Friday (Viernes) 2nd July, 2010
Day 476

Ayacucho, Peru
Ayacucho, Peru
Miles: 47,226
S 13.21155°
W 74.27311°

We were woken early by the mini-buses taking workmen back up the hill for another day of road building.

We drove down hill into the town of Uripa where we bought fuel. The gas station owner was evidently having a promotion to encourage customers and was giving a roll of toilet paper to each customer. What a bonus!!. Further on we passed through the town of Chincheros before completing the descent to the Rio Pampas. This is a large river in a broad valley and was really quite beautiful in the morning sun.

From the river a long and dusty climb regained altitude, past the village of Ocros, and then another steep twisting climb on perhaps the most nerve racking road of the trip; A steep one lane road, with many switchbacks, and many oncoming vehicles including 40' buses certainly had the adrenaline flowing in both of us. The concentration required to negotiate this road did not prevent us from getting some enjoyment from the truly spectacular scenery.

From the top of this climb the 50 km into Ayacucho was just a long dusty rough road that shook everything - even the control panel on the refrigerator fell off. This section of our day was spiced up by yet another flat tire and a highway patrol officer who wanted to take us to task about our licenses (photo copies - which we denied) and the front license plate that I had mounted behind the windshield.

We did not see much of Ayacucho, only enough to buy fuel and get the flat tire fixed. I must say the tire repair was an interesting experience. As you the reader may know the first step in fixing a flat tire is to "break the bead" so that the tire can be removed from the rim. Well this guy did it with a pick-axe, gentle little hits of the blade at the point where the tire and rim meet. And very neatly he did it too; with no damage to the tire. I cannot wait to try this when I get home.

The bad news on the tire front is that we drove for some distance on the flat. The tire looks pretty beaten up and the rim has a slight bend in it. Hence I am not convinced that the repair will hold; only time will tell.

At the end of the day the GPS reported that our average speed today (only counting the time we actually moved) was 27 kph (17mph). Now that's really moving!


We spent the night in the large parking lot of a gas station right next to a peaje (toll station) partway up the climb after the town of Ayacucho.