Post 400

Huaraz is a fairly large town considering it’s remoteness. But, the drive up was really why we were here so this was just a pit-stop.

The town serves as a base for the mountaineering types, but we were all feeling a bit of altitude sickness. We’ve been at higher elevations many times, but for some reason it got to us this time – especially Bode. He actually admitted that he was tired and went to bed without dinner. Totally unheard of.

The next day he was still a lethargic blob, so we decided to go back to sea level. The nearest beach was Barranca, about 4 hours away on a paved road.

First, we had to climb over the pass and reached about 4,100 meters. Mt. Huascaran, Peru’s tallest mountain at 6,700 meters, and lots of glaciers provided great scenery. Amazingly, for the past three days we’ve barely felt like we were climbing.  The steep and winding parts don’t start until the way down. Driving slow, I think we dropped all 4100 meters in just over an hour.

Bode slept through most of the drive, and when he woke up he was like a whole new kid.

Barranca has the feel of a spring break destination, with every restaurant plastered with a beer logo. The sea wall has beer logos, even the bottom of the pool at our hotel had a beer logo. The weird part was that there was no one around. There were tons of closed bars and restaurants and a few hotels, but no people. Perhaps it livens up on weekends.

After communicating by email a few times, the next day we met fellow Westy drivers  Trish and Mike (and dog, Chettie)  from Colorado, making their way back to Colombia after their South American tour. We swapped stories and they recommended a few spots in Argentina. they also told us their story about being attacked a few weeks ago – scary stuff.

They’ll be shipping their bus back from Cartagena in a few months. They are the second folks we’ve met who claim we are the only other Americans they’ve seen in South America.

And our big news for our 400th blog post?  Almost 20 months and 12 countries later, we finally had our first flat tire. Done in by a shiny bolt.

We whipped out the tire repair kit and had it patched quickly. The spare tire (our airbag) still hasn’t come off the front of the bus.

7 thoughts on “Post 400

  • March 22, 2011 at 8:04 AM
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    That’s about 13,400 feet to us gringos, and the bus ran great the whole way. I did a high-altitude tune up (timing and carb) in Huaraz before we left and again half-way down.

  • March 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM
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    That’s higher than any motorable pass in the United States. Not only that, but it looks to be (by my informal survey) one of the top twenty highest in the Western Hemisphere, and probably one of the hundred highest in the world.

    Good job, Team Rehm!

    Alright,
    whc03grady.

  • March 22, 2011 at 2:43 PM
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    Shame, you missed the “Puya Raimondii” [ http://dare2go.com/twg/image.php?twg_album=Peru1&twg_show=078+PN+Huascaran+-+Puya+Raimondii.jpg ] – a giant bromeliad, endangered, and only found in this part of the world… Quite a sight.

    But effects from altitude can get to you, and it’s a known fact that only because you weren’t affected one time doesn’t mean you’ll be safe the next. It got to us around Cusco/Puno, and we finally had to go down, so we missed the condors (or not: judging by stories from other travelers).

  • March 22, 2011 at 5:21 PM
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    Man, there was a lot I would have liked to have seen, but honestly at the time none of us could even walk up the stairs easily. I’m a bit worried about Arequipa and Cusco!

  • March 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM
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    “I’m a bit worried about Arequipa and Cusco!” – then drive VIA Arequipa to Cusco!!
    It’s a detour, but less steep climb; the road from Nasca direct goes from around 500 metres to over 4,000 in about 1 1/2 hours drive – and then stays on a plateau around 4000m for ages. We barely made it back down to 3600 before it got pitch-black.
    But one time a bad experience with altitude doesn’t mean the next time will be the same!!! Good luck.

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