Back to Peru, the day I met Ed March and Carry-on-camping…

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Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in sterling form and that you had a mighty fine weekend.
A rather busy old week, all good stuff :-)

A long haul home…

Travelling is ace, but flying and airports are not always good fun.
(Flying is great, but when you’re over 5ft tall and you’ve got minus 2ft of legroom, it can get tedious, depending on your flight neighbours too!)

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After juggling the (over)weight around in my bags, I was packed and ready for a battle!
Two hefty 120 litre duffel bags around about 23kg, a suit bag (with a jacket, a coat, a pair of trainers and a climbing helmet) plus a smaller duffel Rock+Run duffel bag, which I generally hid and pretended that it didn’t weigh almost 20kg! In addition to this all my pockets were full and I was wearing most of my clothes. If there had been a “get me home now” button, I’d have paid all the tea in my luggage to press it!

Pride comes before a fall!

My main two fears were:
1) No luggage trolleys at Manchester.
2) Checking in at Manchester and Chicago.

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After an early train from York, Manchester Airport arrived quicker than I expected, after passing all the fantastic boozers on the Transpennine Real Ale Trail!
Ditched all my luggage on the platform (watched by a bloke just in from Texas, on my route) and went to the trolley machine. Put a pound in “Coins not accepted”, tried a fiver “Notes not accepted”, got my card out but tried pulling a cart out. Thank you free trolley machine :-)

American Airlines check-in: “Tell me about a recent journey” I was asked. An overdramatised version of how AA had lost my bags for three days meant that my slight overweight was ignored and well-hid hand luggage didn’t give away my other indiscretion.
Customs: As I’d chopped and changed everything around in my bags purely for weight, I had no real idea what I actually had in my hand luggage. A block of Rowntree’s jelly had to go :-(
Tent poles! Mr. Jobsworth told me that tent poles were banned. I’d purposely brought a decent, bombproof (didn’t mention that adjective) mountain tent, my Alpkit Zhota, for the family.
The guy next to him said that poles weren’t banned, so an argument ensued between them.
I couldn’t go backwards to check them in as hold luggage, so I kept quiet. The supervisor said they could go, relief!

By now I was running late for my flight, so I legged it through Duty-Free. Manchester Terminal 5 has a bottleneck area where all the shops, bars and cafes seem to converge on the walkway.
In a 5am-wake-up haze, with horror I felt my right boot and left laces hook together. Going down…

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(I’d bought these big clodhoppers years back for a mere £5 when Sgt Stevens and I queued up from 4am outside a newly-opening Cotswold Outdoor store in Harrogate. The first 5 customers got a hugely discounted pair (A fiver down from £130!) They’ve done me proud, even acting as Clunkboot, before I got my Terminator/Steampunk deep-sea-divers). The impact of this incident sheared off the hook and brought me crashing earthwards)…

I have had a lot of falls of late, mainly running, mainly my clumsiness. This was a big one!

With all my gear, both hands full and surrounded by other punters dashing for flights, I went down like a clumsy sack of spuds, landing on my right knee (again, ouch) and my face.
My suit bag burst like a balloon and people stepped over me as I laid there grimacing with pain.

Blood oozing from a fresh wound, I limped for my flight and just caught it.

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Chicago was contender for “biggest queue in the world” prize. US Visa laws have caused confusion and continue to do so! After 20mins in the wrong queue, I was moved and then had to re-collect my bags and re-check-in, then through Customs and literally just caught my connection to Dallas. Didn’t see JR nor Bobby Ewing on arrival, nor an open coffee shop :-/
Found a cup of something with caffeine in and awaited the last and longest leg. Dallas-Lima.

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Flight neighbours can make or break a flight. On my inside, Mr Annoying and on my outside a very nice lady heading to Machu Picchu, with three of her eight kids! She looked younger than me. It was good to chat as the obnoxious bloke just wound me up, waving his smelly bare feet about, shouting at the flight attendants, going to the khazi every two minutes and singing to Korean pop songs on his phone at full blast (phone and him) upon landing.

All bags arrived intact! Didn’t get my food stash searched/snaffled :-)

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65 soles taxi home and just caught the ladies before they went to school/work :-)
Having gained 6hrs, I’d done 32hrs door-to-door on the back of about an hours kip!

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The day I met Ed March!

For those of you who know Ed March, he need no introduction, along with Austin Vince, Simon Pavey and Lyndon Poskitt, he is one of my two-wheeled heroes, but unlike the chaps above, I’d never met him, until Thursday!

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For those of you who don’t know Ed March, check out his WEBSITE :-)
He is a legend who rides around the World on his Honda C90, the original King-of-Clunk!
Currently he is heading south on his trusty Ninety having rode from Alaska and heading to Argentina. I knew he was close to Peru, but having been away I feared he might have passed through already.  A FB message on Thursday morning caught me on the hop.

Thursday was a busy day, all the jobs I’d put off before my trip had come back to bite my ar$e.
After seeing the ladies off, I had a Physio appointment with Super-Maro and then a l-o-n-g list of chores. My internet at home was playing up bigtime. Ed was in two minds about staying in Lima and needed a new headlight. Crappy internet connection and being jetlagged to within an inch of my life made me as responsive as an amoeba. Due to the delay in connecting at one point I thought he’d gone, but he stayed and after ringing around 6 shops and drawing a big fat blank, I headed over to “Puente Nuevo” to his digs.

Not the best part of town, traffic chaos central and a lot of “hourly rate” hostels, his of which I just couldn’t find, mainly down to my jetlag/stupidity, so I arrived Peruvian late :-/

With a sackful of excuses, all true, I finally met the man who rode around the World on a C90!

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I had a plan to head to a place called “Paradero Moto” in Santa Anita, not a place I know well, but I do know where it is. A slow bus took a contrived route, a case of “just there” directions and another bus took time, but after an hour we’d got there. It was just a long block of Chinese bikes/mototaxi shops, a veritable jumble sale of bits&bats of all things Clunk and after a bit of hunting we found a Chinese copy of what the man was after. A 15min mototaxi ride to KFC later and I had a very, very interesting chat with a very funny and very knowledgeable young man.

IMG_4479Nobody likes a Clunk-copy!

It was indeed a long chat as I got home at 10:30pm, after telling Lina I was just popping out (at 2:30pm).

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Ed March, you rock :-)

Carry on Camping!

I’d promised the ladies a camping trip since July and despite the car breaking down and the garage door breaking (both fixed by Friday), after 4hrs packing/faffing/chuntering we were on our way to Cieneguilla by 10am, one of my favourite places just outside the chaotic confines of Lima, over the hill and feeling a very long way away!

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We were heading to a kind of campsite/resort called Kankay, a place I’d passed by on the old Clunk a few times. I didn’t know quite what to expect…

Sandwiched in the valley between dusty mountains on either side, this place gets sunshine in the grey Lima winter, when an hour away a grey cloak covers the capital. Blue skies do it for me every time :-)

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It is a kind of resort with hotels, lodges and pools, plus camping, of which we were surprised to see we were the only campers on site, no problem, the less the merrier/quieter. sharing it only with 10 million hungry mosquitoes.  All looking forward to a bit of P&Q, something you just don’t get in Salamanca. The Nipper was especially giddy about staying the night in a tent. Darkness comes like a switch in these parts and after an early tea, by 6:30pm it was inky black, bar a half-moon and an infinite number of stars. Stars you don’t see in Lima. due to smog and artificial light. A very early bedtime!

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A family arrived an hour later and although they made a racket, you can’t expect punters to behave like they’re in a Library. After two stories, the Wee One always asks for two stories “by memory”. The first one went like this:

A little girl called Valentina had a good nights sleep, so the next day she went horse riding, swimming, playing and had a great time, because she’d had a good nights sleep.

Prompted for another story “by memory”, the second one went like this:

A little girl called Valentina had a very, very bad nights sleep and so did her parents. So bad was the nights sleep that everybody was very, very grumpy in the morning and they all went home immediately without even eating breakfast, because they all had a bad nights sleep!

It worked a treat, she was snoring immediately :-)

A bit of shouting and door slamming kept me awake until about 10:30pm, until the sound of a roaring pick-up truck and what can only be described as “whooping” by a big group of big blokes and some very raucous women. Then, the music started!

Now I must have been naïve, stupid or naively stupid to imagine that we’d get a good nights kip. I’ve no problems with people having a good time, but it puzzles me why people have parties on campsites when other campers are trying to sleep.

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The music was concert-level-loud, seriously, starting with R&B, not my personal favourite.
They were all three-to-four sheets to the wind and I knew that going over to ask them to maybe turn it down a bit would not work. The bairn was showing signs of waking and that would not be good. I had visions of packing up shop and driving back to Lima in the dead of the night.

(Camping is not all that popular here in Lima. “Wild camping” is simply not possible and although summer camping at the beach is common, there are no quiet sites in the country as such. People have a different attitude to noise and time here, sadly).

I stomped up to the gatehouse; empty. Although half a mile away, the music was still loud.
I continued to the Hotel reception and was amazed to be told “To prevent any bad experience, we will give you a room“, I legged it back and amidst the noise and whooping, we all drove back across the site to the hotel, before the offer was retracted. The ladies slept immediately, but my mind was racing, a bizarre night. (It later transpired that these noisy punters were in fact friends of the owner, who had sent them there to let off some steam, cheers for that!)

The Nipper was confused to have gone to bed in a tent and woken up in a bed!

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I had planned a dawn mountain raid, but clag was hiding the tops so I trotted up the valley and then cooked up brekkie on the balcony, trying to avoid setting off any smoke detectors!

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Horse riding, swimming, a quick sprint up a local peak and a very, very, very expensive dinner filled the day nicely and before we knew it we were heading back over the pass and dropping down into the sunset and home. A follow-up camping trip is on the cards, somewhere else.

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And finally…

There can only be one video this week and that is Ed March!
Check out his brilliant YOUTUBE CHANNEL.
For now, here is a Monday morning ED MARCH motivator for you :-)

Have an outstandingly awesome week!

Cheers
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper

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