South America Blog Posts

Week 22 – My first attempt at river crossings

After taking the boat ride from Boca Colorado to Boca Manu, I set off cycling to the south towards Cusco. The gravel road from Boca Manu to a town called Itahuania isn’t shown on maps, but is actually better than a few roads I have cycled before, which were shown on maps. It leads you out of the Peruvian Amazon back towards civilisation.

Disaster strikes!

It was a really nice day. The sun was shining through the trees and I always enjoy cycling on the forest roads. Unfortunately my good day wasn’t going to last long. I got out my drone and took some shots of me cycling along the gravel road. Everything was going well until the drone hit a branch. It wasn’t a bad crash, the drone was only around 5 meters high. I went over to check out the drone and nothing seemed to be broken. Only the gimble had popped out of the body of the drone. Then when I looked closer I saw that the gimble had tugged on the flex cable which connects it to the rest of the drone. Unfortunately this was enough to make the cable split on a corner. This isn’t an easy fix and would need a special cable specifically for the DJI Mini 2. I was gutted. It stuck in my mind for the rest of the day and made me irritable, so every small problem really annoyed me.

Clearing my head

The road was long and crossed a lot of small streams as it passed small farms and illegal logging camps. As I was in a bad mood, I got to one of these streams and there were hundreds, or thousands of butterflies drinking next to the road. I stopped and took a moment to relax and get things into perspective. I was in an amazingly beautiful place and there was nothing I could do about my broken drone yet. So I tried to put it out of my mind and continued on the gravel road to Itahuania. The last 20km or so was tarmac, but the stream crossings turned into river crossings. So I arrived in Itahuania tired, with wet feet. I stopped in a local shop to eat some snacks and drink a cold soda. It turned out that they had a spare room in their house, above the shop. We came to an agreement about the price and then they wanted to see my stove and see it boil some water. After a shower and change of clothes, I spent the evening chatting to the family and it really helped get my mind back on track.

The road to Salvacion

The next morning one of the children from the family wanted to know everything about my bike. He asked about all my equipment and bags. He wanted to try everything. The whole family were so friendly and I felt like I could have stayed there another day or so. But I wanted to get to a town with mobile phone signal so that I could start to process of fixing my drone. The only problem was that there had been a big storm in the night. The road from Itahuania to Salvacion has 8 river crossings, some of them quite big rivers. The mother of the family told me not to go because the rivers would be deep with the rain water from the night. But I had 20km to cycle before I would get to a river, so I figured I would be ok. I was the only person on the road and at points, the road was blocked with fallen trees. This wasn’t a good sign because it showed that nobody else had passed this way. Luckily, just as I got to the first river, a couple of trucks passed me, coming from the river. So I knew it was passable.

My first try at river crossings

This was the first time I had crossed a river with my bike. But as it turned out, I would have to cross around 12 rivers of varying sizes that day. It was pretty straight forward. First I would walk across the river crossing to find out how deep the water was. Then I’d decide whether I could just push the bike through. Or if it was a bit deeper, maybe just below my knees, I would just remove my front panniers and carry them across first. But if the water was really deep, balls deep as I say, then I would remove all my bags, carry them across first, then push the bike across. It was a really fun day and I got to Salvacion around sunset. I checked into a hostel which is in a parrot rescue center. I rested there a couple of days before continuing on to Cusco.

My plans for the next few weeks

I am planning to take some time to relax around Cusco over the next few weeks. There are a lot of cool places to visit here, including Machu Pichu. Huong is still in Cusco too after finishing her workaway farm stay, so we can visit some sites together. Aside from that, I can also have a stable address to get parts delivered to repair my drone. Hopefully it will be an easy fix. I really love the pictures and videos it gives me.

Leave a Reply