Barranca to Lima
The next morning after some fitful sleep, it felt good to find some of the clothing dry from the last few days of rain. I’d laid all my gear and electronics out on the bed to air out from the rain and condensation and luckily everything was dry from the warmer temps.
The hospedaje offered no breakfast so we grabbed a tuk-tuk to the town square and found a place serving breakfast.
Lima was a couple of hours away on Google maps, so I added an hour mentally and planned the route for the city. Luis, the Chilean rider we’d met the night before, had suggested Lucky Lodge in Lima since the owner is a motorcyclist and had a small garage if work needed to be done.
As we loaded the bikes and I loaded the GPS coordinates, we waved goodbye to the Colombians leaving the Dakar for home, and rolled out for the highway south and a new city, but more importantly for me, a place to repair the rear shock which was endangering the handling of the bike.
The sands kicked up, and the ride was in buffeting winds all the way. The terrain began to appear as if we were in Morocco or the Sahara, giant dunes and clouds of dust blowing ahead. Tiny shacks littered the landscape and it was hard to tell if they were homes or some form of mining claims.
To the right the Pacific provided the winds and eternal sand, which covered distant mountainsides and created massive dunes everywhere. I guess I had no concept of the Peruvian coast and towns, but I felt like I’d gotten lost and ended up in Africa. The concept of being in snow and cold and three hours later riding in North Africa was hard to grasp. Nearing Lima and seeing the brown, windswept mud brick buildings laid out across a desert just didn’t compute. I enjoyed the sensory experience however. Ride to Peru and get a free trip to the Sahara!
Our destination lay in the upscale area of Miraflores, on the southern side of Lima and after being warned by everyone about the horrendous traffic we elected to try the coastal streets rather than the main highway, exiting into Callao and entering the city from the north. The traffic didn’t seem too bad other than choke points by the airport shipping terminals. It took an hour or more but we made Miraflores and found the GPS had taken us to a commercial plaza of sorts. We couldn’t see the hostel but a guard unchained the plaza entry and we found it tucked away amidst restaurants in a quiet corner.
The bike was pretty clean from the mud of the mountains after several hours in rain the previous day
Ernesto the owner and a couple of other moto travelers were outside by their bikes. Ernesto showed us the garage and his current restoration project, a rare BSA Rocket 3 from the mid 60’s. The hostel was pricey but I didn’t care. It was nice, quiet and had a big room with windows. I’d barely even looked at a map, having been so focused on the bike and it’s potential for seal failure or TPS problems, and now the blown rear shock, that I just needed to delete everything mentally and reboot.
The next day I punched in Touratech Peru and with Ward taking up the rear, we plowed slowly through the traffic. On the way we stopped at a motorcycle wash to get the crust off. Much is said and written about Peruvian drivers, and it’s pretty true. Aside from the insane honking of horns, they drive very dangerously, as in “kill you and not care” dangerous. Most bad traffic in cities is more of a dare game, where there is give and take, but generally the other driver isn’t willing to push it to the end. Not so in Lima, and as I made the final turn onto the street for Touratech, a big SUV was in my lane making a pass to beat the other driver to the stop sign. It’s the closest call I’ve had yet, tossing the bike as best I could, and missing a head-on collision by a few inches. I’ll never forget the face of the driver laughing and talking to his friends and not giving a shit what he did and how we barely avoided a serious accident.
The other incident I'd had a few days before was similar, making a turn in Trujillo to find a mini-bus in my lane coming full speed to make a pass to get in front of a vehicle before the stop light. It was so close I cringed in anticipation but some how missed him. At the next traffic circle Ward came up under me in the turn, showing me two fingers about 2 inches apart with a big grin and shaking head.
Still buzzed from adrenaline, the street seemed deserted, dusty and nothing but walled compounds. The GPS said TT was here, but nothing was apparent. We stopped and made the corner to find shade. My apps all said it was near us, but we couldn’t find it. Then Ward spotted a guy to ask if he might know and it turned out he was wearing a Touratech t-shirt, pointing us a half block back to a brick wall with a gate and a single yellow line painted over the door.
In a few minutes we were allowed in to find a very nice and new facility hidden inside. The shop was new and squeaky clean with a lot of gear in the store, as well as a pristine shop. Ivan came out to say hello. MotoHank had heard about the shock issue and had sent him an email with all the details of my shocks and settings. That was a real surprise and a huge help, but that’s the type of guy Hank is.
After drooling at the place a bit, I took Ivan over to check out the bike, holding it while he thrashed on the rear and said they’d figure out what was going on. He said they had parts and the ability to totally rebuild the shocks and repressurize with nitrogen. It was a relief and I hoped the problem could be resolved without another wait for parts to be shipped in. It was nice to be in a state of the art place and felt like I was in good hands.
They hailed a cab for me and Ward followed on his 800 back to the hostel. That night we shared stories with the few other riders staying there, heading both north and south with their stories and hopes and questions and suggestions.