Chachapoyas to Cajamarca Part I

On June 20, 2013

Leaving Chachapoyas, the capital of the Amazonas province of Peru, I got to go down the huge hill I had to climb the day before. It’s over 1000 meters of elevation difference. There is a lot of construction on the tiny road between Chachapoyas and Cajamarca to the southwest. On a relatively straight piece of road I had my first accident where I didn’t follow the golden rule, keep the rubber side down. Norton and I slid several meters on a stretch of extremely slick, smooth clay. I suppose I wasn’t expecting it at that location; I took it very slowly in the curves but a tiny bend in the road did it in for me. I was completely uninjured and Norton was still rideable. Best case scenario for an accident, besides no accident. I bent the left foot peg and also the chain guard, causing a small noise when moving. I decided to backtrack to Chachapoyas to fix this. That meant back up and down from the riverbed to the mountain.

I found a shop relatively quickly. We left the bike in the street and bent back the chain guard. From that we found out the chain needed tensioning as well. While the mechanic bent back the foot peg in the shop I tightened the mirror and clutch lever (just tightening bolts). I was back on my way to Kuélap before noon.

Kuélap itself wasn’t as spectacular as I heard, but the drive up there was incredible. Breathtaking views. I also saw the three tour vans of the day go down, meaning the entire site was to myself. I love pretending I lived in those days, imagining the strengths and weaknesses of the fortress, where I would live, and where the vulnerabilities are. I never grew up. It’s easier when I’m by myself. I decided to stay at the higher election in the hamlet Maria. Here I found a place playing awesome music and serving Cusqueña, a malty dark beer that is super tasty after Ecuador where there was no dark beer let alone flavorful beer, and Colombia where the dark beer was decent but not great. I would do anything for an IPA, the only time I saw one was at a microbrewery in Buga, Colombia but I arrived 15 minutes after the tap went dry.

I got over losing my phone pretty fast. The only thing I miss is the ability to take fast or stealthy pictures. Not having a GPS forces me to ask for directions more often, improving a key part of my Spanish. Part two of this series will include some of my favorite photos. Get excited.

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