Travel Through Ecuador on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Ecuador on a Harley (21/12/02 - 25/12/02)
Distance 872 km (318600 km to 319472 km)

This is part of the ninth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  Peru
 

21/12/02 Easy into Ecuador, using the carnet. This is the last new country the motorcycle is visiting in the Americas. Almost instantly the desert climate changed to tropical rain forest and we finally feel we are in the equatorial region as temperatures and humidity jumped. Famous for its bananas, all we can see are plants growing in all directions. It was a long day of over 500 km and back up into he mountains at Riobamba after climbing from the coast. Light drizzle and fog enshrouded mountains with children out on the roadside asking for lollies for Christmas (Navidad). The hillsides a patchwork of black, gold and green as the fields went through their cycle of cropping or grazing as they have done here for thousands of years. The people seem to have changed little also, still traditionally dressed with hat and bright coloured cloths, very short in stature but not dumpy, a slight leprechaun look.

22/12/02 Summer solstice, and we are at the equator heading north. The long days we have enjoyed in the southern hemisphere will convert to long days in the northern hemisphere as it heads into summer. Ecuador has adopted the US currency as its own. Greenbacks are all you see with a few locally made coins. The idea is to stabilize its economy, particularly inflation but as Argentina found out it can kill the local economy if the US economy strengthens. Prices in Ecuador are consequently higher than in surrounding countries, particularly food, although petrol is quite cheap.Local Indians line the roads collecting money and lollies from motorists for Christmas

23/12/02 At the only shop in Coldfoot Alaska 18 months ago we were heading north as four riders were heading south. A brief chat at the time, and today in Quito we are having dinner with one of those riders. Bob an oil worker now posted to Ecuador, his wife and a friend, through a series of coincidences, and us, are enjoying each others company through long distance motorcycling. We had spent the day at the British Embassy obtaining visas for Trinidad and Tobago, Australians being about the only nation needing visas for that country.

24/12/02 The cheaper the price of petrol, the more private cars, the more traffic and the faster they travel. Ecuador seems to be following the US lead in large private 4x4's and they move them quickly, in the city and on the poor roads. The cities native street population out in full force taking advantage of the seasons generosity and we were unable to walk ten metres without being approached by women and children looking for a hand out. A lot of the city was quiet after the early close of business but the parks came to life with the street sellers. The poorer community celebrating like a village eating and drinking in the park with children playing while the wealthier more isolated in their homes with family.

25/12/02 Christmas day, we decided to leave Quito early to avoid traffic and hopefully see how Ecuadorians celebrate as we travelled. Again the county side stunning scenery of volcanoes, patchwork fields lined by hedges and trees. South America has turned many ordinary roads into toll roads. Offering them to private concessions to upgrade and maintain for a period of time in exchange for collecting revenues. The system seems to work well and the road quality generally much better where allocated to a concessionaire. Motorcycles are usually free in most counties but in Ecuador we pay, an amazingly low SUS0.05 cents per concession, usually around 50 or more km's. We crossed the equator, yet again, and managed to exit Ecuador without problems in 20 minutes.
 

Move with us to Colombia
 

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