Mud, mud glorious mud!

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Apurímac,
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We woke up in the clouds, which meant it was a cold, wet, drizzly white out, which was freezing to walk around in to use the camp stove and to pack up the wet tent.  It was really tempting to stay in our warm sleeping bags all morning but we knew that if we descended a short way down the hill the temperature would be much warmer.

I set off with a full waterproof outfit on, which included a pair of Peruvian road workers trousers, which I bought the other day from a hardware store, much to the amusement of the sales assistant.  They are bright orange and huge, but are waterproof and a warm extra layer for the cold, wet mornings before we get our legs moving properly.

We covered a couple of kilometres and were met by a road block.  Usually we attempt to cycle on through it and they always find a small space for us to pass by them.  However this time the stop/go woman was insistent that we stop, as they were using explosives to blow up the rock for the road.  What was worse, was that we couldn't pass for another two hours!!  We were really annoyed as we were hoping to descend down the hill to warm up and we wanted to cover some ground to make it to our destination for the night.  What helped our situation a lot was that the third car in the queue was a Texan couple, who were driving from Washington to southern tip of Argentina.  They were really friendly and chatted to us whilst we all waited for the road to re-open.  They also informed us that they had taken the alternative route, which we had intended to take the previous day and said that it was an absolute mud bath.  It had taken them three hours to cover it, and they had been slipping all over the place.  It made me much more relieved that we had taken the higher route instead, as a day of climbing on paved road is much easier than a day of flat mud riding.  They were the first travellers that we have seen in a long time, as this inland, mountain route seems to be neglected by most people.

Finally at midday the road opened and we were allowed through the road work area.  The muddy road, where they were working was ridiculous.  In some places the mud was about a foot deep, and we had to do a mixture of trying to cycle and trying to wade through it with our feet in the mud.  We were both covered from head to toe in mud, as the trucks sprayed us on their way passed us.  The one relief was that we were going downhill, so we were still able to go fairly fast most of the time, but needed to glide over the mud to the shallowest places.

We stopped for lunch in a small, basic restaurant, that had a dirt floor and bare concrete walls.  We could have both easily called it a day at this point, because the going was tough and the mud was infuriating as we skidded around in it.  However, we had been told that there was a second road block, and the road was only open for an hour and a half in the morning and the same in the evening.  So, as we didn't want to be delayed in the morning we needed to get through it that evening.

As we descended down further towards the second area of major roadworks a water tanker came passed us spraying out gallons of water.  We had presumed that the roads had just gotten wet from the weather and from the road works but they were purposely turning the road into a 90km slip and slide! 

We had to stop a couple of times to clean the worst of the mud from our bikes, as our tyres were unable to move freely and our brakes were clogged up with a thick layer of mud.  It was difficult to get our bikes to move anywhere, let alone through the thick mud, uphill.  We finally made it passed the road block area for the roadworks and knew that we would be able to continue the next day whenever we were ready, and so quickly found a simple room to stay the night in.  Thankfully the owner didn't seem to care that we were both covered in mud, as were our bags and bikes.  I expect the locals have gotten used to everything being muddy whilst the new road is being built, and are probably just happy with the revenue that is being brought to the area, with the hundreds of workers needing food and accommodation. 

Unfortunately I have now broken my six week stint of being well, as the omelette and rice that I had for lunch had a serious disagreement with my stomach.  Kory had to clean the bikes off by himself, whilst I had my head in the toilet bowl.  Not a pretty end to a difficult day on the bikes. 
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Gramma on

Sure sounds like kids would have had alot of fun in that mud!!!!!Takes alot of energy, I'm sure..... and the mess to clean up after......I Think you picked a good time to get sick, Gemma... Love and hugs..

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