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Old 07-20-2011, 09:55 PM   #76
Jud
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As I rounded a somewhat washed out corner the need to eliminate a little methane was strong and in the heat, with a bit of nausea and frustration at Deya’s now weak riding I didn’t resist much. Mistake! I’m not ashamed, it’s not the first time and won’t be the last but what is difficult about shitting your pants is the realization that a diaper would be better than your shorts and riding pants. The now uncomfortable feeling that is not going to go away for several more hours coupled with other obstacles meant misery. I stopped to tell Deya and puzzle about the problem, it was funny and we had a laugh though I wasn’t feeling well and the difficulty of the situation had not changed. A good ride now seemed, well, the shits.
I was able to stop and clean up a bit in the bush at the side of the road but as you can imagine the damage was done. Deya was now in full retreat due to her accident. As we approached hills and mud Deya would freeze and I would have to ride my bike through the obstacles then walk back to get Deya’s bike and ride it through as well. As you can imagine, I was upset, I was with full armour, boots and helmet at 35 degrees Celsius heat, walking up and down hills and getting on and off bikes. This would go on for an hour or so but this was not the most painful part.
As I’m dripping with sweat I began projectile puking, now imagine this, as old ladies on 125cc bikes with bald tires and packing three children, all without safety equipment slosh through the mud puddles with ease, I’m walking back to ride Deya’s bike through the same apparently impossible mud puddle. I was pissed and while I resented her for it, I disagree with it and think it was pathetic; I would do it again and again until I was dead if I had too.
Brian, don't take this the wrong way but when read about your shartting episode I laughed till I cried.

But,,,,, I glad that you are over it and doing well. I'm also happy to hear that Deya got her confidence back. Hope your GPS/map issues get quickly resolved too.

Tell Deya we are headed out in a week or two for Alaska, then we will bounce south along the Pacific and the Rockies,,,,, hopefully we'll make it to Baja and take the ferry back over to Mazatlan then back nort to Copper Canyon,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, hopefully, 'pending on money. We are taking one bike {the DL} and hopefully that will save us enough to do the Mexico part which is the reason for doing it 2-up. I'm still in awe of you and Deya's financial disapline and while I don't know if we have the discipline to get to the 30$ a day range {even with one bike} we will do alot better than the 80-90$ a day we spent last year due in part to the many tip ya'll gave us. Thanks again and here's wishing a speedy end to your GPS/map issues.

PS,,,, trying to get a tire that will last the trip {15K miles or so?} I'm gonna have my first foray into the "dark side" as I just bought a 205/50/17 car tire to lever on the back of the DL!
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:29 PM   #77
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Dont worry Jud it's impossible to take it the wrong way with a load in your shorts, it is what it is.
Good to hear your getting out there, Sharon is going to love it. I'm guessing your not camping? Two up is hard to pack the gear. Either way I think if your paying attention to the budget you should be able to keep it lean and still enjoy the sights. It's expensive up north, especially for lodging and northern mexico is not that cheap either. just get to a place early so you dont get stuck paying too much.

The GPS repair isnt going to happen now so we might adjust our plans and exit the city, I'm itching to ride and want to head south so that's okay with me. But without maps, this might be an adventure....oh ya....I guess I'm in.

Keep us upto date with your tracks!
BMD

Archimedes screwed with this post 07-25-2011 at 01:24 PM
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:43 PM   #78
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Tried to leave Medellin this mornig, Found out Deya´s forks were blown.
We went to Ruta 40, BMW Dealer and discovered why it is we bought BMW´s.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:53 PM   #79
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Ironically, I found that my right side fork seal is leaking to. Gotta fix that and put new chain and sprockets on.

BTW,,,,,, I'm thinking this will last at least 15K miles
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:24 AM   #80
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Awesome tyre, Keep it under 55 and you´ll probably get 20k miles on it. Lets hear how it works out, maybe that´ll be the new fad and the manufacturers will start making longer lasting less expensive rubber.

We have a couple of businesses to visit hear, as luck would have it, then we´ll head out...again....towards Ecuador.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:20 AM   #81
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We have a couple of businesses to visit hear, as luck would have it, then we´ll head out...again....towards Ecuador.

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Old 08-05-2011, 08:24 PM   #82
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A Mixed Bag




Medellin is really something, it has a feeling of advancement yet it’s simple in construction. Pablo Escobar, one of the biggest and most famous drug lords ruled this city and the drug trade for some time. The development of infrastructure is impressive yet the level of poverty is evident all over the city. There is a feeling of security that cannot be denied but lurking beneath the veil is the squalid tailings of the drug world and each night the general rule is to be in your home.
They say that the rebel groups recruit in the universities because the students at this age are looking to make a difference, are struggling to find their place and this often means they are ‘against the man’ or at least at odds with their parents; prime territory for spreading your ideologies. This brings up an interesting point though, about the rebels, why do they still exist in such a functional place and where might they be?
First off Colombians number in the range of 46 million with a land mass of about 1/10 the size of Canada. Not so bad you say considering the size of Canada, but the thing is that most people live in a third of the country. This has to do with many things but one of them is security. Ask your Colombian friends who live abroad, they will probably tell you they have property that they can’t get to because of the dangers. The rebels have effectively been swept under the rug or pushed into the other 2/3 of the country but that doesn’t keep them there. Recently we stayed in the beautiful city of Popayan, prior to our arrival the FARC ( Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) detonated a car bomb in the city. This is a terrorist act, same as the extortion, the murder and raiding towns, kidnappings and all the other stuff they are engaged in.
So how do these groups get to the young intelligent university students you might ask? Well, they appeal to their needs to rebel, to take risks and have fun; they sell them drugs. That’s also how they finance themselves, you don’t have to be a genius to figure that one out, the same thing goes on in Afghanistan. Pot and opium in one country, pot and cocaine in another, you pick. You can guess what kind of revolutionary business is going on here I don’t think I need to spell it out. Oh ya, shame on the rest of us whose demand creates the supply.

Getting past all that and feeling pretty safe means that we had a good time in Medellin. We got to spend time with our biker buddy Diego and hung out with Kai and Annette who we met in Cartagena. We traded some language lessons with Kai and Annette so now we know how to get around Germany! Können sie mir helfen? We toured the city by foot, metro and Metro cable (gondola), visited some of the Library parks (very impressive) and a beautiful and massive aquarium where you can see species of the Amazon including huge piranhas and killer frogs.

We stayed at the Hostal Medellin, run by Claudia, this place was perfect for us. Though hostel life is a bit noisy and smelly at times the folks here were entertaining and there was no shortage of fun conversation in almost any language. The hostel itself has hosted many motorbikes over the years with some notoriety. We cooked often and shared some of the feasts and made a few new friends. We were waiting for a few different things in Medellin, primarily a new touch screen for the GPS which never arrived. One of the highlights was going to town to get extra bearings for the wheels, we found some wicked prices on the parts and Kai (German mechanics teacher) showed me how to remove and install the new ones. I was totally impressed!
We were able to visit two companies in the city, both involved motorcycles and both interviews were awesome. This also put us in touch with the infamous Carlos Mesa, previously of Moto Angel. This guy is known as the go to guy for motorcycle repairs in Colombia. Though Carlos doesn’t work there anymore he can still be found and we were lucky enough to find him.

After 17 days touring around Medellin and surrounding cities, like Santa Fe, we departed. Kai and Annette were leaving the same morning about an hour before us and we said our goodbyes, secretly expecting to catch up to them for another short ride. As luck would have it, we were about to leave when our commonwealth brother Leslie pointed out that there was a lot of oil on Deya’s front forks. I took a look and sure enough her right front fork was shot. That meant two more nights at the Hostal Medellin, not a heart breaker.
The BMW shop in Medellin is called Ruta 40 and is easily the best shop we’ve been to since our departure. We got the BMW travellers treatment; they started immediately and estimated 1.5 hours. We didn’t even get to leave the shop, instead they bought us lunch (Bandeja Paisa) and we got to see the work shop, ask questions and inspect the damage to the fork seal. All in, this was a great experience and made us remember why we bought BMWs. Good work to the entire staff and management of Ruta 40 in Medellin.
Out of the shop the same day the only deficiency was now in my mind, I kept looking at my own shocks with scepticism. However, this would pass with some reassurance from Carlos. Finally, maps and stickers acquired, things fixed and good weather we were able to leave.
Our plan would take us to Salento where we intended to stay but the route was plugged with smoking trucks and twisty roads. This makes for a slow choking go of it and the day dragged on. As we tore through the mountains the scenery was spectacular and we stopped randomly at a roadside stand for a coffee. The family that ran the stand was awesome and chatted enthusiastically with us. Eventually the son of the folks convinced everybody that we should stay the night. This became a highlight for us, the family was outstanding and really typified what Colombians are like. They set the bar pretty high in terms of friendliness, sharing and good conversation. It would have been easy to stay days longer but we needed to go, wanted to go. We thought that we would stop by again on the route back, I hope we can.

At Salento we stayed in the hostel La Floresta, we had heard that our buddies on the Duck had come by so we got our stuff unloaded and started to ask around town for the Germans. Well, there are a lot of Germans around but none with ‘The Duck’. We checked out a natural reserve, Valle Cocora, in the mountains and cruised the town a bit. Salento has a nice pace and is the start of the Coffee Region. This region is beautiful and would be the equivalent to a wine region anywhere else with beautiful plantations and homes.
The next stop was the dirtier town of Tulua, the rooms are cheap enough and we came and went. We would have stayed in the Coffee National Park but once you have seen one plantation it becomes a matter of how much money you want to spend. We are not cheap but we like to eat so we decide to skip the tourist joint and continue South towards our final Colombian destination, Popayan.

Popayan, the city I mentioned earlier with the car bomb is quite beautiful. It’s also a little expensive but has a great feel and easy to walk around. Our time here would be short, again our goal was to get into Ecuador. The route to the border was simple although the road was on and off as far a quality goes. At the end of the day it is hard for me to talk about our ride because for all the good things that we find in Colombia, I am completely exhausted by the retarded drivers. I can only hope it’s not so sever in Ecuador. I would like to rant again about the drivers but it is pointless, I’m not bitter just disappointed that I can’t deliver a spectacular report on traveling Colombia by bike.
The border was a piece of cake, no helpers because they get hammered by the law but a lot of money changers smoking pot. The Colombian border at Puente Internacional de Rumichaca was organized and professional even though there seemed to be a bit of chaos, it felt safe enough. Across into Ecuador, as we would soon find out, things are different.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:14 PM   #83
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Keep em coming.

I've had a few set-backs keeping us from hitting the road and I'm starting to get ancy. My mom has had some minor surgeries that she wanted me to stick around for then one thing after another with the bike. No biggies and I'm glad the issues have popped up now rather than later. Just getting irked on the time is all.

BTW,,, how many miles do the bikes have now or rather, how many miles have y'all done since the trip begun?
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:28 PM   #84
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Keep em coming.

I've had a few set-backs keeping us from hitting the road and I'm starting to get ancy. My mom has had some minor surgeries that she wanted me to stick around for then one thing after another with the bike. No biggies and I'm glad the issues have popped up now rather than later. Just getting irked on the time is all.

BTW,,, how many miles do the bikes have now or rather, how many miles have y'all done since the trip begun?
Sorry to hear that, I know how you feel about getting ancy, I start crazy-eyed after about 3 days in one spot now.
We are about 45000 km. Yesturday I did oil and filter changes on both bikes, Changed Deya's chain and sprocket set to the 800gs sizes for better low speed handling and replaced two rear wheel bearings and seals on her bike that were shot. Made a new bearing removal tool too...awesome! Deya's chain was the original and the shop guy we were hanging out with said her original chain is still in great shape, maybe half life. WOW! Girl riders are cheap dates when it comes to taking care of their machines.
We've set some new rules for what we carry and lightened the load on the bikes a bit too in anticipation of the road conditions we expect coming out of Ecuador. This is why we put the new chain on..tired of carrying the weight and low end handling.

I'll blog the next portion soon as we are in Quito, Ecuador now. Thanks to the awesome fellows at Tecnimoto, they really know their stuff and Hugo's son Carlos who lets us know where the family shop is.

Hope you can get on the road soon Jud, looking forward to hearing the about the ride, we both really miss the North.
cheers,
BMD
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:29 AM   #85
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Ecuador




“My country is beautiful, please enjoy it.” With a warm handshake and a nice smile the gentleman at the border was both courteous and sincere. Some advice on places to see, an easy border crossing with good weather and we were into Ecuador. The bad traffic of Colombia was now next to gone and the roads are well constructed with passing lanes and pull outs for heavy transport. The level of courtesy on the road was also surprisingly good. We hadn’t been in Ecuador long enough to have a bias, this is simply the observation.
Needless to say, our first day in Ecuador was fantastic. We made it in one go all the way to Otavalo (altitude 2550 metres), sight of the largest open (weekend) market in South America. The city is beautiful and the market, even during the week is substantial and well placed. We stayed in Hostal Maria which had good enough parking and rooms with private baths for $12 dollars a night. The town felt very safe, as did the rest of Ecuador, and we could wander the busy streets after sundown without worry.

We even found a ‘Pie Shop’ that had fantastic pies, we had blueberry and strawberry and chocolate with ice cream, for only a $1.50 USD/each. The pie would easily run about 5-6 bucks in Canada. The town hosted pretty much everything you need and the food is cheap. We ate a huge meal in the market for $1-2 USD/each, 600 ml of beer is $1 dollar. This makes life better when the primary budget items are less expensive.

I was initially worried about the rumours of cheap fuel. Cheap is not the word I like to hear when it involves the motorcycles survival. What I was told in Colombia and Ecuador when I remarked about the difference between cheap and quality was that the gas in Ecuador is very high quality. Regular (Extra) and Super (Plus) are the two fuels of choice. Extra runs about $1.50 USD/gallon! With Super at about $2/gallon. That’s right, ‘a gallon’! Here is the tricky part that we figured out, Extra is 82 octane and Super is 92. This explains the price difference, correct me if I’m wrong, if you’re putting in the ‘cheap’ stuff you are going to end up with a lot of pre ignition (explosion versus combustion) unless you are driving around at 4000 metres (less oxygen for the explosion) every day.

The consequence of all this less expensive food, lodging and fuel means better food! I love to eat and the food here is just fine. In fact we haven’t been craving food from home nearly as much. One of the down sides, sort of, is the altitude. Deya and I think we have been feeling more fatigued from the altitude. I have had headaches and my bones and joints hurt a lot. I’m not sure if this is real of if we are just getting old, maybe both.

We left Kai and Annette’s (riding the Duck) stuff at the hostel in Otavalo and emailed them so they knew to check it out on their way there. They ended up staying there and got their stuff! We headed towards Quito. Quito sits at an elevation of about 2850 metres and is the capital of the country. It is a nice town with all the options of a major city but we felt it lacked security. While we didn’t see anything really sketchy there was a lot of evidence of graffiti and hoodlumism. But what makes this city great is the friendly people and the very passive traffic. For a big city the traffic is very thin and most people demonstrate courtesy. It makes riding and walking around the city very comfortable.

When we first entered Quito we were looking for TECNIMOTO, the motorcycle shop of Carlos’ dad, which was introduced to us first in Cartagena. We found it without too much trouble. We talked to Carlos’s dad and brother Daniel and told them about our maintenance plans. We agreed to come back the next day to do some work but first had to find a place to stay. As luck would have it a fellow rider on a beautiful Harley, reconditioned LA police bike with working lights and siren was there. We started chatting with Bolivar about the bikes and our plans and he offered to show us around to some options for accommodations. We saw several places but most were out of our price range, the best one was near Bolivar’s house called La Casona de Mario and was $10 USD/each which was over our budget but the best price we could find. The place was really nice and comfortable. We checked out some other places but when you see graffiti, broken beer bottles and crack zombies everywhere the price doesn’t matter.

The next day we headed back to the shop for maintenance. I have to say this was a tough day for me, the altitude made it difficult to pay attention to the details. With a bit of a headache I missed some really small things that could have been a huge problem. Fortunately Hugo and Daniel were there to keep us from getting totally messed up. Hugo has a mind like a diamond and maybe as many years experience. It was a real pleasure to have him there and kind of reminded me of Tom’s Pan, F*&cking Idiot! We changed the oil and filter on both bikes, changed the break fluid on both bikes, removed Deya’s chain and sprocket which looked like they still had half life and replaced it with the F800GS chain and sprocket set, replaced the rear bearings on her back tire, made a new tool for removing the bearings and it only took us 9 hours.


Wow, I was knackered but the worst part was the blunders. First I put the bearing spacer in backwards which caused the bearings not to turn. Had to take the tire off and pull the new bearings, duh. Then I put the wheel spacers on the wrong side, this made the break disc bind on the calliper face causing the wheel to seize, brutal! I over tightened the Master Link and cracked the rivet, not a big deal but still dumb. Finally I dropped the oil from my bike, replaced the filter then started it up to get the oil moving, wondering why the sound of metal on metal wasn’t going away for what seemed like an eternity, having failed to put new oil in! There where a couple of smaller non important things but I think you get the idea. These are not things I would normally screw up so I was pretty much annoyed with myself.
Bolivar met up with us again and guided us back to our hostel, good thing because I was mentally done. We had a good sleep and headed out the next day for a walk. Walking is a good way to discover a place and getting lost is even better. We did a lot of both and when we returned in the early afternoon Kai and Annette had arrived, good! We enjoy these two travellers and their company is always rewarding.

Kai said something one afternoon when we were talking about BMW, their bikes and their service after seeing the ‘30 years GS’ sticker on my bike. He confirmed that BMW has a reputation as the moto to have for world travel, that they can go anywhere. This has been a long tough road not just for the motorcycles but for the people who have built that image and I agreed. Kai mentioned that when he deals with BMW, walks in their super clean showroom with mud on his shoes, messy hair, holes in the jacket and 400,000 kilometres on his old BMW with over 30 years on BMW bikes, having clearly helped build this image and reputation with his own meat, he quickly gets put to the back of the line. I mean who would want to help him when he’s not on a shinny new 1200GSA with more wingding’s and laser fed gadgets than you can shake a stick at? I didn’t know how to respond other than to acknowledge he’s right and my hats of to him and his wife for helping build the dream we find ourselves in today.

Before we left Quito we took a day trip to Papallacta where there was supposed to be some hot springs East of Quito. It was a cold, windy, wet and totally beautiful ride. The hot springs were not very enticing so we just had a coffee instead, the ride, over 4000 metres high, was worth it. Kai had a special coffee….hahaha..Kai…..(inside joke)..
Once we pulled out of Quito having spent the previous evening with Bolivar and his beautiful family we headed for the Quilotoa Loop. This loop is on the West side of the Panamerican Highway and is well worth the journey. The northern half of the road is simply fantastic, actually it’s perfect and the scenery is beautiful.

We stopped for a snack and to lounge. As the day progressed we made it about half way around the loop and decided to stop, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, in a little town called Chugchilan. The lodgings seemed expensive at $8.00 USD/each, for being way out in the hills, altitude about 3300 metres. It was really cold, I had the heated grips on full all day and most of my layers. We got the wood stove going and had some beer, this was good and the place would actually be a nice location to spend a few days.

The next day we headed out towards Baños, the road turned a little uglier but since it was dry it really wasn’t too bad though the wind would become excessive. Deya had a breakdown of the mental sort, the same as we have seen before but I didn’t shit my pants this time. We decided to work on it rather than just keep repeating this pattern. I have to remind any naysayers that while I don’t get to ride at my pace, level or style and I have to deal with Deya’s struggles I am 45000 kilometres and 11 countries into an epic ride WITH my wife on HER own bike. So while I might bitch a bit I am firmly aware of the awesomeness of my situation.
The day ended well with more fantastic riding, a plan and a place to stay in Baños. We will enjoy the last few days with Kai and Annette before moving on. They will stay to pick up some Spanish lessons for a couple of weeks and we are now on a time crunch.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:16 PM   #86
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Great update!
I currently planning ,my own trip to Ecuador, so your detailed writing helps a lot
Ride safe
Buen viaje...

PS... If you want CHEAP (free?) fuel, come to Venezuela... twelve US$ cents per gallon.... just don't expect safety or courteous drivers
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:17 PM   #87
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Great update!
I currently planning ,my own trip to Ecuador, so your detailed writing helps a lot
Ride safe
Buen viaje...

PS... If you want CHEAP (free?) fuel, come to Venezuela... twelve US$ cents per gallon.... just don't expect safety or courteous drivers
Thanks SS for the comment,
I'm finding Ecuador fantastic I hope you do too. I've heard about the gas in Venezuela, wow! We're not planning on seeing Venezuela on this trip but maybe in the future. We're numb to the drivers but it's still rediculous, poor drivers actually reduce productivity and impact a nations GDP, totally preventable.
Good luck with your plan and enjoy the trip.

I've heard that the Cops in Bolivia randomly charge tolls to tourist driving down various roads. they even have a 'price list' that is supposed to look official. We'll find out the real deal on it but if anyonw has any information please pass it along.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:24 AM   #88
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Anybody coming into Ecuador is welcome to stop by our shop in the Mariscal section of Quito for some free route advice and GPS programming of some awesome things to see and do in Ecuador.

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Old 08-17-2011, 02:59 PM   #89
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Anybody coming into Ecuador is welcome to stop by our shop in the Mariscal section of Quito for some free route advice and GPS programming of some awesome things to see and do in Ecuador.

-Court at FreedomBikeRental.com
Good plug! We are almost in Peru now but we'll be back in Quito in October. Do you have any ideas if anyone can fix a Garmin Zumo south of Ecuador? We spent the night in a little town called Nabon, great people there.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:08 PM   #90
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Sorry I missed you guys! I don't know anyone south of Ecuador that can fix a Zumo. If you were close to Guayaquil, I would suggest you visit Garmin's Ecuador office there. I am checking with my contact there to see if they might have a contact in Peru. If so, I will get back to you....
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