Day 82 (January 5, 2013)
Banos, Ecuador to Alausi, Ecuador
Day's Ride: 105 Miles
This morning I took a dip in the hot springs and took my time getting a good cup of coffee in town. It's so odd that it's hard to find decent coffee in South and Central America. Despite having traveled through many marvelous coffee growing regions, the locals almost all seem to prefer Nescafe instant. I reckon that all of the real coffee is being exported to the United States.
As I was packing up, bubbletron showed up at my hotel and we decided to ride together to Alausi to see the "Nariz del Diablo"; a famous train route down an incredibly steep incline. They used to let people ride on the roof of the train until a big accident in 2008.
My clothes were still not dry from yesterday's slog fest, so I set off in damp riding gear and squishy boots. Just outside of Banos we stopped and took some pictures over the valley.
A little ways down the road and just outside of Rio Bamba, we came across Chimborazo, a massive 20,561 foot tall volcano. Unfortunately, it was totally socked in. We could barely see a small fringe of snow below the clouds.
I've been extremely disappointed with the weather in Ecuador; mainly because it has prevented me from seeing some amazing mountains! Everyday that I've been riding all of the peaks have been socked in and totally obscured.
We stopped in Rio Bamba for lunch at a Mexican joint called "El Rey del Burrito", or "The King of the Burrito" for those of you who don't habla.....
.....and they sure weren't joking:
It seems like everywhere you go, you can always find a Mexican restraint. I think that secretly all of the other Latin American countries wish they could have food like Mexico.
Leaving Rio Bamba, the elevation once again reached up around 10,000 feet and the scenery began to look familiar:
Does this look like Central Oregon to anyone else? I swear, I thought I was on the road to Bend for a minute.
The weather continued to be overcast and brisk with a slight breeze. Occasionally the sun would break through the clouds just long enough to tease you into hoping that it would warm up....
...and then you would drive right into another cloud and the visibility would close down to 20 feet....
After a few hours of mixed weather on beautiful Ecuadorian roads, we finally arrived in Alausi. The town is perched on the side of the mountain and is the jumping off point for the crazy train ride down "Nariz del Diablo".
I found a room at Hotel Europa for $10, parked the bike, and went to look around the town. I went to the train station to see if I could get a ticket for the ride, but they were closed.
Tomorrow I'll head down to the station at 7:00 AM and see if I can buy a ticket. The train ride is three hours long and gets back to Alausi at 11:00 AM. I'm not sure if riding the train or watching it go down the hill would be more fun.....I guess I'll figure it out in the morning.