QuickPeek: Heat. Green Corridor. Rolling hills. Restaurant camping.

I had been fighting a little bit of flu the past couple of days and wasn’t sure if we’d start on the ride today. But when I woke up at 6, I felt like both mind and body was ready and we decided to head on to explore some parts north of Manaus. This road we chose to ride was an only highway and had some very remote sections. I had read about some other cyclists doing is route and though remote, it seemed like it had enough small villages along the way to keep things interesting.

I spied on google earth that about 60 K’s or so away there was a small village and at 130 km, was a popular local tourist spot called Persidente Figueiredo. I haven’t been on the bike for a longish while and thought starting with 60 km days would be ideal. We also stripped the baggage to bare essentials, some camping stuff, just a change of clothes and a simple puncture kit and some other stuff, it was super light, sweet.

We started at 9 am, hoping it would be a 4 hr day and probably get to this village by early afternoon. The road leading out of Manaus was full of traffic, even though it was a Sunday and Mother’s Day! Wonder how it would be on a work day, duh.

It was a bit warm in the morning, but with the light bike and wind while riding kept the body cool and we made our way towards the airport. At about 20 km or so, there was a pretty hidden turnoff towards Persidente Figueiredo and after that the traffic eased up quite a bit. The route was pretty much Rolling hills and for the next 20 or so km, was choke full of small swimming holes and small restaurants (they were called cafe regional). We stopped after 30 km for a bit of drink and cool down. Things were dang expensive and we got an expensive juice (16 reals for a liter) and got back on the road.

The route was rolling all along and though the hills weren’t stiff,the constant climbs were energy sapping. It was pretty though, the road winging thro the forest and occasional swimming holes. It was funny to see that these swimming holes were essentially bogs which were fenced off and one had to pay to get into them. They were all super crowded, I suppose people were celebrating Mother’s Day.

Around 60 k Mark, we passed a small village, but the whole place had a bit of a shut down feel, all the shops were closed and there didn’t seem any place to sleep. Ah well, we decided to carry on and that was a bit of a tricky choice. Of course, we had no idea what was ahead and we had to gamble a bit.

The road continued to roll and the sequence of cafes we had seen stopped abruptly. We thought we might chance on one soon enough, but as we kept going, there was nothing in sight. There were numerous farms though and at 3 pm, we figured we’d have to chance camping in one of them. I hadn’t eaten anything since b’fast and my energy levels were super low. The legs, unaccustomed to the ride, started to feel like jello.

When I spotted a farm with a car in it, I decided to ask them about camping there. There were a bunch of guys and they were already drunk and were still carrying on. It wasn’t a good place to sleep and so we decided to carry on. The fellers were friendly though and gave us 4 boiled corns and a bottle of iced water. Sweet. We stopped for a bit to eat the corn and recharge energy and decide on the best course of action. Persidente Figueiredo was still 50 k’s away and we had just a couple of hours of daylight. We thought it might be a good idea to hitch a ride instead of riding into the unknown. But as luck would have it, we weren’t getting any rides. Bummer. We had to carry on and hope luck will smile on us.

I spotted a family in another farm and asked them if we could sleep there. They were fine with it, but I suppose it wasn’t a good idea with no access to food. We had eaten a few of the oatmeal bars that Diana had given us at Tumbaco. The family suggested that we could ride another 10 km and there was a restaurant there. That was good motivation and we slogged for the next 10.

On the road there was guy selling rambutan and I stocked up on some and rode the next Km and was delighted to see a nice little spot with a restaurant and possibility for hanging up hammocks. Sweet!!

The fellers were friendly and had been celebrating Mother’s Day with the family. They cooked up some eggs for us with rice and some salad and that was a fantastic meal. We had access to toilets and even a shower! Score. We had ridden an additional 30 km than planned and were pretty tired. After a quick dinner, we had to knock off. On The positive side though, we just had a 30 km day tomorrow and then we’d have a bunch of waterfalls to lounge in!

Track Notes

Route: Manaus to Km76
Distance: 97 Km
Road: Asphalt. No shoulders in Manaus, but reasonable riding space on the highway.
Traffic: Heavy in town. Light on the highway.
Services: Good in Manaus. Sparse for the next 30 km and none for the next 40 km. Be sure to plan and carry some food on this section.
Expenses: SG$ 8.93
Comments: Rolling hills all day long. More than a 1000m climb!