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Travel Adventure in Peru - Ten Gallons of Diesel Fuel Please
By Vic Hanson

When I go to Oyolo, I always take some extra gasoline with me in a gas can. It is only 120 miles roundtrip but there are NO gas stations between Cotahuasi and Oyolo, and also none in Oyolo. If for any reason I need to do any extra driving (like when I had to go looking for the team from Florida last time) I want to have enough extra gas to get home. Unfortunately I didn't think of suggesting this to the team that came this time.

They had filled up at Marcabamba, the last available fuel before Oyolo (they were coming from Pausa) and then did some extra driving to visit another village before I met them. I had driven my car to Oyolo, left it there and then hiked about 3 hours to meet the team to guide them across the high plains. After they picked me up and we were heading up the switchbacks to the high plains, I realized that they didn't have enough fuel to get to Oyolo and back. I had extra gasoline for my car, but their pickup was a diesel so that was no help. We took a quick vote and decided to keep going and try to have someone deliver fuel to us in Oyolo, as it would have put us way behind schedule to go back and get some.

Then I got us lost as the road looked very different going to Oyolo than it did when I came from there the last time. That was a good reminder to me to turn around and look behind me as well, when I am trying to learn a new route. Our unplanned side trip of course used up more of our scarce fuel, but fortunately we still had enough to get to Oyolo. I figured we could call Cotahuasi and see if a supply truck was coming and have them bring some or order some from Marcabamba and have it delivered by a pack animal. When we got to Oyolo, I talked to Mariluz, who is a sister of Theresa and Isabel. Theresa has a restaurant where we often eat and Isabel is a teacher, who has invited us to talk to her students in the school. Mariluz often takes burros back and forth on the foot trail, from Oyolo to the end of the road at CCahuanamarca.

She brings supplies for Theresa's restaurant and for Isabel, who also has a small store. She said she could radio to Marcabamba and have the fuel sent by truck or combi (minivan bus) to CCahuanamarca and she would pick it up there and bring it back by burro. They have some kind of an arrangement where they can transfer money by radio, like we would make a wire transfer. We paid her for the fuel and transportation to CCahuanamarca and we were supposed to have 10 gallons of diesel by Thursday morning, when the team planned on leaving Oyolo. Wednesday afternoon, I saw her leaving with a burro and two 5-gallon cans but about an hour later she came back without the burro! She explained that she had sent someone else and that he would pick up the fuel when it was delivered in the late afternoon and leave early Thursday morning to bring it to Oyolo. However when I checked Thursday morning, we found out that the combi was too full so they didn't have room to bring the fuel, so he left the burro there and returned alone.

Mariluz said the fuel should arrive there in the afternoon and then someone would bring it to Oyolo by 8:00 pm. When we went to bed at about 10:00, there was still no fuel. In the meantime a truck had come from Cotahuasi with supplies and he agreed to sell us 10 gallons of his fuel, if ours didn't arrive in the morning. The team had a one-day "cushion" in their schedule but had to leave on Friday to get back to Lima in time to catch their return flight to the U.S. That night when I went to bed, I prayed again (as we had been doing all day) that the fuel would be there in the morning. A few minutes later, at 11:30, I heard some pack animals passing through the plaza in front of our hostel.

They had made the whole trip in the dark on a narrow mountain trail. I threw my clothes on and went to check, there were no fuel cans on their animals. I decided to ask if they knew anything about our fuel and they said someone was delivering it to Mariluz! I went back to the hostel and went to sleep, thanking God for answering our prayers. In the morning, Mariluz brought the fuel and with the help of a 2-liter soda bottle made into a funnel, the truck was fueled and ready to go. We drove together up to the high plain, I showed them where their road to Pausa was and I went the other direction to Cotahuasi. Another successful travel adventure in Peru.

Vic Hanson is the founder of Adventure Cotahuasi Tours, which offers pre-planned and custom adventure travel tours in Cotahuasi Canyon and other areas of Peru. If you are interested in your own adventure in Peru, check us out! http://www.adventurecotahuasi.com

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