Riding the Peruvian Mountain Dirt Road From HELL – Carretera del Cañon del Pato!
Rider Report #8
Kelsey & Gabe’s Pan Am Mission:
Riding the Peruvian Mountain Dirt Road From HELL!
Highway 3N is not like I-95 in Florida but more of a back country road that soon dwarfs into a single asphalt road that turns into a single dirt road on the side of a mountain, that then turns into the nastiest pot hole, rocks, gravel, river water, super dirt dusty construction, (did I mention pot holes?), from hell. When we left Lima, Peru we headed up 1N that is the traditional Pan American Highway. We turned east on 16 in Paramonga, Peru and headed NE until we got to the dreaded 3N located near Conocha, Peru. Kelsey and I eventually stayed in a backpacker’s hotel with a bar located in Huaraz, Peru.
Huaraz, Peru is known by some as the trekking capital of Latin America, and for good reason. Huascarán, the highest peak in Peru at 6,768 meters is right around the corner, and Huaraz is also home to the archeological remains of the pre-Inca Chavin civilization. Avid hikers love Huaraz as base camp for exploring Cordillera Blanca and other treks. We stayed in the Selina hotel that when I was throwing up at 4 am in the morning they made me some coca matte leave tea that cured me up quickly.
Kelsey Buys Motorcycle Insurance in Huaraz, Peru
The next day in Huaraz we found a MapFre insurance agent for Kelsey to become a legal driver. I did not want a Peruvian redneck county cop taking advantage of him, and rightly so, for not having the vehicle insurance to ride on the streets of Peru. I went in and set it all up for him in Spanish. Kelsey went in to pay and I stayed outside guarding the bikes as people came by gawking at our Harleys since no one else has come by these bad roads on such bikes before. People were amazed just like little kids at a monster truck show. Who else is stupid enough to take a $30,000 bike into Peru’s toughest road…..single lane dirt gravel road with caution tape as guardrails LOL! I had an English speaking local that liked the Harleys take a pic with the American Flag outside the MapFree Insurance Office in Huaraz, Peru!
The Tough Riding Begins on 3N
We started riding toward “El Canon Del Pato” that has some crazy tunnels with single lane. Some of those tunnels are a ¼ mile long with NO TURN AROUND SPACE. Wikipedia says that, “Duck Canyon is on the Rio Santa at the north end of the Callejon de Huaylas in north-central Peru. The mostly rocky canyon walls are too steep and arid for cultivation, and in only a few places are the slopes of the imposingly rugged canyon suitable even for grazing domestic animals.” El canon Del Pato is one of the most dangerous roads in the world and I now can suggest you DO NOT do it on Harley-Davidsons. I was traveling in the longest tunnel when I almost hit a huge bus head on. Good thing I was honking my horn letting known my presence in the tunnel or I would have been toast. See my butt clenching moment where I stared down a bus driver to have him turn around so I could find a 2-foot space from falling over for the bus to scrape by me ……..barely.
I later did some research on the road and found that it is registered AS ONE OF the most dangerous roads. You would think I did my research before the run right? I let Kelsey do the navigation since I was low on oxygen getting over the altitude sickness. The website “Dangerous Roads” (https://www.dangerousroads.org/south-america/peru/2065-carretera-del-canon-del-pato.html) states as follows, “The road is extreme. It’s unpaved and has 35 one-lane tunnels. It crosses the infamous Cañón del Pato (Spanish: Duck Canyon), on the Rio Santa (Santa River) at the north end of the Callejón de Huaylas (Corridor of Huaylas) in north-central Peru. This road is very exciting and sometimes very exposed and unsecured driveway in innumerable twists and turns. The total route involves over 40 tunnels, most of which are one lane and rough cut through the mountainside. The road rises from 500m to over 2000m. The road gets narrower and narrower with a succession of one lane tunnels. The road continues up to Ruta 3N and becomes one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
The surface of the road is gravel and sand. Heavy or prolonged rain can cause local flash floods that cover the road with water or wash out culverts or bridges. The road goes narrower every time, with a succession of one lane tunnels. These were hand cut out of the mountain and some of them were very narrow, needing a steady hand on the wheel to negotiate. There are vertigo-inducing depths of up to 1000m. The harrowing road snakes along a path hewn out of sheer rock, over a precipitous gorge and passes through 35 unlit tunnels, hand-cut through solid stone.”
I must say that El canon Del pato was a bad ass tough road to ride, but at least it was paved. I would later find the next 3-4 days riding the roughest road in the wild dirt, gravel, scary, life threatening terrain, we rode on the side of a super high mountain at 11,000 to 12,000 feet in altitude. I dropped my bike a few times and my body that did not see a gym for 2 months prior to the run was quickly wearing down.
This is a Charity Run:
I will stop here and tell you more on my trip to Ushuaia, Argentina to Alaska, USA, but for now, I need to you donate some $$$$$$ for the American Legion (post 180). If you read my previous reports you know that I am riding for my local So Flo veterans through the American Legion (Post 180) located in Plantation, FL. The American Legion completes 100 years in service to our vets and their families. Post 180 does what they can to address the needs of our veterans within their reach in Broward County, FL. It is for this great cause that I am riding and asking you now to donate what you can. I generally ask for you all to donate a minimum of $20, but if God has blessed you donate more like $50 or $100! I ask you to donate what you can.
- A) Quickest Option:
You can donate digitally right now at: GoFundMe.com/Go-Gabe-2019, or
- B) Snail Mail Option:
You can mail a check made payable to: “American Legion Post 180” to Attorney That Rides, 1600 West State Road 84, Suite B, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315; or
- C) The Ride in Option:
You can bring a check or cash to Café 27 on Thursday Night Bike Night or Saturday during the days and see Three Fingers (Brian) at the Attorney That Rides tent set up there. Brian is a member of the American Legion Post 180 and helps me set up at Café 27 and other biker events. Just drop it into the donation jug with a smile on your face knowing you giving to a local cause!
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