Friday, August 20, 2010

Adventure Time! Part #2

Last weekend we finally decided to take a motorcycle tour. It was amazing. Before we went out Arielle took an hour long lesson to try to get more comfortable on a bike. It went well, she spent about a third of the time riding around a grassy area above the city (these are on/off-road motorcycles by the way) and the rest of the time street riding some of the country roads near Cuzco. She had a couple instances of target fixation that worried me but all in all she did really well, and I was able to get some good pictures of her too. The instructor said although she did pretty well but she needed more practice before she could take a bike out on her own. We decided to take a tour on the condition that Arielle would ride with an instructor and could spend more time practicing on the less difficult parts. So we got suited up and off we went.

The scenery here is really amazing and it was hard to concentrate on riding these mountain roads because I just wanted to look around the whole time. Grassy plains with snow peaked mountains in the distance, dirt roads over rolling plains off into the horizon. It was really beautiful, I wish we could have spent more time out there. Now that we know how to get there I think we're going to rent a motorcycle on our own so we're not pressed for time.

We first stopped in a small village, I'm not sure of the name but we got a drink of water and walked up a little path to a church that had a great view of the mountains. It had a large cross in front of it that made for a great picture. After resting there a minute we continued on to the Moray archeological site, of course more great scenery. It is an Inkan Agriculture site dug into the ground 500 feet or so with stepped concentric tiers that work their way up. We walked around and explored for an hour or so enjoying ourselves. Then back on the bikes to go see the salt mines. We rode another 30 mins or so along a dirt mountain road to where it overlooks the salt mines that are dug into the side of the mountain. Our vantage point also overlooked the city of Urubamba and the river it was named after; quite a view.

It was really windy where we were, probably 40-50 mph winds, it made it somewhat difficult to ride as the roads were mostly loose gravel. At this point the sun was setting and we had to ride about 30 miles back into town. When the sun set it instantly got cold (I think the elevation is around 12,000 feet), the jacket they gave me was warm but the mechanics gloves weren't quite up to the job and soon my hands were numb. The ride back was ok, you just have to get used to large tour buses trying to pass you along mountain roads and the completely inept headlight on my XR650L, it's not the best streetbike. I would have gone faster but I'm following our guide and I don't completely know how to get back. We get back near town and weave our way through all the Saturday night traffic entering the city. Back safely at the tour office, we thanked them for everything and head off for a nice thai dinner. Mission Accomplished. I hope to do it again soon.

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