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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 16:55:37

Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 15 Guayaquil, Ecuador to Pacasmayo, Peru

Saturday, March 12, 2011

*Miles for the day: 173 (278 km) Miles to date: 8,127 (13,079 km)*

In spite of the late hour we managed to get to bed we were up at 6 AM ready to go. After a quick hotel breakfast we were in the car headed out of Guayaquil. In spite of Geovanny's carefully explained directions we missed a right turn, but soon realized out mistake and with the help of a friendly taxi driver soon found ourselves in open country headed south.

There were a couple of toll booths Geovanny had warned us about, but other than that no problems at all on the route to Peru. Speed bumps were the norm in small towns we drove through, but nothing like the car destroying ones we had in Guatemala. We followed the signs to the Peru border, and were quite amazed when zipping along a new, deserted four lane highway to see a welcome to Peru sign. There was no indication of any place to exit Ecuador! When we found the customs and immigration arean for Peru they said we would have to go back, as the immigration office for Ecuador is on another road to the old border crossing. They gave us good directions to find the place, which was about 15 minutes back into Ecuador. They quickly stamped us out, and we returned to the Peru side of the border.

The Peruvian offices were in temporary trailers. They explained this was going to be the new border crossing, but it was not yet finished so few people came this way. The officials could not have been friendlier, inviting us into the air conditioned trailer while the paperwork was done. The process took less than half an hour. We shortly came to a huge complex of buildings under construction that will be the new official crossing point.

Our target for tonight was the city of Tumbas, where we found the centrally located Hotel Costa del Sol. Complementary pisco sours came with the room, so we headed for the pool side bar where there was a group of people having drinks. The group included the general manager of Nautilius, a major seafood processing company, two uniformed police and some of his employees. He approached me when we arrive to ask about the Rolls, and to ask us to take it to his plant on our way out of town, to show the car to his dad.

As the evening went on our new friend Roberto Urteaga was sending over drinks and soon we were all at the same table eating, drinking and singing. Roberto arranged for a drummer and a group of guitarists, which led to more singing and dancing as we all got more and more into our cups. It was a great night and a truly welcome blow-out for Marilynn and I after the tension of the week and a half in Guayaquil.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

*Miles for the day: 323 (520 km) Miles to date: 8,450 (13,599 km)*

Roberto and his driver Felipe came to the hotel about 9 AM to lead us to the plant about 10 Km south of Tumbas. It is quite the operation - they export seafood all over the world, including some of the biggest prawns I've ever seen. We met his dad, had a good talk, and then headed off on a tour of the area including his new house site in the hills above the plant, and some amazing beach front property near the plant. We were driven to the town where the business first started - the large pier they built is still in use. Next was a beautiful hotel right on the beach where we enjoyed our first beer of the day. Back at the plant lunch was laid on, including some of the huge jumbo shrimps (prawns).

We were sad to have to leave. Roberto supplied us with a list of the top brass of all the transit police divisions all the way to Lima in case we had a problem - he is friends with them. When we left Felipe rode with us, as we were all headed to the city of Piura for the night. Roberto called Felipe's phone frequently to ensure we were all right. He had made reservations at the lovely Rio Verde Hotel, were we swam and had a very light dinner. We were both stuffed from lunch! Roberto's cousin who lives in Piura phoned, offering to take us around the area, but we reluctantly declined as we were dead tired.

Monday, March 14, 2011

*Miles for the day: 351 (565 km) Miles to date: 8,801 (14,164 km)*

Our start wasn't as early as I would have liked, but I had some work to do on the computer and the hotel put on a great breakfast - the best of the trip, so we were not underway until about 8:30 AM. We found our way out of town after asking directions from a number of people, and were soon cruising on straight roads across sand desert. Marilynn had suggested we fill with gas before leaving town, but I thought we had plenty so didn't. Bad move - it turned out the distance between gas stations was about 230 Km. (143 Miles). We continued on with no sign of habitation for mile after mile, there was nothing but desert as far as we could see - and at times that was a long way!

Finally we came to a roadside restaurant. I pulled in and asked if they had any gas I could buy, but the answer was no. Just down the road was a parked police car, so we drove over and explained our problem. The gas gauge at this point was below the empty mark. The police said it was over 100 km to the closest gas station ahead, but back in the direction we came from was a woman who sold gas from her house. They had a look at the gas gauge and agreed we weren't going anywhere, so drove me to the lady who sold gas. Marilynn waited with the car and the not particularly friendly restaurant people.

It took an hour to get to the gas lady. She had a plastic jug cut to hold approximately 1 US gallon of gas, and as she knew the police agreed to lend us a funnel and gas container. Both 84 and 90 octane gas were available, with a huge price difference, so I purchase 6 gallons of 84. Assisted by her daughter, she carefully measured it from a container into the one she loaned us. We then drove an hour back - about 130 km (81 miles) round trip.

Fortunately I had the funnel and filter system we bought for the around the world drive, as the sludge left in the funnel was amazing, but we now had enough gas to cross this stretch of desert. After giving the police Canada souvenirs, money, and our sincere thanks, we drove to Chicalyo. We had planned to stay for the night, but found the town too big for our liking, and the Grand Hotel Chiclayo had poor service and high prices, so after lunch at the hotel we headed south again. The city is a real challenge to navigate through, so a taxi driver I asked for directions said to follow him. He took us through town, put us on the right road and refused to accept any money for his services. The people in Peru have been fantastic.

Our target now was the town of Pacasmayo, which looked pretty good when I "drove" our route on Google Earth. We found the Hotel La Estacion, located right in front of the ocean on the pedestrian only Malecon, the Spanish term for a sea front walkway It was great - we had a third floor suite with living room, bedroom and balcony over the sea for half the price we paid the night before. After putting the car into the hotel parking area we walked the malecon, then out to the end of the crumbling 134 year old pier originally built to ship train loads of ore.

Dinner in the hotel restaurant was memorable only for the large number of menu items they didn't have, but the drinks were good and the view of the sunset spectacular. It was definitely a superb end to the day. Once the sun was down it was surprisingly cool - no need for air conditioning but we had to put a couple of blankets on the bed.