Finally we headed out again more than a week later. We booked it down the highway to Ambato and then headed up to 14500 feet on the north side of Chimborazo.
This is the highest peak in Ecuador and since the earth is elliptical it is the farthest point on earth from the center of the earth.
From here we rode the 23 km off road to the cheese making village of Salinas at just over 11,000 ft.
The next day we rode on the highway farthest from the earth’s core along the south side of Chimborazo and then off road the 8 km up to it’s base at 15894 feet.
Very soon after you spend hours going down. We stopped for lunch in a small village and opted for fried fish instead of Guinea pig. I am a giant here at 5 ft 4 in my boots.
We needed to cross a valley from one road to another and this involved a very long construction zone. The rest of the ride was a smooth curvy ride. After about 70 km we had not seen a single other vehicle and we began to wonder if the road was actually closed. We were very relieved when we saw a bus coming up the hill.
We had planned to stop in the village of Alshi, but arriving there we found no hotels so we had to keep going. 25 km further is the large town of Macas. There was a great ice cream store next door. We parked the bike in the lobby.
Today we had a short ride to the holiday resort town of Bańos de Agua Santa named for the many hot spring spas or baths of sacred water in the town. We did see this huge snake on the way to remind us we are not in Kansas anymore.
The first 130 km north is a strait road thru the jungle and the last 60 is a curvy road along the river and there are several almost 1 km long tunnels.
It is the adventure capital of the country, with hiking, biking, and rafting. The near by Tungurahua volcano has been very active lately and the road on the other side of it is currently closed. The town has been evacuated in the past, but the last time was about 10 years ago. The route of evacuation is painted on the streets with big white arrows. We did a walk about to one end of town to see some of the spas and the large Cascada of the Virgin. The water here is supposed to be blessed.
The Basilica here is also dedicated to the Virgin of the Holy Water (Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa). It is named after the vision of the Virgin Mary they say was seen near the waterfalls and it was built with volcanic rocks. The inside is lined with paintings depicting the Virgin’s miracles, including saving the church from multiple volcanic eruptions and saving people from other disasters.
The next day we rode along the route of the cascades and then up the mountain to try to see the active volcano. The famous tree house has a view of the lava flows and the volcanic measurement equipment.
We retraced out steps back 60 km to Puyo along the route of the casacadas and then we then headed north into the Amazonia and to the Napo river lodge.
We made it to Napo town and then had to cross the river on the closed bridge. Respecting the sign we headed across, but needed to take off the pannier to get past the truck blocking the bridge.
This bridge lead to an insanely perfect paved road thru the jungle.
We had booked into a jungle lodge for the night, which was right on the raging river.
There is no electricity so they put out oil lamps for you to see.
There was a great demonstration on making chocolate.