Along the Rio Santa in Peru on a bicycle tour in South America

One of many tunnels on the Rio Santa, Peru

Canyon road beside the Rio Santa in Peru

A pale gray dusts hides loose rocks on the road through the Rio Santa canyon in Northern Peru. A cliff into the river and a nearly vertical desert rock wall are it’s boundaries. Only a one lane tunnel allows passage in thirty-seven places.

One bad rock, one slip, and...

Our narrow tandem tires cut into the dust and bounce and slide from one auto-tire slickened rock to another. We  hope to avoid the shattered and sharpened hidden ones, capable of ruining our day, and one of our tires. We have one spare, and wonder if we should not have brought two. A few times a particularly vile rock (by the second day I was attributing evil intent to certain rocks) would throw the front wheel toward the abyss, necessitating a dual bail out.

After a day on the Rio Santa Road

All this is more than a little stressful. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for Claire on the back of the tandem, not being able to see what is causing the bumping and swerving (and not a little cursing).

Road cutting through the desert Andes above the Rio Santa

The two days along this road were among the most physically demanding of 40,000 miles of touring, and yet I am beginning to let go of memories of aching shoulders and hands, and the mental exhaustion. Claire said I would. And she said I would probably get us into something just as bad in the future. She’s usually right. But maybe not this time. Maybe I’ve learned it’s possible to have an adventure without such a high degree of physical punishment. I think so.

I call on my friends to remind me to come back and read this post, if I seem to be hankering for something absurdly difficult, and not hearing Claire’s subtle hints that it might be over the top. That’s what friends are for.

Stark Beauty of the Andes and the Rio Santa

I won’t forget the stark beauty of the desert Andes and the Rio Santa, our star lit bush camp, the Southern Cross sinking behind a knife edge ridge, leaving us with a cool restful sleep.

Stay tuned for more posts we didn’t have time or internet for in South America.


Along the Rio Santa in Peru on a bicycle tour in South America — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Bob and Claire,
    It is me Orkun, your friend from Nallihan-Ankara/Turkey.We met in Nallihan where you had your break during your trip along Silk Road. I just wanted you guys to know that I still follow your adventures from your web site, (Thanks for the updates by the way) and I really admire what you are doing and capable of doing. I have travelled to many places on the world as well and gathered photos and videos from my adventures in my personal web site, but I want to say that you guys inspired me a lot for my own adventures. Thank you guys a lot!!

  2. Orkun! So great to hear from you again. We remember well our afternoon of talk in the Nallihan square. It was a highlight of our time in Turkey crossing the Silk Road. We were discussing education with friends recently and we told them you are an example of one of the best education systems (they produced you!) in Asia. We hope you are finding continued success, and that you will be able to visit America someday, and visit us! We have checked your site several times, and encourage our friends to do so also.

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