, ,

Leaving Huánuco we spend 30km wishing we were on a bus like Joe, 30km thinking this isn't too bad, then we turn off onto dirt and know that life's good on 2 wheels

We’re back to just us – our ‘five-ness’ was briefly ‘three-ness’ again as we tarried a day in Huánuco.  We’ve travelled over 1000km with Joe, and we hope there’ll be many more.

Upstream from Pallanchacra, the sun dips behind gorge-sides. Tent-spots abound and a twisting waterfall prompts uploading - we're set for the night

Sometimes it pays to stop and chat - while the sheep enjoy the breadth of the road, Sarah walks for a while

A little bit further up things narrow down

Another corner brings a shrine and grotto - and a local travelling to Lima along with 4 sons of progressively smaller size (the local russian doll series....)

Cerro de Pasco, mines and stark bleakness mark the end of our climb from Huánuco.  ‘Cerro’ is reminiscent of Butte (USA), another large hole in the ground with a town perched round it.  Not a place to spend time, but some very friendly market stall holders and some of the best raisins we’ve had in a while.  There’s maybe even a reduction in the calls of “gringo!”.  Either that, or we’ve got used to it :-)  The constant is the friendliness and kindness of the people we meet.

We emerge from ravines into flatness - and watch the weather as we fudge a connection of misdirections into a route

Why carry these if you don't use them - ample opportunity above 4000m with nothing much to stop the wind - Lago Junín

Have spanner on multi-tool, will fix single-speed! Flat places breed cyclists and not many gears... (Photo S.Hedges)

Somewhere over there, the main road has lots of trucks on it - over here there is peace and a nice dirt road

There was much excitement when we saw flamingoes near our camp spot - later we realised that we weren't going to have trouble spotting them!

more weather sweeps along the other side of the valley - leaving the flamingoes serenely doing their thing

Closing in on Junín and the highway, we're both still layered up to the max. Someone's built an outdoor swimming pool - they're tough round here!

A day later, all has changed - fast roads and sunshine. And more mining - La Oroya proclaims itself the Metal capital of the world

Progress feels good – time to plug in and catch up with our spanish lessons and other podcasts that have built up while the riding’s been more all-consuming.  The contrast is welcome, but there’s only so much we can take.  From Huancayo we’re back onto little roads – maybe we’ll see Joe’s tracks?!