05-01-2013 En route to Nazca

Today I left for the first trip in Peru, from Lima to Nazca.
Nazca is famous for the Nazca “Lines”, giant shapes ‘crop circles’ style drawn in the desert floor.
How they’ve been made has been clarified; why they were made or what they mean, remains a mystery.

This morning I started packing the bike at 07:00 and soon realised that I brought a lot of stuff.
REALITY CHECK 1: Bike is top heavy and too ‘light’ in the front.
Stubborn as I am, I left anyway. It would work out, just needs getting used too, I told myself.

Finding my way out of Lima was quite the challenge. My sense of direction, which is 95% of the times spot on and amazingly accurate, was in an ongoing battle with my Garmin GPS. In time I did manage to find the right route 😉
Riding a motorcycle in Peru has pro’s and cons……  1 disadvantage is, that usually the motorbikes here are small and no more than 250 cc. Other traffic disregards anything on 2 wheels. At least 4 times today I had to escape to the side of the road to prevent from being smashed by upcoming trucks and cars that were overtaking on my lane…..
On the positive side: Toll road attendants also treat bikes as unimportant, and therefore let you pass without paying.

REALITY CHECK 2: the desert is really hot and dusty.. 😉 My riding gear couldn’t keep me cool….
Many times I remembered the Sahara desert back in 2005, since the landscape was so similar and the temperature too. The heavy sidewinds made me lean in the wind and I wondered if my tires weren’t wearing out too much on 1 side.
Also after lunch, the warmth and the monotonous noise of the wind, made me drowsy and that is always dangerous. Fortunately I acknowledged the sensation very quickly and made myself focus a lot more.

It got more cloudy and eventually it even rained for a little bit. Not enough however to stop and change in to rain gear.
The road was winding through the hills and even with the substantial extra weight, de bike went great.
Close to Nazca is a lookout tower which presents a view on a couple of line drawings nearby. Across the road is a small parking space where I put the bike on it’s side stand.
After I got back to the bike I suited up and just when I was mounting the bike, it fell through it’s side stand. I couldn’t believe this was happening on the first day of the actual trip.
2 Very helpful bystanders helped me pick up the bike and held it upright while I mounted up. As far as I could see, besides the broken jiffy, there was no damage… 🙂 it landed mostly on my large bag. Only the mirror needed adjustment.

When I arrived in Nazca, 2 guys in a car persuaded me to come check out their hostel, where there was room for the motorbike. I followed them and the 2 men held my bike while I put all my luggage inside. When I mentioned the broken jiffy, they directed me to a man 2 blocks up the road who could weld it. I found the man and was very relieved that it was fixed straight away.
When I returned to the hostel, they gestured to ride the bike inside the hostel… 🙂 Nice and comfy my Supertenéré sleeps indoors.

Realising that the luggage is too heavy, I sorted out what I carry with me. Clothes and tools are the main things that I will disregard in order to slim down the weight.

For diner I had the Peruvian popular ceviche, raw fish, marinated in lemon juice, served with onions and sweet potato. Pisco Sour was my drink for the night.

Let’s see how things are in the morning… 🙂

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