Quito, Sigchos, to Chugchilan
I waited around Quito until the shops opened up so I could buy a fleece jacket. Now that I’m in the Andes I’ll be needing warm clothes. I checked a few shops and found a fleece for $15. It has Colombia stitched on it but it’s definitely not Colombia brand.
The guys at Freedom have an off road route from Quito to Quilotoa but I opted for the PanAm in hopes I could find a place that can sell me insurance (SOAT) along the way. Sure enough no one could sell it to me today. I’ve been to a dozen places that sell insurance since I crossed the border but no one has had the paperwork, so I can’t buy any. I doubt that excuse will work if I get pulled over. I’ll just show my international insurance plan and hope it works.
The PanAm out of Quito is 3 lanes and well marked. At the town of Tanuchu I turned onto a small road and followed it west. It’s a nice paved road through the mountains. I reached 11,500 ft and was surround by fog for a few kms before coming out of it and continuing through the countryside.
I stopped for lunch at a restaurant just before the center of Sigchos. Lucky me the option was soup with Guinea pig or roasted Guinea pig. I ordered the soup. I was the only one there but there were 7 women working. The old women cooked and the young adults served. They said many motorcyclists pass by but usually in groups. They asked if they could ride my motorcycle saying they knew how. I told them they could take a photo with it. The one said that wasn’t good enough and that she wanted to come with.
I left the restaurant and continued on the road to Chugchilan. After Sigchos the road is unpaved. I was loving the ride through the mountains on the dirt.
A few miles into the ride I rode into a very small town that was having some sort of fiesta. A band was playing, women were frying guinea pig, and children were having a competition. On a tall narrow pole, two boys were climbing to the top where small objects were hanging, the boys climbed around and cut down all the objects.
After talking with a few locals I rode on to Chugchilan. There are several hostals (hotels) here. I went to Cloud Forest Hostal as it was the least expensive. For $15 I got a private room, a 3 course dinner and big breakfast. The owner brought a huge load of firewood to my room for the wood burning heater. They had wifi that just barely worked. They only site I could get to work was ESPN which was fine with me as I wanted the follow the Eagles playoff game. I stayed up until almost midnight only to see them lose in the last second. I loaded the heater with wood and went to bed. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be at midnight, I could have camped after all.