Valley Sagrado-Sacred Valley (or, my fourth fifth and sixth encounters with the Peruvian police…)

March 30, 2010

After breakfast with Eden, in the afternoon I met up with a very nice lady I’d previously breakfasted with in Abancay–Susana—-she happened to live in Cuzco and happened to invite me for lunch. High end for me! She wanted to treat me to some typical food. YUM!

Wednesday March 31, 2010

It’s drizzly this morning, but I am antsy to do something. I don’t really like Cuzco for all it’s touristy mayhem, the ambulatory vendors are driving me nuts every time I leave the hotel (do I want to buy a sweater? No, thank you. Do I want to buy a hat? No, thank you. Do I want to buy a necklace? No, thank you. Do I want to buy some fruit? No, thank you. Do I want to buy this book? No, thank you. Do I want a massage? No, thank you. Do I want a shoeshine? No, thank you.)

Eden has to get some work done on his bike today, maybe he can go ride the Valley Sagrado with me tomorrow. That’s no fun–who wants to sit around waiting for a man to have some fun? I decide to ride on out… I take the Trax boxes off the bike, pack an overnight bag (in case I want to stay out an extra day) check out of the hotel (with the promise of coming back in two days’ time to retrieve the Trax boxes.)

On my way out of town…

Yup, not ideal weather but hey at least I am riding.

First “ruins” stop in the SsacredValley…

This grimy little town

is the gateway to this:

There’s a church built by the Spaniards (they often built them on the indigenous peoples’ sacred ground–how’ THAT for making your claim and marking your territory?)  See the blue tarps all over the place?  They cover all the wares that people want  to sell to the tourists. Lucky for me, it’s drizzling so they are only at about half steam heckling me to buy something.

Out on the road again I am riding through some spectacular scenery

I take a small detour down what I think looks ike a funner (dirt) road…

I get going the RIGHT way through town (nevermind all the one-way roads I went  down the wrong way!)

And enter Moras/Moray the back way. I get a little lost but being on the back roads are usually worth that.

even the ruins are subject to a bit of the seasonal land-slides

And I leave Moray and see this fabulous opportunity to take a beauty shot of the bike…and this kid pops into the scene from nowhere. As far as I can tell he doesn’t speak Spanish, but it’s all I’ve got so I speak to him as I am taking pictures. He’s got the snottiest nose ever!

Well then his sister shows up and she’s got the best!  snotty nose.

He actually made t difficult to get my beauty shot…but twisted Throttle should like this one…

Yeah, ok, so I finish up, and the kid asks me for a propina, a tip. I didn’t ask him to enter my pics, so I give him and his sister a hard candy. I wish I’d had some real food with me…

Sorry its blurry but you get a real sense of the road conditions here…

OK, it’s back to rain again. Ugh.

Ok, two ruins visited, now  I decide I want to visit the salt mines (popular on this gringo circuit), so I head out of town, and take a left down this clay surfaced road. in the rain. And quite unexpectedly, WHAM! down I go. I do a faceplant at about 30 mph. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, I just remember impressions, my chin of my helmet hitting HARD, trying to push myself up to get back to the bike and falling over with ecruxiating pan in my left hand…trying to get the bike lifted with one hand (a no-go) …trying to keep myself from crying because my trip might be over…

I got the glove off and was smart enough to remove the fake wedding ring. hand didn’t look to bad and I could move the fingers a little bit…

Why is it that we feel the need to get out bikes upright right away?

I saw a  shepherd far away an started walking towards him…until I started moving his flock, and decided to let him walk to me. Mr. Nice Shepherd helped me upright the bike, but he was at least 100 years old and it was tough with me only having one hand. when we finally got the bike upright he noticed his sheep and donkeys spread all over tarnation, and went running off. I wanted to give him a tip, but his herd kept moving…

Doesn’t look too bad, right?

Finally a taxi came along coming back from the salt mines…I stopped them, explained the situation, and the two Americans inside helped me. Chis, the son, moved my bike off the roadway for me and his Mom wanted to stay with me while the taxi driver went for help…I told her I was ok, just agitated out of shock and worry and that I would be okay if they would just go out to the main road and try to find a truck to haul me and the bike back to Cuzco. (The wisely talked me OUT of riding back to Cuzco… after about an hour my hand was completely immobile and in terrible pain, even though I could move it right after the accident…)

I waited a long while and finally  a truck came along. Timo and Fredrick had an unusual method for loading the bike without a ramp, but hey, for 140 soles (~$50) it was their problem as long as they did not drop it…or scratch it..or hurt it….or…)

Well about this time the local police show up…at first I am worried I do not want to pay any bribes, I do not want to file any reports since nothing is damaged, I just want them to go away and leave me to my getting back to Cuzco and th hospital because things are starting to swell now and it is hard to walk around, plus my hand hurts like heck. But they are nice cops–they just want to make sure that I did not break anything, an they actually help load the bike. They note down  my essentials, also the license plate number  of Timo’s truck, and actually ask the guys how much they are charging me, and seem satisfied that 140 soles is fair…

Darned scenic place for an accident, eh?

OK, so we get to Cuzco, and stop at a gas station. I get nervous when we just wait around…shoot, are they creating some drama so they can charge me more? No, turns out Fredrick has to go to his English class, and Timo, whole a good truck driver, says he does not have a license so we have to wait for his cousin to come and drive the truck. Sheesh. Will this day please end?

Ok, finally the cousin shows up, an we cross town to my hostel…which gets a surprise delivery (me). I need all sorts of help because I am one handed, Timo and the cousin do not want to ask anyone to help get the bike out of the truck because they will have to split some of their money with them, so they make it my problem.  Well just then three policemen come ’round the corner, and so I walk over to them and explain what we are doing here blocking traffic, and ask for their help. Ha! They cannot say no to a lady in distress, and it is funny watching all these macho men give each other advice and especially funny afterwards because they are all slapping off all the dust my bike put on their starched uniforms…


Well one guy stands out and turns out he is a motorcyclist. I ask him if he will ride my bike into the hotel lobby since I cannot. he agrees, but he cannot touch the ground on my bike so…well, I hold my breath for way too long but the bike finally gets into the lobby. Turns out Mr. Nice policeman is the chief and he offers to take me to the hospital (clinic)…we cannot get a cab so he gets a police car and has them take us to the clinic. He waits 2.5 hours for me, then takes me back to my hostel. he won’t let me pay for the cab ride back, and at the front desk he gives me his name and cellular number in case I need anything. NICE!

It has been a looooooooooooooooooong day, and all I want to do is go to bed — but how am I gonna sleep with my hand all wadded up?


I am still not entirely sure what happened inside my hand because the first doctor said there was no break. 2nd Doctor said there were three, and the “specialist” said two, with a lot of tissue damage.

This I DO know: I saw two good breaks myself, one in the third Phalange that looked like a tree. I know my hand continues to hurt, even when I write this more than 4 weeks later…

I also know that without a doubt the Storm (Barkbuster) handguards really saved me…both my hand and the bike. The kept the front end of the bike off the ground and saved my mirrors, lights and levers. I cannot imagine what my hand would have been like it it had gotten caught between the handlebars and the ground.

And did you see all the torn skin? That was WITH sturdy leather gloves on…ATTGAT…All The Gear All The Time!!! Thank Goddess I was wearing that Arai helmet or I would not have a face…and the Scorpion jacket saved my skin–literally.  (thanks again Nicole!!!) The jacket is torn in some places in the front now…

<end of sermon>

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