Posted by: flycoyote | November 23, 2009

Near Death in the Andes

The road from Ayacucho to Andahuaylas is a winding dirt road, one lane in many places.   It is hard to fully explain the actual reality of the Andean mountain back road.  We think of the Dalton in Northern Alaska as a remote, rough and scenic road and it is all of these things.  However the Andean back road is all the Dalton is but to the extreme.  The roads are narrower, the passes and mountains higher and the fall from the road is a literal plunge into the abyss.  Our friend told us not to worry about falling off the edge of the roads as it would be painless because it is so far down that we would starve to death before we hit the bottom.  We know this and yet we love to travel the back roads.  The Rover is perfectly equiped to handle them and the rural experience is amazing. 

Women with potatoes, Mujeres con papas

Women with potatoes, Mujeres con papas

This time the trip was amazing  as always, but also frightening.  We rounded a steep and sharp one lane corner to find the broad side of a huge red double-decker bus completely covering half of the lane.  It seemed as if the only two options available to us were to broadside the bus or be forced off the cliff into the abyss.  We had the dreaded outside bit of the road.   I must admit that having my imminent death before my did not make my life flash before my eyes nor did I call out for help from above.  I only swore, held on for dear life and felt thankful that Dirk was piloting our car. 

An example of an Andean Highway

The Rover has one very lovely quality that saved our bacon on this trip and that is its very narrow wheel base.  Being in the seat that was nearest to the abyss afforded me an oppurtunity to gaze down to where our car may have ended if not for a skilled driver and a lot of luck. 

Dirk was  just beginning to exhale a sigh of relief and the hysterical giggle was just starting to bubble up to my lips we rounded another corner to the sight of a semi with a trailer completely covering our lane.  Everything from moments ago was repeated and we narrowly escape the plunge once again. Every corner thereafter brought our heart rates to near deadly levels. Despite multiple adrenaline rushes  we  made it to Andahuaylas unharmed and a beer was all it took to soothe our nerves.


Beautiful River Valley


  1. We’re glad you made it through! Azie would have missed her nana and dada terribly. Sounds like you’re having fun.

  2. You could make a lot of french fries with that pile of potatoes! Carry on! Drink an extra beer for us. We need it.

  3. WHOA sound like you all are having crazy adventures allready !! Miss you glad you didn’t fall into an Abyss 🙂

  4. Your trip to Ayacucho looks like a wild ride.

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