While in Lima, we booked our flights for Europe. So when we left, we began the race against the clock to make it to Quito in time for our departure on June 22. Fortunately, as we made our way through the desert of Northern Peru, we had a fantastic tail wind!

On the day we left Lima, we found ourselves riding past some terrific sand dunes. We had seen some before, and I off-handedly mentioned that I thought it would be fun to go out and run around on them. When we were in Lima, we finished reading a Donald Miller book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” in which he talks about living real stories and making memorable scenes with your life. So, even though we were in a hurry to make our way north, we decided to take some time that afternoon to “make a memorable scene.” This turned out to be much more fun than we had anticipated. When we had hiked up to the top of the dune, we discovered the leeward side was composted of soft, deep sand, unlike the hard-packed windward side we had ascended. Dave realized this created the perfect opportunity to jump off the steep edge into a cushioned landing pit.

Dave leaps off the edge of the dune into the soft sand below.

Here's my soft landing.... sinking in deep!

After playing in the sand dunes, we managed to ride four 100+ kilometer days, some of the best time we’ve made in South America. This put is in Trujillo, at the famous “Casa del Ciclista” (The Cyclists’ House) of Lucho. Like several other hosts across South America, Lucho opens up rooms adjacent to his bike shop to offer free lodging for cyclists. While there, we met five other travelers, all headed in the opposite direction.

From Trujillo we had to make a decision. It was obvious that it would be impossible to cover the remaining 1200 kilometers to Quito in time to box up our bikes and make our flight on June 22. There is also a town just north of Trujillo that has a bit of a reputation for being a dangerous place through which to cycle. It is not unusual for cyclists who are passing through to be robbed there. Even though that doesn’t happen every time, we decided this would be the best place to make up our time and take the bus, since we would have to at some point anyway. Plus, it allowed us to skip a really long, boring stretch of desert! We certainly don’t like taking the bus, but knew it was a necessary evil to make our goal of Quito in time.

We hopped off the bus and reloaded our bikes on the northern coast of Peru. We took a rest day in the beach town of Mancora, where we spent some time in the sun relaxing on the beach.

Trying to work on the cyclist sock line. A hopeless cause, I think.

From Mancora we rode along the coast, still with a lovely tail wind, and stopped near the town of Zorritos for one last night on the beach, where camped outside a waterfront hostel. We went for a quick swim and watched the beautiful sunset.

Dave enjoys the sunset from the comfort of the hammock.

From the beach, we rode north and crossed the border into Ecuador–our fifth and final country in South America!

Another successful two-wheeled border crossing complete!