Well the last 2 days have been pretty boring. Lying around reading my book with my foot up on a stack of pillows. Daniel has been my butler and ladies maid, but that can’t last too long. The F 800 had a nice parking spot in the courtyard of the hotel and we could look at it during breakfast.
We will stay 2 more days to be on the safe side so I’m able to ride the off road route we planned to the cheese making town of Salinas.
Daniel decided to do an oil change here at Mariscal Motors and Diego was kind enough to let him use the shop. We decided to change the oil early, because we will not be able to get full synthetic oil in Peru. Again thanks to Court and Sylvain at Ecuador Freedom Motorbike Rentals we got a deal on the oil.
The 4 guys decided to ride along and each took a scooter from the shop to run the errands. Even the dog joined the scooter gang and rode with Daniel the 20 km to the Yamaha dealership. Hey Sylvain looks like you have found freedom too.
Then I got taxi service to lunch.
Even the Firemen here ride motos!
We headed out south of Quito again and were entertained sort of at the light. I’m not sure it’s juggling if there are only 2 items.
Riding on the silky smooth Pan American Highway you see some strange vehicles.
Turning off the highway south of Lasso on to the initially cobbled road towards Chugchilan, then we headed off road.
There were a few small patches of pavement that came out of nowhere.
We then began rising into the mountains.
Here there were some very steep and hairpin switchbacks.
There were lots of indigenous women herding sheep and goats.
The views were stunning.
What is crazy is that about every 45 minutes you will come across a bus on this crazy road and so you need to be extra careful on the corners.
We arrived in the village and to the Mama Hilda hotel. This place is a common stopping point for the people walking the Quilotoa Loop. There was a fire burning in the lounge wood stove, up to, which we all gathered to warm up.
Now we continued on the planned route to El Corazon. The road was pretty good dirt and thankfully it was not wet.
There were a few areas with landslides.
Suddenly there was this silky smooth pavement. This was just a few km before the Laguna Quilotoa.
At the Laguna a kid representing the tourism board checks us in.
We really wanted to take the bikes up the path to the crater, but the guard said no. We learned from Court that he just drives up and lets the guy yell at him.
The pavement of the Pan Americana lasted about 12 km until we headed off road again and over the mountains to El Corazon.
At higher elevations you are in the clouds, and apparently in January and February it is totally fogged in on these roads.
Today there are some switchbacks, but none as steep as yesterday.
We were so lucky that there was very little fog and water.
There were areas where it looked like you could see down thousands of feet.
We stopped in the village of Apagua for a snack of sweet manderinas and a drink.
Further on the route we had amazing views of Cotopaxi volcano in the distance to the north.
Next we happened upon a festival in the town of Angamarca. One of the local ladies came over and said hello and explained what was going on in the dance. The people were dancing the entire day to the band playing. Stopping here created a crowd around the bikes and especially the GPS.
About 900 meters before the town of El Corazon there was a sign for the town and a small church. We stopped to ask for directions, and dah dah my bike would not start. Luckily for us it was an all down hill coast to the central square and then to the only hotel in town. It is incredibly lucky for us that this did not happen 25 plus km from town on this narrow mountain road with nowhere to set up a tent or get immediate help. Again we set up the GS 911 and found the stator was dead. It seams the job done in Mexico to rewind this stator was not good.
The next day we managed to get one of the hotel owner’s sons to agree to drive the bike the 4 ½ hours back to Quito. No one else in town would do it before Monday, which was in 2 days away.
The first 50 km of this was off road to get to the Pan American highway. Dan rode his bike and I had all day to practice Spanish. We stopped here on the road where the trees roots are actually keeping the rock wall stable.
Part of the route we took out of the town was different than the one we took in. It was about 15 km shorter, and a much steeper route thru the mountains.
Arriving back at Ecuador Freedom Motors Court and Diego were there to help us out.
Another lucky break was that we met another client of Ecuador Freedom, Tim, who offered to let us ship our parts to his office so that his wife can bring then when so comes down next week to meet him. Court was kind enough to host us at his place. We may trade in the bikes for scooters. Since Dan had the luggage, Court got the dog and me as pillions.
One of the client of the bike shop fried the clutch so we offered to go the 3 hours towards Mindo to drop off a replacement bike.
Just past the drop off point was a hike to the cascadas and a great swimming hole.
We finished off the day by squeezing our own sugar cane juice.