|Back on the road!|
I was back on the road and it felt good!
|Thanks to Honda Peru for looking after Rhonda!|
lost the form or had I just never been given it in the first place? It didn't really matter now. The important question was "What now?" What would happen when I tried to take the bike out of the country? When asking various people, the common answer was that I would probably be looking at a big fine at least. Perhaps I'd have to pay the duty or I might have to bribe my way out. I decided the best course of action was to ignore the problem. There was nothing I could do until I got to the border. There I would do what I do best. I would wing it!
|Heading for a hike at first light|
Leaving my luggage behind in Huaraz, I spent a day biking and hiking. 12 miles up the trails on Rhonda and then a further 3 hour climb on foot to Cherub Glacier Lake at 4600meters.
|Trails in Peru are wonderful!|
"How did you know that?" For a second I wondered if I had inadvertently left my helmet on! He laughed. "I signed in after you (you had to sign in before taking the climb) and you had put your profession as BIKER!!" I had forgotten. I always put that when signing in anywhere (hotels, border crossings etc). It sounds more interesting than "unemployed" or "on a break"! I doubted anyone read these things anyway but if it was to define me then "Biker" seemed appropriate!
From Huraz I rode along the edge of the Andes via Canyon Del Pato to Chimbote. This road is awesome. I have ridden it before with a group around 2 years ago. This time I was on my own and it was very special. Riding into the dark uneven tunnels - of which there are 37 - is quite exciting. You drive straight in to a black hole with no idea of how long you will be in there. There is no electrical light and as many have corners you get no daylight from the other side. It's fun and the surrounding scenery is craggy and dramatic. A great road to ride.
|Entering one of the many tunnels|
After 3 days of sitting on the loo and throwing up in the bath, I decided to risk a short 150km up the Pan American Highway to Huanchaco, a small surf town that promised tourists. With tourists come choice of foods and nice coffee not to mention English speakers! I would head there and finish my recovery in comfort. There I happened to meet up with Claire again. The Yorkshire lass on her Tornado that I had spent my birthday with back in March. She was still going and had decided to head for Mexico. We also met a lovely guy called Richard who had an apartment nearby. He had rented it for the grand sum of £100 a month. His sole mission was to stay there for a year and try to learn the Piano! Richard had a car and so together we drove to the nearest town and went on a mission to find me some chain lube for Rhonda! Not as easy as it sounds but with Richard's perseverance and grasp of Spanish, we eventually succeeded!
|This one had windows!|
I had decided to head for the Macara border. It looked like it would be quieter than the coastal one which I had been told was very busy. If I was going to have problems, I felt it was better not to present myself to a busy official with a queue of other people to deal with.
I was right. There was only one Equadorian family there when I arrived and as luck would have it the son spoke very good English. After a quick chat, he was only too happy to help and translated my predicament to the official while his proud mother looked on! The first reaction of said official didn't look good. He seemed angry! He waved his hands around and kept asking me where the missing
|Heading out of the hills|
The family left me with my angry official and went on their way. There was nothing more they could do except invite me for dinner as I passed through Loja in a few days time. We exchanged numbers and they left. Now the officer was tiring of gesticulating. He mimed using the phone and said "Chief". I took my jacket off as he left to make the call and pulled up a chair, preparing for a long wait. Within 10 minutes he was back and checked again that I did not have the required paperwork. I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. "Sorry! Still don't have it!". He parked himself in front of the computer with a sigh and started typing. The header said "Declaration" and some other Spanish word. I got my phone out and started tapping in to Google Translate. The first translation that came up was "she is cursed". I was a little nervous at that! I looked further down and found alternatives. Its seems I was going to have to promise something.
|Stopping for fuel on route to Chimbote|
When he was done. He looked at me with a smile and began gesturing again. This time I got the distinct impression he was light heartedly taking the mic in a "what are you like" kind of a way. Despite the distinct lack of a mutual language, we managed to share a few laughs together. I signed the document and even had to provide a fingerprint next to my signature before he shook my hand, wished me luck and came out for a photo next to the bike before sending me on my way!
I was in Ecaudor! No fees or bribes and bike still in my possession! All was well.
Now it was time to find a beer to celebrate!
Just 14 days left until we draw the winner of the onestephbeyond competition. Click HERE to get your tickets!
|Made it across the border!|
|Rhonda parked up in a shop in Huaraz|