Chapter 24
A shocking Tale

A shocking Tale


Hello Everybody, remember me? I 'm sure you do, I'm the Pommie chappie who sent you a little quiz a month ago.... Not as many replies as I hoped were received. Shame really. There is a super duper First Prize and a host of other things to be given away.

The answers were: a - 5, d - 1, c - 4, b - 2, e - 3


The tiebreaker answers were:
*Author of the 'physics' Text: Mr Curly Hare, Yachtsman (AUSSSC), presently residing at Houston, Tx. USA
*Author of 'mad' Text: Mr Jack Kirouac in 'On the Road', presently deceased, previously driving around the USA

And the winner is: Mr David Griffiths, Yachtsman (AUSSSC) and Triathelete, Stoney Stanton, Leics. UK - David wins a special prize: An evening of intellectual chitchat and obfusification with 'TheBrightStuff'. Wow, I bet he can't wait..

Second prize goes to: Mr Matt Stackpole, Honda XR400 Transamericaist, Denver, Colorado, USA - Matt wins a leaking BMW shock absorber. He will however have to fish it out of the rubbish skip in Lima... Alternatively, I'll buy him a beer next time we meet.

There are no further prizes. Guess why?

Changed my name to 'Manco Kapac'


So, what’s new? Not much really. Have shaved, had a haircut and changed my name to 'Manco Kapac' to avoid any chance of being confused with Ernesto 'Che' Guacamole. Mr Guacamole, as you may recall, wrote a document called 'The Motorcycle Diaries'. Can't say I have read it, but apparently Ernie and his mate did not ride their Triumph bike much round South America. It broke down shortly after crossing the Argentina/Chile border. He should have called the book the 'Hitchhiker Dairies'. I suppose Che had an idea that "Motorcycle" sounded sexier that "Hitchhiker".

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To Lima to collect shock number 5


My old goat seems not to break down too much (It is difficult to write this while tightly clutching the wooden desk with both hands!!). It just requires new shock absorbers on a regular basis. Three days ago I was in Lima to collect shock number 5 (FIVE). The 2 I had with me, both gave up their respective ghosts. Not bad: a shock a month.... Number 5 is hopefully intending to last a little longer: It comes from the land of the smorgasbord, kneckebrot and ombudsman.... (If this is too cryptic: it is made by Ohlins of Sweden...)

Where is this all leading? I have finally realise that I am doing something truly unique: I am the FIRST person to drive round South America, who is NOT following Ernie's footsteps/tyre tracks, who does NOT look like Ernesto, who's bike is more reliable than Ernesto's (who rode a Triumph), BUT who had a grandfather called Ernest!!!!!!!!!!!! ¡Wow!

Sorry about all the rude words

My last report (sorry about all the rude words in it; I was not consuming any particular substances either, before you ask!) were from Cusco, the capital of Incaland. A great party town, but far too touristy. Here, I teamed up with a Dutch fellow called Marcel driving a shiny happy Toyota Landrover-Recovery-Vehicle. Last time we met was 18 months ago in Malawi in Africa.


The route lead across the mountains via Ayacucho to Huancayo (where Marcel headed to Lima) and Goaty, Normy y moi continued to strut our stuff to Huanuco and then via La Union to Huaraz in the Cordelierra Blanca. A total of about 2 weeks with only mountains, Berge, montagnes and Sierra. Totally super-duperly marvellous. A couple of bits were paved, but most was dirt, gravel and mud. Great views, friendly people and the chance to wrestle a Llama, or rather help a shepherd boy (or should that be 'Llama boy') herd in his flock after they had legged it. All in a days work for the seasoned biker dude like me. Aren't I just soooooooooooo goooooooooooooood? Probably not. The Toyota afforded a life of luxury and chatting to the bearded Dutch fellow, Marcel, was fun too.

The drive to Huaraz was long and on an incredibly bad road ('what road?'). At one point I smelt burning plastic. Do a check: Mud guard on exhaust: No, Something fallen onto the engine: Can't see anything; Stuffed if I know. Later on the bike was bouncing up and down like an old Cadillac. Ahhh, that old chestnut: The shock had pretty much blown all its dampener oil in one go and various plastic bits on it had melted: hence the smell. Oh joy!!


My parents know nearly as much about my bike as I do: For me it is a ‘field study' and for them it's more of a 'correspondence course', although my dad understands a great deal of practical BMW stuff too and already has a PhD. in BMW bike shocks: The system works very well indeed and now being old and wise myself, I source everything on the internet, my parents do the leg work and we use normal snail mail (rather than those w***ers at DH Hell) and hey presto: in 7 days there is a Ohlins shock waiting at Lima Post Office. THANKS YET AGAIN MUM AND DAD!!! The wonderful Mr Motoguzzi Guzman (as well as showing great hospitality) offers splendid assistance and the new toy is mine...... Since Lima it has already held nearly 1000km. Yippie... Tomorrow the pavement stops and the dirt starts again..... Watch this space.

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Santa Cruz Trek


Oh yes, while waiting for the offending article I even made it 4 days carrying all my own junk around the 'Santa Cruz Trek' including a spiffing sunrise at Alpamayo Basecamp.

Am now in Cajamarca, behind schedule (what's new there?) and last time I checked, over budget (definitely nothing new there....). Will head towards Chachapoyas and the Kuelap Ruins tomorrow. At some point my boat adventure down the Amazon to Brazil will begin.

Being behind schedule might mean delaying my return back to Europe: If you had the choice of a British Winter and heading into a Brazilian summer, which would you choose? Difficult choice, I know...


A final note. While driving near Ayacucho, we came across a French fellow... Not just any French fellow though: He is RUNNING from Lima to Rio de Janeiro (having already complete LA to NY and Perth to Sydney!!!): 6000km in 75 days; that is about 80km a day - every day! He looks younger than me, but was born in 1953! Check his site at SergeGirardDotCom

So, there it is: Will have to love and leave you. A quick mail from your end would be most welcome.

After the horrible events of New York and Washington, I sincerely hope all is well with you and your family and friends.
Cheers Chris

Per pro: Goat and Norm

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