This morning we drive down to the border and into Ecuador. The crossing is straight forward and easy, after about 2 hours all the bikes are cleared and we are free to go. Our first stop is Otavalo just north of Quito. Unfortunately Kevin finds out that his best mate has passed away and he needs to organise a flight home to Ireland. AndrŤ is not happy with the way his bike runs so he pulls it apart looking for the problem. We find that one of the Carburettors is not working properly, the membrane has slipped and therefor itís not working. After a few tries we manage to get it right and all is working well. For dinner we find a good little restaurant at the town square.
Monday 12 .12
Arrived in Quito the Capital of Ecuador this morning. We drive out to the Equator Memorial build by the French and not really in the right spot. The Equator runs a few hundred meters further north, The water really runs in the opposite direction only a meter across the centre of the world. We can also balance an egg on a nail and itís impossible to walk the line with your eyes closed due to the magnetic pull from either side.
After driving through the middle of town and getting lost a couple of times we find our Hostel, itís right near the tourist square.
Spent the day looking around the old town centre and checking out Quito by taxi as they are cheap and handy to get around.
Kevin left for the airport at 5.30 this morning, have a good trip mate.
After breakfast Andrť and I pack our things and head south towards the Cotopaxi National Park. Unfortunately we are unable to get in with the bikes, they try to sell the Jeep tours, so we decide to push on towards Chugchilan where we stay at the Cloud Forest Hostel. The drive up is wet as usual but when the clouds lift the scenery is amazing. Have you ever tried to play table tennis at over 3000m ? Itís exhausting.
Had a dry ride through the Andes this morning, after a short time we arrive at Lago Quilotola a volcanic crater lake. After a quick check in to the hostel we make our way down to the lake, a very steep walk down the side of the crater. Going down was ok but itís a killer coming back up. We are at around 4000m and it feels like my heart is going to explode in my head. As Iím hoofing and puffing up the hill the locals just walk past me smiling asking if I was ok. The afternoon is spent in front of the fireplace drinking tea trying to stay warm. Outside the fog is so thick you canít see across the road and itís raining heavily as well. After dinner we make our way to bed and I tell you itís one of the best beds I had on the whole trip. Nice thick Donna, soft Pillow , heaven.
Our aim is El Corazon for the day. The road out of the village is brand new we enjoy the riding through the mountains so much that we miss our turnoff and only realise 50 km later that we are wrong. Oh well turn around and enjoyed once more. After the turn off the road turns to gravel and soon later into mud. At least itís not raining at this time so even thou the going is slow we make good progress. Just after passing through a small village called Angamarca I notice that my back end is rattling and moving a lot. We stop to inspect and find that my frame is broken in 3 places. Great middle of nowhere and itís starting to rain as well. Andrť rides back to the village and returns about 1 hour later with a truck on which we load the bike and drive back to the village. Next to the church is a blacksmith with a welder, three of us work for over 2 hours to get it back together and welded. Itís not the best looking work but I think it should hold, Fingers crossed.
By now itís 4.30 pm, still raining and there is nowhere to stay here in Angamarca so we push on. Due to the rain the road has turned into a mud bath and both of us are praying not to fall over or get stuck in the mud. Itís starting to get dark and the fog is getting thicker by the minute. From Angamarca to Pinlopatta itís only about 30 km but it takes well over 2 hours. For the last 15 km down to El Corazon the road is very step and rocky the bike is all over the place but we finally make it find a good clean hotel where there is a Christmas celebration and us in the middle of it.
Here we go again, the road resembles more of a goat track up and down the mountains. If we get lost nobody would ever find us. Once we come to the top of mountain the sky opens up and the road is dry and not to bad at all. After 3 hours we reach Salinas a small village famous for their Cheese, Ham and Salami, we try it all for lunch and then make our way past the Chimborazo Volcano ( 6310m) the road takes us around the base at around 4400m with a lovely hailstorm to set the mood. Itís cold but fascinating. A short time later we arrive in Riobamba where we stay for the night.
On our way to the coast we miss a turn off and head down to Alausi. Itís not the wrong way but not what we had planned. No worries. We stop in Duale a smaller city north of Guyaquil. The Hotel is nothing great but the rooftop is a great place to hang out watch the fireworks and have a few beers.
Around a 2 Ĺ hour ride and we end up on the coast. We continue on the Ruta del Sole down to Montanita where we will spend Christmas and meeting up with the boys .
Tuesday 20.12 Ė Monday 26.12
Beach, Sun, Food, Drinks and good company makes for a great Christmas.
Monday, left this morning along the coast to Guayaquil where I need to get new Front Fork seals installed at the BMW mechanics. We find the place easy to drop the bike of. Andrť is able to leave his bike as well so we catch a taxi into town. Guayaquilís waterfront is quiet nice and the old part of town, otherwise itís not a place you need to visit.
Had a lazy morning waiting for the bike to be finished at around 3pm. Taxi back to BMW wait around for 1 Ĺ hours and of we go making our way out of town. The aim is to go to Cuenca back up in the mountains. We are not sure if we will make it as it was after 4 by the time we left BMW. Anyway the road is great and we are moving along at a good pace. Once we come into the mountains itís getting wet and cold but we push on and make it to Cuenca just on dawn. As we are looking for a Hostel we meet a Costa Rica couple on a KTM and they just found a place with parking. To easy.
Spent the day checking out Cuenca, visiting the Panama Hat Factory and getting lost around town. Nice place.
Beautiful ride through the mountains down to Loja from where we will go on to the border and into Peru.
Posted by Mark Allenspach at 01:48 AM