Peru Divide Part 1 - Day 15 & 16: Brrrr...
Man Down! Well actually, woman but man has a better ring to it.

July 26 & 27, 2017

After our first day off in a week, we were ready to finish this section of the divide.

What happened…

Andrew writes: So we’re cycling along on Day 17 when up ahead we spy Aiden and Tara, the Americans. They were just pulling out from behind a farm where they had been camping. It was nice to hear about their adventures from the last few days. They had gotten so sick of the Divide that they had careened off to Cerro de Pasco, a huge mining town. Then somehow, they managed to re-connect with the Divide two days later and we saw them as they passed through Marcapomachampa yesterday afternoon.We re-joined forces, well sort of. We rode together for a bit, and then Amanda and I went ahead while they stopped to eat, and then we got together again when Amanda and I ate lunch at the top of the 22km climb, and we said our farewells again when we reached the Carretera Central. They were going on to Huancavelica and we were heading towards Huancayo. We were going to stick to pavement for a bit and they itched to stay off-road. We cycled about 5km up the CC in the dusk before finding an abandoned mining camp to pitch our tent next to, maybe 100m off the road – except, it wasn’t an abandoned mining camp. Around 7pm a dozen mine workers came back to came to find it taken over by us, and all of our stuff. Apologies were made, and we were told that while we couldn’t camp out with them, we could stay inside the old gas station. Despite the smell of oil and gas, it was really cozy, and blessedly warm. That’s Peruvians for you.

OMG, remember how the other day I said that traffic didn’t bother me? Well, maybe it does a little. I think I have forgotten what it was like to cycle on a busy highway. Or maybe I have never really experienced a highway in Peru before. It’s frightening. The Peruvian drivers like to take a standard 2-lane highway and turn it into a 4-lane at every opportunity. It actually created a lot of chaos on the road, maybe more so because it’s a holiday weekend here. There were huge sections where traffic was at a standstill because someone had tried to pass, but ran out of room & time, and instead was forced to stop in the oncoming traffic lane, while traffic on both sides honked madly and waited for them to get it figured out. It ended up being a little funny because there were trucks that we remembered passing us on the uphill, that we ended up passing in the bedlam and chaos, and finally two hours later in La Oroya, we saw them again as we were out walking and looking for a place to eat. Strange days indeed. Also in La Oroya? Nici and Philip. We’ll see them tomorrow morning and find out what they’ve been up to for the last few days.

Amanda writes: While I enjoyed the Peru Divide route immensely, it was nice to get back to pavement. As Andrew mentioned traffic was heavy but because it was gridlock it made it a bit safer because for much of it we were passing the cars. After we hit the pavement and finished off about an 8km climb it was pretty much downhill the entire way to La Oroya. As we reached the top of the climb there were tons of cars pulled off and it turns out it was a bit of a tourist attraction.

The pass sits at 4818 meters elevation and it marks what was the highest train station in the world for about 120 years until China built a higher one in 2006. The Ticlio daily station is at 4829 meters and is still the highest in the entire American continent. As we descended from the pass I could see exactly what the railway system was for; huge mines. Incredibly massive mines like I’ve never seen before. It’s just amazing how much of the mountainside these operations take up.

After arriving into La Oroya it was nice to settle into a hotel with a warmish shower and a good meal. We’re now heading towards lots of pavement and a big city in the coming days and I think we’re both excited that we did it! We did the entire first section of the Peru Divide.

The aerial view of our rides:

Today’s Photographs

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Peru Divide Part 1 - Day 15 & 16: Brrrr...
Man Down! Well actually, woman but man has a better ring to it.