The Desert Mummies

A-Desert-RidingIf you left New York City and drove to Los Angeles and then back to Denver; that is how far we’ve come!  And, yes it feels like it!  We are finally adjusting to the aches and pains, and soreness.  There are a few new callouses that we have never had before. (…in interesting places)

We left Anafagasta, Chile today hoping to make it to the Peru border.  It would end up being our longest day of riding so far; 512 LONG miles.  Maybe we have finally hit our riding groove.  It seemed easier than prior days.

A---Out-of-FuelWe had a long stretch in the desert and even with careful planning, David was the first to run out of gas.  We are each carrying an extra gallon.  Then Gary ran out.  We began riding slower to conserve and finally came upon an oasis in the desert.  A small town (Quillagua, Chile) at the bottom of a deep valley.  We coasted down the switchbacks into the town only to find out there were no gas stations there.

a---fuel-bottlesThere were very few people out and about in this beautiful village.  We later found out only 30 families reside there.

A small girl finally realized we were looking for “gasolina” and took us to a shopkeeper. They called to someone and a young man walked out from around from the back of the building with 3 glass bottles of fuel.  Were we ever relieved?

a-museumDuring the course of conversation they invited us to their village museum.  So we agreed to walk to the edge of town to a dilapidated wood-framed building.

An old woman was there to unlock the door.  We walked into a dark, creaky, and musty smelling room.  Laying on the floors, stashed up on tables, everywhere; there were a dozen mummies in various states of display.  The old lady told us they were thousands of years old and were the original “pre-Columbian” inhabitants of Peru.

a-mummy-1We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, and wondered how many other outsiders had ever seen this place.

And not only did they want us to look, but they wanted us to touch them!  They lifted clothing from their bodies, pointing to various parts of their anatomy.  We touched their hair, teeth, hands, feet, lifting up an arm or leg here and there to get a better look.  It was unbelievable, to say the least!

a-mummy-2Well, after spending a couple of accidental hours in this magical village, we were back on our bikes again.

Another day filled with memories of a lifetime.