Cusco Peru is one of those cities everyone should visit sometime in their lifetime. Sure it’s full of tourists but it’s an amazing place with an indescribable vibe. I could spend days just walking around the city and exploring, as a matter of fact that’s exactly what we did. Of course, for me…. first stop was the Norton Rats Pub.
Here is the sticker wall of fame on the wall. Guess which chapter of the International Norton Owners Association has a sticker here???? Yes! Northwest Norton Owners! It’s the same sticker I put there three years ago.
I won’t go into a big long travelogue about Cusco, indeed whole books have been written on the city and it’s significance to the Inca empire. I will share a few pictures. Here is the city from the road to Saksaywaman a nearby Inca site. Click on the link if you want to read more about it.
You can see the main square and the density of the city. Narrow cobblestone streets wind throughout the city making it exciting for navigating and riding a motorcycle. The surrounding area is beautiful beyond description.
Uh, yea, that’s it.
We needed to wait one more day for Deby’s bike but on Friday March 10 we were on our way for a three day tour of the famed Sacred Valley. I have to give credit to the guys at Peru Moto Tours for suggesting the route. Deby and I stopped in to chat and even thought we didn’t rent a bike or even buy anything they were super helpful recommending a route and giving us a map with recommended cities to stay in. I would highly recommend checking them out if you are interested in riding motorcycles through the Sacred Valley. Thanks guys!
We ended up riding for about 6 hours in mostly rain and by the time we got to Quillabamba we were ready for a rest. Deby had done some research the night before and found this place online. After some maneuvering trying to find it we arrived to a welcome sight.
EcoLodge Don Felix. It was a tricky, bouncy, rutted back dirt road to get there but worth the effort. Our room was on the upper right of this picture. This is not a picture off their web site, Deby took it. Looks like a postcard. The city is in a valley at about 3,000 elevation so it was warm and easy to breath. Just what we needed.
Ahhhh, we settled in for a relaxing evening looking at the view and reading our books. Then, just as it was getting dark I went to look for my cell phone…. it’s gone.
Dang, I know exactly what happened. We stopped in the town to ask directions to the hotel and I put my cell phone in my handlebar case. Somehow on the bouncy road to the hotel is must have fallen out. Deby and I walked the road three or four times looking for it with no luck. I even used the Apple “locate” feature but it is not showing as online. I’m assuming it fell out maybe in the city and was run over by a truck and smashed. So… for now, don’t bother calling, texting our trying to reach me on WhatsApp. It won’t work. I’ll figure something out…..
Saturday March 11, 2017. – Wow, what a day of riding. One for the books.
So who needs a cell phone anyhow?
It took us 9 hours to go 155 miles, that should explain a lot. We stayed at a pretty consistent 3,000 feet elevation for the first half of the ride in the valley. This isn’t technically the Peruvian Jungle but it was close. Finally it was warm and not raining with on and off sun. Perfect riding weather. The road was constantly twisting which actually kept our speed down to about 30mph because there was just no way to know what was around any of the corners. Here is a typical example, the vegetation was closing in around us.
As we got further and further into the mountains the bridges went away and we had to just cross the rivers on the bikes. Seriously, this became a big issue. At first it wasn’t too bad. We must have crossed 20 or 30 crossings like this, no big deal.
Obviously (maybe) I made it across while Deby took pictures. After some thought I decided it would be best if I walked back and rode Deby’s bike across. Now it was my turn to take a few pictures of her walking across the river. This is actually pretty dangerous with fast, deep rushing water heading towards a cliff.
That was not the end…. we came to at least a half dozen more crossings just as difficult. On one particularly hard one I went across first to check it out. On the other side I was talking to Deby in our helmet communicators describing the best route when I looked to my right and saw a pedestrian bridge. Hey! How did I miss that? It was hidden from the other side, I told Deby to look for it and she took the dry route.
After more and more water crossings we were getting much better at adjusting our speed. Too fast and the spray can flood the engines and the water starts grabbing the steering. Too slow and you could stall or get stuck. The trick is “just right.”
This one looked tame but Deby hit a hole in the middle and tipped over. Good thing her panniers held the air intake above water level and we managed to ride the bike out. The only damage (that we know of) was boots full of water.
She did a fantastic job crossing more water crossings than I’ve probably done in the past 10 years.
Then something amazing happened. We started climbing towards 15,000 feet out of the clouds and wet and into perfectly clear and dry weather. The scenery was the most amazing of the whole trip so far. Wow and wow is all we could say over and over. I tried to take pictures but there is not a chance they do any justice.
Climbing higher and higher.
Just about to the top of the world.
But not without some danger, this was a narrow road. Pretty much just one lane. At one point I saw a truck coming towards us and realized it would be a tight fit. I didn’t want to stop on the cliff side of the mountain to let him pass so I happened to see a convenient rock slide (there were many of these) so I ducked behind it on the left and let the truck go by.
We finally made it to Pisac just as it was getting dark. The attendant at the gas station recommend the Royal Inka Hotel where we settled in for the night. What a day. Deby calls it skills training days when we have a full day of challenging riding. This was tough. It had all the elements of a true adventure ride. Thankfully the hotel had a welcoming lounge with a roaring fireplace where we warmed our bones soaking in the warmth and sipping on pisco drinks.
Next…. we drop out of the mountains for the ocean.
Thanks for following. Donn and Deby