Thatīs 100 days and 8800 miles since I left the USA, not counting the month I spent riding around the US before that. I have been slacking in my blogular duties, so I just wanted to post something so that people wouldnīt think I rode off the edge of the map or something. I am taking a rest day today in Huaraz Peru, so I might get some writing done.
While I was in Banos with Enrique and Isaac, I sw that they had mountain bike rentals, and as I had been pretty sluglike lately, figured I could do with some exercise. Banos is only 40 miles or so from Ambato, so when I left Ambato, after saying goodbye to Xavier and thanking him for all their kindness, I headed back to Banos. I got there and found a room, and just looked around town, and went to one of the excellent restaurants there, and just took it easy. The next day I went to one of the bike shops and rented a bike for the day. Going east from banos is all downhill for the first 20 miles, as Banos is up in the Andes, and it drops off fast into the Amazon basin in the Oriente province of Ecuador. After that it is rolling hills to the town of Puyo, where you can catch a bus back to Banos, and throw the bike on the roof. I had a fairly uneventful ride, except for waiting out some rain in a little store on the way, and found a bus without any trouble. The conductor kind of looked digusted that he had to climb up on the roof to put the bike up here, but he did it. Hey, it could have been a crate of live chickens. That night I met a group of British women on a group tour of several countries down here, and it turns out they rode the "World's Most Dangerous Road" in Bolivia, on mountain bikes. I think the name is marketing hype, I hope, but this road drops 7,000 feet or something crazy in just a few miles, and I had planned on either doing it on the motorcycle, or mountain bike. I'm still not sure which, but they all gave it good reviews, and I know which mountain bike place they went through, so I will check it out when I get to LaPaz.
I had now been in the Ambato area for almost a week, and decided I needed to get some miles in, so the next day I headed south on the PanAm, to Cuenca. I spent most of the day riding in fairly heay traffic, and by the time I got to Cuenca, my face was black with diesel smoke. That, combined with the ash the volcano in Banos was putting out started a sore throat that I still have. Cuenca is one of the few surviving colonial era cities in Ecuador, it reminded me of Mexico in some ways. After Cuenca you have two choices, down to the coast, or stay in the mountains. I had talked with Ricardo Rocco, a guy who runs guied motorcycle trips in Ecuador, back in Quito, and he said the mountain route was prettier, and the border was easier there too, so that's what I did. I could maybe have made the border that day, but chose to stop early, in the town of Loja for the night. Unfortunately, something I ate there didn't agree with me. The only thing unusual I ate was a blended fruit juice thing, but who knows if that was really it. Anyway, I spent some time getting familiar with the toilet facilities in my room, and didn't feel up to riding the next day, so I stayed another night and OD'ed on CNN, since the hotel had it on cable, which was the first time I had seen it in English for a while.
Still feeling a little wobbly, I headed for the Peru border on Saturday morning. Ricardo had steered me right on this road, you got some views that are just incredible. The vertical relief in the Andes is just amazing. The rockies in Colorado and Montana have a more rugged look to them, but the scale of the Andes just blows me away, the Andes being so much taller. Then the bad side of mountain driving came into view. I saw a dump truck all wadded up against a cliff face on a descent called Nariz del Diablo, or nose of the devil. There was already a police car and ambulance there, but the driver was dead. They had him laying in the road, with a blanket over him. I suppose he overheated his brakes and couldn't make the corner. Makes you think, of course.
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!