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.

December 4, 2004 - 12/04 – RASAM Wrap Up**

This is the last entry for the Ride Across South America (RASAM) in Oct/Nov 2004, covering three days of touristing in Peru after the ride. On the right you’ll see a list of the days of the RASAM bike tour from Sao Paulo to Lima ranked by ***’s. ***=interesting day, **=ok day, *= dull day. Written as they occured, you can follow the tour by date or just check out some of the pages. The other items on this page are:

1. RASAM 2004 WRAP UP
2. INVITATION TO Ride Across Asia and Tour de Afrique 2006/7.
3. 3 DAYS TOURISTING PERU
4. Bye for now.

RASAM 2004 WRAP UP: We are officially done. The ride from Sao Paulo to Lima was 5,208 kilometers or 3,173 miles accomplished in 32 days of riding, about 160k or 99m per day. We didn’t ride maybe 100 miles of this due to unpaved roads and some convenience issues. We went through 5 countries: Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Each has their own distinct personality and all of them, except Paraguay, merit additional visits.

INVITATION TO RAASIA 2005 and Tour de Afrique 2006: Current plans call for me to ride from ride across Asia and Africa in 2006 and 2007. I will go supported and average over 105 miles per day, including break days. If you are or know of anyone who might be interested in participating in all or part of this, let me know.

3 DAYS TOURISTING PERU: I rode into Lima on December 1st. Eduardo and Steve dropped off the bikes to be packed up for the return to the USA, and the next morning went to the airport to pick up Nelson Davis who flew in to tour with us for a couple of days and then drive the Fiat back to Brazil. It was nice to not have to get on a bike for a change.

All of us met at the Plaza de Armis at noon for the changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace. It’s quite a production. These guys don’t just play military stuff, they really step out and rock. On another side of the Plaza is the Lima Cathedral. We took the tour here and saw the tomb of Francisco Pizzaro, plunderer extraordinaire – his head and body in separate boxes behind this glass.

The Cathedral has lots of historic art and artifacts and our tour guide was very animated and informative. One of the most interesting things about the place is that while the columns and roof look like they are made from stone like traditional national cathedrals, in Lima they are built from wood. It took a while, but repeated earthquakes here taught them a lesson.

We had a nice lunch at a traditional Peruvian restaurant and then split up. Eduardo and I went to the National Museum to check out Peruvian history and culture, the rest of the team wandered around Lima. They have lots of cool models and artifacts here.

That night we went to Neville’s home in Lima and had dinner with him, his two sisters and his younger brother:

They all work hard and are accomplishing much. Lily is getting married in January. Neville helped us with RASAM in Peru, rode with us a bit, and inspired by RASAM 2004 plans to ride the length of Peru early next year. It was a grand, fun evening. The next day we had a 4:50am (you got that right) flight to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital in the Andes.

We headed to the train station to pick up the Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. Hiram, an American, is the guy who woke the city after 500 years of hibernation. The train had six immaculate cars and they greeted us with music and champagne. Shockingly, there were only two other paying passengers for this 3-1/2 mile ride in the Andes.

The Orient Express people, who run this operation, sent out this little vehicle that looked like a converted VW mini-bus ahead of the train to check for landslides or other track damage.
Steve, Lisa and I boarded. We all expected to nap, but the scenery and service were so spectacular we just kept absorbing them.

There are no roads or planes to Machu Picchu – you either walk the Inca Trail or take one of the trains. (There are less expensive/luxurious ones for the local people and other tourists.) And Machu Picchu is beyond whatever expectation you have for it – absolutely stunning. It is clear why Peru is the archaeological capital of the Americas and why Machu Picchu is its crown jewel.

Our guide paced the our walking tour perfectly. Machu Picchu is at the very tip of a very steep little mountain. There are cliffs on all sides except for one area that has the series of switchbacks that gets you to the top. Here is Steve, our guide Edwin and Lisa at the sacrificial alter. It was windy up here and Steve is holding his hat.

Just two pictures left for RASAM 2004. A view down on one side from the city, and the closing photo of Steve with one of his beloved plants – they are his life!

We took the same train back to Cuzco and had dinner and music with a slightly larger crowd on the way back. We stayed at the Novotel hotel, a luxe place in a former monestary. They have a bowl of coca leaves in the lobby so you can always grab a handful to chew on for the altitude or just plain fun. The next morning, ***Lisa’s Birthday***, we just walked around Cuzco like tourists until our 2PM flight back to Lima, followed by another dinner then the flight home.

BYE FOR NOW: Thanks to the Dalton Cox and Steve del Vecchio for riding with me over such great distances, to Eduardo Erler Lis for all his support, to the rest of the Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza/Brazil team (Marcos, Sylvia, Nelson and Claudia) for all the additional support, to Lisa for coming down and making the end of the ride much more enjoyable, and to the 181 of you who came along on the website, especially all of you who sent us notes and posted to the guestbook.

The next notification you’ll get for this website will come in May 2005 – a briefing for the Ride Across Asia. Stay in touch. Nobody dies.