Cuenca to the Peru Border

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I was looking over a calendar and wanted to get down to Peru sooner than later so it was time for me to move on.  Ecuador has been good. I could definitely stay longer and see the coast, the Galapagos islands and the amazon region. But that will have to be another trip. I had the bike loaded and when I turned the ignition the power shut off after a second. I thought maybe it was the battery but when I tried it again I was 99% sure I knew what the problem was. I bet it's the ignition … [Read more...]

Waffles de Bélgica in Cuenca

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A few blocks away from the historic center of Cuenca is Pumapungo Museum and Archeological Park. The site has the ruins of the Inca city of Tomebamba. It's a beautifully restored park with gardens and a small bird zoo. Located in the gardens is Waffles de Bélgica, a hidden treasure among the ruins of the ancient Incan city. Waffles de Bélgica is owned by Jan, a trained Belgian chef who moved to Cuenca a few years ago. For a dollar or two you can have a delicious freshly made waffle with the … [Read more...]

El Cajas National Park

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While in Cuenca I made a half day trip out to El Cajas National Park. Less than 45 minutes away from the bustling city streets I was riding through a pristine river valley. There is a paved road that cuts through the small park so I decided to go out and back. The ride was fun and the scenery was beautiful. I hardly saw other cars or trucks on the road the whole time. I stopped by a small lake where a group of llamas were grazing. What a beautiful view. I hiked around for a bit before getting … [Read more...]

Cuenca, Ecuador

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I came to Cuenca because I wasn't able to find a rear tire in Quito and I couldn't wait until Lima. It was an added plus that I had heard good things about Ecuador's third largest city. Cuenca is a colonial city with much of the "city" being the historic center. The narrow cobbled streets lead by the different neighborhoods of beautiful Spanish buildings, churches, markets, and museums. My first goal was to get the rear tire replaced. I had hoped the rear Heidenau K60 would have lasted … [Read more...]

Salinas to Cuenca

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The weather wasn't in my favor again. As I packed up my things to leave Salinas, the rain started coming down. I wanted to get to Cuenca which is a 200 mile ride. The route would have me pass just a few kilometers by Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest peak and one of the tallest volcanos in the world. I was holding out hope that the sky would clear enough for me to see Chimborazo but when I rode by I couldn't see through the thick fog. While passing the volcano I looked down at my … [Read more...]

Salinas de Guaranda

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Morning came and with it an absence from the rain. It was a cold morning in the mountains as I walked around the tiny village. Everywhere I went I was being watched. Not so much by the local people, but by their animals. Llamas and donkeys are everywhere here. Tied up outside people's homes with cans mounted to their backs to haul milk and other goods around town. They looked like they hated the rain too. The village of Salinas de Guaranda is known for it's locally produced, delicious … [Read more...]

Quilotoa to Salinas de Guaranda

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Maps Make It Look Easy From Quilotoa I wanted to get to the small mountain town of Salinas de Guaranda but didn't want to take the PanAm route. I saw that Freedom Bike Rentals takes an off road route so I chose to do the same. At almost 13,000 feet the morning air was cold. The route would have me pass Quilotoa, Zumbahua, El Corozan, to Salinas. 100 miles off road. I wasn't sure if I would find a gas station in Zumbahua but luckily there was a small station that at least sold regular. I … [Read more...]

Quilotoa Loop Day 2

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Chugchilan to Quilotoa Yesterday the highest I rode was 11,500 ft and the bike ran perfectly. Starting it up on a cold morning at 10,400ft was another story. I hit the starter button and it ran for a second and then stalled. I tried it again and gave it some throttle right away and same thing. A third time and it was no better. I had my first moment of thinking "uh oh" I had plenty of fuel so it must be either the thin air or cold temps or both. I let it sit for a moment and tried again. … [Read more...]

Quilotoa Loop Day 1

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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 … [Read more...]

Bike Repairs in Ecuador

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While I was in Quito I needed to get some maintenance and repairs taken care of. My friend Su-Yin spent half the year working at Ecuador Freedom Bike Rentals and recommended I take my bike to Mariscal Motos. Run by experienced mechanic Diego and just across the street from Ecuador Freedom, it's a convenient location and thankfully he had time to help me out. I had routine maintance to do (oil change, air filter clean) and then some other things. My front wheel bearings seemed to be on the way … [Read more...]

Quito, Ecuador

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Finding time to just sit and read about the places I'm traveling to seems to be hard to find. I rode into Quito knowing nothing about the city. The only thing I knew was that my friend Su-Yin lived there and that it was in Ecuador. The day after New Years Eve I slept in and it was a relaxing day. Su-Yin and Simon live in a neighborhood in Centro Historico were very few gringos or tourists wander. In the afternoon we headed out to the newly opened Bicentennial Park. The park used … [Read more...]

New Years Traditions in Quito

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New Years Eve for me has always been about celebrating with friends, setting off fireworks, and enjoying bringing in the new year. Turns out even though I'm in South America, this New Years would be no different. My friend Su-Yin and her boyfriend Simon have been living and working in Quito for a year so I rode from Colombia to get there in time to celebrate with them. Upon my arrival into the sprawl of the capital city I realized this would be a new years unlike any other. As I came around a … [Read more...]

The Sprint to Ecuador

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Salento, Colombia to Otovalo, Ecuador Just a quick post on the two days of riding to get to Ecuador in time for New Years Eve. Not much happened these days. Just lots of riding. From Salento I rode with Ian into Ecuador. We rode all day from Salento as far as we could till the sun was about to set. We stopped in El Bordo for the night and found a room at the Copacabana Hotel just as we entered town. We left at sunrise the next morning to make it to the border early. I'd … [Read more...]