Coast to Mountains to Jungle, A Peru Journey with my Sister
After biking out of the mountains, I made my way toward the southern coast of Peru to make up some distance. Then it was back to Lima to meet my sister for a 10 day journey that included an electronic concert, a trip to energetic Machu Picchu, and a tour through the thick Amazon jungle. We covered all three of Peru's terrains in a short time, and finished with a smile.
Huancavelica, Peru to Arequipa, Peru 9/16 to 10/16
Video of the Amazon Jungle, Machu Picchu, and an Ultra Concert in Lima, Peru
Alpaca and Bull Fights in the Andes Mountains
The last few weeks have been spent at consistently high elevations, among big herds of alpaca, sheep, and cattle, and the occasional shepherd, motorcycle, or vehicle. Biking the remote mountain back roads of the Andes mountains in Central Peru, I am rewarded with great landscapes and a lot of peace and quiet. This post is filled with those landscapes, as they are literally all that I see each and every day.
Huaraz, Peru to Huancavelica, Peru 8/13 to 9/16
I surprised my high school buddy Matt Keenan who has been teaching nutrition and sex ed with the Peace Corps up in the mountain pueblo of Huallanca, Peru. We dominated a basketball game against 3 locals, which coincided with Team USA basketball teams winning gold in the Olympics. 'Merica
One late afternoon I passed through a mountain village that was celebrating a festival with bull fights. I entered the little stadium right after one fight had ended, and being the only gringo there in that remote village, I quickly became the show as all eyes were on me as I found my seat.
Mountain Climbing in the Cordillera Blanca
Four days biking and I arrived in Huaraz, outside the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, considered one of the more beautiful mountain ranges in the world. I found the best guide in Peru, Cesar Vargas, and we planned a mountaineering course up in the mountains. Three days of instruction in all aspects of mountaineering led to a summit climb of the Mountain Yanapaccha, Quechuan for Black Waterfall. It is another world up among the snow covered peaks of the Peruvian Andes mountains, and it left me hungry to explore some more. I departed alone on a three day trek of the famous Santa Cruz route, with breathtaking views every step of the way. If you have any interest in mountaineering or just seeing these beautiful mountains, Cesar Vargas is the guy to go to for direction (exploringandes.com).
Trujillo, Peru to Huaraz, Peru 7/24 to 8/13
From Bottomless Lakes to Deserts, Ecuador to Northern Peru
I have been biking like a fool the last few weeks, making up for some time well spent in Colombia. I crossed through several types of terrain and cultures in Ecuador, surprised my host family who I learned Spanish from 3 years ago, and ate a bunch of bananas for about 5 cents a piece. Northern Peru has meant riding on flat ground along the coast and across the seriously large Sechura desert. I look forward to getting into Peru's Andes Mountains, some of the most beautiful in the world from what I hear. Quito, Ecuador to Trujillo, Peru 7/3 to 7/24
Ecuavoley, Ecuador's cooler version of volleyball, is heavily bet on and filled with intense arguments over the rules
My new American buddy Ryan on the first day of his trip, in the middle of stunning architecture in downtown Quito
At the base of Volcan Cotopaxi, couldn’t climb this one as it it closed off due to recent activity
Ecuatorianos seem to love statues, and I could make a book with all the incredibly random statues I saw. But the Peruvians made me giggle with this one, I think the dolphin is biting her hand.
Eh Eh Epa Colombia
Colombia is the most biker friendly country I have ridden through, and I will miss it as I continue south. I learned to dance the sexy salsa, got my hands on some cock fighting roosters, and got my butt kicked by every Colombian biker who would glide up mountains like it’s a warm up.
Medellin, Colombia to Quito, Ecuador, 6/5/16 to 7/3/16
Building a Solar Water Heater in Colombia
I biked to a casa de ciclistas, or a bike hostel, located in San Antonio de Prado in Colombia. The owner of la casa, Manuel, is one of the more fun people I have met in my life. After telling him about my interest in renewable energy, he asked if I could build a solar water heater. After several design changes and help from other cyclists that came through the house, I managed to build a functioning solar water heater. It was a great experience to harness the power of the sun and water that flowed from the Colombian mountains to provide hot showers for cyclists from around the world. If you have ever considered a solar water heater for your home, give it a try. Constructing a DIY system is easier than you might think, and there are plenty of affordable commercial systems available as well. Check out builditsolar.com for design ideas.
Turbo, Colombia to San Antonio de Prado, Colombia 5/3 to 6/4 2016
Steps to Building a Solar Water Heater
3) Next you untangle 100 meters of black PVC...
6) Close the box with plastic...
Thermosiphon physics experiment with hot water
Cock Fighting and Waterfall Hiking in Colombia
Crossing the Darien Gap by Boats
The Panamerican Highway that runs through Central America stops at the Darien Gap, the thick jungle of Southern Panama and Northern Colombia. To pass it one has to fly over or take a boat around. Flying isn't as much fun so I took a series of small boats along the Atlantic Ocean to cross from Panama to Colombia. After biking through some insanely steep jungle hills, I made it to Puerto Carti, where the reserve of the indigenous Kuna people live on some 50 of the San Blas islands. I stayed with a Kuna family one evening and caught my first boat the next day. The ride started out well as we stopped for gas and dropped off a few Kuna, but we came to a quick halt after running over a plastic bag. That led to a longer stay on another Kuna island as we fixed the motor in pouring rain. I was lucky enough to stay the evening in one of the Kuna communities called Armila, and took another boat to cross into Colombia the next day. My third and last boat ride was a biker's nightmare, as my bicycle slammed up and down on the fiberglass boat and the Colombian drivers smiled as they rode over choppy water as fast as they possibly could. But I arrived in the super charged Colombian town of Turbo and was able to hop on my bike again.
Panama City to Turbo, Colombia- 4/29 to 5/3
Central America, insert checkmark. South America, vamos
I have been lucky enough to stay up on the 20th floor of a high rise apartment building with a host here in the middle of the Panama City. The view offers an interesting look at the two worlds here. Below these skyscrapers are shacks of poorer fisherman, housing that I am more accustomed to seeing throughout Central America. Another Panama City skyscraper
In my former life I was a Supply Chain man. So I take interest in things like refrigerated containers being transported in a staging area next to the Panama Canal. Here's a "behind the fence" look at how they get it done.
Costa Rican Fruit
The highest point of the Panamerican highway in Central America was up here on the top of el cerro de la muerte. At over 11k ft, the humid trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean turn into clouds, creating a mystical feeling in the midst of the mountains.