As we left Leymebamba, and climbed again to the top of the pass it began to rain.
This seems to be the theme. Nice in the morning, rain in the afternoon. We were stopped briefly for construction in the rain then on down the hill until we left the rain. The road was a bit muddy, but not bad. It was a little eerie though, the road wasn’t much wider then a single normal vehicle. And almost vertical up the hill and absolutely vertical down the mountain for 1000 feet or more. If you even just stepped off, you were going for a long way. You could see this at first, then the fog came. When the fog came it just filled in the valley so you couldn’t see anything below. It was like a giant bowl of fog. It was comforting not seeing this huge drop off, but by the same token a little weird knowing it was there only full of fog.
We rode out of the rain and the road got nicer again. Then we came to another construction stoppage. We were stopped for at least 3 and half hours. It went from sunny and warm to rainy and cold. While there we ran into Larry, a resident of Lima on vacation with his wife and 6 other friends. They had never traveled this road before and told us the girls were all screaming on the turns. He helped translate some of the conversations with the flag person.
Eventually we got moving again. This time because we had waited long enough the road had turned to mud. We could have easily made it to Cajamarca or at least Celendin had it not been for the construction, instead we were faced with riding mud all the way to the bottom of this mountain in dark AGAIN!
Larry and his crew were ahead of us in his van, but they stopped when we reached Balza to help us find a place to stay. We landed this place where it was only a single room and no bathroom (which was about 2 blocks away and was basically a hole in the ground). We had no choice; we could not go on in the dark.
We made our arrangements, pack the bikes in the room, and found Larry and his group having dinner a local restaurant. We joined them and had a really fun time. Even managing to crack a few jokes at different peoples expense.
Here’s a picture of the group. Notice the Los Gigantes in the back, on the right! That’s Larry next to me. I remember some of the names but forgive me my failing memory. Left to right; George, his wife Shiwa?, ?, Azul Blue (the only words he new in English J), Gina, Walter, Chuck, Joe, Larry, Larry’s wife Marisa.
The next morning, we were up early. Had breakfast of scrambled eggs, instant coffee and pan (bread). Packed and headed for Cajamarca.
The bridge across the river (Rio Maranon) leaving Balza. The night before there was a bar blocking the crossing, but it was lifted when we decided to leave.