Sunday, 27 July 2014

Q'eswachaka Inca Bridge, Peru

 Q'eswachaka Inca Bridge, Peru

Sometimes a dream ride exceeds you're expectation and in this case the ride to discover the swinging bridge known as Q'eswachaka while riding in Peru more then exceeded my expectation.

Here is a short video of that crossing and a couple of photos.  Enjoy!

My GoPro view of the crossing.

This is the road to Q'eswachaka

A couple of GoPro stills of the crossing

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Friday, 25 July 2014

Dream Your Ride - Peru, The quest for El Puente Q'eswachaka

Day 11 was the last riding day and it turned out to be the overall best.

The quest for the day was to find a hanging Inca bridge known as Q'eswachaka.  

Heading northeast from Espinar was a beautifully smooth paved road that led to the town of Sicuani.  There was one section of the road that was still in the process of being paved and this was where the only "issue" of the ride took place when the chain came off my bike.  15 minutes later the bike was fixed and we were on our way.

Evaluating the situation

Finding the bridge was difficult as the roads in Peru are poorly marked and many locals were unaware of the bridge. The other "complication" was the information indicated the road to the bridge was made of dirt / gravel and all the roads we were on happened to be paved.  We finally found someone who knew where the bridge was and she gave us excellent directions.

Q'eswachaka is made from local, natural material and is rebuilt every June by the local residents.  No man made materials are used and the bridge design is consistent with the ancient Inca builds.


It was a rush to walk across this structure!

Video from m GoPro

The road into the bridge was as much fun as crossing the bridge itself.  8.5 km of twisting, paved corners with very little traffic.

What a road!

The day and the moto portion of the trip ended back in Cusco, navigating crazy rush hour traffic at night.  What a rush that was.

10 days and 2,000 km of riding some beautiful and diverse roads had come to an end.  It was awesome!!!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Peru - Day 9 and 10 Arequipa, Espinar and Dirt Roads

Day 9 in Peru was spent exploring the city of Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru.  As this was a Sunday, the pace of the city had slowed from the lively Saturday night.

One of the highlights of the day was sipping coffee on a balcony overlooking the Plaza de Armas while watching an elaborate display of the local military personnel and city dignitaries.  Complete with a marching band.

Plaza de Armas, Arequipa 

Even though it's winter in Peru, Arequipa is quite warm during the day and very pleasant.  The city is shrouded in smog because if it's size and being in a basin, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes.  The smog does provide an impressive sunset, though.

Arequipa at sunset.

On Day 10 it was back on the motorcycles to begin working our way back to Cusco.

The main challenge  was fighting morning traffic out of Arequipa.  After that was accomplished, it was  off to the town of Espinar, Peru.  The map indicated that most of our route would be paved, however it must have been a "futuristic" map as the route was dirt and gravel.  The road was well packed and maintained, which made the ride very enjoyable.

Heading towards the snow and the mountains.

The road led to the mountains and snow, at least on the sides of the road.  This stretch turned out to be the most remote of the trip and was also one of the most enjoyable.  I enjoy riding roads with little or no traffic and this was a road I enjoyed a lot.

A GoPro view of the road to Espinar

We made it to Espinar, a community that was built by the local mining industry.  This town is off the regular Peruvian tourist routes and "gringos" are rarely seen in town.  The locals were very warm and friendly and we felt at home. 

We needed a place to store the motorcycles for the night and the warmth of the Peruvian people was very much alive in Espinar as the only motorcycle dealer in town allowed us to park our motorcycles in his shop.

The view from our Espinar, Peru motel room.

Tomorrow, the quest to find the Q'eswachaka bridge...

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Dream Your Ride - Peru - Day 7 & 8 Chivay and Colca Canyon

Day 7 in Peru began on a low note as I received word that my business partner and close friend had passed away unexpectedly.  My ride to the village of Chivay was bittersweet as I was reflecting on my friend while enjoying a fantastic riding road.  My friend had always lived a life of passion and I could do no less.

The road to Chivay is an 80 km road that is full of beautiful corners as it climbs to an altitude of 16,000 ft.  Even after being at high elevations for the past week, I found my chest feeling heavy from the thin air.

The one straight section of road

16,000 feet

Yes, that's ice

The village of Chivay is the gateway to Colca Canyon, home to very large condors.  Chivay is very small and has a lot of character.  Even though many people visit Chivay each year, it has been able to keep it's small town charm.  My advice for those heading to this area would be to spend two nights in Chivay and spend time exploring the town and the hillsides just outside of town.

Entering Chivay

On the main square in Chivay

On Day 8 we road an 82 km round trip into Colca Canyon to watch the condors that live in the canyon.  Colca Canyon is deeper then the Grand Canyon, although not as wide.


The finish to day 8 was riding to the city of Arequipa, Peru for a day of exploration on Day 9.

Arequipa, Peru at night

More to come.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

PS:  To my friend Francis Jean, I will miss you very much.  RIP my friend.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Peru - Days 5 & 6

On Day 5 in Peru we rode 400 km south from Cuzco to the city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

The highway between the two cities is well paved and runs through many small towns.  Some of the area is very remote.

The town of Urcos, Peru

Kinurana Alto, Peru

In the town of Avaviri, Peru we ran into what could best be described as a town wide sale.  Every thing from wool to coca leaves were for sale and the only road into town was closed.  That road happens to be the highway.  We were routed through a back street and after 20 minutes, were back on our way.

The most "exciting" part of the ride was through the city of Juliaca.  The streets were packed with cars, trucks and motorcycles and most of the route we needed to take was dug up for widening and repaving.  Traffic was chaotic at best.

We arrived in Puno in the late afternoon and checked in to the hotel for a good nights rest.

Day 6 was a rest day and we spent it on a boat tour of the floating islands of Uros.  These islands are made out if reeds as are the small houses and boats.  Very unique.

On of the floating islands of Uros

Form there we sailed to the island of Taquile.  There are no roads on this island and the people that inhabit the island work serving the tourists that come each day and making clothing, mainly hats and scarves, that are sold to those that visit.  This is a beautiful and peaceful place.

A view from Taquile, Peru

Tomorrow will be the ride to Chivay, Peru and the gateway to Colca Canyon and the condors that call the canyon home.

Gerald Trees

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Peru - Machu Picchu and Lares

Day 3 in Peru included visiting the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu.  While some visit this place for mystic or spiritual reasons, I came for the views.

The Inca people were master engineers, excavators and builders.  These structures have stood for centuries in a region known for earthquakes and have survived intact.  

The reminder of day 3 was spent riding to the mountain pueblo of Lares, which is the starting point for the Lares Trek.  This area is remote and beautiful.

The road from Calca, Peru into Lares is a twisty, turny 55 km road where the first 25 is smooth pavement and the last 30 is a gravel road that's wide enough for one car. We road this section at night.

Half way to Lares, Peru

Our accommodations in Lares

Day 4 was spent exploring the area around Lares and riding the road back to Calca, ending up back in Cuzco for the night.

This was a great place to see and ride

A very accurate sign

More to come...

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Sunday, 13 July 2014

I'm In Peru-Days 1 & 2

My Peruvian adventure is off to a great start.  The people are friendly and the scenery is awesome!

Riding / traffic rules in Peru are very loose "guidelines", however the speeds are slower then North America and the drivers are polite.  Few are in a great rush to get to where they are going.

Flying from Lima to Cuzco

Cuzco, Peru

Some on the road "hazards"

The views are amazing!

More to come...

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Friday, 11 July 2014

Peru - Travel Day

My Peru adventure is finally here and I'm about to board my 2nd of 4 flights today that will take me to Cuzco, Peru by tomorrow afternoon.

I've got my tail bag for the motorcycle and my backpack, which is loaded more with camera gear then cloths.

Alaska Airline will get me to LA and then off to South America.

More to come.

Gerald Trees

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Fly, Rent and Explore

--> Fly, Rent and Explore

I would love to be able to take two or months off, load up my motorcycle and go exploring and that is a goal that I’ve been working on for some time.  It will happen!

Until that time, I still like to explore different parts of the world on a motorcycle and for the most part do that in my own back yard of Western Canada / Western United States, riding my own motorcycle.  While this area has some amazing areas to ride, both on and off road, it is nice to see different parts of the country or the world while riding a motorcycle.  This is where renting a motorcycle comes in to the picture.

I usually have 7 to 14 days where I can break away from my main business, Optometry, and I would rather spend most of that time riding and exploring new places.  To get the most out of my time, I’ll fly to the area I want to explore, rent a motorcycle and take off. 

In North America, the most common rental motorcycle is Harley Davidson.  So far I’ve explored most of the island of Maui and all of the island of St. Martin while riding a Harley.  Last October my wife and I took a 5-day tour that began with renting a Honda Gold Wing in Las Vegas.  We rode part of Route 66 to the Grand Canyon and then explored the area between Flagstaff and Sedona.  We enjoyed the trip so much that we’ll be heading back to Las Vegas in September and take 7 days to explore the canyons in southern Utah.

My ride on Maui.  A Harley Davidson Ultra Limited.

 Exploring the island of St. Martin with friends.

Grabbing some snacks and post cards on Route 66.

My next Fly, Rent and Explore adventure will begin in 4 days when I fly to the country of Peru to spend 10 days riding and exploring part of the Andes mountain range.  On this trip the motorcycle of exploration will be a Honda Falcon 400, which is made and sold in South America.  

 My ride in Peru...

Renting a motorcycle is easy to do, provided you have a valid motorcycle license and a credit card with enough available credit to cover the security deposit, which is between $1,000.00 and $2,000.00 depending on the insurance coverage you purchase.  In North America, the places with the most rental locations are the local Harley Davidson dealership or Eaglerider.  Some Eaglerider locations will rent motorcycles other then Harley Davidson, like the Honda Goldwing.  If you’re looking for an adventure or dual sport motorcycle, there are a few locations in North America that rent this type of motorcycle and the best way to locate them is with a Google search.

If you plan on traveling outside of North America and want to rent a motorcycle, do your research.  Many of the tour companies like Edelweiss will rent motorcycles to individuals as well.  Eaglerider also has a presence outside of North America.  Do you’re homework and make sure of the licensing requirements.  Many places in Europe require drivers from other countries to have an international drivers license along with the one issued by their country, province or state.  This license is easy to get and is available through most AAA locations.

If you have limited time and want to explore on a motorcycle, try renting.  It’s fun and you may have the opportunity to ride a motorcycle that’s new to you. 

My posts for the next two weeks will be all about Peru.  Stay tuned.

Gerald Trees

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Adventure Close To Home - Go Exploring!

Adventure Close To Home – Go Exploring!

Adventure can be found close to home

Following my last post on Adventure Touring, a friend, Lance Gines, commented on how he had logged over 200,000 miles of adventure riding and touring all in Western North America.

Another person commented on facebook “The South Island of New Zealand is great, Turkey is wonderful but the main adventure is to take that first step out your front door and go someplace on your motorcycle. Don't wait for your dream trip. Do the trip that's possible NOW.”

Later today, I was visiting with a friend who is a retired dealership owner and avid Kawasaki KLR650 rider and he was all excited about an upcoming trip that he was going to be taking in August.  He and a friend will traveling the back roads of British Columbia on their KLR’s, spending most of the trip on the provinces logging roads.  It’s an adventure that’s right in our back yard.

All of us live in or very close to areas that are loaded with roads, paved and dirt, which you’ve likely never ridden.  Stop dreaming about taking a tour and plan something close to home.  I guarantee you’ll have fun and you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the area you’re from.

One of many rivers to be found on Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Go exploring!

Gerald Trees

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Adventure Touring - What Is It?

Adventure Touring – What Is It?

Riding a Honda Falcon 400 in Peru

Some will say the phenomena known as Adventure Touring began when the “Long Way Round” was released in 2004.  The reality is traveling to far away or challenging places on a motorcycle has been taking place since the invention of the motorcycle.  The documentary did show that long distance motorcycle touring was possible away from paved roadways and in less then ideal conditions.  I enjoyed the “Long Way Round” as a rider and as someone who loves to travel.  Yes, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman had an entourage following them to document and arrange their travel, which is more then most travelers have, and yet I was inspired to travel more after watching this documentary. 

My definition of Adventure Touring is quite broad, mainly because it really is. 

The Motorcycle:

The Adventure Touring Motorcycle must,

a)     Be able to carry you and all the things you'll need for your trip.
b)    Be able to take you down any road or path you need or want to take.
c)     Be able to be ridden down a dirt or gravel road.

Engine size and output are a personal choice.  One of my Facebook “friends” has traveled from Guatemala to the USA on a Honda XR 125 L so small works.

A Honda XR 125 L outfitted for adventure

A Touratech outfitted KTM 1190 R

The Adventure Tour:

The Adventure Tour should take place on small, low traffic roads and should include at least one of the following,

a)     Pick the amount of time to be away and a direction to go, any direction, with no plans on where you’ll end up.  Enjoy the scenery, the people and the food.  Explore!
b)    Choose a destination you’ve always wanted to go and then go.

Accommodations on your tour are entirely up to you.

The scenery off the paved road can be well worth it

Perhaps the best way to sum things up is take a trip to someplace you’ve wanted to see, take a route that's fun and challenging and get off the pavement occasionally.  Enjoy your adventure!

He who lives sees but he who travels sees more

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride