Friday, December 30, 2005


Friday Night...

Im in Leymebamba, a little town at the head more orless of the river I've been following. Its Remote!!this internet is one of 4 machines in the town hall of sorts. There isn't much here at all. Lets see, yesterday was a big day. I cruised down the huge hill back to the river and rode about 2 hrs to Tingo which is below the ruins. I checked into a quite little place for $3 and immediatly set off for the hike to the runis. It was about 12:30 and quite hot out.

The hike was a bit more than I expected!!everyone says 3 hrs and all up. but it ended up being 4500 ft of vert to get up there!! jesus! My knee was not too happy all day and I was expecting the worst this morning but it was ok. The hike reminded me alot of the upper sections of hiking the grand Canyon. The Ruins of Kuelap were amazing, I practically had the whole place to myself and it was very tranquillo...There is this huge massive outer wall then another inner wall, and trees growing everywhere inside it. Similar in granduer to several of the major sites ofmesa verde combined into one. The highlight I think was the Alpackas up there. I had fun taking photos and videos up really close to them. Then had a stumble of a hungry hike down and a bit of headlamp use straight to two big plates of chicken, rice and potatoes.

A sexy Alpaca at Kuelap Ruins in Peru...what a beautiful soft and furry animal. (Posted by Laura)
This morning I took it easy and cought up on my journal a bit and chatted lots with the woman who owned the place I slept at. Turned out that yesterday a 9 yr old boy was fishing and dissapeard into theriver, most of the tiny town were out searching... Had a lazy 3 hr ride up the canyon more to Leymebamba. The road has been pretty nice, by dirt road standards andit hasent rained in 3 days! Tomorrow I was originally thinking of just chilling out, but if the weather is good I think I want to get black mud pass over with while its Dry!anyway, tired and having a bit of intresting intestinal happenings..
Lots of Love! Eric

PS. might be camping for new years tomorrow night on the road to Celendin.

The ruins of Kuelap (posted by Laura)

The road to Leymebamba (Posted by Laura)

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Had a great ride from Perdo Ruiz today. I´m heading south back up into the mountains to the pre-inca Ruins of Kuelap (google it) then over a pass (black mudpass), wayyyy down 10,000´ to a major amazon tributary river then right back up the other side to the towns of Celedin and Cajamarca. Thats the plan for the next week.So basically from San Ignacio I woke up to more rain and mud and jumbed in a collectivo (van taxi) for the 2.5 hr ride through more mud then back to civilization of the buzy town of Jaen.

It was a little crazy there, and I just didnt feel like dealing with gear or biking or maintance. So decided to wait for a buss heading east to Pedro Ruiz which is sort of a crossroads town. It was a big mistake as I spent most ofthe day waiting for this crappy buss, then we get onthe road at like 4pm and its beautiful out and a nice paved road through beautiful country, so I was kickingmy self of that one.. anyway its dark at past 8 by the time I get to pedro Ruiz, the guys get my bike off the roof and the guy also hads me a pedal... so from the bouncing and slamming up there somehow a snap ring popped loose and the pedal body came off the spindle..I couldnt believe it! I set off to try to fix it,luckly the ring was still in the pedal body, but Ineeded a small pin spanner to reassemble the thing. Miraciously there was actually a bike shop intown and since everything stays open till 10 it seems it was no problem and I was a hit with the 15 and 20yr old girls running the show. So pedal fixed good. no more busses ever!

Today it was nice out and I rode up this canyon for several hours, very off the beaten track and little other traffic. It changed quickly from a tropical area to an arid one and well, then I ran out of water! The canyon was awesome though, like the narrows of the Poudre for alot of it with a brown whitewater around every corner. Reached a road junction up to Chachapoyas and bought some water where a beautiful new paved road had been built and I spent the next few hours grinding up trying to get to town which never seemed to come! anyway Its a nice little town up around 7500´ so nice to be a little higher again andnot worried about the mosquitos (which I never saw anyway...)

I´m going to stock up here on food for the next few days until Leyambamba and that big pass. The knee is bothering me but not too bad, I was able to ice it a the place I´m staying so that was good.babble babble internet is .30 cents an hour here so babbble I will... nice to have a day of no rain and sun, hot and dry!


Area near Chachapoyas (Posted by Laura)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

in Peru!


I pulled into the town of San Ignacio Peru just at Dusk this evening. Christmas eve I spent camped on the side of the road in a torrential downpour at 8000' while trying to get over this unknown pass but didnt make it... Lets see. Since Vilicabamba on the map looked like a pass then down a long river valley to a border crossing. It has been much much harder than I would have imagined. That first day leaving vilicabamba had over 6000 ft of climbing all up one valley then dropping into another, repeat. Christmas day was an interesting one, started out reaching that big pass then dropping like a bat 6000ft down into the Oriente again in a torrential rainstorm turning the road to craziness. So after passing a few smaller villages who I dont think have ever seen a gringo bike touring.. (this is the most seldom used border crossing) started following this long and huge river valley, but it was again anything but downhill. I jumped in the bed of a truck on one because it was so steep. Temps were warm as they are here, misty rain but warm, and that amazon like rich brown mud and vibrant greens vegation.. just like cinnamon bay.

This whole time I'm feeling my bad knee acting up a bit and dont want to climb any more than I need to. Just as I think I'm to Zumba i pass through another village with a soccer game going on in the street. and am crushed by the sight of another huge valley to descend and a huge 2500 ft climb up the other side...oh well, at the bottom on the bridge crossing the river I stop to contemplate life and sure enough, my christmas present arrives.

Three great guys in a pickup drive up and are totally psyched to see me, and I immediately take them up on a ride. we round a corner to another village, where along with the donkeys,chickens and guy hacking up animal parts with amachette for the grill, are beers! The four of us shot the shit in the first sun of three days and replenish my carbo supply. Two of them were actually civil engineers and one an operator. so it was funny, that we were collegues.. So we then proceeded to make short work of the hill on the otherside and Pulled into Zumba at dusk, and found a $3 room..Zumba was quite the frontier town. It was sunny for 15 minutes then rained hard non stop until I left today. I've learned that the maps lie. What was 11 km on themap was over 15 miles and took me over 3 hours to get to the border. The road is sledom used and absolutly horrible. Washed out, rockfall, landslides, cobbled hell, and mud. I walked pretty much all the climbs.Anyway bla bla. said screw it and got in a taxi at the border for a hour long rally race in a toyota tercel wagon along more crazy and muddy roads to San Ignacio. I think Im going to put off biking more until I get back into the highlands again. The terrain and roads here are very very hard, and the mud will kill my bike if I keep at it. Probably on a buss to Jaen tomorrow.

Lots of love!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Lojas...on the move!

It begins!The night bus went well, and then I took another bus through beautiful scenery to Loja. Beautiful area, a bit more lush and tropical. Then actually started biking!! packed up and headed south over a small pass and down into a lush valley to Vilica bamba. Its a popular small town. Everything worked well and I was sooooo, still am, happy to be on the road again andmoving. I actually am writting this from back in Loja since I forgot to get some Peruvian $. I jumped on abus and will get one back in a bit. Anyway I will try calling you on Christmas but I might be crossing the border into peru or near the town in peru of Jaen (Ithink its called)Happy to be Happy! you´d love it here, lush and tropical

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Illinizas scenery (Posted by Laura)

I got back yesterday after spending two nights up at the Illinizia´s at a dank hut. But It was a good time. I made friends with this guy Christian in Quito and he invited me to head up there with a bunch of other Ecuadorians, part of a club here in Quito. So there were 10 of us total. This is the place that Lisa and I went to about a month ago now (!) and had bad altitude problems. Anyway this time was fine and I had a great time. The weather was poor and We didn't summit Illiniaza norte onSunday, some very cool Canadians showed up at the hut on Sunday and we hit it off immediately and I decided to stay with them and try again instead of going back to Quito for more waiting. It was really good and some much needed male English speaking friendship! So we hiked up norte yesterday and had some good views but also the clouds rolled in and socked in everything again. But they are supposed to come up to Alaska in May so it will be fun to do more with them.Hopefully I´ll get that box today or tomorrow and will be on my way again. I found a company that had direct night buses and don't leave from the sketchy bus station so that's good news..anyway

I love you!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Volcan Antisana

Here are a few scenic shots from my little outing to the East.Volcan Antisana from the bus ride over the eastern Cordillera, Laguna volcan where I camped a night then headed up into total fog and came back through the next day. Waiting for replacement gear packages in Quito. :)

Old town Quito, Monastary San Francisco

Saturday, December 10, 2005

getting things together

Well my shoes have left colorado and Dan sent apackage with a new pannier and tubes today, to I´m hoping by wednesday or thursday I´ll be off again. I hit a good bike shop here this morning and bought good gloves, spare spokes and brake pads. So I´m done with the search for everything (PHEW!!) a relief. No just have to wait. I think I´m going to head back to the Illinizia peaks where Lisa and I first had our boubt of altitude sickness. So I think I´m going to head up there and camp and do a peak, maybe head back into Cotopaxi park if I can hitch a ride. A little hard to come up with ideas to do when I´ve been in the area for a while (and malaria pills take 2 weeks notice, or I´d got to the jungle).So Thanks for all the good wishes. I talked to Lisa this morning and she made it back just fine last night, to a rainy anchorage, all the snow is melting!talk to you soon!
love Eric

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stuck in Quito, need panniers


Well I´ve been walking for a solid 4 + hours looking for gear. I´ve gotten a bunch of bike stuff, like bar ends, patches, lube, cables and gloves that barely fit. No panniers.. I`m going to have either Lisa or Dan send me a package depending on where I can buy a single ortlieb pannier from, I need to get a package anyway since 700c bike tubes dont exist down here, and I knew that before.bummer... THink I´m going to have a spare tire mailed to Cuzco.Trying to go back to the source to buy it back would be such a pain and probaly a needle in haystack..And Plans are going forward, months of prep and thought and quitting my job, moving out of my place to do this dont just go away. Once I get things lined up I`ll probably get out of town for a few days then come back hoping that it all has arrived. So anyway, back to work..

Lisa gets robbed too....
Lisa also had bad luck after us parting, her credit card got stolen in Miami. But, she has made it back fine after a nice jog on the beach. On the brighter side, I walked through old town of Colonial Quito early this morning before any shops were open, and its a beautiful area if you like churches...
See ya


Well, this isnt going to be a happy post. I just got back from being on the bus for 5 hours andhad to come back to Quito and am looking up phone numbers. Basically, all my important bike stuff and a pannier got stolen. Irreplacible stuff like my clipless shoes, bike clothes, gloves, and my big pouch of tools and repair gear, spare parts, tubes for 2 9" wheels, 50 patches. what else? oh my favorite jersey that I've had since India, ummm and the drybags I was going to use as the two front panniers, and a high end german made foldable touring tire. All in one nice compact package. I got on the buss for Cuenca after navigating the terminal Terrestre safely with backpack and bike. We were heading out of Quito, there were only a few people on the bus and I was relaxing and reflecting a bit since Lisa and I parted this morning. Then 2 ofthe ever present vendors came on the bus. I had one of the panniers next to me on the seat and the other in the over head bin directly above me. I'm guessing they just slid it back then maybe stuffed it some how in the box he had his candy bars in.

So I realized this probably almost 2 hours after it happened and had to get off and catch another bus back to Quito. I figured being here is the best chance of trying to 'eplace stuff and recieving crazy expensive fed-exs. So yet another lesson learned the hard way.I'll let you know if you can mail me anything. But I think Im going directly to the source this time for speed. I had the thought of calling this a good excuse to go to the galapagos...
Not much else to report.
love, Eric