Being removed from flying, driving an automobile, and only being able to ride a bicycle, the time had come to take drastic measures. The "MEN" of the language school decided it was time to get back to basics and take the "controls" for a saturday and go ride.
For some odd reason, I was the one put in charge of organizing a trip for 4 guys. Our preferred mode of transportation... motorcycles. I found the only tour guide that rented motorcycles in Arequipa. But not just any cycles, these were genuine Wanxin and Cross motorcycles. The finest offerings of some peoples republic of somewhere where things are made cheap...
We all set off on a saturday morning heading towards the town of Yura. After 30 minutes on a two lane paved road and another 30 minutes on a winding dirt road, we arrived at the main Plaza. With only 100 residents, Yura is quite small. However, the Church in the town plaza was constructed 40 years before the USA received independence back in 1776!
It was then off to the country side where the green fields contrasted with the rolling desert hills. We traveled for anther hour until one of the bikes broke down. Thankfully, there was a Tico taxi that passed by and we were able to send the bike back to town inside of the Tico. Since gas was leaking out of the motorcycle tank, we drained the fuel into a dirty gallon sized bucket, cut the top off of an old plastic water bottle that was lying alongside the road, and poured the fuel into the Tico. Down one bike and rider, we continued on.
Arequipa is at an elevation of 7,500 feet. On our journey, we traveled up into the highlands of the mountains. Our next rest stop was at 13,000 feet where our bikes could manage no more than 45 mph. The temperature had also dropped to around 45 degrees. Combined with the wind and late afternoon cloud cover, we were freezing cold! However, the view (along with lack of oxygen) was breathtaking.
After warming up and eating a late lunch, it was back on the road for the one and a half hour return trip. The cloud cover turned into rain and for the last half of the ride, we rode in complete misery as our fingers turned blue. There are a few things in this world worse than riding a motorcycle in the rain with soaking wet clothing and shoes... I just can't think of what those things are right now. A warm shower and dry cloths never felt so good. In fact, the next day we were all talking about doing another trip some weekend, obviously a sure sign that we were all quite delusional after enduring such harsh conditions the day before. The call of the open road, the call of the wild, whatever you want to call it... I am going to call this post quits!