you arrive at a price for a taxi ride before you set off. Arriving at our hostel - which by the way is located directly above a casino - our number one navigator has bad news for us: apparently the route to our next destination Nazca is pretty steep. We will see about that.
Steep ascent and extreme headwind
After a restful night in the hostel we are back on the road to Nazca. Fortunately the threatened ascent is tarrying, the traffic is low and we can enjoy a nice ride past green plantations. But a gentle ascent soon becomes an extreme one and it turns out that the taxi driver was right. The exhausting road conditions combined with emerging headwind is grueling and so we presently receive a lift offer. However we refuse with gratitude but iron will and reach the summit and the following plateau on our own. The continuous efforts take their toll and we start looking for a place for the night.
The next morning provides another unpleasant surprise: half of Thomas' camelpack leaked. What a perfect start of the day. The heavy headwind has not ceased over the night and causes further fretfulness. After a just four kilometers ride we have to stop for the first coffee break - and get a cup in proper christmas style - in midsummer.
Action movie challenges
The shrinking provisions let us miss the food at home. Mercifully the headwind starts to calm down and after several kilometers - befittingly accompanied by a honking fest - we reach the first village in two days. Here we learn that our planned route is not the best choice as the conditions are really bad and therefore dangerous. Adventuresomely as we are, we naturally take the original route. And although we do feel frightened by the fact that all passing locals keep crossing themselves, the route will not disappoint us.
The road ensures its dreaded reputation and the following stages turn out to be the biggest challenge of our journey. Leaving behind the allegedly most severe part, in terms of poor and uneven surface, non-accessible curves and busy contraflow, we are welcomed by the first sandstorm of our tour. Paired with sand and trash the unusually strong wind whistles unimpeded around our heads and turns the uphill into a nightmare. We feel reminded of the "Mad Max" setting and so we frequently wince like paranoids as passing vehicles honk. After a approximately two and a half hours march we are released - thank god - and start looking for a place to sleep. Surprisingly we find a calm and windless spot to set up our tents.
After two days of pampa and wasteland, the surrounding changes into green croplands on the third day. Pleasant uphill and downhill passages with good asphalt are waiting for us. Unfortunately this conditions do not last long. After our lunch break we are on a straight to Nazca along the the Nazac Lines tableland and it does not seem as if there was an end. Agonizing hours later we reach Nazca totally exhausted. Having half of the trip behind us, we are looking forward to have a longer rest period. In the following three days we explore the little town of Nazca, participate a scenic flight, and go on a beach buggy tour.
You can check the following adventures of the "longbeard" crew next week.
You want to know how it all began? Witness the preparations for the journey of Tatonka’s longboard crew and read about their first kilometers on the Panamerica.
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