Thursday (Jueves) 1st July, 2010
Day 475

Ayacucho Road, Peru
Ayacucho Road, Peru
Miles: 47,102
S 13.54945°
W 73.62968°

There was mist around the mountains as we started driving this morning and for a few hours we had mixed visibility with the light wind sometimes blowing the mist over the roadway. This added some additional spice to driving the narrow, twisting, mountain track.

The road continued to climb topping out at about 4000m. Just after the summit we came upon a barrier across the road, a guard, and a sign saying road closed. It turned out that there was road work up ahead and the road would be closed until 12:30. It was then 8:30!!

A tip of 20 New Sols (about $7) to the guard and we were on our way. For the remainder of the day we traveled through road works and past work gangs. Sometimes we had to wait a few minutes for a task to be complete, sometimes 20 minutes. At times the machinery made a path just so we could get past. On a couple of occasions the surface was so bad that we needed 4 wheel drive to get through. It was an interesting insight into the road making process.

Clearly a major effort was under way to upgrade the Abancay to Ayacucho road, and they seemed to be trying to do most of it at the same time. All in all the work we saw must have covered 60-70 miles. All of this made for a long, slow and dusty day. We covered 90 miles in 10 hours on the road.

A couple of interesting items from the days effort.

  • Early in the day we stopped for a morning snack as a place where excavated dirt was being dumped on a large flat area beside the road. There was a single workman there directing the dump trucks. We shared our honeyed toast with him.

  • Entered the town of Andahuaylas we could not work out which way to go. After some detailed instructions from a young local man, which we did not understand, we invited him to get into the Tiger and he became our guide for 10 minutes.

  • At the town of Talavera (a few miles after we left our guide mentioned above) we came face to face with a bridge that had a series of concrete posts positioned in the middle of each lane to prevent large vehicles entering the town. Mind you we were trying to leave. We got advice from all the spectators, turn around, then go left 2 blocks. Which we did; but that road was closed. Some more instructions had us on a very narrow clay road climbing up another series of switchbacks. Twelve kms later we were back on the "main" road.

The harvest is not as advanced here as we saw further south. Potatoes are still being picked rather than dried, and many fields still have wheat standing.


We found a flat area beside the road a few km before the town of Uripa. We were pleased to see this spot as by this time the road was descending steeply and few suitable places presented themselves. Interestingly we noticed a number of large buses pass by during the night even though we had seen none during the day.