From Ibarra we made a day trip to the Saturday market in Otavalo and rode to Laguna de Cuicocha in hopes of seeing Volcano Cotacachi …unfortunately the ceiling was too low, but we had great views of the lake.
Next stop crossing the Equator. We first crossed the equator while driving the Pan American Highway. Not demarcation, but the gps showed it to be so. We continued on to the official monument just outside of Quito to mark the event.
Equador is already more than a month ago and some of the details escape us. But the overall impression is that of great contrasts, from the dry coast to the lush Avenue of Vocanoes and through the mountain passes joining the two. There was also a very strong contrast in cultures arriving from Colombia. As we mentioned before Colombia was vibrant where Equador felt much more reserved and impoverished.
We made our way from Quito via Cotopaxi and Quevedo to Puerto Lopez on the coast.
Price of gas in Ecuador. Currency American dollars.
Not only was gas very cheap, but all tolls, and there were many, were free for motorcycles.
Through the pass in Rerserva Ecologic Los llinzes we reached altitudes of 13,180′, our highest pass so far. We had views of beautiful cultivated terraced lands. The rudimentary enclaves of inhabitants dotted the landscape and left us wondering how they keep warm and where they get their cooking fuel from living in such isolated circumstances.
En route to Puerto Lopez on the coast we weren’t prepared for the dry and burnt landscapes that would greet us. It was the end of the dry season and there was a lot of agricultural burning going on giving a grey hue to the already monotone landscapes.
A site for sore eyes when we reach the coast.
Upon arriving at Puerto Lopez we had the good fortune of passing a small welding shop that Lindsay visited to have the bracket for the ktm driving light repaired.
En route to Guayaquil via Salinas November 28.
From Guayaquil we rode to Cuenca through another incredible Pass in Parque National El Cajas.
Stopping for lunch to enjoy the view.
Arriving at our hotel in Cuenca. The owners of the Hostel Posada de Angel were kind enough to let us park just at the back of their breakfast areas as they had no other parking for the bikes!!
A taste of Cuenca
Rode from Cuenca to Loja, again riding into the highlands of the Andes.
Tracy and I were greeted with a questioning look as we entered the Grand Victoria Boutique to check in for our stay…..we decided the receptionist had never seen anyone decked out in riding armour!
We took a day ride abutting Parque National Podocarpus from Loja to the small mining town of Zamora.
On our descent from Zamora into Loja the bike died and we found ourselves coasting into town. As we were running out of ‘coast’ we pulled to the side of the road to contemplate what was happening. The bike had just had it’s scheduled maintenance done in Cuenca, which had to do with the fuel system. Lindsay discovered that the mechanic had forgotten to open one of the fuel lines exiting the tank. So fortunately it was simply a turn of the screw 🙂 Great relief.
Left Loja for Huaquillas to position ourselves for the proverbial border crossing, this time into Peru. Originally we had planned to cross at La Balsa, but information told us that the road conditions were questionable, so we decided on the coastal route. Landscapes on the coast are always a shock after being in the mountains.
How wonderful it must be to be travelling in new territory. What a different world South America seems, and each country and its people so unique as well. I just finished reading “The River” by anthropologist/ethnobotanist Wade Davies. He was Richard Evan Schultes last graduate student at Harvard.Lots of very interesting history; especially on Colombia and Ecuador. A quickly changing continent. Travel safe and enjoy!
Gorgeous, rich photographs! xo