Cycle Experiences 2013

After some thinking and reading other cyclists blogs I have finally decided to cycle in South America. It will be a journey over high mountains and deep vales. Through hot steaming jungle from Lima to Caraccas.


Visa lima caraccas på en större karta

Day 1

This has to be a short post because it is nearly four in the morning here. It took me 30 hours travelling from Lund to get here.

It was no problem to get into the country. What I do not understand and thought about is why you should fill in these forms that no one seems to read. Well, in the United States they read the form, but not here. I declared food, I had instant coffee and milk powder, sugar, salt and spices. But they did not say anything about it.

I had ordered a taxi to  the hostel and clearly said that I have a big box and a large bag so bring a big car. Do you think he came with a big car. Nope. A tiny little Kia. An optimistic driver was trying to stow the bike in the back seat. It was missing 5 inch. He presses and pry and struggling for at least five minutes. Then he gave up. Instead, he throws up the box on the roof, which has no rails or other things to lock in. Instead, he takes out a string 5mm thick. He literally pegged box on the roof. I just think, it will go off. I sat with my hand on the box through the open window. Thought if I know that it starts slide, I scream, stop, loudly. Right there, I was very concerned about how this would end. It ended well. The box did not fall off. I’m at the hostel Backpackers family house in Miraflores.

Tomorrow is a day of for preparing and photo shooting in Lima. I probably leave this 8 milj city on Sunday. I calculate it will take me up to three hours to exit tLima.

Day 2

Was a day walking around Miraflores and getting  adjusted to the time difference.

Larco Mar Shopping center

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Dag 2 Lima

Some more pictures, these from Lima.

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Lima – Huancayo day 3 – 8 332 km

Starting in Lima I had a four day climb to the pass at 4818 m. I had no idea how hard it would be. But let me take it from the beginning. Riding a bicycle in a city of Lima’s size i a challenge. There are big buses, small buses, motorcycle, taxis, trucks and regular cars in a never ending stream. I made it too Caraterra Central in three hours. In Chaclacayo I heard music from a canteen, that made me curious and I stopped there for a beer. After some 10 k have come to Chosica and stayed there on a camp ground. It was the first night in the tent, it was followed by many many more.

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Next day was not my best day. I had hoped to cover 60 km but to many stops on the way hindered me , first ten kilometres was easy with average of just over 11 km/h.  After lunch , it was much slower. Each altitude meter was a struggle to win. My heart pumped at full speed. I stopped to unwind but it was not long before it went up again. I came to Mescato . Camped in a ravine and hoped for the best. So far, a donkey with the owners passed, An old woman carrying maybe 40 kg on the back came by. I heard music and trains. Maybe someone ‘s birthday for a brass band played Happy Birthday all the time . Peru has a long tradition of brass bands . Do not ask me how.

Suddenly , in the middle of the night it started to drain water into the dry brook . What I thought was a quiet place were filled completely with sudden roaring rippling water. As you understand, I did not sleep much that night and already 5:30 , I was up and on my bike long before seven.  Speaking of yesterday’s camp as a little lesson . When I decided my place , I thought it was perfect. Only one entrance and no cars could pass . What I had not considered was that there was a visible path trodden so it was a common path. .

The climb continued on the third day in the same slow speed. These two was selling food to the cars at the street light.

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The average speed was about 6 kilometres. It was steep. Again, the same, climb 5 minutes, rest 2 min. When I was almost done for the day, it started to rain . I was south of Chosica so I was looking forward to stay in Hotel Emperor. But no, only a restaurant. That night I stayed just outside Chosica.

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Forth day of this climb was not a good start. It was raining. After much hesitation, I began cycling in the rain. The rain stopped after about an hour but then everything was already wet. The goal for the day was to come up to the pass and down to to La Oroya . It was 166 km climb to the summit.

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From there it was 40 km to La Oroya. Here I stayed at Hostal America . It was 11 degrees in the room and maybe 2-3 degrees outside . I slept with my clothes on in that night.

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Day five was one of the easiest that far. 104 km and all downhill. I stayed at a farm.  No problems Rickard said. He had a milk farm with two employees. Now I am in Huancayo and will continue tomorrow to Huancavelia. .I stayed one extra day in Huancayo at Samay Hostel. I had s slight problem  I had some problem with my stomach and telt tiresd. Deeded to rest.

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An old Singe sewing machine in a tailor shop, foot controls.

Day 9 – 17 Huancayo – Cusco

Fairly satisfied with having quickly recovered myself from what kept me close to the toilet I left Samays House after breakfast. With relatively good speed uphill I for struggled on.I I think I managed to catch a condor just outside Huancayo at about 3500 meters above sea level.

There are two ways to get from Huancayo to Ayacucho. The easy one and the tough one. No cyclist I read blogs of have suggested that the option of Huancavelica is good. In retrospect , I understand . But more on that later. I stopped for lunch in Izeuchahaga at a small restaurant after about 65 km. The day ended in the middle of a climb after about 80 km. Fairly satiesfied with todays cycling.

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Early next morning this bus came on the road. Full with children on the way to school

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The subsequent day was very much like the foregoing. It was a lot of climbing up and in my opinion too little downhills. Every time I came to a crest , I hoped fervently that it was the last and now it is down but oh no.

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The long slow climbs brought me to Huancavelica quite late in the afternoon and I quickly realized that something must be done not be standing in the middle of the road without being able to put up the tent in a sheltered place . I asked some schoolchildren and they explained that I was completely wrong way. But one guy had bike and he showed the way. It all worked out . Now I’m on the right track . Camped just on the outskirts of town. There was a little panic , but it worked out pretty well.

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It’s not easy to find good places for tent here in the mountain. It was now the bad road began. It was a hard day. Average speed just under 7 km/ h  on a dirt road that resembles a gravel pit . Knuckle big stones, pot hold  and 30-40 cm deep drive paths. Must keep my balance all the time.

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There I also met Mia Harbits from Norway, working for Inter American Development Bank. An interesting encounter but unfortunately we did not have time talk very much.

It strikes me as somewhat odd that drivers still pushes forward in the 30-40 km/h without bothering that suspension it worn out, the passengers go around in the car like ping pong balls. A Swedish car would creep slowly I pitched the tent of maybe 4200 meters above sea level . It was below freezing at night.

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The next day , I notice that something rubbing against the rear wheel. Removed all bags, check to see if the rear wheel sits right , yes. On with the bags. No, still there. Of with bags against. See if it was the racket. Of with bags, checking, no. On with the bags. Something still not correct. Then I see that one of the attachments to the rack was loose. Fixes temporary with three plastic ties and an hour later than usual , I start cycling towards Lircay . There a motorcycle mechanic fixed the problem in an hour . I continued to Ayacucho which I believe is around 60 km away. not more than 26 km as the energy is ended. Here, in the middle of nowhere I was invited to supper by a group of cooperativos agricultureas. Finally I had enough and stayed next to the road. The water froze as it was really cold tonight.

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Today , I will come to Ayacucho I thought when I woke up. The road was still bad if not miserable . I was focused to cycle and get to Ayacucho in time before dark. Sometimes I had to walk uphill. I got to the top after many hours. The pass was at 4530 m.

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Now, one can imagine that it would be easy to roll down to Acycusho but oh no . Got to keep the rear brakes on all the way down. I could not roll faster than 6-7 km h downhill, you understand that I was frustrated . When it was 2 in the afternoon, I had reached Julcamarca , 31 km remained said the road sign.

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31 km and 6 km/h means I should be there sometime after dark. Well, it dissolves, I have headlights. The darkened fast, the road was still poor. Suddenly my headlight stops to work. What to do? I stayed at a bus stop and was thinking that I can probably get a ride into town.  After 1 hour I got lift but do you think he drew me all the way to Place de Armas ? No, he throw me off when the asphalt began. It was now after 8 pm. I continued forward in the dark , sometimes lit by a few street lamps . No, this is not possible, I thought. This is with my life at stake. At a gas station I asked if I could put up my tent there,  of course . But I was too tired. I contented myself with my inflatable sleeping mat and pulled out my sleeping bag. Rigged and prepared everything under a sunshade umbrella and waited until the light came back . It turned out that I had maybe 6 km to go . I do not know for my speed and distance meter is broken. It happened when we fixed my bags isseus in Lircay . Since then I have been without odometer.

Now I am in Ayacucho and understand that bad roads in the Andes is plentiful. I’ve tried some of them and seen my limitation. There is no loss of not having tried them all. Tomorrow I take the bus to Cusco. It means that I skip600 km cycling and in return I can rest my weary bones and can cure my stomach on a bus.

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It took about 23 hours to get to Cusco with bus. It would have taken me maybe ten days to get there by bike. I arrived to Cusco bus station and of course I was a target for all hostel guest hunters. But I had a recommendation from the lost cyclist Lars Bengtsson where to stay I went straight to El Chullo hostal.

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Next day I took a 2 days/one night trip to Machu Picchu.

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Day 18-20 The meaning of being a tourist

When cycling long as I do I sometimes find other things to do. I can go for a trek, paddle a canoe in exciting new water. Or I do what I call tourist things. As this short post is about. The importance of being a tourist. One might think that it is beyond a true cyclist to visit international tourist attractions such as pyramids in Giza, the Eiffel Tower, or for that matter Machu Picchu. I like being a tourist. It is not only the road that is important, history and culture is also  important.

It should be clear that the price levels at these tourist traps are sky high above the normal rate in the country. But is it where you are and have no choice. One must eat and drink anyway. It’s something you have to take into account. If the financial sacrifice considering is higher than the experience, then you should probably not go. Finally, these tourist attractions are important sources of income for many people, as well as for the state. I see it as a form of financial assistance to visit tourist places Macchu Picchu.

So I have been to Machu Picchu. It was a trip of 38 hours which included 12 hr bus, 4 hours walk, 6 hours of sleep, 12 hours waiting and another 4 hours at Machu Picchu with a guide.

Machu Picchu is a well-preserved  pre columbian mountain town in Peru, which was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1983. It is located 80 kilometres north west of Cusco and Aguas Calientes near the urban area where I took the bus. I took a bus from Cusco to the Hydroelectric where I walked along the track to Aquas Caliente. but went by train back the next day and the bus back to Cusco. Read more about Machu Picchi on Wiki http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machu_Picchu.

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Tomorrow cycle experience continues with the last long climb up over 4700 meters I think climbing is about just under 100 km from 3000 altitude meters to 4700 asl. Then it will be easier cycling.

Day 21-26 From winter to summer in two days

Culturally and historically enriched by the visit to Machu Picchu and with medicine against my diarrhea that haunted me for more than ten days, I left Cusco. Paid 32 Soles/13 USD for the room at the El Chullo hostel for three nights and three breakfasts . A very reasonable price in my opinion. But it was no good hostal. Cold rooms and no hot water.

Out of Cusco ‘s easy cycling downhill for about 30 km to Urcos . There I took left to get on to Carratera Intersoceanica, right on with a climb that lasted more than two days.

I climbed and climbed , as best as possible with a fully loaded bike, in my snail speed 5-5.5 km/h. After 80 km I stopped and was pleased with my day. I pitched the tent behind a stone wall, made my dinner and went to sleep. Not much for a sleep when trucks roaming all night long.

The next day was like the first. The only difference was that it went down after ten k, but then it was the same thing again, climb , climb a snail’s pace . At noon it began to rain . There I sat, on the roadside with a fully rigged kitchen trying to cook Macaroni with Cheese. Realizing that it was useless, then rain was to hard, then it had also started to hail. I decided to give up the attempt and began cycling looking for a better place to eat my lunch. After a few miles I saw a bridge that I could take shelter under for the rain. It was a cold rain. Must have been more than 3000 meters above sea level .

When I sit on the bike is not more than me, the bike and the road. The road does not look so steep when I look forward. I know it is steep , because it’s sooo sloow moving forward. I really take in. I look back , I see that it is very steep in places . I often stayed when I was at +4000 m. I pant like after a 800 meter race . I bite the bullet and struggle on altitude meter for altitude meter but I do not feel good.

Around 3 pm I got surprised by a snowstorm. I decided that it must be enough with 55 km. Now I had climbed for more than 89 km. The night was cold, maybe the coolest on this trip. Maybe minus 7-9 degrees.

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I was ready by 6:30 . After just 9 km I was up on the pass highest point 4715 meters above sea level .

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Now began a downhill that lasted all day. 150 km almost beautiful downhill . From the biting winter cold and freezing to hot summer . Last night was quiet and dark. Only the occasional sound of passing cars , buses and trucks. Now a cacophony of noise from both large and small insects and birds. Can not name a single one of them.

At night the rain started to fall at an ever increasing crescendo succeeded by rumble and lightning .

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I have about 170 km to Puerto Maldonado . Hope do it in two days. Woke already before six . Thought the rain stops but no, it continued. I gavge up my waiting.  09.20 I was ready to move on towards Puerto Maldonado. Rain was pouring down. If the aim of the day is 80 km to I have to get going , I thought, and then the rains cease., and came back. At lunch , I was in Santa Rosa. Here I stopped because I was soaking wet to my bare skin.  Paid $ 6 for the room on hospedaje. 2 USD for for lunch. The rain ceased late in the afternoon.

I was awake and ready by 05.30 . I knew it would be a long day for the goal was to get to Puerto Maldonado today. 5:55 began the journey. I kept good speed all day with average of 17.5 km/h. It was hot and humid. Purchased water in a city that looked like an old wild west town.

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I arrived after 9 hours and 142 km. Now I’m on the Tambopata Hostel and will be here a few days. Tomorrow is a rest day . On Tuesday and Wednesday , the jungle excursion before the next phase of the cycle adventure begins against Porto Velho.

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I end this blog with a film about the journey from winter to summer in two days.

The jungle , where is the jungle?

The fruitless search for jungle that no longer exists in Acre

The day after I arrived to Hostel Tambopata I went on a jungle tour which was really a trip to the Lake Sandoval. It was two days and one night. I got to see birds, insects, black caiman, otters, one ape family. I slept in a lodge in the jungle. In the evening when we were at the lake to look for caymans it started to rain. Ouch, what I froze . Had no extra clothes with me. Had not counted on rain. Came back day after. Fixed some of my equipment. Purchased supplies and went to sleep early and ready to continue towards Brazil.

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Day 27 – 39 Puerto Maldonado – Porto Velho 1034 km 9 days

My debit card did not work when I should pay The hostel. Panic, had to use my spare card and emailed my bank to release the latch. Hope it work next time I have to use the card.

This road, Carretera Atlantico Pacifico, BR-319 must be a gigantic failure on integration and trade between Peru and Brazil. Hardly any buses, motorcycles or trucks. Ooccasional some cars and no cyclists what so ever. It seems to me that this road is more or less a local transport corridor instead.

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The road cuts like a knife blade, straight and precisely through this greenery. Although interrupted by deforestation to make way for more cattle farms, papaya plantations and similar monocultures. The last three kiloetres to Alerta burning has been used frequently .

 

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The cycling today was medium. No long steep hills, wind light from behind and temperature of 30-35 degrees C.

The road winds its way forward. There is only one way and that is forward. Every bend, hill crest gives new impressions and pictures to remember. There are no pretty pictures. On both sides of the road , the forest is devastated , smoke odor is still there. Sometimes I see smoke plume in the distance and hear the chainsaw sound in the forest. Deforestation continues. Let me say that I do not know if this is with the authorities good memory. It may be so. But I feel sorry for all the birds, insects, plants and animals that have their habitats destroyed.

The road goes up and down. Climbing may be up to 800-1000 m to get to the top. It’s still easy cycling even if it is 32-37 degrees. Must drink a lot all the time.

My feet burns in my shoes. The only solution is to cool down with ice cold water, someting that I don´t have. My water is warm from sunlight so I persist and focus on getting to Inapata. There I stoped for an hour and took off my shoes . Has already cycled 103 km , and the goal was 120 km. So an hour before the day’s camp. I was so hot and thirsty that I drank 2.5 liters of beer in an hour here. Arrived to Brazil before evening.

In Peru, I have tried four different beers. Cusquena, Crystal, Pilsen and Brahma. Of these four , I liked Cusquena best. Very similar to Danish and north German beer such as Carlsberg Sort and DAB.

When I came to Brazil I saw my first cowboy.

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I got strange sleeping habits. I fell asleep before 8 pm. The tent was scorching hot and my sleep irregular. I woke up all the time. It was only in the morning when the temperature dropped that I can could sleep well.

With good tailwind all day I had good speed. Already at 1 pm I arrived in Brasileia (92 km).

Ate a good lunch and continued. The heat is starting to become troublesome in the afternoon now. Have started using arm warmers in the afternoon for protection. I drink a lot of water and cola. Using my Cola strategy some days. Cola strategy meant that as soon as I sew a gas station or restaurant I stopped for a Coke and rest in the shade. But mostly it failed becuse there where not many opportunities on my route.

After two hours after lunch I saw an open ate. It is unusual for all Fazendos are normally closed. I toke a chance and hoped I could stay here. Yes, I could stay.  The tent is erected on a rotunda over a waterhole. I had a roof over my tent, I had shadow and plentiful of water. I even got invited to supper and even a shower.

Somewhat surprised , I woke up and saw the sunrise at 7:50 . Yesterday it was 5:50 . I Realize that I forgot to change the time to Brazil times. I was up before the sun appeared over the treetops and set off quite soon after the usual morning chores. This day was similar to the previous one. My concern that occupied most of the day was about my water would suffice. Had barely a quarter gallon when I started cycling . As the merciful Samaritan or an angel came I to the exit towards Xapari after barely two hours. There I would fill up my bottles and get a cup of coffee.

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Now I had almost two gallons of water. The water disappeared quickly and after only 85 km came next serving. Two cold Coca-Cola and off.  Next stop after 110 km, two cold Coke again.

Now I had cycled 122 km and reached a small village with no name . I saw an abandoned restaurant that seemed to be closed. There I decided to sleep.

It turned out a little later in the evening I ended up in the middle of a church service . Interesting experience, though I did not understand a word. But I recognized the liturgy, it was testimony, confessions, music and hallelujah shout.

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The landscape is the same. Fazendoz extends on both sides of the road. Now I realize the insanity of using precious land to unproductive meat production. There are not many animals per square miles. Today I saw my first traffic accident. It was a truck loaded with beer that apparently come in too fast into a series of curves . Unfortunately I got no beer with me. Today I also got my first puncture. In Senador Guiomard I bought food me for the next five days to Porto Velho .

Here is an example of the slash and burn looks.

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It frowned on forward evening and I saw that it was going to be rain during the night. Found an abandoned football field with something that gave me shelter from the rain. It flashed out beautifully in the night and the rain lashed down. I enjoyed it nonetheless quite cozy there in my tent. Looked out the mosquito netting on flashes.

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Next morning began with rain. I started off late, about 8.30, unusually late to be me, between rain showers. The rain was like a normal Swedish summer rain, +16 in the air and warm water. After 40 km I came to the turnoff to Acrelandia. There was a large servicestation. They even had Internet access and I got off a few messages to Sweden. Here I sat for three hours waiting for the rain to stop. Come off 13.45. Today’s cycling ended 17:30. Then I had cycled 111 km that day.

Everything was the same. On the seventh day God rested from creation, it says in the Bible. In Acre he must have put the creation on repeat already the second day. In five days have all been the same, fazendor, horses, cows. That days major theme was my GoPro camera. Every hour about a minute filmed the road ahead of me. After 110 km I came to crossing the Rio Madre de Dios. A little surprising because I had expected a bridge. Now it was a ferry . Now I am in Abuna after 125 km.

Look at the film. It is long and pretty dull , but so was the day too.

Stupidly , on the verge of insanity, I decided to stay in the Abuna. It was stupid because the night was hot, the traffic rolled past me at barely 60 meters away from my mattress that was in a fire-damaged building in the middle of ” stripe “.  It was almost impossible to get some sleep there.

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The house next door was illuminated and lit on the inside. Curious, I went over to see what was going on. One man explained that it was a museum and he was there as a guard. Interesting, I thought, and looked into the building. Empty – it was completely empty. A museum without anything to show. Does it not sound like performance art?

Next days goal was 125 km to Jaci Parana. The endless straight did not help, on the contrary. It was now after many days cycling getting boring. I was looking forward to reach Porto Velho and having a shower and some beers. The temperature crept slowly upward as the day progressed. The thermometer showed 43 degrees when the clock was 2 pm. My second puncture came at midday. 35 minutes it took to replace the tube. Flat tire number three came later in the day. Had maybe 7 km left to Jaci Parana but no more inner tubes. All three were used and no repair kit. Made a truck to stop after a few minutes and got a lift the last miles to the city. Here I found a bike shop that mended all three tubes for free. I also switched to the spare tire to avoid more punctures.  There I stayed just outside the city centre in a park. near the river.

In the evening, I left my tent and bike. I felt safe nobody would find it in the dark. I took a walk around town. Stopped sometimes to listen to music , bought a beer or two. The night was warm. Tried to sleep in the tent , could not so I took my sleeping mat and outside the tent. There I was attacked by mosquitoes until I realized that I have bought mosquito protection. Then it was better.

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I left Jaci Parana to aim for Porto Velho . Distance was mere 90 km so I reckoned a short day. Finally I came to the hotel Ecos after some detours. It was a good hotell. It had Internet , AC in the room and a large buffet breakfast and laundry facility. I stayed there two nights before next stage begun. The Stage I had been looking forward to most, with great respect and awe for what is a major challenge. 888 km to Manaus . Expected 9-10 days.

Day 40 – 49 Porto Velho – Manauas – Cycling Brazil’s Worst Highway: the BR319 Through the Amazon

Imagine a graph with x axis as time/distance and the Y axis as difficulties. Then you draw a line that looks like an inverted V, but a little more extended . So is it to cycle between Porto Velho and Manaus. It starts well with a wide paved road. After about 50 km after the T- junction at Humaita begins the cumbersome section. From there and four days ahead is the most difficult part. 400 km and over 160 km distance where there are no buildings or people. Very few places to find water. After Rio Purana the road becomes paved and easy all the way to to Manaus. But let’s start from the beginning in detail.

Before I left Porto Velho, I wanted to take pictures of the two tourist attractions the city boasts with, the water towers Caixas D’ agua

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and the unused railway station Estacao da Ferrovia

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I like this train, doesn’t go anywhere. An example of broken dreams and visions.

In Porto Velho there was nothing else to look at besides the board walk behind this station with excluded people, garbage and dirty river. So I took my pictures and turned the city back and pedalled off towards Manaus. But I did not get far before I had to jump off the bike. The bridge over the Rio Madeira was not yet ready so I took the ferry. Had in my naivety thought that now would jungle sprawls on both side o the road and road turning into dirt track, but I was so wrong, but it was coming. What you will also get to read about later.

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At the 42 km mark , I came to a checkpoint . They write up all the cars passing by. Why I could never understand. Here I was invited to lunch and got some words of warning.

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Watch out for jaguars and Indians. Stay on abandoned houses with fences. Jaguars can be torn, the Indians can force you to pay road tax. Pay the Indians, but take no pictures, then they become angry . The road ahead is not paved and muddy was also a piece of advice I got.

Late that first afternoon I stopped at what I thought was an open restaurant.  Vende Se, For Sale. There was certainly no business there. The shower worked anyway so I took a non cooling shower.

But after 101 km another restaurant was operating. Here I stopped for the day. My mind was wandering around when I was resting under a tree next to their cafeteria, hoping the next day will be a bit more exciting than this day.

It started well and ended well. In between, this is what happened. It was an uneventful morning. Boredom factor should have been high but I enjoyed the situation I was in. It was hot, the road inviting and easy to cycle and I’ll got to see real jungle , I came to the next checkpoint and was invited for a coffee. Suddenly, two cyclists came from North. Obviously, we start talking and soon I’ll heard in broken French/English that they started in Ecuador , Quito, cycled through Colombia and Venezuela to Manaus. That they took a boat ride from Manaus to Humaita for the road was too dangerous to ride. We’ll see, I thought. They were headed for Bolivia and Chile, Patagonia.

I left them behind me and continued. Dark clouds loomed on the horizon and the wind increased. Clear signs of approaching bad weather. Desperate, I began searching for protection from the coming rain. 10 minutes before the rain came I saw this bar. There, I sought protection and took the opportunity to warm up a pack of noddles for lunch.

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After the rain had passed, I continued. Eventually I came to a roundabout that was the way to Humaita and Labrea. If you ever cycle here, Take left turn here towards Labrea. The road was still in good condition but after 8 km a road construction began, which was done by the military. Yes, good use of the armed forces in Brazil. Suddenly the road became impassable , bumpy, muddy and choppy.  I began to understand what I would have in front of me. This construction lasted for 7 km to the T-junction towards Manaus. Now, I appreciated my front suspension fork.

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I stopped there, not far from a bar. Shared my tent with ants and mosquito. Manaus 620 km the sign says over the road, barely readable.

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The road was still paved and thus high speed. Suddenly I see a touring cyclist coming towards me. It is Mark Brady from Brighton, UK on the road to Santiago , Chile.

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We stood there in the middle of the road and talked for well over 15 minutes and took pictures of each other and for each other. I got valuable information about what I had in front of me and gave him tips on accommodation and other things that he had before him. I continued and now tarmac ends. Now I had four days in front of me with poor surfaces and high humidity. I stayed in Japec for lunch. As you may understand there is not a lot of traffic on the road so when I met two white big 4×4 that looked strange and had a map on the side so I have to just stop and ask what they are doing. It was two old couples from Australia who were heading south. They had been travelling in other parts of the world and now they were on their way through the Amazon to Patagonia.

The road got worse.

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Many have advised me to sleep on Embratel stations. Here I stayed at such a station, station 535 km as is written on the sign hanging on the gate. It also says that it is off limits and highly dangerous . The barbed wire is torn so it seems to be a threat without significance.

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The night was warm. I lay on my mattress under a starlit sky and looked up at constellations I did not recognize. I was on the southern hemisphere. Diagonally across from the radio mast lived a schoolteacher. He gave me water supply that would last for two days.

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It is approximately 30-40 km between those stations and I came to another station already at 1 pm a few days after. I ate my simple lunch and took aim at the next station, about 35 km away. My water supply declined at a faster pace for the heat was stunning. Now I had barely a litre left. I filled up two bottles in a pond and prayed a short prayer that the water was safe. Dark clouds loomed on the horizon again today. I prayed I could get to my goal before the rain came. Suddenly I see two men in a building. Building is perhaps an exaggeration. Thatched roofs and poles in each corner. Maybe they have water. I filled my bottles. Suddenly the sky opened so I decided to stay there.

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I never knew there names. One of the men, the owner was pretty funny thought. Seriously, he looked me deep in my eyes and spoke in a serious voice in Portuguese. What he said I do not know but I agreed with him one hundred percent. I nodded and said yes yes ok ok all the time he spook.

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There was no electricity, not even a generator , so the flash lights was used during the evening. I also got one as a memory because I did not have any. We went to bed already at 8 pm. At 4.30 am a car stopped on the road and we had a visit. One of the guys would go to Humaita. They took off 5.30 am. I started my day at 5:45.

Sometimes it’s a long piece of tarmac, sometimes it is sand, sometimes it’s soft sand, sometimes it dried red clay, Sometimes it is all in a combination. It was like that for days. That day was a hard day. Long sections the road is virtually non existent and impossible to cycle. According to the men I spent the night with, from there´s place it was more than 160 km without a single house or people living. Total wasteland. I had 12 litres of water with me when I started and was down to that evening. My success was to find water next day.

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Previous I complained that there was not a jungle. But there it is. Foliage hung over the road. Only three meters open. The heat was stunningly hot . Sometimes hot gusts of wind that almost knocked me out.

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That day I saw a black jaguar in the distance. I think it was a female. Approximately 60-70 cm long. A little later, i saw two monkeys climbed in a tree.

Sometimes it was a struggle between me and the road . The road tried to break me down. Gave me nothing for free. But I resisted. Each meter was one meter closer to Manaus Long pieces the road was unusable. Ever so often a bridge to cross over small creeks. I got off the bike and lead it across the bridge because it was to risky to cycle. Dare to ride because the boards was l3-5 cm apart.

No one can ride here on during the rainy season , November to March.

I had cycled for 10 hours when I met a car. I got cold water and encouraging words. There is a village further down the road was the information I got. You should get there before dark. “I stepped on as fast as I could. It was getting dark and still no village. Darkness came before I arrived. Sostayed in the jungle next to the road. Made a small fire and felt asleep. Later in the evening I heard music from distance. It turned out later that if I had continued for ten minutes I had been there, in the village, with cold beers and a hammock.

Barely 2 km, that’s how close I was I be able to drink cold beer. A beer that I had thought off for four days. It was a ferry transition there.  Rolled into the rusty ferry and looked for the captain. Nowhere to be seen. It was Sunday morning just before 7. Maybe a little hungover after Saturday night partying?  I Sat there for more than 40 minutes before captain showed up and drove me to the other side . Had it not been that there where a car and three MC on the other hand I don´t think he had taken me oover the water.

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My water supply was almost empty, sop the first thing to do was to buy water . Now the road was wide, paved and easy to cycle . Admittedly gravel between asphalt pieces so it was a little like downhill biking, always looking for the best track. As the day went on the road became better and better. Can Brazilian military corps of engineer have something about it to do? From their location it was nice road. My water supply decreased rapidly without a chance to buy more. But In a shed, an old man gave me 4 litres cold water .

Delightfully delicious that cold water. All I had thus far was sunwarm water. The feeling of drinking 40 degree water because you are thirsty and all you have is dreadful warm water. Try it for yourself to drink while standing in the shower. So it was with devotion I bought two ice-cold Coke in Rio Purana. The first I swept in one gulp and the other I enjoyed in slow pace.

I Came to Carairo after 47 km. Bought an early lunch. I went to sa Supermercado to buy evening food and breakfast. My plan was to take it easy and ride 80-90 km/day. On the horizon loomed dark clouds gathered. You recognize the sentence by now. I stopped at a roadside bar, operated by a half naked drunk bartender. The bartender said I could use his shower to cool me down if I wanted , I accepted his offer. I should not do so, it turned out. When I got dressed afterwards I forgot my ignition steel and compass that I had hanging around my neck. But I certainly did remember it about 7 hours later.

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I continued despite the dark clouds and the muffled thunder in the distance. After an hour, the clouds became darker and darker and the wind increased in strength. Must find shelter and fast I realized. The panic was close. Where? There, No too bad, but I returning after 100 meters. It was the right decision for barely 30 seconds later the rain breaks out . The rain literally poured down. I’d easily could have washed my hair with shampoo and rinse it off as I was in a shower. My minimal protection was not much help , but it was the best I could achieve.

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I like tropical rain. I like them because they are intense but short. That ‘s the only reason. This lasted for about 45 minutes. I sat there under my leaking roof, purred and waited out the rain. I continued and came to an Embratel station. It is now I realized I forgot my ignition steel and compass. Luckily , I also had a lighter with me, why I do not know, I don’t even smoke.

This station was occupied by three young guys who worked on maintenance. In the evening they disappeared a few hours but came home around 11 pm. Then I had already tried to sleep for a few hours. They liked samba music and especially three songs that they played over and over again until midnight.

As I lay there on my mattress, I became more and more annoyed that I was so careless yesterday. Nah , I thought. It can’t be more than 12-13 km to that place. I had to go back get my striker back.  I woke up at four and was up as soon as the daylight came. Impossible to sleep when the birds , frogs and insects making all kind of noises. Before 6 am I was headed in the opposite direction than intended. It was not the 12-13 km, it was 20 km to the place where I lost my things. It hung there, where I left it. I turned the bike around and continued towards Manaus. Now 89 km left instead of 69 as was the starting point.

It took me 2 hours and 10 minutes to get there and back. The landscape became more interesting with small villages lying in the shore.

My energy was running out. My speed declined more and more. Every opportunity to take a break was used.  Bought Coca-Cola in many places. Finally, I came to the ferry that would take me across the Amazon to the port of Manauas.

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I Fell asleep sitting upright on the ferry.  I think I slept for 20 minutes there. It took 80 minutes to reach the port of Manaus.

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From the harbour to Manaus Hostel it was about 10 km. I had scouted the route on Google maps and it was easy. Follow the main road to the large roundabout. Straight ahead at the roundabout until I see a Ecuador gas station on the left side. Turn left there. When you come to a park, take a right turn next to the far left . Right turn on the stairs , there it is.  Came there just like that . Now I’m staying at Hostel Manaus for fourdays.  I had a room with AC, 10% more expensive but better for me.

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Day 50-53 Manauas

One day in Manaus I took my camera with me and walked around Centro Historica.  I like to take pictures of houses. The architecture here in Manaus is interesting with beautiful shapes and colours of the houses from late 1800 and early 1900.

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One day a took a day trip on the Amazon. Some attractions where interesting and facinating, some should be forgotten very fast. Here some pictures from that day.

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Day 54-61 Manauas – Boa Vista

Happy with my four cycle free days I left Manaus and focused on getting to Boa Vista, the northernmost city in Brazil and the closest to border with Venezuela and Guyana. It is approximately 780 km there and I expected 7-8 days of cycling.

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The road between Manaus and Boa Vista is not the most interesting or breathtaking to ride, or drive a car, for that matter, I can imagine. Often good asphalt, no curves only a straight road that extends for mile after mile.

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Manauas is a big city . It took me more than an hour to get out of it to the countryside. The road rolls up and down goes like a huge wave of soil in an infinite straight path to the horizon. I stayd many times fo buy Coca-Cola. Here I stayed to cool me off in the creek, with Manauans.
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Here I stayed for lunch. This is a typical Brazilian self service. It costs 8-12 RS. At this I paid 10 Rs for rice, beans , spaghetti, salad, meat pieces according to availability.

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After lunch I
continued and passed 90 km before 4 pm.  I was coming to Presidente Figuerora. I was seriously thinking about finding a sheap hotell there. I did not, so I continued north. Here I stayd for a cold beer and thinking about where to stay the night.

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Soon after I found this Cashiorea du Asframa. Here I am sleeping in their entry gate under roof. Lucky because later that night rain began pour down.

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Check out the straight road path. Do you see the car is far ahead?

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It was burning hot now. The thunder rumbled in front of me. The plan for the day was to reach the checkpoint for the Indian reservation Waimiri Atroari. According to rumours at Manaus hostel one must apply permission to cross the reserve by bike. I ignored this and thought that I deal with it later. What is true is that no traffic is allowed between 6.30 pm to to 5:30.

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I stayed 500 meters from the checkpoint and pitched my tent at the roadside. I was not alone. I had company of five trucks as well. Do you see the road behind the tent? It is 126 km. I had to be through the reservation before it got dark.

My fellow truckdrivers started their engines at 4:30 One hour later gate opened up for traffic. I was up and ready to leave at 06. Eight hours later I had cycled 126 km.

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After about 20 km I met these three young people on their way south . Notice their panniers. Who says you need expensive German waterproof bags.
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I stopped for lunch at the roadside. It attracted some attention from a car with two leaders and a group of young people . After I promised to bring my garbage with me they disappeared without any comments.

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The green jungle stood like a wall on either side of the road. Dense and impenetrable.

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I was disappointed to see that the landscape along the BR-174 had lost all resemblance of the mighty rainforest which it must once have been. North of the reserve, the highway is flanked with ugly tracts of cleared land, speckled with lonely palm trees in a weak sort of tribute to the forest´s former glory. Where once jaguars prowled and monkeys swung through the canopy were now herds upon herds of the new kings of the jungle: Cattle.

In the last 20 years or so, the number of cattle in the Amazon has more than doubled to nearly 60 million, more than in Canada and Australia combined. According to some estimates, as many as 20,000 square kilometres of tropical rainforest are cleared every year to create grazing land, making cattle ranching the leading cause of rainforest destruction.

The destruction of the rainforest, while expediting the build-up of harmful greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, is far from simply an environmental issue. At least a quarter of prescription drugs in North America are derived from plants, yet less than five per cent of the world`s tropical plant species have been analysed for their therapeutic potential. In the Amazon, where one hectare of forest can contain more than 1,000 species of plants, and where species tend to develop especially potent toxins to survive in such a competitive ecosystem, the estimated 15 per cent of Amazonian rainforest already destroyed represents the permanent loss of thousands of potential life-saving medicines.

I came through after 8 hours of intensive cycling. Jungle trees all around me. It was fantastic. Here I stayed for a late lunch.

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I went to the town centre, stayed at abounded Morena’s for the night. Again I was forced to stop because a tropical rain.

 

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Here I was so surprised how much they had dug to get the right slope of the road. And so they did not remove the telephone pole, interesting.

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A bit later, I passed the equator. Of course I had to take a picture of the monument.

 

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I had 140 km to Roroinapolis. I was out of cash. Where could I find an ATM that works?

I came to Roroinapolis but it was a hard days work. I was looking for an AMT. First Bank did not have any. I cycled to the biggest hotel I could see, hoping that they accepted MC. No, MasterCard did not work. Biked back to the centre. Bank two did not work either. Bank three, Barnesco, had an ATM that worked so I got my money in the end. I stayed at Hotel Parana. 50 Rs per night , breakfast included.

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Motorcycles are the most common way to get around here in this part of the world. Often with passengers or cargo of any kind.


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BR-174 is a dull road to Boa Vista.

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I found this abandoned house and decided to stay there. Left door is my “room”.

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Today I cycled 99 km. About 200 meters from me is Dodes bar. If you ever happen to pass by here do not be surprised if they say that it’s closed. I went there , stepped up to the counter and asked for a beer. They don’t have any, he said. Well, give me a Coca-Cola then. No they are also out. I went to the house next door which was a type of convenience store . Same thing there. It’s a sweltering heat that heralds rain that night.

The cycling was uneventful. The only thing that happened was that I stopped and adjusted the rear derailleur , after 39 km. Wire had been tweaked between the frame and pannier. A little later I got a flat tire. I changed the tube. Suddenly a car stopped and the driver asked if I needed a ride. I politely declined . I said everything was ok. It happened many times, that drivers stopped and asked if I needed help.

A steady rain stopped me at 84 km. I stopped for lunch under a rain and sun protection, or was it a sun and rain cover? Doesn´t matter. Black clouds loomed on the horizon to the east of me . But I’m going north. The wind was northerly so really should the storm pass, to the right of me. I hesitated a long time. Lucky for me because suddenly the wind changed to the east and rain came.  It was a good decision to stay put. After an hour it was over and was able to continue. After just under an hour, I came to Caracaraí. There I found a mercado. I came to Iracema. There I stayed at this unopened roadside bar with a roof.  IMG_2042

The rain came back during the night and the mosquitoes. These small annoying insects that make my evenings and nights pain . And then all these ants crawling and clutching al over me. So tired of these uninteresting animals.

A bad image with the lens that was covered by mist. Main road to Boa Vista.
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Finally I came Boa Vista after only a few hours. It was monotonous road from  Icarema. I stayed at hotel Ferrari. I have access to a swimming pool, AC in my room and breakfast included. It was  not the cheapest hotel in town. But I really needed to cool of in the pool.

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Day 62 – 73 Boa Vista to Ciudad Bolivar with Angel Falls

After two cool nights at Hotel Ferrari I left Boa Vista. From there it was two days cycling to Venezuelan border. The third and last country on this trip. I didn’t do much in Boa Vista. Probebly because it was hot outside. I slept a lot, ate good food, drank a lot of beers. I had time to walk to the city’s tourist attraction, the promenade.

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After two nights I contined my journey.

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First evening I came to Amajari. I slept in the left building. it appeared to be abandoned. To the right, the green building, was a restaurant.

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A car driver stopped to talk to me.

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Next  day I came to Pacaraima, bordertown to Venezuela. it was a long climb to get to the city. I had now reach the Gran Sabana. I changed my few left Brasilian Reals to Venezuelan Bolivars. I didn’t get enough money. Last thing I did was to buy me a hammock. Don’t ask me why.

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Leaving Brazil, entering Venezuela was easy. As a European state citizen we are on a visa waiver. But because I was entering on the grund I needed a visa. It was easy at the venezuelan embassy in Stockholm.  Soon I was heading towards Elena de Uaren. I had already found  Backpackers Hostel and tours, run by a German.

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I stayed two nights in Santa Elena de Uaren. Santa Elena is the starting point for many hikes into Roraima. Many young people felt inclined the days I was there. Backpacker tour is an option as good as all the others in town . I took the opportunity to book a three-day trip from Ciudad Bolivar to Angel Falls for the nice price of 8500 Bolivar or below 110 Euro.

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I Left Santa Elena slightly later than I expected. Difficult to leave but I knew I had to be in Ciudad Bolivar and Posada Don Carlos within five days to catch my trip to Angel Falls.

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At five in the afternoon I had accomplished 100 km. It was very little time to pitch the tent and cook dinner before it went dark.

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In distance I saw flashes but it seemed not to come my direction . During the night it rained a little. I woke up when the light returned . Cooked my breakfast , packed my gear and was hit the road already 6:30 am.

The day was uneventful until I met Dominique, on his second year of a around the world cycling (http://onebikeoneworld.com/ ). We talked for a long time. He was heading east to Brazil and French Guyana to Belem. He told me that just behind him was Pablo and Otto , a German and a Japanese cyclist, I did not see them. Probably they had put the bikes so I did not see them from road.

My fickle-tempered tour of the Gran Sabana ended with a twisting, white-knuckled descent to a rag-tag cluster of bars, hotels and restaurants unimaginatively known as Kilometro 88, Las Claritas.

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Thought not staying there but it was getting dark. I Paid 500 Bolivar for a room. An overcharge but I was to tired looking for a cheaper accommodation.

Many have talked about San Clarita as a dangerous city . It’s a city populated mainly by minieros (thus miners). This area has large deposits of materials such as gold and diamonds. Guess a lot of minieros can not handle the pressure and start drinking beer instead. I bought some beer and was immediately alerted. When I told a young man who knew a little english what I was doing it was greeted with great appreciation.

I continued on the road towards Ciudad Bolivar with new views and new impressions. I met one bikers. A German on a motorbike who was going to Bolivia and was considering Transamazonica. He had malaria and looked very ill. The continuation of the cycling towards Ciudad Bolivar was not nothing that will go to the recollections. A road, me, a bicycle and monotony. I stopped in Tumaremo where I bought some beer. To my surprise, I was invited by the shop owner for two more after I told him about my trip. Told is perhaps not the right word. But in an incomprehensible Spanish, Portuguese and English so he knew that I had cycled from Lima and was heading towards Caracas.

I met Nadia and her husband on a Harley. They’ve been driving around in America for two years. With longer break to go home to the Czech Republic for work. I stayed in El Cintillo , a small insignificant village on the road. I asked the police who were on duty if I could pitchgmy tent behind his building. The blue bin is water supply to the police, the white building is the police station.

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This day was one of the longest on this trip. I had the wind behind and came to Upata sometime in the afternoon. In Upata I bought lunch at this place.

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There was plenty of time to continue and I was advised by a police officer to take the Autopista to Ciudad Guyana. Ok, I took the road although my first choice was another. I came to Ciudad Guyana after two quick hours. But it was late now. When I arrived at Porto Ordez there was not many minutes of daylight left. What to do?  I continued frantically to get out of town to search for a place for my tent. Finally, I saw a possible camp site. A ditch with garbage, a few hundred feets over rocks and mud. A grove of trees which I thought was far enough from the road. But it turned out later that it was also a grove that has been burned for cultivation. Everywhere soot. When I pitched the tent and cooked my meagre supper, it was already dark. That day I cycled about 160 km.

Nest day was much shorter, only 96 km to Ciudad Bolivar. I could been there already at 1 pm but it f I didn’t have that much pain in my foot I had to rest many times.

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Here I am sitting on a road side restaurant ant high way patrol stationI also got a puncture.

I arrived at Posada Don Carlos and could check in without reservation.

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After resting at Don Carlos for two days , I took a taxi to the airport to fly to Canaima for watching Angel Falls , Salto Angel, as it is called in Spanish. Until then, the days were filled with a frentic search for a tire. I changed the tire on the right rim in Las Claritas. But I was worried that the front tire would not last all the way to Caraccas. Found no tires. 29 “has not yet reached Venezuela.

We started the adventure in Cainama to relax in the lagoon. After lunch, our guide took us to a nearby waterfall. After we looked at the waterfall from above, we went to the halyard downside. There was a passage behind the fall. “Be sure to protect your electronics” the guide said. I took my rain/wind jacket as protection. But it was useless. I destroyed my camera. It was soaked. Therefore, there is only GoPro pictures from now on.

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We went back to the hotel for a tasteful dinner. After thar my group went to Cainams only nightclub/discotheque. I showed my talents dancing marengue to late night.

Up early for boat trip to Angel Fall. But first a stop at lovers pond.

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We came to our d jungle camp where we slept in hammocks.

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After lunch, we walked through the jungle toward the fall. After 2 hours we finally came to the view point. The fall was maybe 400 meters away, but the noise was still deafening. The air was full of mist. A magical moment on the trip. When we had enough of the view of the world’s highest waterfall we went cautiously back to our camp.

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There was no electricity so we eat in the lights from candles. We lay in our hammocks. From the darkness heard the sound of small insects and maybe some larger animals.

Day 74 – 79 Day of flat tire and end is near

It felt good to finally be able to leave Posada Don Carlos. I write deliberately finally for it was something there that was holding me back. It was a layback life there. Breakfast served, own lunch, eating dinner at restaurants. Between lunch and bedtime drinking beer. Although the beer is not one best in the world but for .25 Euro a bottle there is no better thirst quencher.

The only funny thing that day was the bridge over the Orinoco river. This is the only bridge to pass Orinoco. The sad thing was that I did not manage to fix my flat. I tried for more than five hours to patch the tire, total failure. I gave up sometime in the afternoon. And soon after Gino stopped his truck.

It was about 2.30 in the afternoon when Gino stopped his truck and I could threw up the bike and bags in the cargo area. After an hour , we arrived in El Tigre. I had dreaded little about this. How do I find a bike shop in this big city. But Gino asked once and got a good description. Once there , it turned out that the city’s bicycle club was meeting there. Young people with old steel frames and old Tiagra gears. But it’s not the equipment that makes the rider but the will. I bought three tubes and would just begin to mount when I discover that my rim was for Presta. The hole in the rim was too small so we had to whittle it bigger. I had imagined a simple operation with a Black & Decker but not. A screewdriver can be used for many things, like making correct sized hole for a schrader.

Now it was already after four pm and there was no opportunity to get out of El Tigre before the darkness and find a sleeping spot. The solution was Hotel Panamerica , 190 Bolivar. 3 Euros for the night. Would you against all odds come to El Tigre and need to sleep so do not do it there. Hardly one on a scale of ten.

I left El Tigre as soon as the light of dawn arrived. Venezuela is unusually uncharming. The roads I cycled on lack any form of comfort. No gas stations, diners or resting areas. Things we take as self granted as we travel in Sweden or Europe. Therefore there are no good places to stop by to take a break or eat something quickly. It’s only in towns and cities it is possible to find a food and water. I had cycled almost all day when I came to a big restaurant two kilometers before St. Marie de Ipre . I sat there until it was getting dark, dran beers and pondered. Decided in the end to stay where I was. Took my bike about 400 meters down a dirt road to a good place to put up my tent, next to a corn field. It was a good spot. No trafic and noise from the road.

Something you can not say about the next night’s location. I had come to Valle de la Paseua. Bought lunch and proceeded slowly through the city. Had cycled fast during the day with an even nice breeze in the back and even though the clock was barely three I had cycled 110 km. I was looking feverishly for a turn-off but no one seemed to be found. Everything was fenced and locked. Realizing that it would be like this for nest 100 miles to El Sombrero. So I stayed 6 km outside the city about 30 meters from the road. When it was getting dark , a large Landcruiser rolled towards my tent. It was the owner of the land where I stayed. In broken Spanish I explained from where I have cycled and where I was going. He handed over a 2 litre soda bottle. Then he asked if I like cheese. Sure, I replied. He made a call on the cell phone and a few minutes later I had one kg of cheese. It was a tangy hard cheese that is very popular in Venesuela.

Good in small amounts, but one kilo? It would bebad before I manage to eat it all. The day after I gave it to an old man, but I saved a small piece to myself. The day after I trow that away as well.

I Woke up early due to the heavy traffic. I had my tent 30 meters from the road. The groudn was shaking when heavy lorries thundered past at full speed. It was a tedious day in the saddle. It feelt like I lost focus on the bike because  I was close to the end. Eventually I came to El Sombrero . Bought lunch at the first place I could see. Rolled on through the town. Stopped at a Licoreria, (liquor shop) bought three beers and had three beers from new found friends.

I parked the bike and put up the tent about 10 km outside El Sombrero . 400 meters from the road , this time in the middle of a large field with what I think was millet. The evening and night was difficult. It was hot and it rained. Since the air was filled with small black flies, I had to sleep in the tent with the curtains drawn, and it was hot in the tent.

Next nignt I spent in a favella near Villa de Cura, with Juan. I had only intended to stay a little beyond this slum area behind a mound of earth and a trees but Juan came with his horse and invited me to stay with him. Not in the house but well into his fenced property. Fine with me, I said. It was not. Muddy and full of midges. Got to sleep again with drawn curtains in ny tent.

Not so much to tell about today’s cycling more than that nature is now becoming more hilly. Have come into the mountain range that runs west- east near the coast.

I Came to Valencia in good time to be in the place I agreed with Madelaine that Fernando would pick me up at. I never saw Fernando there I cycled to Bomberos station (fire station). There I got help from Marco who knew a little English to get hold of Fernando and Madelaine. After much discussions, they concluded that Antonio would drive me to Fernandos posada. He will come in a moment they told me. It was just that that little moment was 4 hours. Well, he finally came and drove me to Tucacas and a hotel. Unfortunately, he wanted to be paid more than I anticipated, and the hotel was a little more expensive than I expected . But it’s like I said before, it’s expensive to be a tourist . Cheaper to be on the road cycling slowly forward.

At the hotel we got hold of Fernando again and we agreed that he would meet me in the afternoon to take me to his posada in Itcicherivitche. But he never showed up. I was now feeling a bit stresse up for these onreliable Venezuleans. I started to do some Interneting and with some help from the front desk at the hotel I managed to find Posada Aloe and a taxi that could take me there. Fuck you Fernando, I said.

It is now two days of cycling left . But before that I will have a break of five days.

Here are some pictures from Venezuela.

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At the hotel I got hold of Fernando again and we agreed that he would meet me in the afternoon to take me to his posada in Chichiriviche. But he never showed up. It was then that I began to be a little stressed and irritated by these unreliable venezuelaans. I managed with a little help from the front desk to find Posada Aloe and a taxi that would take me there. Damn you Fernando, I said.

Chichiriviche is a city in the state of Falcón. The city lies on the east coast, 195 km southeast of Coro. It has a population of approximately 190,000 inhabitants. Chichiriviche is surrounded by small islets and islands with white sand; in the west of the wetland Cuare Wildlife Refuge and on the south by Cuare Gulf. From the beginning, inhabited by the Native American tribe of Chiapas, its name is a Caribbean word meaning “place where our sun Stigger up”

Chichiriviche has achieved a certain notoriety through its investment in the tourism sector, with a service infrastructure for luxury hotels, resorts, flights, restaurants, network of marinas, shops and places for nightlife. I Was strange be off season at this resort. Many hotels was closed. Few restaurants open. I got very good service from Posada Aloes owner and we could talk a lot about Chichiriviche and life in Venezuela

Since my camera broke so I show this GoPRo film instead.

It was now only two days cycling left to Carracas.  But before that a five day break.

Dag 80 – 90 On vaccation on the way to Caraccas

What do you do when on vaccation? Well, I sun tanning, took long walks around Chitcirivitci. One day I stayed at Cayo Sal the largest island.  Was there relaxing, reading my book. I stayed at Posada Aloe in the evenings.

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I was the only guest so I had the whole place for myself. The last day I rented a boat and went out into the swamp. Saw some Ibises and flamingos. Stopped at Jesus Cave. Half the day I was on Cayo Peraza entirely to myself for three hours. Took me 10 minutes to walk around the island.

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Cayo Sal

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My contact in Caraccas recemmended me to take the route over Colonial Tovar. He said it was scenic and not much cars. He forgot to tell it it was a very steep road.

Early on the fifth day, I took a taxi back to Valencia where I interupted my cycling to continue to Cararcas. The day before I had looked for accommodation in La Victoria. Found Hacienda Santa Teresa, ten kilometers beyond La Victoria. The goal was to bike there stay there, eat delicious food and continue on the last day too Caraccas. But that did not happen. Santa Teresa was booked and closed. Disappointed, I cycled back to La Victoria to look for accommodation there. On the third attempt I got a room. It was a hotel which I think also rented out per hour. There I got a room without windows. It was a difficult night and I was up early.

The “hotel” had no breakfast service so I bought coffee on the street. Strangely, I forgot to refill my wter bottles. Something that would cause me some trouble later on. At first it was easy cycling but already after a few miles it started becoming steep. The road wound its way up to 2000 meter level.

The heat made itself felt, and my small supply of water disappeared alarmingly quickly. In places it was so steep that I had to walk. Here a picture of a not so steep road.

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Finally, I came to Colonial Tovar. Suddenly I was in southern Germany. The reason may be found in the fact that 1843 emigrated Germans from the area around Kaiserstuhl in Baden Germany. After some wandering settled them on the site of today’s Colonia Tovar. It was established under German tradition. They cultivated the traditional vegetables and fruit as well as brewed Venezuela’s first beer, the houses were built in half-timbered style. The village community functioned as a segregated society and forgotten gradually almost forgotten. Man held until 1942 its own laws. Modern society’s foray took place only after the Colonia Tovar 1964 been linked with the outside world through a paved road. The village is now a tourist attraction and a popular weekend excursion from Caraccas.

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The road between La Victoria and Colonial Tovar

My contact Manuel worked extra at the Catholic University as an English teacher. I went with him one evening and could talk to his students. All 20 of them agreed that they would move out from Venezuela as soon as they finished with their education, I understood them.

I came to Carraccas at he beginning of the economic cris and turbulence. One day I saw long qqueues outside electronic stores. Maduro had said that it was their right to buy appliances at low prices. Results, the stores were stormed and people took what ever they wanted.

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 So cycling experiences 2013 ended with five days in Caracas before I flew home to Sweden. It was three fantastic months. I’m not done with South America yet. But cycling experience 2014 will be in Sweden and Finland. You can read about that trip here.

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