Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Peru Tour November 1-20, 2008

Peru Tour Update
My blog will be on hold a few weeks while I am in Peru. I hope to have time to send a few updates but these Peru tours are pretty busy and I don’t have a lot of time to find a computer and do any serious writing.

The Peru Tours this year are divided into three parts. The First Tour is mainly a road cycling tour beginning near the Pacific Ocean in northern Peru. There seven cyclists in our group plus three Peruvian crew members. We will fly to the city of Piura near Ecuador on the Pacific Ocean and begin pedaling east toward the Andes Mountains. The route is 5 degrees south of the equator and the days are burning hot and dry similar southern Arizona in the summer. After two days we begin climbing the dry slopes of the mountains. There is a low pass that crosses the mountains at only 7,500 feet elevation. This is one of the lowest passes across the Andes. After we get on the eastern side of the mountain we enter the rain forest area. The vegetation become more green and jungle like. There are still a few more 7,000 foot passes as the road hugs the cliffs along miles of twisting mountain slopes.

After eight cycling days we will travel about 500 miles. We then reach the river town of Yurimaguas. This is where Tour Number Two begins. Eight more people from the United States are flying into the jungle to meet us. We will get on a riverboat and head down stream toward the Amazon River. We are on the boat for two nights and sleep in hammocks on the deck. Along the way we are going to deliver books to rural six schools when our boat stops for ten minutes to unload bags of rice and pick up bundles of bananas. The whole riverboat experience is very unique and one of the highlights of traveling in the remotes jungle of Peru.

Our destination is the city of Iquitos. We are going to stay there five nights. Iquitos is our base camp for going into the jungle to the schools we have built the past 4 years. The newest school is 55 kilometers kilometers from the city and should be 95% completed when we arrive November 17th. We are going to have an opening ceremony with the village. The new school season begins in February and we expect the school to have 50 students to attend the first year.

The other school we are going to visit is the Village of the Dolphins. This school was built in 2004. It had 200 kids when it opened four years ago and now has 500 students. We expect the new school which is still being built will have similar growth when parents and kids understand the concept of going to school.

The third part of our tour is a 100 kilometer bicycle race from Nauta back to Iquitos. This is the only paved section of road within 300 miles. The road is well paved with a few rolling hills. The local fire department is promoting the race. We are bringing 100 jerseys and shorts as prizes that have been donated by PAC Tour riders during the past year. As a racer finishes the race they are able to walk past the table of prizes and select a donated item. PAC Tour is also donating $1,000 in cash to be divided between the top five men and women in the race.

These tours to Peru take a lot of planning in order to stay productive. We have learned to be flexible and usually make a plan “B” or plan “C” to anticipate different variables. The surprises along the way are one of the best parts of these trips. We will have a bunch of unplanned adventures. I will post a full report when I return in December.



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