26 Nov 2015

We break a bracket on the rear suspension then drive up to 4,736 meters

We continue down the coast to Sechin, 2,500 years old, but once again there is not a lot to see, but at the small museum we see an aerial shot of an ancient fortress high on a hill in the middle of the desert about 10k away. I manage to get directions in the museum and eventually find it down a very sandy road, in fact the last mile or so is just straight across the dessert (in low box).

After this we head back to the mountains again, through a very rough gorge and camp at 2,700 metres. From here we make our first trip above 4,000 meters to a lake at 4,200, which we even manage to walk part of the way round until thwarted by a fast running stream.

The next day we set off to cross the Cordillera Blanca on another rough road, about 5 miles in we here a clanking sound and investigation reveals a broken bracket for the stabiliser bar on the rear suspension, the cause of which is a collapsed knuckle joint (same as a tie/track rod end) which I was not aware was there!. Luckily we have not gone to far, so return to our camp site which has a recommended mechanic just down the road, but my thinking is we will probably need to find a Toyota Garage.

Two and a half hours later he has not only welded the bracket and repaired the knuckle joint, but has also removed all 4 tie/track rod ends (which he thought a little slack), tightened them up and replaced the grease and rubbers as well.

After another night at the camp site we head back into the mountains and this time climb to over 4,700 meters and down into the valley below to sleep in the garden (full of guinea pigs) of a hostel at 3,500meters. Then back over the mountains again, through a tunnel at 4,736 meters, to find a Peruvian band, complete with a massive Harp, playing on the side of the road!!!

Our third crossing of the Cordillera Blanca takes us through a 4,500m tunnel en route to another archaeological site at Chavin. It is raining and quite cold when we get there so decide to stay in a Hotel this time. Following morning we first walk to the Museum to find it close for re-furbishment and then walk up to the site to find it is only open on Sundays and Tuesdays!!! This was Monday, but with the weather cold and wet and nothing else to do we decided to get back on the road and give Chavin a miss.

The next 110 miles is awful, gravel roads are fine, but asphalt roads that have not been maintained are terrible, peppered with deep pot holes and hardly 20 meters of smooth road in any one place and took us 7 hours (excluding stops) to reach our next destination, arriving in a large very busy city in the dark. Thanks again to IOverlander we find a small Hotel with secure parking for the truck, hot water and fast internet, with a really good Chinese restaurant across the road. However that did include a 12 mile detour (up a rough gravel road) to the remains of an Inca City)

We are now at 2,000 meters (almost ground level compared to the last few days), the weather is warm and sunny so time to take a break for a couple of days and visit the nearby temple of Kotosh, where they found a life size moulding of crossed hands made estimated at 4,000 to 5,000 years old set in the temple wall. The original moulding is in a museum in Lima, but they have partially re-constructed the temple with a replica of the crossed hand *and another in the local museum).

Next phase will be up into the mountains again to Cuzco (4 or 5 days away) and then on to Lake Titicaca and Bolivia for Christmas.

Driving down the coast of Peru

We find a place to stop in a small village on a bay

and stay at the end of the village opposite a restaurant

A couple of bizarre statues at Chechin 2,500 years old

and an example of the drawings on the walls

a bit further down the coast, with sand blowing across the road

and across the desert to find a remote 2,500 year old fortress on a hill. Chris stayed in the truck (it is the tiny dot in the middle of the picture)

and I make it up to the fortress, you really are the king of the castle standing on top. Very impressive from above as the walls look perfectly round.

We then head back in the mountains

the roads and scenery reminiscent of Tajikistan

Getting dark and cant make our intended destination in daylight so we ask a small village if we can stay

It was Saturday and a group of mostly young men were drinking round a tuk tuk when we got there, they continued to drink until they could only just stand and then proceeded to paint the church!!! On long rickety ladders! They completed their task amazingly quickly, but with much spilled beer and paint - and then all went home.
We continue up into the mountains
and down into valleys
First sight of the snow capped peaks ahead

Up to a lake at 4,200 metres (unfortunately clouds prevent good photos

The lake is surrounded by 8 mountains of around 6,000m

We walk a third of the way round the lake, but an overflowing stream prevents us going further, but having taken a few days to get to this height the altitude is no longer a problem, other than being a bit short of breath.

After repairing the truck we head right over the mountains, the Lakes below are at 3,800 meters and if you look closely you can see the road sneaking up from the lake

Just over the pass we stop for lunch at about 4,500 meters

 down into the valleys on the other side

Spend the night in Yanama at 3,375 meters (in the roof tent), with views of the mountains (the one on the left is the one used by Paramount Pictures) 

The road then runs high along the valley
and stop for lunch in another small village

The one car we have seen in every country since Mexico is the ubiquitous beetle!

More mountain roads

Until we reach our highest point so far

And right in front of where we stopped we found a Peruvian band!

Then back down through the valleys

With lots more amazing scenery

Another classic sign!!! You can see the tunnel well before you see the sign!

This car was blocking the road as there was a large pile of gravel at the left hand side,

We just drove round the queue, someone tied on a piece of rope

They did not need to push, I let the truck roll back to take up the slack and it pulled it out with out me putting it in gear.

First real Inca ruins we have seen

An impression of the Grand Hall

With a set of 4 arches leading up to it

It was freezing cold and raining when we got out of the car and 20 minutes later the sun came out and was really hot, hence the 2 fleeces and waterproof round my waist.

We drop down into the valley at 2,000m 
A replica of the 4 to 5,000 ear old crossed hands at Kotosh

The Kotosh era, 3,000 BC to 1,000 BC

A couple of bolws, between 3,000 and 3,800 years old.

Reconstruction of the Tempme with another replica of the crossed hands on the wall

Chris negotiates with a Tuk Tuk

And we head back to our hotel (we left the truck in the garage as the city is a nightmare.

A snake at one of the archealogical sites
Guinea Pigs at one of our camping spots (dozens of them) eating the banana skin and mango peel from our breakfast.

Another camp spot that has a parrot that said Hola every time anyone walked past its cage, and these 2 owls

Yes this is a real owl!

A Lama keeping the grass short at anther Hotel

a new born fowl at the Inca site

and a man on a bike with 4 legs! His daughter is under his jacket to keep out of the wind.