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All Wit & Pedal Power

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Today the Home Forum continues the story of two brothers cycling the rugged Andes. David and Doug Aagesen have ridden their 18-speed all-terain bicycles from La Paz, Bolivia, to Lake Titicaca in Peru, where we catch up to them on the shoreline, having just crossed the border. The diary entries published yesterday and today record the first two weeks of their 10-month travels in South America - a rugged journey from La Paz, Bolivia, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sept. 10, 1988 - Moho, Peru

Things took a real flip-flop today. Our second day in Peru was downright difficult. However, it actually didn't start out so badly. We broke camp early and made pretty good progress this morning. In a village called Canimos we came to a checkpoint once manned by the Guardia Republicana. Our documents were checked and we were treated kindly. We even stuck around for a while to chat and eat fruit.

On the other side of town, no more than 500 yards from the Guardia Republicana checkpoint, we were stopped by the Guardia Civil. With the ear-piercing shrill of a whistle, a power-tripping official called us into his office for yet another superfluous registration process. This time the authorities shook us down pretty good, checking our vaccination certificates and even our international driver's licenses. The two men who did so were curt and anything but friendly. By the time we pedaled off, Doug and I found it hard to believe that they didn't play even more games.

After we had been treated like human beings on the other side of town, our encounter with the Guardia Civil crushed our relatively good spirits. We tried to put it all behind us, but the road conditions continued to test our patience. Where there wasn't sand there were large rocks. When we weren't sliding out in ruts we were falling into gaping holes. We got pretty tired of being thrown around and tumbling off the bikes. The nearby calm coves of Lake Titicaca did little to console us.


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