C – After talking with some overlanders who came from the south of Peru last night, we decided we would miss the northern highlands and head straight down the PanAm Highway towards Lima, where we will, hopefully, be able to enter the mountains.
Neither of us were particularly inspired by this. We whinge about it enough for everyone to know we do not like sitting on highways, day in and day out. Our mission so far has been to ride as little of the PanAmerican Highway as possible! We were not particularly excited about this, but realise that it is really the most sensible option at this time.
With a lot of kilometres to do before Lima, we decided to push through as far as we could today. Our going this morning was pretty easy where the PanAm was straight, relatively smooth (there was more tarmac than potholes) and little traffic early in the morning.
By the time we stopped for lunch, we only had 60km to go to Piura (250km from our starting point) and thought it might be possible to push on further. But, we said the magic words “we have been maintaining a pretty good speed this morning”.
After lunch, you can guess what happened! We knew that Piura had suffered in the floods, and within a few kilometres of leaving our lunch spot, the road became more potholes than bitumen and was extremely bumpy, slow going and VERY dusty. Needless to say, the next 20km took us nearly 40mins and we knew we were not going to make it any further than Piura today.
We pushed on and by 3pm, we were checked into a nice little hotel in the centre of Piura. The ride in revealed the flood damage, with some of the city streets covered in mud which is VERY stinky. Pity we could not save some that stink to share with you all!!!
All the shops in the centre of town still have their sandbags at the ready and the ones around the town square seemed to be all shut and without power.
Tomorrow, we shall push on southwards and see where we get to. Another big day (well, for us!) is on the cards it seems!