Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Diary: Saturday 29 October 2005 to Sunday 6 November 2005
240 miles to Puno on Lake Titicaca. The high altitude is affecting many of the group, with headaches and sickness. Today we were riding on high altiplano and bleak moors. We passed many herds of llama and alpaca. The highest point to day was 4,338 m. Off the bike and trying to move the bike around makes you feel really breathless.
The group hired a boat today and it took us to the floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca. The islands are man made and can be moved around the lake, even chopped in two if there is a dispute between families! It was fascinating.
229 miles today to Chivay, with 20 miles of riding on hard rutted roads, with pockets of deep sand. We rode at our highest point today – 4,800 metres. Very cold and bleak, but with stunning views.
165 miles today to Arequipa. Up early at 5.30am to ride to the Colca Canyon to see condors. Colca is the deepest canyon in the world and we saw condors soaring on the early morning thermals. The road on to Arequipa was a new road, with great surface and long sweeping bends.
Day free in Arequipa, a nice town with lovely central plaza.
The plan was to ride 290 miles to Arica in Chile. But 4 kms out of the city on a busy dual carriageway, Michael had an accident. A pedestrian just ran out in front of his bike and Mike swerved to avoid him and hit the central reservation of concrete bollards. Julia went with Mike to the hospital and the X-rays showed he had a broken leg. He was transferred to a private clinic and had to have a 4 hour operation to pin his leg, but thank god there were no other injuries. All was covered by the special adventure travel insurance we had taken out.
The group had to return back to the hotel, where they spent an extra 2 nights, whilst I spent the nights in the clinic with Michael. In the meantime, Kevin sorted out problems with police reports, recovering Michael’s bike and liasing with the British Consulate. The group had to leave on the third day after the accident with Julia, but Kevin, I and David Power stayed behind another day to take care of the police and paperwork. Michael’s bike was a total write off. The engine and gear box was split and the left pod ripped off. It was not worth sending it home, so we stripped it all for any accessories and spares, leaving just a shell behind.
Michael is still in the hospital but comfortable. Kevin, David and I left for Arica to try and catch up with the main group. Michael is being looked after by the British Consulate and another British biker, Cynthia Milton who is also in Arequipa is visiting him. The insurance company are sorting out a flight to get Michael home at the end of the week. It was a hard decision to carry on, but I have to do this for him and me.
We have now arrived in Chile. What a change compared with Peru. It is all very clean, orderly and efficient. We did 500 miles today to try and catch up with the others. It will take another couple of days yet.