Happy Independence Day – Celendín to Cajamarca (105k/17,031k, +4800ft)

(July 4 – written by Nancy)

Happy 4th of July to our friends and family in the US!  Have an extra hot dog, some macaroni salad and a piece of pie for us.  Instead of hanging out with family and eating the time-honored foods of the holiday we instead had another longish day today, over another mountain into the big-ish city of Cajamarca.  We knew we had about 47k to climb straight out of Celendín so we were on the road by 6:30.  It was cold, 4C (38F) – we started out in our coats though we knew they would come off once the climbing warmed us up.

First up was a stop at the ‘Giant Sombrero’, just at the edge of the city.  It is a massive white hat in the Celendín style that forms a kind of gazebo, with benches around it and under it so you can sit and have time to take it all in.  There weren’t too many people around as we went by other than schoolkids waiting for a ride to school.  We had a long day to ride so didn’t have time to sit under the hat and contemplate life, unfortunately.

Big Sombrero

Kind of a messy photo spot and we do think that Australia’s big banana and big lobster are more interesting, but we still enjoy the stop.

The good news for today is that the climb was much, much easier than the last couple of days.  While it was almost 47k, the gradient was mostly very gentle and there were even spots of flat and a little bit of downhill.  The terrain was completely different as well – green rolling hills rather than the stark mountains of the other day.  So we didn’t really seem to notice the time passing and it didn’t take too long to reach the top.  The top was in fact a new record high for us on this trip – 3750m (12,300ft).

Farm land at 3200 meters

Common view of the day – farm land at 3,500 meters

Milk donkies 2

Everyday the cow owners milk their cows, load up their donkeys and head to edge of the road to wait for the milk wholesale truck to come by.

The sunshine that we had as we set off slowly disappeared as clouds rolled in.  As we neared the top we rode into the clouds and fog and by the time we reached the top our bike computers were reading 5C.  With the wind it was pretty cold.  It’s amazing to see people living up there in rammed earth houses with no electricity and no heat.  The houses don’t have chimneys and you don’t see any smoke coming from them so we assume there are no wood stoves inside to ward off the chill.  Brrr!

Clouds at 3750 meters 1

Brrrr, it looks warmer ahead but we never made it to sunshine

Nancy rugging up

Nancy rugging up – note road is now two lane with a shoulder – no more mountain goat tracks for a while

We’ve been meaning to mention Peruvian country house paint as well.  So today Dave took a bunch of photos to make it easier to explain.  Out in the county, houses are mostly rammed earth or adobe bricks.  These walls are blank unless there is an election coming up.  We think that pending elections mean that the people living in the houses “sell” their wall space for political ads as you can see below.  We don’t know how much money they make but I’m sure that the plaster and subsequent paint make the walls last longer, and maybe even help keep the houses warmer on cold days like today.

Political house paint 7

Chacha – not much paint or stucco used on this building – discount?

Political house paint 3

Not sure about this guy, we saw a lot him on the climb

Political house paint 1

Another discount perhaps – they only painted half the house

Political house paint 6

I liked this one with the bikes, not sure what they are supporting

We bundled up for the 30k downhill but it was still very cold with the fog hanging about.  We could see lighter skies up ahead of us but just couldn’t seem to reach them.  The Peruvian dogs were active enough to keep us on our toes, with several chases.  They seem to be getting bigger and meaner-looking – we saw several today that looked like Rottweilers.  I do generally like dogs but not these that come out of nowhere, straight at you.  The road had lots of switchbacks today and I swear some of the dogs run at you from the bottom and then head up to where the road switches back to have a second go at you.  Of course barking all the way, alerting any other dog nearby to get ready for its own charge.


Nancy (yup)

Nancy's new store

Nancy’s little store – in the middle of nowhere.  Less stress than CEFC for sure.

Hats are part of life

Traditional dress in Encanada

We stopped in the small town of Encanada at about 65k for a coffee to warm up before continuing downhill.  We only had a small uphill toward the end of the ride to get us into the suburbs of Cajamarca and then it was just a matter of navigating city traffic to get to the Plaza de Armas, the main square in the city.  We had a couple of hotels picked out to check out and have ended up in the Hotel Sol de Belén, a nice place a couple of blocks off the square.  It is a bit over our budget but we wanted someplace nice as we will stay here for 3 nights.  We are using some gift money that Dave’s mom gave us for our anniversary – thanks Alice!

From our hotel

From our hotel, we are in a great spot right in the middle of town

Cajamaca Belen Church 4

Cajamarca Belen Church

Cajamaca Belen Church 5

Belen Church at night

Door of the day

Door of the day – in Encanada

Cajamaca Belen Church 2

Door of the day runner up

This is the last city of any decent size we will see until we reach Huaraz, about 10 days ride from here.  So we plan to enjoy some good food and relax a bit, get some chores done and maybe do some more planning, if I can get Dave to focus on it.


6 thoughts on “Happy Independence Day – Celendín to Cajamarca (105k/17,031k, +4800ft)

  1. I rode on the fourth ..had a nice climb from the Wabash river ..nothing like yours but the temperature was 96 with a lot of humidity for the suffering!! It is very hot and humid here in Indiana so it is easy to stay inside instead of riding.I really admire what you are doing as you don’t have that option.Ride on and be safe

    • Thanks for the note Cloe – we can always call a rain day if we want, and we have. Some days it’s better riding in the rain than staying in a dive hotel however…. Haha

  2. The fog looks icy cold! The weather will get warmer, I’m sure, but even Oregon is warm this week! Have a good time relaxing & eating! Is the runner-up door actually metal as it appears to be? Always Fancy church buildings. Have fun & Stay safe!

  3. Pete and I enjoyed a quiet fourth and a two person backyard BBQ. I’m glad your ride was good except maybe a bit too cold. Great doors as usual! That’s not good news about the dogs getting bigger and meaner. Hank is coming to town on Saturday for two weeks, we will see what kind of trouble Pete and Hank get into… Enjoy your days off .

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