Mai Perso - Travel adventures

Touring in our own backyard

April 23, 2012
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Touring in our own backyard

My Mom on the bike, back from a trip to Sausalito and The Golden Gate bridge

More about La Mar Cebichería – Chef Gaston Acurio

February 21, 2012
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More about La Mar Cebichería - Chef Gaston Acurio

We had no expectation what so ever, from the two day stop in Lima. We were going to meet Nach and Dario for a quick catch up and compare notes for the upcoming adventure. After spending an incredible night around town, we hoped on a cab the following day and asked him to take us to a good restaurant for lunch. The driver, who happened to have great English and lived in the Bay area for a couple of years, suggested La Mar Cebicheria. A lunch only local restaurant. He mentioned that the chef had places in several other world capitals. A quick Google search brought back Chef Gaston Acurio, and the fact that he recently opened a La Mar restaurant on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, in our own back yard…
The lunch was amazing. The food original and straddled Peruvian tradition with Asian trends. True fusion and very different then the Californian fusion we are used to.
The service was great, ambience sublime and the fish and seafood fresh and tasty.
I loved the use of fresh chili peppers and lime juice without killing the fish taste in the process. the freshness of the mix allowed them to live side-by-side, rather then blend together and just be spicy.
We are looking forward to trying out La Mar in SF. In the meantime, we just have the photos to remind us of the breeze, the smells, the sounds and the flavors of the lunch at La Mar.

La Mar – Lima

February 21, 2012
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La Mar - Lima

Lobster on potato puree, La Mar style, one of 4 thousand veritals served in Peru.

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The Macho Pisco sticker

February 2, 2012
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(Design by Amie & Issa)

The Macho Pisco route

February 2, 2012
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MaiPerso Macho Pisco Adventure 2012

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Jujuy to Cordoba – Day 7, final riding day

February 2, 2012
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Now that Nacho lost all credibility for prediction of riding duration, we were mounting the bikes at 8:30 am for a long but comfortable day of riding to our final destination in Estancia of Nacho’s hunting operations in Cordoba. Nacho got one more chance to redeem himself, and he did so with honor.

We nocked off the first 250km within a couple of hours from our departure from Jujuy. By late lunch, we were through 500km and 2/3rd of the way to our destination. With tasty Empanadas in our tummy and refreshing Grapefruit juice, we took off on our last leg of riding for the adventure. Elevation was almost at sea level, making the total descent since yesterday to over 14,000ft. We were now cruising through the Argentinian Pampas, passing by Salta with temperatures exceeding 107 F or 43 C. Cliff helped translate the two but regardless it was very hot. A stark difference from the near freezing temperature we have experienced up the mountains just two days ago. By mid afternoon we cruised into the Estancia El Pilar, a lush retreat with a welcoming Pampa Adventures team with cold beers, Cheese and meet cuts and a beginning of final celebrations of the trip.

Later that night, on a wonderful dinner with local delicacies, suckling pork roasted in a mud oven, blood sausage and sweetbread, with live Tango music and dance performed by local artists from Cordoba, the team was exchanging war stories and adventures that were taking shape as epic events before the mud even hardened on our beaten 1200GS bike wheels.

Tomorrow early morning we will be heading back to Lima- Peru, for our farewell day. And what a day will it be…

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Uyuni to San Salvador de Jujuy – Day 6

February 2, 2012
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We are leaving the salt lakes and heading back to the border, this time planning to cross from Bolivia to Argentina mid day. We have 600km route planned for the day, starting with 200km dirt, the Argentinian border at the midpoint and a smooth ride to our destination in Jujuy.

The 200km of dirt was great. fun long stretches of packed dirt road, culminating with a beautiful canyon similar to the Sedona area with red rock and a river flowing next to us. The river bed was green probably from a Copper ore that was flowing in it. The last 20kn of the ride was particularly spectacular. The group spread out a bit as we were enjoying the mountainous road and the views. Once again, we had several fun water crossings and some narrow passages, additionally challenging due to the trucks and busses that were sharing the dirt road with us. We were hundreds of miles from the famous Death road in La Paz, but at times, this route felt pretty deadly to us… Regardless, we had a blast. we gathered at the foot of the mountain, breaking under 10,000ft altitude for the first time since we got on the bikes in Ollantayatambo a week ago. Getting on paved road after 200km of dirt felt good even though the morning was once again an amazing combination of good riding terrain and amazing views.

Off we go to the Argentinian border. Nacho described it as an easy pass, since the bikes were going back into Argentina. Famous last words…

Apparently, an oil truckers strike closed all neighboring border crossings, funneling all traffic through the crossing we were at. The border turned circus, was great source for jokes at this point. An estimated crossing of 30-45 minutes, was well into the fourth hour before we cleared both Argentinian and Bolivian customer and passport control.

The team was getting anxious as we were heading for a second long trip down the mountain through the night. Fortunately as we were in lower elevation, the temperatures were more amicable and road conditions in Argentina much better then in Bolivia. Still, as dark settled, our speed was reduced and the hotel seamed more elusive as the hours went by.

The gas stations we stopped at were empty and at some point we had to put a gallon of gas in aech bike from a reserve tank we had, since we all were running on empty. That was the second time the border truckers strike hit us in one day. At around 11pm, we rolled into the hotel. Showered and went down for drinks and dinner. Dinner was remarkable. We had flakey tamales with beef and a slightly hot chimichurri sauce, followed by Goat ribs and shanks in the oven. Crunchy, luscious, yummy Argentinian cuisine. (More about the food on the trip, in dedicated future posts)

By 1am we went back to our rooms for a short night sleep. Tomorrow we have the longest and last day of riding for this trip, heading to Cordoba.

Potosi to Uyuni – Day 5

February 2, 2012
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A lazy start following an eventful ride on day 4, and what looks like a promising ride. Nacho provided guidance which we all learned to take with a grain of salt… The day will be all pavement other then parts of the road that are under construction, and the last 60 km as we reach our destination for the night. All in all it’s a 235km ride, (apx. 150 mi.).

So… how did it pan out? well we started the ride with a grand tour of the Potosi city dump. Our first water crossing was a local sewage. We then picked up the road that created us with a well paved series of twistys and wonderful scenery. As we were increasing the distance from Potosi deeper into the high mountains, the first “Under construction” sections started showing up. These sections turned at some point to an “under construction first road stretching for about 100km.

Well… that’s when the magic of the BMW 1200GS hits you. Just as much as we were having fun on the paved road, we were now riding an uber fun dirt road, with packed sand, water crossings, mud, gravel, you name it, we had it. And it was just an endless source of fun. Yesterday’s misery turned into one of the best road and off road riding days in our collective recent memory. Not too short, not too long and a combo of all terrains desired by a GS rider.

During a lunch break, we met two Israeli 800GS rtiders making their way to Ushuaia, who waited for us at the next water crossing to get a first hand demo of how to handle water on a GS. Our team has handled the crossing flawlessly, giving them the demo they were looking for.

At the end of the road, after crossing thorough the town of Uyuni on the way to the salt lakes, we ended the afternoon at our next stop at the Salt Hotel “Luna Salada”.

The hotel was the kind of experience you have at the Ice hotel or one of those funky places around the globe. The building is made from Salt bricks, The floor is covered with rough grains of salt, and a smoked salt smell hangs in the dirt from the Salt structured fireplaces along the corridors.

Out the panoramic windows, The moon was reflected in the salt plains that were now all water due to the rains that poured here in the past couple of weeks. A dramatic picture perfect view.

Pisco Sours, Cusquena beers, Gin & Tonics, shower, dinner… Life is good!

“When I was in Bolivia…” Puno to Potosi – Day 4

February 2, 2012
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Day 4 started sideways. We sort of put ourselves in a no win situation before we even mounted the bikes. The writing was on the wall and all we had to do is put on our glasses so that we can read it.

We left the lodge at dark O’ Hundred to give ourselves time to work our way to Potosi, Bolivia. We had an 800 Km. route that started in a rainy ride, border crossing that even though went very smooth, took us an hour and a half. Next we had to cross La Paz in Bolivia, and on to a long ride with no rest places on the way. By the time we stopped for lunch, it was early afternoon and the team was hungry and cold. A great lunch that tasted so good more because of the hunger and energy it provided rather then the true quality, was welcomed. A fresh brewed Coca Mate (tea) gave an extra kick.

We left the restaurant, geared up and started the climb over the pass to our destination in Potosi. The GPS registered  14,700 ft elevation at the height of the pass.

As the day went by, the team was getting tired, rain was getting fierce and once the sun had set down, temperature was dropping. We were tired, wet and ready to get to the hotel, that was still over a 100 miles away, on the other side of the mountain.

We got close to the elements, the mountain, each other and close and personal with the Bolivian asfalt with all it’s under maintained and overly traveled flaws.

Several excruciating hours later, after 16 hours on the bike, the team made it to the hotel in Potosi. We each made a mental note of lessons learned about the Puno to Potosi road, and shared these thoughts over breakfast the day after.

Fortunately, the adventures of the following days made up for it very quickly and wiped out any lingering pains and bruises any of us had. We were back on the saddle late morning on day 5, ready for a blast of a ride…

Cusco to Puno and the beautiful Lake Titicaca – Day 3

February 1, 2012
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The route to Puno, a small town on the banks of Lake Titicaca, is set to be a relaxed ride of roughly 400 km (250 mi.) mostly on paved roads and beautiful mountain views. We started the day with a slight rain that cleared later to a sunny and cold day, as we were climbing up in elevation.

White snow dusted mountain ranges and dramatic cloudy sky kept the ride once again breath-taking. We were on a roll to get to Puno by lunch, since we had a surprise tour for the group on Lake Titicaca and a visit to the Floating Reed islands on the lake. On the way, we have crossed Juliaca, later renamed by Cliff as “Shit City”, which provided us with some of the more challenging dirt road riding experience of the trip to date. The town was a traffic mess, dirt, potholes and mud puddles in the streets, and chaos like nobody business. The local gas stations were actually a lady sitting at a cross-road, with 4 or 5 plastic containers and a funnel. If you were lucky, they had a piece of filthy cloth in the funnel to filter the dirt out of the gasoline. We managed to avoid using their services and opted for a gas station along the way several miles out-of-town.

Once in Puno, a quick-lunch and on to the boat that took us to the floating islands. The captain’s son, a 9 year old boy was driving the boat. We got a full tourist intro to the islands and were shown around by one of the families that lives on an island. We did the obligatory trip in a reed boat and even got to experience rowing it.

It was great! the people were wonderful and it is something we will probably will not have an opportunity to experience anytime soon.

We had dinner at the hotel with Lama stew, Lama Carpaccio, grilled fish and other local delicacies and went to bed early. Tomorrow, day 4, is an 800 km day (500 mi)  with a boarder crossing from Peru to Bolivia. We also had prediction for rain. Talking about a perfect storm…

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