Flying Over History: Nasca, Peru

Flying Over History: Nasca, Peru

You would think that a man called “Kiwi” was from New Zealand, but Kiwi who we couchsurfed with in Nasca was Peruvian. I never did find out why he called himself Kiwi.

Kiwi has a small apartment, with one main kitchen/living/sleeping area, and one other room that seemed to be used for storing tools. It was in this room that we slept, once again all on the floor.

Kiwi was very welcoming, and arranged for us to park the bikes in his neighbour’s garage overnight.

We went out into town to find dinner and to investigate flights over the famous Nasca lines. The going rate seemed to be $85 each but one guy said he’d give it to us for $80.

Kelly in Nasca at the bar

That evening Kiwi took us out to a local bar his friend owns. The live music that had been booked pulled out at the last minute and so a few local teenagers stepped up. They were enthusiastic but terrible.

Kelly offered to improve the entertainment by singing with them. They were very excited, but their repertoire of English songs was limited.

Kelly with her “band”

Here’s a short clip of one of Kelly’s numbers.


The bartender teaches me to play the spoons

The next day we decided to head to the airport to see what kind of deal we could negotiate.

The ladies at all the desks inside were unmoving from the $80 price tag.

The small Nasca airport

In the end Kelly and I went and bought ice cream at the cafeteria and got speaking to some of the pilots sitting there.

We explained our desire to fly for less than the going rate, and the pilots were very sympathetic. One suggested that sometimes they would fly with only 3 people in his 4 seater plane.

A few phone calls to the owners later we had ourselves a 4 for the price of 3 deal.

Kelly and I practicing flying before taking off.

Four motorcyclists in a plane

The route we flew over the lines

Joined by our super pilot and his assistant, ready to see some lines

The view of the desert from the plane. Imagine riding through this landscape for HOURS.

If you don’t fly over them, the only other way to see the lines is from this tiny tower. Just not the same.

Taking pictures of the lines was quite challenging. Here’s a nice one of “The hummingbird”

The girls

The plane journey was great, but during the last ten minutes I started feeling very hot and slightly unwell. I had a stomach upset and it was not feeling great.

Needless to say I was quite pleased to land and made a beeline for the bathroom.

Phil, Kelly and Tom after the flight.

Seeing the lines was a very cool experience, but we couldn’t help but comment how easily anyone could just make new lines. Especially with the fact that no one knows who made them or when, it was inevitable to compare them to the crop circles in the USA. Perhaps there is a team of Peruvians out there every night with rakes and shovels.

While Kelly and I were chatting up the pilots, Phil and Tom were chatting to the two guys who had pulled up on a BMW 800.

Jeremy’s bike Smiley, loaded with all his stuff, and his friend’s too

Actually it was only Jeremy, the French guy, who was travelling on the bike long term, but he’d given the other guy a lift. We soon convinced them to join us for lunch, and then Jeremy decided that he would ride with us to Cusco the next day too.

While in Lima, Cristian at Endurance motors told us how to make automatic chain oilers for our bikes. We bought three bleach bottles and some hose, and in Nasca, the boys got to work. (Kelly tried to use the bleach to dye the tips of my hair, but it didn’t work.)

Tom working on his chain oiler, the other guy was very interested in our bikes

Cricket’s new chain oiling system

Squeeze the bottle to get some oil going through the tube, and it gently drips onto the chain.

Ready to leave Nasca, the whole crew jumps outside Kiwi’s place (Kiwi is the guy beside Phil).

We said goodbye to Kiwi and his friends, and met Jeremy for breakfast. During breakfast Phil made a worrying discovery.

Just before we left Nasca Phil discovered what happens when contact lens solution explodes in one’s pannier.

After Phil had cleaned up the rust explosion in his pannier, we hit the road towards Cusco.

We stopped and chatted to this guy who had more stuff than even I do, and no motor on his bike.

The most stuff I’ve ever seen a cyclist hauling!

At about midday, Jeremy wanted to stop for lunch, but we convinced him to go just a bit further. Shortly afterwards we were stopped for construction for 45 minutes.

The bikes waiting to be let through construction

A poorly Phil waits to be let through construction

Phil wasn’t feeling very well, but the rest of us raided Jeremy’s supply for peanut butter, bread and fruit while we waited.

This is the alpaca I would like to mail to my friend Emma.

We decided to stop for the night in a very small town called Chalhuanca. Ther wasn’t much there, but we found a hotel with parking for the bikes, and that was all we required.

The next morning (the 18th of November 2013) there was a lot of discussion about Phil’s state of health. He’d had a fever all night, and wasn’t feeling well at all. After the rest of us had had breakfast, Phil decided that he was well enough to make it to Cusco and we loaded up the bikes.

When I pulled my bike up in front of the hotel, I noticed something dripping on the road.

Cricket leaking coolant the morning of the crash.

Phil helped me tighten the radiator hose near to my thermo-bob, which was leaking coolant, and we were on our way.

Tom took off in front, with Phil racing behind him. Jeremy and I followed at a more sedate pace.

14km later The Ultimate Ride changed forever.

I rounded the corner and saw Jugs, Phil and Kelly sprawled across the road. You can read all about the crash here, and here.