2017-07-24 day 99

20°C this morning. Such a change.

Today we follow a river up and up then we go up. In the 110km’s to the pass at 4800m we had driven 4.3km’s vertical.
Managed to stop for some orchids which were just everywhere.Stopped for lunch at a small tarn just over the pass.
Drove downhill for a while then detoured of the main(red) road and headed on an orange rd north to get on a yellow east west road.
The initial turn onto the yellow road included a bridge that we chickened out of. Another 10km’s of orange then onto a white to take us further along the yellow road. All good.

We squeezed past a cattle truck and at least know we can fit down the yellow track. Lots of pines and gums being planted. Most in small batches but by hand and way up on the hillside.

Camped on a side track with a view down the valley to Cusco.
There are gums planted here too.
A big day 208km’s

2017-07-23 Day 98

John ran the heater which stopped a few times with flame out issues. Maybe the altitude. It is only guaranteed to run at 2200 metres.
2 km’s drive and we were stopped until 10am when the road opens. Looks like major repairs underway. Road only open going north from 10-10:15, 12.05-1300 and 15:00–15:15. We chatted to others waiting. A few families.

One lady was feeding milk to a day old kitten from the corner of a plastic bag!
Two young kids were kicking around an orange each practising their soccer skills.

An amazing road with high hills all around. We followed the river down for most of the day.
In one village we bought a round of cows-milk cheese and some tree tomato or tamarilla’s, 10 for one sol (A40c) We have come downhill all day. And drove through jungle….

Just before Loromayo we turned west up another river.

I saw orchids flowering from the banks as we drove past but nowhere to stop. So different to the previous months of travel. We are camped above this river at 508m altitude, a vertical drop of 3.4km for the day!!

At the time of 5pm when we stopped it was 29°C; last night at same time 5°C. Heater is not needed although we did heat water for a shower; much easier than heating water on the stove top especially as the stove is not starting again

2017-07-22 Day 97

Cold again this morning below Zero.Drove into the small town to look at the artwork. A big puma perched on the hill above the town.Bought some 20amp fuses.

Stopped off the side of the road to work on the heater. Had it out in no time...Practice makes perfect.

I put a chocolate cake into the bread maker to cook and while it was cooking we worked on the heater.

The combustion fan had some build up on it which was from it touching it’s housing so scraped and sanded that off. (nail file to the rescue).

The air fan was touching its housing although we’d taken a lot of trouble to set it up correctly.

After a piece of scrumptious choc cake the heater went back into its spot.
Heater failed on 5 – diesel. So we started again and it ran – hot air wonderful. Ran for an hour.

2017-07-21 Day 96

Continued the drive around the top half of the laguna before heading north on a white road.
Lots of animals and houses scattered around. Drove through a few small villages.

Lots of people were in a "paddock" we assume selling their live wares. Pigs, sheep and cattle. Didn't appear to be an auctioneer. selling was between two people.

To market to market to buy a fat pig......

The most interesting part of today was a church in a small village between San Anton and Union Soratira
Four young teenage girls were at the front of the church which is locked and “antique”. We tried to ask them where we find the caretaker they said something about a long way away. Any how amongst much giggling and carrying on, and photos they led us to a gap in the wall so we could walk around the church.

Got diesel in San Anton at 11.6 solas per (US?)gallon. Filled with water as well.
Drove on a red road which was sealed but had little traffic. Camped just off the road to the worlds 3rd largest tin mine(1998). On the river.

2017-07-20 Day 95

I put a loaf of bread on.

We drove the short distance to the parking for Sillustani Pre-Incan cemetery. Cost us 8 solas each A$3.50.

Had a great walk around very interesting burial chambers. John went into a couple and was caught by the guard.There were no signs up to say not to…..

Waited at the car park till the bread was half cooked and then drove off up second rate roads (white) towards Juliaca. Here I did some market shopping while John got a hair cut. He looks much less scruffy!

Camped on the northern edge of laguna de Arapa near a village called Iscayapi.
I had a reply from Fransico in Spain who said we could try a 20amp fuse on the red wire only of the heater. We tried it and it blinked 5 reds. We then just tried on hot water. It ran for 50 mins until we’d showered and then tried for heat another 5 error blinks.

On Fransisco’s suggestion we will pull the heater out again and try to give the combustion fan a good clean.

We were visited by 4 people no doubt just checking the foreigners out. They all seem happy with us staying when they know we will be leaving the next morning.

2017-07-19 Day 94

Only down to -4°C last night.
Slowly got organised and headed down to the waterfront to park and launch the kayak.

We paid US$20 to park at a hotel. With the kayak inflated and food and drink packed we crossed the road and railway track and launched her in mud….

As we entered the area of the Eros Islands we needed to buy tickets 8soles each A$3.20.

 A load of reeds
Interesting how they layer the reeds on top of the old ones. I Wonder how far they go down. Water seems quite clean although in places the rubbish collects. Very touristy and everyone was very friendly. In the back streets we found the big reed boats to be built of plastic bottles and just covered with reeds.

Found our way back and this time came in where the other dinghy’s do. Carried the kayak back to the hotel and left her in the sun to dry while we went inside for lunch. John had an Alpaca steak and I had Lake trout. The alpaca was an interestingly fine grained meat.

Camped on lake Umayo just in sight of the Sillustani Pre-Incan cemetery.

2017-07-18 Day 93

 John was up and about early thinking it was such a warm sunny morning. He was surprised when I informed him it was -3.

John had a chat with a fisherman who arrived to go out fishing in his dinghy. He must have come in sometime last night.

A beautiful day so we stayed and did all our washing, including sheets and doona cover. It was all dry by 2pm so we headed off for Puna.


We had driven about 40km’s and were in a small town when there was a sudden “bang”. We pulled to the nice flat, wide, sealed kerb and got out. Yep we had blown the side out of the tyre. The back left so our decision has been made for us.

Just along the road 10 metres was a guy with old tyres outside his shop. I went along to ask him if he could put the tyre on the wheel. No problems AU$8. He did that while we put the old spare on.

Just about the most convenient place for a flat…..
So now no more tyre inside; two new spares on the back.

Got to Puno just before dusk, very busy little town. Finally found a camp on top of a hill overlooking the floating islands.

2017-07-17 Day 92

Arrived at San Pablo de Tiquina and a ferry crossing. And what a crossing. outboard stopped a couple of times while awaiting our turn dock.

Just up the hill from the ferries we meet another truck!

Drove into Kopacabana and filled with diesel 7 Bs/litre, water and washed the vehicle.

Off to the border crossing. The hardest part was which office to go into first. Did the paper work for the truck then into immigration for ourselves. Very easy. I had to move the cones and barrier for us to drive through.

Into Peru was just as easy. We got 3 months and then the truck got her papers.

I had to go back inside to ask them to open the barrier. He then asked if we had any animals aboard. I just joked and said no only mi espouso.

Parked right down on the waters edge.

Talked about when we should change out the back left tyre as it is down on tread. But on these dry roads we figured we’d easily get some more mileage.

2017-07-15 Day 90

A coldish night down to neg 8.5°C, ran the engine before bed and again at 04:00.

Drove into La Paz once we had worked out where to drop Michelle and Andreus. Interesting drive.

The locals do not always take notice of the traffic lights so we were not sure either. Crazy driving.

Anyway got to the “green house” in one piece and dropped them and their bikes off.

Next a trip further south in town to meet up with Alex and Todd who we’d met at the geysers in San Pedro de Atacama. They are staying at the Oberland hotel before heading back to the states for a short break.

Some national holiday with roads blocked for parades.

Went out for a lunch of beer and grilled meat. Nice catching up again.

Finally managed to find our way west out of the city and towards lake Titicaca. We camped by the Internet aerial up on a small hill above a town. We were serenaded by a band for a long while. I was completely done in so had a basin shower and crashed.

2017-07-16 Day 91

Finally crawled out of bed and started on the blog and photos. Progressed well but still behind. The band is playing again.

As we drove out we stopped in to see the festivities at the local "square". About 5 or 6 different bands and dancers. We figured each band and dancers belonged to a village.

Drove out and north through Achacachi bought some buns (the best we have had) and banana’s then some sour sop and passion fruit. Camped out on a peninsular with a great view of lake. 

Sat in the  sun and had buns, olives and cheese with a glass of wine for lunch about 3pm and read our books. A nice relaxing afternoon.

2017-07-14 Day 89

Thought we may make La Paz if the road improved. The road was if anything worse than yesterday dusty, rough, busy and of course very narrow in places. Didn’t have to reverse too many times for passing traffic.

Found a spot off the road about 2.30 for lunch. A guy miraculously appeared to look after his bee hive so we invited him to lunch. What was left on his plate went into a plastic bag for later. He asked for shoes and trousers but we said we didn’t have any.

Drove another 10km to bitumen... at last. Pumped up the tyres blew out the air filters and drove on still slow up, up and up.

At 4pm we decided we would not make it out the other side of La Paz in daylight so turned off to camp at a parque. Found a great spot with view but in site of road so went down by a lake. Back at 4800m alt. and feeling it.

2017-07-13 Day 88

Decided to put the inside bike on rack over Cab. The tyre had broken the rack so John did a repair and the tyre came inside wedged with the bike panniers.

Lots of gums and undergrowth, banana palm, ferns, and orange trees. Mostly horticulture.

At a much lower altitude now down under 2000m. Roads becoming more dusty and rough. With lots more traffic.
We do not trust the outside edge and often it is washed away with drops of up to 700m almost vertical, no stopping if you went over. In some places it is so narrow that there is only 300mm between us and nothing. On saying this 40 seater buses travel the route and a truck with a grader on board.

In general the traffic is well behaved and normally give way when it is their turn. Downhill vehicle normally gives way and on the flattish section the smaller vehicle. If we were on the outside we’d just give way on a nice wide section of road where it was safe even if we had to wait awhile.

Lots of gum trees. They seem to cut them down while still quite small; about 10cm in diameter. Then they await the regrowth pruning it back to 3-4 poles and then cut them at same size. This way they get lots of poles off the one set of roots.

Had trouble finding a camp. Everywhere was very dusty. Finally found a spot near a river just off the road. People doing washing and washing their car. Andreaus and Michelle set up camp a little ways away in the bush and we waited ages for the locals to leave. Finally got camp set up just on dusk. John cooked a chicken stir fry for dinner. 4 inside is a little squishy

2017-07-12 Day 87

Drove into Indepencia. Gum trees are becoming more common.
Bought a SIM card but diesel wasn’t available.

A new church being built. Quite innovative in design

Bought some mandarins, asked for 6 got 6Bs worth, about 12. Lots of farm land and growth in general is increasing.

Could see the bridge or what was let of it just the pylons marching across the river. We hope there would be a way across. The road diverted and became a very small track. Got to the river and a couple of families were having a picnic popcorn and corn. John walked across the stream where the guys told us to and all good. Chatted to them about Australia. One of the kids new what the kangaroo was.

We went up the adjoining river a bit and did our washing in running water. A bit concerned on letting the clothes go.

The new section of road up was very narrow with few places to pass. And we were on the outside…..

We stayed on the outside most of the way up.

Stopped a tourist on a cycle, yes there are madder people than us! She was from the states and her husband a little in front. We told her we’d stop him for her to catch up. Any way we did stop Andreus who was very low on disc pads so we offered them a ride. 

Put one bike inside and one on the spares tyres on back.

At Licoma the police stopped us. I went inside to fill out the book. Name, nationality, number plate, and number of people. Andreus and Michelle became Aussies….

We camp next to the old basket ball court.

Guy came to move us one but then said we could stay when we said we’d be gone in the morning. He then signalled to John who took him a beer. The caretaker had unlocked the toilet and shower for us.

2017-07-11 Day 86

Still on coble stones. 81 cobbles stones per square metre. 6 m wide road 28km’s long. 13.6 million cobble stones….. If one man lays one cobble stone every minute and works 7 days a week 8 hrs per day = 77 man years. A big undertaking. That doesn’t include making the road or delivering stones….

The valleys are much more fertile and the further we go North more vegetables are grown and there are less animals farmed. We have not seen many Llama this side of Cochabama. But we are seeing more pigs.

There are more bulls than cows. Cows seem to be kept for breeding only. None seem to be milking cows.

This road as we discovered yesterday afternoon and today is more than twisty it is twwwissty and true to map.
At one stage we were diverted downhill on a very freshly bulldozed road. The original road had disappeared in a slip. We then drove down river (literally) and met a loader and a grader making the “track” passable. Up on the slip there was a digger and bulldozer working to remake the road.

Today we have driven more hairpins than all those previously put together!!! (not counting the last 2 days)
Camped down a side track below the road. Seems to just go to a dam.
We drove 107km on road and the distance as crow flies about 50km. We were either going up or down or were between corners….

And more tomorrow.