I left early on New Year’s Day and began heading south towards Lima. There was no traffic that early as I am sure everyone was nursing a hangover from the previous night’s celebration. It is a new year today, but I did not make any resolutions, life is good and if a change is needed I will make it along the way. I am excited for 2012; I think it will be a special year.
The road was fantastic, through the desert, offering long corners and twists and just the right intervals to keep the ride exciting. The view is amazing; unlike anything I have ever seen before I am just living in the moment, enjoying the ride. I pass an odd looking cemetery, different from the others I have seen here in Peru, so I stop. It is old and seems neglected; many of the markers are without names and there is garbage everywhere. I walk around for a few minutes but the place is kind of creepy so I move on.
It starts to get a little cold and foggy and I zip up my jacket. Strange to see this in the desert and I am puzzled as to why. I am surrounded by noting but mountains and sand and I am reminded of my trip to Iran back in 2004 and the drive through the desert there, it was over 50 Celsius. Rounding another corner I see the ocean, I had forgotten how close I was to the ocean, mountains were on both sides of me for so long that I thought I was further inland. The ocean seems far below me. I take an unpaved road to investigate closer to the ocean. It is beautiful, wave’s crash against the cliffs, the high winds blow the sand and there is nobody else around. Someone was here recently, they left some garbage behind. No matter how far I travel or how remote I go there is always human garbage.
A little further down the highway the ocean and the sand meet. Stopping, I walk towards the water and watch the waves, the wind is in my face and the cool air feels refreshing. I turn my back to the wind and look at my motorcycle and the mountains just off in the distance. It hits me “I have rode my motorcycle to Peru”, until this moment the magnitude of the distance had not been so clear. A large yellow transport truck is slowing down and eventually stops near my bike. I wonder what he could want and walk back to the road. The truck driver jumps out, camera in his hands, he wants the same thing as I do, to capture the moment. We take each other’s photos and exchange some details of our lives. I tell him my father was a truck driver and the bond between two New Year’s Day travelers become stronger; he knows I understand the challenges of his life on the road. I remember telling my Dad about my decision to take this adventure of mine. I thought that if anyone would find fault in my decision it would be my Dad; instead he simply said “As long as you have your health, you should do it”. Cancer took him from us five days later. As I pull away I adjust my right mirror and watch as the truck fades away, I never see it again. The past fades in my mirror, it holds many memories for me; all of them good.