Thursday, February 28, 2013, Pimentel, Peru.
First, some housekeeping. For more pictures of our time in Ecuador click HERE. Our co-rider Dave has a Blog if you want to see our trip from his point of view click HERE.
On Monday the 25th we reluctantly departed from Hosteria Puerto Lago. Michael decided he needed to make some quick time into Peru to meet his fiance so he decided to leave on his own. Not a problem since we can track each other with our SPOT devices and communicate via e-mail. We decided to make time to take a side trip into the nearby town of Otavalo for a textile market that Deby read about.
Ready for a day at the market!
We arrived as the vendors were getting set up and wandered around, we were almost the only customers there so it was calm and enjoyable. The colors were amazing.
We left Dave behind to guard the bikes, he soon drew a crowd…..
After a number of purchases that will need to be transported a few more thousand miles we made our way back to the Trans-american Highway for our next destination, the equator! I was in the lead and almost missed the marker, I pulled over at the last minute and stopped for pictures at the very nondescript location
I expected a big sign, crowds of people, tour buses, vendors selling cheap globes, stickers saying “I crossed the equator”, but no, nothing. I was sort of hoping for a toilets on the north and south side that we could flush and see which way they swirled. I couldn’t believe the missed marketing opportunities. I only stopped because I saw a concrete globe out of the corner of my eye and wondered what it was. So here it is, the official picture of Deby and I at the equator. I’m in the southern hemisphere and Deby’s in the north. I posted this picture on Facebook and my friend Roland commented, “so there is a line at the equator”. Ha, I guess there is, at least where we were.
After a little celebration of our own and plenty of pictures we entered the southern hemisphere. After a few short miles it started raining enough for us to make the traditional biker rain stop under an overpass. After concluding that it wasn’t a serious rain we closed the vents on our gear and continued on our way. We were right, almost immediately it stopped raining.
The rest of the day was spent riding on more fantastic roads winding through the Andes south to the border. As the day wore on we meandered through the crazy city of Ambato and I spotted a Hosteria sign so we pulled in.
That’s how we found ourselves at the Hosteria Andaluza, wow what a place. Another great last minute find. This Hosteria was a 200 year old hacienda that seemed to be pretty much in it’s original condition. It was chocked full of antiques that were easily all over 100 years old.
Deby and I carried our luggage over the bridge the traversed the moat.
We had to climb the 200 year old stairs into our room.
Nice digs….. rose pedals on the bed.
Did I mention the elevation of the hotel was 10,800 feet? We didn’t think of that when we ordered a bottle of wine with our dinner.
We had been riding at elevations between 8,000 and 12,000 feet all day and I probably hadn’t been drinking enough water and then a bottle of wine, a bad combination when at high elevations. At two AM I woke up with a killer headache and flu like symptoms. Altitude sickness? Probably. I was in no mood for any of the complementary breakfast the next day and was queasy all day until we hit some lower elevations.
Tuesday, January 26th.
Despite my infirmity we managed a 9:00 start and rode through some most incredible scenery. We continued around 10,000 feet which didn’t help my altitude sickness but the ride was a blast.
There was a cloud layer at about 7,000 feet that topped out at around 10,000 feet. We spent the day either below the clouds, above the clouds or in the clouds. The time in the clouds was crazy, the fog was so thick we had to slow to first and second gear speeds. I rode with one hand on the throttle and the other with a rag wiping off my face shield to be able to see.
We stopped at a roadside stand for some drinks, besides Gatoraide and chips you could buy a whole pig.
Towards the end of the day we found a hotel in the main part of Loja and called it a night.
Wednesday January 27th.
Feeling better at the lower (6,000 ft) elevation of Loja I managed to get some laundry done in the bathroom sink. Everything was dry except my socks, no problem. I strapped the damp socks to my bag and let them air dry all day in the 90 degree heat. It not only dried them out but they smelled like they were dried on the line all day.
More fantastic riding all day long through the mountains.
As we descended to around 3,000 feet the temperature warmed back into the 90’s. Here’s Deby picking up a little shade at a beverage stop.
The bikes parked in a row. It was just past noon and the next stop was the border with Peru. I must say that Ecuador really surprised us and our time was way too short. Deby and I both want to come back to this wonderful country and explore it further when we have more time.
Next post – entering Peru.
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