Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lon's Peru Adventure Part #1

Lon Traveling to Peru

I am traveling to Peru tomorrow. From the time I leave my house in Sharon, Wisconsin to when I arrive at my hotel in Lima it is 16 hours of traveling. I have made this commute a dozen times before to Peru. At least I will have a couple days in Lima to get organized and stay over in a hotel. Sometimes I have continued on directly to Cuzco or Iquitos which adds another 4 hours of waiting at the airport and catching another flight. Overall the travel to Peru goes pretty fast but for some reason sitting and doing nothing on an airplane is more tiring than riding a bike for 10 hours.

My reason for going to Peru on this trip has several goals. The riders of PAC Tour and a network of other people have raised over $30,000 the past three years for projects in Peru. Each year we have organized a trip to distribute supplies and funding to some of the most remote regions who are beyond the normal range of government support. This year we have raised about $10,000 to use for the following projects.

Project #1...To buy supplies in Lima for the Puerto Occopa Orphanage and transport the items 300 miles over the Andes mountain to the orphanage. There are 100 children ages 2-17 years old who live in an 125 year old remote monastery. They are mainly self supporting and do not have much contact from visitors. I will be bringing a new set of clothes for each child which is usually a t-shirt and pants. They also need a sewing machine and bulk fabric for making other clothes. During my three days of travel over the 16,000 foot high Andes Mountains and into the jungle I will buy other hardware items like rakes and hoes for their garden. I need to transfer everything by taxi or bus in 60 miles stops between depots. At each depot I need to unload my old vehicle, find a new driver for the next section, then reload into a new vehicle. It is a balance to buy as many items later in the trip without paying higher prices. The final city 50 miles before the orphanage is Satipo. This is the best location to buy heavy bulk food items like bags of rice, pasta and flour. Last year we brought in over 1,500 pounds of food items that required three station wagon taxies to drive the final rutted muddy road at 15 mph. I will spent one night sleeping at the monastery this year. After I deliver the supplies I then backtrack my route for 3 days and return to Lima.

Project #2...From Lima I fly to the jungle city of Iquitos and meet with the small remote “Village of the Dolphins” where we helped build a school two years ago. This was a big project to propose and build a school for 250 children. The school keeps growing and now has 400 kids. Our original goal was to supply materials if the government supplied the teachers and the village supplied the labor. We still have some unfinished projects at the school such as the bathrooms. I need to meet with the village and find out why they haven’t completed the septic work on schedule. I am sure this town hall meeting will be controversial. Usually it is me and a Spanish interrupter sitting under a big palm leaf roof pavilion surrounded by 200 village families. This will not be an easy meeting for me if I need to tell them they will not receive $7,000 for the bathrooms unless they organize workers to complete the project. It should be an interesting meeting.

Project #3...Finally a cycling project. My wife, Susan Notorangelo will be meeting me in Lima and we then fly to the northern city of Piura where we will ride our Bike Friday bicycles 600 miles over the mountains to the jungle town of Tarapoto. This will be a scouting trip for a possible PAC Tour route across Peru next year. We will be staying in small roadside hotels and eating in the local cantinas along the way. We have 8 days of riding to cross several 10,000 and 12,000 foot passes. If everything goes as planned we will have enough route notes to make a new adventure tour to the Amazon River with a 3 day riverboat tour to Iquitos.

Each of these trips will take 6-10 days so I will be traveling in Peru for about 28 days total. I hope to update this Blog Entry every 3-4 days when I find a local INTERNET cafe. When I report from the road those reports are usually rushed since I try to write as much as possible before I lose the INTERNET connection and have to start over. So if you can put up with the poor spelling and bad grammar I hope to post my next update from Peru next Sunday.



Anonymous Anurang Revri said...

Good Luck Lon. Hope you have a great adventure and I look forward to reading your comments!

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:24 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Hi Lon, Just wanted you to know I'm following your blog. Thanks for taking the time to let us know about your journey and related adventures.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Are you thinking about a PAC Tour event in Peru in 2007 or 2008?

4:23 PM  

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