About : RASAM

That's this Ride Across South AMerica from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Lima, Peru. It is 5,410 kilometers or 3,360 miles, which I will ride in two segments. Part I goes from September 26 to October 17, 2004 and is from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Salta, Argentina: 2,595 kilometers / 1,612 miles. Part II dates are November 7 to December 5 and is from Salta to Lima: 2,816 kilometers or 1,749 miles. Many people ride the coast of South America, especially along the Pan American highway. Few, if any, ride across the continent. There is a dearth of support--hundreds of miles without accommodations or good supplies. The only reason I can do it is that I will go 'safari-style'. A support and gear (SAG) wagon will carry my supplies.

Lima 156k, 94m** END

On this, our last riding day of RASAM2004, we got off to a slow start. Lisa left the campsite by Cero Azul, marched across the beach minefield of giant crabs and went swimming.

As Steve, Eduardo and I took down the tents and put things away, she went over to the stone house where Eduardo had asked permission to use the beach yesterday to bring them a bottle of wine and some soles (Peruvian $). A pack of dogs ran out barking to greet or eat her.

Turns out that the guy in the house is an artist from Lima. It is his uncle’s place. He gave us a couple of paintings and explained about the special energy of the wind and ocean here. Cero Azul has a richly layered history over the centuries, and is currently a favored surf site. But we had to finish the trip. So, we all piled into the Fiat and drove back to the 150 kilometer marker where we finished off yesterday, got on the bikes, and headed to Lima.

Steve rode off determinedly. Lisa and I rode together the first 30k or so. We went from the 2 lane road south of Canete, through that town and back to Cero Azul. Here, 110k from Lima, it is still a fishing, farming and livestock based living.

Traffic was heavy and luckily just after this point Peru 1, the Pan American Highway, went from two to four lanes. Along this part, a Peruvian electrician named Luis rode off a side street and joined Steve. Luis had a well-used, suspension-less, mountain bike but he was a strong rider and kept up with Steve. Eduardo took a picture of us all at lunch.

Lisa bailed out at lunch, and I got a little ahead and went to the second overpass of the day and took a picture of her and Eduardo driving past. There was also an unusual building across the highway with a statue of a guy and a bike on top and a giant Gatorade sign. The people there whistled to me as I rode past.

After this the road became an erratic construction zone for many miles. I kept riding and just past it Eduardo, Lisa and Steve caught up to me, all in the Fiat. We were now only 40k/24m from Lima – spitting distance. We decided the Fiat would go ahead, find the hotel and find a bike shop and Bob would ride into town. Lima is 9 million people worth of Latin American chaos, and Lisa and I worked out some plans and contingency plans.

After they left the road grew to 3 lanes in each direction complete with beautiful, ride-able shoulders – perhaps the best road in South America. I rode in leisurely, taking some pictures along the way. Lisa called back on the cell phone to tell me to exit at km 18, and that things got “a little crazy” after that. Here’s a view before and after the exit, showing the homes on the dunes and I guess the Peruvian version of the Arc de Triumph.

Asking directions a number of times along the way, I finally made it to the hotel.

After all the days, miles, sunburn, bug bites, flat tires, near-death experiences and spectacular sights, interesting cultures and peoples, exercise and fore-mostly great fun and friendship with Eduardo, Dalton, Steve, Lisa and the many people we met – THE END. I will do one more update on this trip with more info about it and Lima. Thanks for coming along. Bob

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