A quick lap around Quito, Ecuador

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by GSL, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    This time last year, if you had told me that I could have a great time on a "guided" tour :huh , I would have asked you what you were smoking :bmwrider and politely told you to go pound sand. I have never wanted to be on someone else's timetable or risk my precious vacation days on the hope that a total stranger's interests matched mine and Jen's. But at the recommendation of fellow adventurista Mike Bobbitt, I gave in and signed Jen and I up for a short South American getaway. In hindsight, the "guide" part of it meant that I didn't have to do much of the vacation prep work :jkam or figure out how to fit it into my already over-committed work schedule. Fingers crossed it would all work out...

    So, down payment in March :deal , then seven long agonizing months until October to visit the land of coffee
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    and chocolate!
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    #1
  2. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    We went to Ecuador Freedom's web page and signed up for the 6-day ADVenture tour, which was the longest tour that still allowed for a 200cc bike (for Jen). It turns out, the guys at Freedom will also let the 200cc bike go on the longer 10 day tour, and I should've just asked ahead of time. But really, 6 straight days of off-road is what we wanted and turned out to be a real winner!

    We also scheduled 2 days in Quito on the front end and on the back end, for R&R away from work. Quito is the capital of Ecuador, with a couple million people, and sits up high in the Andes, above 9000 feet.

    I friended the owners of Ecuador Freedom on Facebook, a few months before our trip. And by the time the trip rolled around, had a pretty good feeling that we had made a good choice to go with a guided tour. In fact, even before we left Colorado, I felt like we were just going somewhere to go for a ride with old friends. They literally picked us up at the airport at midnight on the day of our arrival and we were doing shots in the parking lot within 15 minutes. :freaky

    Day 1 in Quito was a Sunday, and the city
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    pretty much shuts down for the street market
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    music
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    kids
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    dancing
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    and bicycling...
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    #2
  3. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    As we walked around town, we kept seeing the Panecillo
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    and decided to make that our goal before turning around and walking back to the hotel. There are several thousand steps on the front of that hill and took more than a couple minutes to climb. When we got to the top, we ran into a couple locals coming down...
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    #3
  4. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    On the way back to the hotel, we ran into Schwarzenegger's foe, the Predator
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    Yep, there's a live guy in there, and he only moves when the kids get too close :D

    Quito is a pretty fun city, even for 2 people who don't like cities :wink:. And you can't open your eyes without seeing a motorcycle
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    #4
  5. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    That was Day 1. Pretty upbeat, not at work, and ready to get riding... :evil

    Day 2 - Enter, the Tasmanian - Adam Cooper
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    He convinces the guys at Ecuador Freedom that he is a videographer :poser and next thing I know they're sending the 3 of us off
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    to film a commercial. :D "Just follow them around and film whatever's going on. See if you can come up with commercial material". Challenge in hand :evil we aim for the top of the volcano, Guagua Pichincha.

    The guys back in the shop were tracking us as we made our way up to 15,000 feet above the city
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    We officially got up to 15,207 before the mighty KLR would go no further hauling 2-up...
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    #5
  6. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    And of course, there was the obligatory photo ops at the summit
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    For my Colorado peeps, the road going up was about as steep as Black Bear Pass, over Telluride. Good stuff!
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    And with some fresh snow
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    the horsing around ensued...
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    #6
  7. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    Looking down through the clouds onto Quito, from the pre-summit house
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    #7
  8. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

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    #8
  9. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    So, we had an excellent first day on the bike, sans a guide and/or leash. Actually managed to get into a bit of a pickle when both our GPS's went dead, and then Adam's DR650 ran out of gas, miles away from Quito. :lol3 It all worked out in the end after we ran back to town for gas and then siphoned out of the KLR. Eventually made our way back to the bike shop, amazingly, mostly from memory.

    Riding a bike on the streets of Quito is quite an experience. City rules, no one seems to obey any road markings or traffic lights. Best plan is to look big, ominous and determined to hold your line; sharp elbows pointed outward, clench your jaws and growl if you accidentally make eye contact with someone in a cage next to you. Lane split at every light if the cars are stopped. Just act like you own the street. Kind of like navigating a ski lift line in Italy, but Ecuador is much more friendly. :wink:

    We find our way back to the shop and the guys tell us that the other 2 people on our tour which starts tomorrow are stuck at the airport in Miami. Mark and Mark, a couple guys from Lubbock, TX. Not to worry though, we'll just start without them and let them catch up in Mindo, on Day 2. Off to dinner for cerveza and langostinos! :clap
    #9
  10. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    GSL,

    Great Start, I love a good Fly & Ride report! Looking forward to the rest...


    Cheers,
    #10
  11. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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    #11
  12. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Quite possibly the best KLR paint job I have seen. Might do a version of this on my plain black, dull, boring, KLR. (The bike's not dull nor boring in any sense, just the paint job!)

    Ecuador's a great place to ride.
    #12
  13. Greg MacD

    Greg MacD Been here awhile

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    I had the opportunity to visit Quito Ecuador a few years ago, great city, had fun, wish I had the time to see more of the place, but I was on business and did not get the time to tour the place.


    Had a hard time breathing up at 9500 feet though, seems like there was no darn air up at that altitude
    #13
  14. GT George

    GT George Adventurer

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    Yo GSL...I just returned to the US from "a quick spin around Ecuador" that I did on Saturday. The guys at Freedom Bike Rental are top notch and will make sure have everything you need for a great tour. I was quite impressed with the diversity of the terrain and great scenery. You're in for a great time!!

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    This is an adventurers' paradise! :ricky
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    I ran into some fog/clouds in the higher elevations. Vis was about 200 feet, so I took the opportunity to get some cheap gas. Premium is about $2.10 a gallon. YEAH! :clap
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    Have a great trip and post some more pics!! I only had one day there, BUT I'll be back. Saludos!!

    Keep on ridin'
    GT George
    #14
  15. auldublinr

    auldublinr Adventurer

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    Hey guys thanks for posting what I'm sure will be a great pics loaded report.I also was wondering what a guided trip would be like??? Especially when I've never past a bar I didn't make a new friend in.:rofl Anyway there in spirit with you
    #15
  16. 650x

    650x Long timer

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  17. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile

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    Hey I am really enjoying the start to this and can't wait for more (even though I was there!).

    With regards to the paint job - thanks very much! These are actually vinyl protective stickers that we put on the bikes so that our customers don't have to worry about scratches and for expensive paint jobs.

    If you want, we can print out a copy of them to take with you the next time you are in Quito.

    WIll & Jen - thanks for this entry and we are looking forward to sharing the memories here with you..
    #17
  18. Region Riley

    Region Riley rally kit widow

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    subscribed!


    Really interested in hearing some details about the bike that Jen rode.

    I didn't think a tour like this would be possible for the "shortypants" crowd.

    :lurk
    #18
  19. lennyledoux

    lennyledoux Adventurer

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    I posted something on Day Trippin' about a recent day ride, which is all I do here. Then again, I live here in Cuenca, Ecuador having retired from Boeing last January. My wife is a native of Guayaquil, the port city which is the largest in Ecuador and that qualified me for citizenship, which I now have. So I bought a Yamaha XTZ250 in August. A new unsold 2011 model, cost is $8K and the bike is made in Brazil and has F.I. In the States the 2013 model made in Japan will have F.I. and only costs about $5,200. That is why gasoline and diesel are so cheap, they are heavily subsidized by the government and the taxes on imports must be what covers it. A KTM 990 Adventure I looked at was, gulp, $27,000 and the KLR650 is $15K. But frankly the Yamaha does just fine, there aren't many paved roads down here and so the traffic on them is high, and you have already read about what the drivers are like. I say no thanks to the lane splitting and being any sort of aggressive, they are just nuts down here on the roads. Fortunately I have to travel less than 10km and I am into the countryside where more people are on horseback than cars:)
    #19
  20. GSL

    GSL Team Big Wheel

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    Ok, back to the write-up! :mully I know someone's been like :ddog but I had a busy 1st week back...

    Anyway, turns out Adam Cooper is quite the rock-star videographer. Here's the first cut:

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/53224528?autoplay=0" width="398" height="224" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
    #20