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Old 11-10-2012, 06:09 PM   #31
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Lots of vertical landscape again on day 2


And great mountain roads


Solitude


Don't get too close to that edge...


Some good eatin


And some outstanding paved twisties




We rode well into the dark (due to the flat tires) and still managed to get to our hotel in Mindo before the kitchen closed.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:00 PM   #32
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Day 1 and 2 were pretty spectacular, but the weather was overcast. On Day 3, the sun joined us




and there was much rejoicing!


That sunburn peeling on my head is from our walking tour of Quito on Day 1. ouch...


Mark - on an XL200


One of the advantages of going on a tour is that they know which garage door to go to for food. I never would have stopped into this place for lunch if I had been on my own


And it was fantastic!
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:12 PM   #33
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Court said they are the only tour that goes through these little villages, so far off the beaten path. As a result, we attracted quite the crowd of kids while we stopped.

It always starts with one brave soul ("pssst, hey, go touch that bike" in Spanish, of course)


Then other kids start coming around to see the gringos who've come to town


Then, before you know it, every kid is town wants to play on the bikes and get their picture taken


And pose for the camera
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #34
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Some of the kids even ran to get their bikes and cruise by a few times


Ladies ride side-saddle in Ecuador
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:29 PM   #35
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After lunch, just lots of great scenery and riding, mostly above 12,000 feet.

Jazz hands!


Our descent down into Sigchos




Peaks above us towering at around 18,700 feet
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:00 PM   #36
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Spent the night of Day 3 at a beautiful private resort on the outskirts of Sigchos

This is just one of the many buildings on the grounds. The entire upstairs is the honeymoon suite. Lower level has 6 large guest rooms.


The large wooden doors into the courtyard are carved to match the guest house, detailed all the way down to the tall cactus and the rail on the upper deck
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:04 PM   #37
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You gotta love a hot tub big enough for 20-some people, and a table in the center to hold your drink
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:18 AM   #38
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Day 4 from Sigchos to Salinas was, without a doubt, the most scenic!

First stop was at a school for making fine wood furniture. They would not allow us to take pictures inside, but outside was ok. And their St. Bernard just had puppies!

Court


Sylvain


Then it was back to the road


To a caldera lake called Quilotoa (you can just barely see the hiking trail going down on the right side wall)


Onward


Snow-capped peak in the background is about 20,500 feet
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:23 AM   #39
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:44 AM   #40
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This looks completely awesome!
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:25 PM   #41
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:45 PM   #42
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Hooked!
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:57 PM   #43
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Day 4 was just outstanding riding! Lots of smiles and miles.


No matter how much I work out and diet, I will never be "smokin hot" until I am cremated...




Lunch in a small village. Here we are checking out the street market


Need a few chickens?


This was the parking lot for the locals at our lunch stop


After lunch was more miles of great scenery and riding.






We rolled up to the top of the pass over Salinas right at sunset




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Old 11-11-2012, 01:22 PM   #44
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Once again, we rolled into town after dark. This time was on purpose, as Court and Sylvain had timed the ride for sunset on the top of the pass.

Salinas is named after its original industry, salt mining. (Wikipedia lists a different Salinas, Ecuador, which is a large, coastal city). The Salinas we went to had a population in the low 100's. Salt was very important in this area before refrigeration became available. Now, the town operates as a sort of co-op, with most of the entire community working the two new industries, cheese and chocolate.

View of town from our hotel room, the next morning. The white building in the far left center is the cheese factory, best known for its production of Gruyere (swiss) cheese, after a Swiss industrialist moved to town.


The riding and scenery on Day 5 did not suck








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Old 11-11-2012, 01:35 PM   #45
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The route on Day 5 would take us down into the cloudforest where the temps and humidity got downright steamy.





And the vegetation changed accordingly


In Ecuador, and maybe the rest of South America, there's something about kids wanting to ride on the tops of the vehicles. I only caught this one shot, but on a previous day, we had seen an entire school bus full of kids, with about 15-20 more kids riding on top of the bus.
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