Once we got out of the traffic of Huarez the ride became another highlight.
Finally the weather has cleared up and we see the full beauty of the southern part of the Cordillera Blanca. We are still travelling along the Rio Santa which is a small stream up here. The valley slowly turns into a hilly countryside with the high mountains on the left. Brown grass bundles are the main vegetation. They move in the strong wind and make the hills look like they were covered in fur. In the background the white peaks show their majestic shapes. We still go uphill even though the city is already way over 3000m. We find a little dirt road that leads towards the mountains and ride into it. It leads back into the national park, we think about taking that road in order to make a little loop. But the road contains deep gravel areas, which make it difficult to ride with the loaded bikes. That would make the trip pretty long hours. We decide to get back to the main road and continue the route we had originally planned.
After we reached a little pass, the road started to decline. In less than 60km it goes down from 3500m to 500m and then to sea level. The road is in very good shape, there is not much traffic and so riding is real fun.
The road leads down into a valley and offers great point of views where we stop to take pictures. The vegetation becomes less and less until the valley is a pure desert. Just on the last 40km the valley seems to contain some water so that the lower part of the valley is green while the mountains and hills around us seem to be completely dry.
We reach Barranca. Again we are irritated by how unpleasant some of the Peruan cities are. We look for a hotel along the beachside, but the area doesn’t look very safe. So we end up in a hotel in the center of town, opposite to a couple of casinos. The hotel is quite nice and so we have a good rest after this day full of new impressions.
The following day we ride west to find the ruins of Caral. A very good dustless dirt road leads through huge fields of papas, sugar cane, corn and a lot of other vegetables. Farmers cut the fields, collect the fruits and carry them to the trucks. The sugar cane trucks are loaded far beyond anything we would call full. They look like Silent Bob from the Simpsons when they come around the corner.
A little dirt track leads away from the main road we had been on. There are no signs, only gps is showing us the way. The dirt track is very bumby, partly sandy and is great fun to ride. I use the little bumps to make little jumps with the bike, drift in the sand and playfully enjoy the ride into the desert.
Finally we arrive at a circular arranged entrance to the site. Eerything is very new. The UN heritage is supporting this site. It is the oldest site on the American continent. The site is over 5000 years old, as old as the Egyptian culture. The pyramids which can be visited there are partly destroyed and are other than the Mayan pyramids not with a real peak, but have a terraced structure.
The site has only been investigated since 1996 and is open for the public only a few years. They still search and think they have discovered maybe 40% of the site. They found more than 20 sites in this valley.
It was very interesting to see it, imagining that this site completely changed the facts of history as the closest sites in terms of age they have found so far in America is 1000 years younger. How many other sites are still buried under these many sand dunes in this country? Where did this old culture move to? Where are all the other cities that must have existed?
We took our time and rode down the coast to find a great new hotel with view to the seaside in a small town, just 150km north of Lima in the town of Huacho.
So we would have a relaxed day riding into Lima the following day.