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January 1, 2018

Day 50 [Mon 1/1/2018] - Zapotillo, Ecuador to Chiclayo, Peru

Day 50 [Mon 1/1/2018] - Zapotillo, Ecuador to Chiclayo, Peru

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in the Palma Hotel in Chiclayo, Peru.

Starting Odometer: 12,943
Ending Odometer: 13,163
Distance Traveled Today: 220 miles
Distance Traveled This Trip: 8,560 miles [13,163 - 4,603]
Distance Traveled This Trip(in Km): 13,776 km

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in the Palma Hotel in Chiclayo, Peru.

My ride today looks something like this.

Planned riding distance: 209 miles
Planned riding time: 3 hr 36 mins
Planned border crossings: 1

Riobamba, Ecuador - 63F Rain.
Lalamor, Ecuador - 93F Cloudy.
Piura, Peru - 91F Sunny.

In the morning, I wake up in the hotel. I'm never really sure where I am any more. Like...I can sort it out, and it's not like it really matters, but it takes me a minute in the morning to remember where I am.

I forgot to charge my GoPro last night, and also my camera battery. It's so hard to remember everything. I guess I'll have to make a checklist. Too many items to grasp, at this point. I dig around in my CC Filson handbag and find a new lens cap to replace the one that shattered yesterday when it hit the ground.

Now that I'm trying to map out my route for today in the hotel on Waze, I see what the problem is. Waze doesn't realize that there's a road south from Lalamor, Ecuador into Peru. So, Waze is the problem. Now, I'm downloading the maps for Maps.me app, which everyone has been onto me to do for the longest time.

The oddest (or most interesting) things about this journey, is that everyone has something to offer, and no matter how smart you think you are, traveling alone through a foreign country makes you realize all of your glaring weakness or inadequacies, be they technological (computer, cell phone, laptop, camera), or mechanical(motorcycle), or linguistic, etc. So you really have to be outspoken, outgoing, and you have to talk to everyone you see, to learn about new websites, how to fix a broken Nikon camera, etc.

So, everyone told me to use Maps.me, and I finally installed it, and downloaded the maps over Wifi at the hotel. Now, let's see if we can do better than Waze.

OMG. I installed Maps.me. It works. It just planned a route for me from Zapotilla, Ecuador to Chiclayo, Peru. Something that Waze just couldn't grasp.

I go out front. I need to get my motorcycle. That man last night led me a short distance from here, where we left the bike for the night.

Now, I find him out front drinking coffee. Sure. Coffee sounds good. So, they bring me a sugar bread, a cafe, and a glass of papaya juice. All delicious.

Now, I understand. He is her husband. So, she called him last night and said...come get this guy and we'll park his bike at our house tonight. So, I parked my bike at their ranch for safe keeping last night. Got it.

So much is lost on me. So hard to follow what's going on. It would help if I'd learn the language, of course. But I do, slowly, pick up new words every day or so. The hardest part is understanding what they're saying. My vocabulary is not all that bad, but translating what they say into words is hard for me. They speak very fast, and they don't pronounce the words the way I'm expecting them to. But slowly, I get better.

Now, I'm rolling around the cemetery on my motorcycle. It is much more arid here. Zero chance of rain. It feels like we've left the Andes, and are moving into the desert. It feels like the best day of my life. Every day has it's ups and downs. Sometimes, you feel like a genius. Sometimes, you feel like a fool. It sort of cycles back and forth with the energy, it seems. Now, off to yet another border crossing.

I get on my bike to leave, but I can't get Waze or Maps.me or Garmin to work right, so I can't even figure out how to get out of town. Finally, I realize that the town is sort of a dead-end. It's a nice little town down on the river, but you have to backtrack north a few blocks, and then I find the exit to go south.

Now, I'm riding south out of town. It's much drier here. I was used to the rain in the Andes. No fear of that now.

I'm rolling south on a paved road, and I see a sign that says "Zapatillo this way" or words to that effect. And it's just a dirt path into the desert. Hardly a road. I'm thinking that's where I have to go. My heart sinks. I'm not driving down a dirt road alone through the desert to cross a border. I'll turn around and backtrack as much as needed. But I'm not going that way.

Then, I realize that I wasn't going to that town anyway. I just panicked.

So, I keep rolling south. Also, I forgot to gas up when I left town this morning. I'm not clear how far it is to the next gas station, but I'm assuming that, at the border town, there will be a gas station. So I keep riding.

Now, I come to the border crossing. It's one of the smallest border crossings imaginable. Basically, 2 trailers in the desert. One for immigracion. One for aduana.

So, I stop and go in. They process me through in like 10 minutes. Immigracion. Aduana. Everything.

Now, I go outside, and two motorcycles pull up from Colombia. But we're not in Colombia any more. We're in Ecuador, crossing into Peru. Meaning...these guys are nearly as crazy as I am. So I go out and warn them that immigracion and aduana will take 6 hours. And they're clearly distraut, then I tell them that I'm just joking, and it took about 10 minutes.

Now, we start to talk about riding together. They're going to spend the night in the same town as I was planning on getting to.

So now, I have two riding buddies. One on a Yamaha. One on a Suzuki.

We cross the bridge into Peru.

Ecuador has a big sign that says "Welcome to Peru" in Spanish. Peru has nothing. It's like you're just driving into the slums. Nothing at all. We stop at Immigracion. And then, we stop at a shack on the side of the road. I'm assuming that it's aduana, but it turns out that they're selling insurance. It costs $32.00. I give them $40, but they can't come up with $8.00 change, so my buddy has to kick in $2.00 for me, and she gives me $10.00 change. So now, I have motorcycle insurance for Peru.

Now, we go a little further down the road, and there's a guy with a chain across the road. Not much different than the kids we saw in the Andes with a rope across the road begging for change. But this is the Aduana office for Peru, apparently. Every vehicle that comes down the road, the guard walks out and lets the chain down.

They warn us not to stop once we cross the border. We're crossing the fronterra into Peru. And it's pretty much a no-man's land for the first 40 km. We're not supposed to stop for any reason. Great. Freaking Mad Max.

The locals ride their little motorcycles down a path beside the chain, and don't ahve to stop.

His jacket says ADUANAS SUNAT.

We get out all of our paperwork, and hope that we'll get processed through Aduana in Peru. But apparently, the guy running the computer is border-line retarded.

I have all of my papers out, when a big wind comes up and just blows them all into the desert. And we go running into the desert chasing papers through the cactus. I think that I recovered everything.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 1, 2018 at 5:27 AM


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