This present trip began a week ago, with three days to go. We visited the very northern city today, in Tingo María, a city of 55,000, and the drive takes two and a half to three hours.
OK, "we visited" sounds so pleasant, almost casual. Hah! Until 1936, Tingo was considered unreachable, until some brave engineers built "La Carretera Montaña," or "the mountain road."
To me, it is now officially the most challenging route in the Mission, others having been tamed since we arrived. It is narrow, with tight curves and heavy trucks. At the very top of the climb up the mountains is a skinny tunnel. On one side is the arid landscape of the Huánuco region, and on the other side are the steep jungles leading to Tingo.
The views are nothing short of spectacular, or so they tell me, as my eyes are glued to the road and my hands grip the wheel. The mountainside from which the road is carved is almost vertical, and gravity being what it is, the road is often blocked by landslides, such as this,
or even this.
We minimize the travel between Huánuco and Tingo, and prohibit travel at night or in bad weather, as sometime the road just kind of disappears.
The missionaries love working in Tingo María, and frequently suggest in their weekly letters that I should transfer them there. For the rest of their mission. And that's how long they could be there considering "La Carretera Montaña."
We hope that the roads between your cities are more boring.
Dave & Paula