Day 12 – Cusco to Arequipa

 

Today is a day of highs and lows, literally. We began our day at 10,100 feet, when as high as 15,950 feet (good thing we have become acclimated to high altitudes) and ended the day at 8,050 feet with most of the driving done around 14,000 feet. And I was wondering why they were calling this an endurance rally.

Another day in the Great Race always begins with getting out of town, big or small, it’s always a challenge. If you have a good monitor you might be able to see the backdrop on number 81 is composed of teddy bears sitting on the new moon – very cute.

 

Early in the day we arrived at the first of two speed Tests for the day. It is one of the few times along the road some of us can get together – there is not much time to stop for lunch on this trip.

 

Even on the Tests, the roads are beautiful, it’s just that you have less time to enjoy the scenery.

 

The finish – always a welcome sight which means another safely completed run.

 

Towns along the way have become a rare sight but I took this picture just to prove they do exist and that lots of people live above 14,000 feet. Those are clouds hanging on the mountainside and the town was at 15,400 feet.

 

We stopped for fuel in a small town and watched this woman carefully place a rock behind the wheel of this taxi – don’t know if she didn’t want it to leave without her or what but her dress and hat got my attention.

 

And right at the edge of the road, this older lady was apparently waiting for a bus – what a great character shot! It was really nice to see the native costumes and the people all seem very friendly and wave as we go by – of course, we wave to them also.

 

The common mode of transportation in this part of the world …

 

Another great human interest picture of the little boy and his dad walking their cow – people here really take care of their animals, we even saw sheep on a leash.

 

Getting ready for the second Test of the day – Lloyd did a great job on both Tests …

 

Apparently the word was out in the sheep community that Lloyd was in the area and they were coming to meet him – fortunately, none met him head on …

 

This little boy was in charge of his two sheep and was telling them to get off the road – which they indeed did.

 

Today was Saturday and naturally, Market Day – crowds and stuff everywhere in some of the towns we passed through. We even had to take a detour around the market in one town.

 

What would a day in the Great South American Challenge be without a few or few hundred killometers in the dirt – today was only a 125 killometer jaunt. We passed this classic example of what happens to a car when a ball joint fails – not pretty.

 

I’m sure you are all tired of mountains by now but we were at 14,700 feet when this was taken – imagine the height of the snow covered peak in the distance.

 

Now here is a sight one does not normally see in the states – a heard of Alpacas just enjoying a snack. Alpacas live in herds in the Andes at heights between 11,500 and 16,000 feet (we were at 14,500 feet here).

 

These guys were so cute, they deserved another picture – the faces and ears are just priceless – their fur is not bad either.

 

Someone left a comment on the blog about industry in this area of the world. This was the first sign I had seen of what would be regarded as heavy industry – in other words, it hardly exists. It seems that they only build roads, many of them dirt – must be the Inca heritage.

 

The weather changed dramatically toward the end of the day and so did the topography as we began our descent. The cuts through these hills looked like the hills were made of sand, but what stopped them from just sliding down onto the road in the rain? We didn’t wait around to find out.

 

Coming into Arequipa, the all too familiar sight of tiny and falling down houses – very sad to see. That is fog distorting the picture which did nothing to aid the driving. We ran through 25 kilometers of extremely dense fog along the way.

 

It made us feel we were back in Bolivia but unfortunately, it is just the way life is around the larger cities. A simple matter of economics – the cities are where the work is and the closer the more expensive the cost of living. Therefore, out of necessity, the low rent housing is on the outskirts.

 

We are now at 8,000 feet and go down to sea level tomorrow and for the next several days. Even though it was dark and raining when we arrived, we decided to change the carburetor back to the lower altitude version for the next several days (we will have to make another swap several days from now). The high altitude carburetor Lloyd had built really saved the day for us the last several days but it is now time to give it a rest.

And speaking of rest, it is now time for me to get some also.

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2 Responses to Day 12 – Cusco to Arequipa

  1. Yesterday’s MMR Newsletter showed that 21 people went to your blog since it was posted on Friday morning and people were talking about you this evening at the Alfa club’s Winter Dinner. BTW this was an amazing report. What diversity. Great shots.

    Peter.

  2. Lisa says:

    No no. No one will ever tire of your mountain shots! All beautiful…

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