Then we sadly said goodbye to our gang as we all parted ways in Guayaquil and Quito. We checked back into our home in Quito the Casa Helbling again. The next day we picked up the parts for Lulu from Rick’s Motorsport Electric http://ricksmotorsportelectrics.com that Tim and Glenda had kindly delivered.
Daniel replaced my stator and got Lulu running again. The best news of the day was that our friend Orvar (kingdom of Sweden) who we met and travelled with in Guatemala and El Salvador arrived at the “Helbling” today too. We had to take him to our favorite restaurant Uncle Ho’s. http://unclehos.com
Finally and for the third time we headed out of Quito. We opted to go the entire 450 km and 7 hours to Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca, or just Cuenca. There are thousands of “North American economic refugees” who now call it home. We had an amazing view of the Cotopaxi volcano on the way out of Quito.
We spent one night in the Southern district of Baños de Cuenca in the home that is now a hotel of the original family that discovered the hot spring source. The next day we relaxed in the hot springs and volcanic mud. Well disserved after a long ride on the Pan Americana. Then we moved for a night in the historic center of this very nice colonial town.
We met this Ecuadorian touring his country in the main square.
Well we have 20 days to be in Santiago and 5500 km to go, so we must leave beautiful Ecuador. Today was the 354 km ride to the surf town of Mancora Peru. With the border crossing this takes about 7 hours.
The southern part of Ecuador is barren until near the coast where the rice fields and banana plantations abound. It was cloudy and threatened to rain all day. It did not, but the irrigation sprinklers that were hosing the highway did douse us.
This is a common site near the border. They “cook” the pigs with blowtorches and then slice pieces off as it is ready.
About 15 km from the border there is an ecological reserve. Where it ends at 5 km from the border you will see a 3 story white building of the Transit authority on your left.
Just after this the highway is divided and becomes 4 lanes. Before the division turn left and go to the 2 story yellow building, which is the Ecuador aduana.
Here they will ask for your permit, driver’s license, and passport. They will stamp your permit and return it and take photos of your plate, bike, and VIN.
Next continue on the 4-lane highway to the Frontera. Pass the Salida de Pais and Welcome to Peru signs.
You will eventually come upon the new border complex. This is a new concept in Latin America where they have the entry and exit procedures together in fancy new digs. Drive in on the left of the first building. There are also no touts, “helpers”, or sketchy people hanging around here, but many guards who will gladly direct you where to go and in what order. The guard at the entry will ask you if you stopped at the aduana to cancel your permit and then direct you on past the first crosswalk (where you will come at the end to get your Peru permit).
Keep going and park on the left side in the stalls between the second and third painted crosswalks. Crossing the third crosswalk (seriously the guards get mad if you don’t) will take you directly to the migration office with the tables and chairs outside. Go in and go to the front of the Salida Ecuador line and ask for tourist papers. Go out and fill these in and then get in the Salida line with them and your passport for an exit stamp. Then they will direct you to the desks at the left with the second paper where they check in the computer? to see if you have been bad or good? Then in the same room go to the far right to the Entrada Peru for an entry stamp. Now walk back to the first crosswalk past the very new clean banos to the Aduana. Here they want your original title, passport, and Driver’s license and get this NO COPIES OF ANYTHING! They want the value of your bike and you sign a paper that states you owe them X amount if you do not cancel your permit. Another novel concept is the SOAT kiosk is in the same room. You can buy it in Sole or USD (31$). We made it out of Ecuador and into Peru in under 90 minutes for country number 13!
We were a bit surprised by the barren landscape, but not by, as we had heard all the garbage everywhere.
We were headed to the surf town of Mancora mostly because it was a good stopping distance and not for the place itself. It is a crappy beach town full of touts and drug dealers. We did meet up with 3 of the people from our Galapagos cruise for a small reunion. Unfortunately Rita had been robbed at gunpoint the night before and lost all her money and passport! So far not so good for our opinion of Peru.
We did however get a nice place to stay with very friendly staff that was very interested in our trip. They also warned us as we had heard from others that the police here are very corrupt. Now I’m really feeling great.
That said we passed by a number of police on the first 2 days here and no issues. We also passed a few riders every day headed north.