unURBAN Adventures - Alaska to Argentina to AFRICA!

TRegasaurus

Adventurer
There is an endurance run called the TDI Panamericana. A VW Touareg is enroute right now and is near Panama City, Panama. They started at the trip July 2nd at southern-most the tip of Argentina and will finish in Dead Horse Alaska in 14 days. That's about 16,000 miles.

You can track them in real time at http://www.tdi-panamericana.com/
 

bobDog

Expedition Leader
I must admit that the "flight comment" had me worried you were done.....as I check on you folks first thing every morning....glad to know you will be around a while longer exploring the interesting parts of SA that most people never see.
The mummies you showed I believe were in 'National Geography' just a few months ago.
cool stuff.....thank you so much for sharing.:coffeedrink:
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
Great photos E&M. We've been looking forward to this part of your trip...

FYI we've saved a whole folder of PDFs to our computer, all made from your border crossing guides. Thanks for sharing the info!
We hope it helps! I guess the challenge is that this could change quite often, and some details can depend on the guy you end up talking to. However, the broder crossing guides will give you a very good idea of what it takes, and it is basically the same at every border. Out passport - out vehicle - in passport - in vehicle. And when I hear about people that have had trouble and had to pay bribes, most of these had hired helpers! Don't bother! It is easy, but will take you a little bit of time (and that is the same when using the helpers!).

Safe travels!!
E
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
One day on the road in Peru

Waking up in the morning in Leymebamba we started the day in a restaurant for breakfast. After shopping some bread and other supplies we were ready for the road. Leymebamba expected a visit from a minister or the president of Peru later in the day (we had different answers when we asked the locals about the visit) and it would be good to leave before the town got crowded.



From green Leymebamba at about 2600m it we drove up, up, and up through some small villages. The Peruvian women are incredible at using all their available time. While walking in the streets in the village they are knitting or spinning yarn. We got up to the Barro Negro pass at 3680m and we were driving above the clouds.





The road was narrow and was winding down the mountain side. From our chilly stop at the pass in 7 degrees Celsius it got warmer and warmer until it was actually too hot to make a lunch stop at Balsas at 1200m. Down by the river crossing at Balsas it felt more like a desert, and we were surrounded by cacti in 31 degrees Celsius.





We drove up again until the temperature dropped and we could have lunch. After lunch the climb up the road continued, and we got to a pass at 3700m before heading down towards Celendin.



14 kilometers out of Celendin a women dropped a heavy bag full of corn on the ground and turned towards us to get a lift when she heard us coming. In our five hours of driving the 120 km from Leymebamba we had meet 11 cars/busses and two motorbikes. It would not be right to pass this woman so we gave her a lift down to town. When we got to town she pointed out where her house was, so then it was just to take her there. In front of her house she asked how much she owed us for the ride like she would do with colectivos (cars and minivans that operates like busses). When I told her it was for free I got a big hug.

The road continued up again from Celendin and we were back up in the highlands where all the houses had bright green toilets outside.



Our guess was that they were the product of a sanitary project. El Indio at 3620m was our last high pass for the day and after about 9 hours on the road we were back down at 2700m in Cajamarca. Hacienda San Vicente just outside town let us camp in their parking lot, and we were their only guests. Then suddenly a group of men came rolling in with their suitcases. They all got their rooms and disappeared. At dinner we saw them again when they had a quick meal before leaving the hacienda. When they left some locals kids was approaching them asking for their autographs. The kids came to our table and asked for our autographs when all the men were gone. After willingly writing ours we asked who the men were, and we learned that they were a famous Peruvian band called Grupo 5. We had to google Grupo 5 and found this video of them.


This was one good day on the road in Peru and we hope that it will be several days like this.



E&M
 

deepmud

Adventurer
Turbo-diesels can compensate a lot with the turbo-boost at altitude. I'm surprised your no-turbo gas powered XJ wasn't weezing tho'. The computer compensates for the lack of air by cutting back the fuel.
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
There is definitely a loss of power. On the 3-liter we can feel it already at 2000 meters, maybe even lower. The first signals of power loss is the automatic transmission not gearing correctly. On a small diesel with turbo, even a small loss of power can have a significant effect when the transmission changes gear just before the turbo kicks in. This "first" effect at not so high elevation would probably not be noticeable with a manual transmission. However, when going higher the loss of power is more and more evident. At 4800 meters it is SLOW. The ZD30 engine has a MAF and a barometer, and it cuts down on the fuel. There is almost no black smoke even at this elevation.
.
Driving up to Pico de Orizaba in Mexico (previous post) we had to use low gear to get up, but this was a pretty steep and rough trail. At the pass where we went up to 4800 meters, the road was good and not to steep, so it wasn't much of a problem. In a month or so, we should be our way up to Uyuni in Bolivia, and there we'll see if it can handle 5000+ meters. Driving up shouldn't be a problem, but I'm a little concerned about being able to start it in the morning...

E
 

deepmud

Adventurer
diesels will run/idle very lean so i think you'll start up ok - but bummer it cuts back the fuel so much - I'd expect a TDI to run enough boost you wouldn't feel it so much - darn computers :D.
 

SChandler

Adventurer
Have you guys needed a Carnet de Passage for your Patrol yet? I don't remember seeing anything about that in your border crossing posts. Have any of the crossings asked for it, if you don't have one?

In regards to elevation, how do you guys adapt to the higher elevations? Has it been a gradual transition from near sea level to 4800m? I'm wondering if you noticed any physical effects since leaving the coast of Colombia to this point?
 

lgoldd1

New member
Well done

Well done on your adventure. I am very envious, perhaps one day I will get the guts to do something like you have accomplished. Bon voyage.
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
Thanks for comments everybody!

Have you guys needed a Carnet de Passage for your Patrol yet? I don't remember seeing anything about that in your border crossing posts. Have any of the crossings asked for it, if you don't have one?

In regards to elevation, how do you guys adapt to the higher elevations? Has it been a gradual transition from near sea level to 4800m? I'm wondering if you noticed any physical effects since leaving the coast of Colombia to this point?
You don't need the Carnet de Passage for any countries in Central or South America, and we have never been asked. A temporary vehicle import permit is issued at the borders.

The only "vehicle document" we have arranged before starting the trip (Central and South that is, USA is a different story for a European vehicle....) is insurance. We use a Dutch company called Alessi, and they provide liability and comprehensive for Central and South America. However, 5 countries (Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Colombia) does not recognice forreign insurances, and it is mandatory to purchase this locallly at the border when you drive in. The comprehensive part is valid though.

Regarding acclimatization to higher altitude, this is normally not a problem as you climb gradually higher and higher. Most people will be fine driving from sealevel and up to about 3000 meter (9000 ft) without getting altitude sickness. You'll probably feel it, but only as being out of breath when moving around. Driving up into the Andes from Colombia, you climb and camp gradually higher and higher (with some days driving back down). Going from Colombia and into Ecuador, you will be fairly welll aclimatized before finding the really high mountain passes.

As a rule of thumb, you normally try to not increase the sleeping height more than 300 meters (900 ft) every day above 3000 meters (9000 ft), and every fourth day should be a "rest" day (not climbing higher). When aclimatized, going back down to sealevel for a couple of days, maybe as much as a week, would normally not be a problem. However, how a human body responds to altitude can be very different, and you should always be careful. It is also much less critical to drive over a high pass and being exposed to high altitude for a relatively short periode of time, compared to actually spend the night there. So if you can sleep at 3500 meters (11500 ft), it would not be a problem driving over a pass at 4500-5000 meters (14-15000 ft) for a couple of hours as long as you go back down before setting up camp.

So, yes! We do feel the altitude when going over the high passes, or when we camp high up inthe mountains, but it has never been a problem.

E
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
Trujillo and The Pacific



Our planned travel route in Peru would take us south going more or less up in the Andes mountains. However, we decided to make one stop down by the coast around Trujillo to check out the Pacific once more. We camped in the small fishing village of Huanchaco. While we were there it was some kind of festival for the fishermen.



The local fishermen still use the traditional small boat made of four cigar shaped bundles of tied together tortora reeds when they go out fishing.



For the festival, one larger boat was made out of tortora reeds, and in this one they put a saint (or something) that they sailed to shore and transferred to a small copy of more modern boat. We did not fully understand what happened at this festival, but people were happy and in a good mood.



Since we were close to a bigger city, we used the opportunity to have a service on the Patrol at the Nissan-Volvo garage in Trujillo. It was a couple of things we wanted done beside the normal oil and filter changes (hand brake parts, bushes for the rear link arms, a new resistor for a sensor lamp, etc), and when we talked to them and made an appointment for the next morning, they said that they would be able to get parts and fix what we wanted done. The next day when we show up for the service they tell us our Norwegian Patrol is a bit different from the one in Peru, and therefore they cannot get the parts we wanted (Next day when we passed a parked Patrol on the street Espen had a look underneath it and the parts we wanted looked exactly like ours…). So all they ended up being able to do was the normal simple oil and filter changes. We wondered what Peruvian owners of Patrols do here if they really need something fixed on their car. It was not really an emergency for us so we will see if Espen can fix what Nissan can’t do somewhere else.

Around Trujillo there are numerous archeological sites, and we decided to visit two of the sites. One was the incredible La Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon) which is a pyramid/temple built out of adobe bricks by the Moche culture. The peak for the Moche culture was between 400 and 600 AD.



The Pyramid of the Moon is built at the foot of the sacred mountain Cerro Blanco, and it is part of an older complex where one pyramid was built over an older pyramid. In total there are five pyramids under the pyramid that we see.



The outer layer was pretty damaged by rain and weather, but archeologist found incredible painted friezes underneath on pyramid four and three. It is an incredible amount of adobe bricks that has been produced to build this pyramid, and the producer have signed the bricks with his signature… (see the smiley face on the upper left row :) ).



500 meters from the Moon Temple is the Sun Temple (Huaca del Sol), and in between them is (well, it used to be)) the village. The Temple of the Sun is not open for visitors, but we could drive next to it and look up on it. Our guide book told us that the estimates of the pyramid’s brickwork vary between 50 million and 140 million adobe bricks!!! No matter what the number is, it is incredible!



On the road between Trujillo and Huanchuco is the ruined city of Chan Chan that stretches across a large sector of the Moche Valley. Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimue Empire that appeared on the Peruvian Coast around 1100 AD. Tschudi Temple-Citadel, which is one out of nine Citadels, has been restored and is open for visitors. What impressed us the most about Chan Chan was not the restored site, but the size of the whole city and the remains you can still see. It must have been an enormous city at its peak.



After some days on the cost it was time to head up to the mountains again. Goodbye Pacific!!

E&M
 
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