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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by GSL, Nov 4, 2012.
That is awesome!
Day 3 (aka Day 1 of the Tour)
So, we show up at the shop the next morning, ready to ride and find out that Mark and Mark actually did catch a redeye flight from Miami and will be arriving any minute. Just a slight delay - no worries.
'cept, their luggage did not make it, AND they have already been up for 24 hours straight and we're heading out on a full day ride. They get geared up with some loaner gear in the shop and we head out to brave the city traffic of Quito once more.
We got out of the city pretty quick and safe and start to settle into the groove of the ride. Keep in mind, this is a "tour" and the guys at Freedom do an excellent job of striking a nice balance between, riding dirt, riding some frikin awesome sweet twisty pavement, and soaking in the local culture. First stop, a museum at the equator!
There was a few things to see here... water draining with no whirpool right on the equator, water draining with a clockwise spin 6' on one side of the line and water draining counter-clockwise on the other side
One of the Mark's trying to walk in a straight line on the equator with his eyes closed (harder than it looks, especially if you've been up for over 24 hours straight)
And... the most important, how to remove, clean and shrink a head
This poor guy's head was down to softball size
After leaving the museum, we turn away from asphalt and won't see it again until almost dark that night. Most of the day is spent descending and ascending dirt/gravel roads that drop deep into river gorges and back up the other side
The white poles in the pic mark the road
Most of the terrain is fairly vertical
Lots of lush green landscape
Staying entirely on back roads
and some Incan cobblestone roads
we make our way up into some rainy clouds to Laguna de Mojanda, at 12,500 feet. The lake is at 12,500 and that mountain in the background is still going up...
Kelly - to answer your question, yes. This can be a shortypants ride. In fact, the main reason we chose Freedom was because they had a bike that fit Jen.
She named it "Pepper".
It was a DR200, which some ladies may say is a yawner. But we did not go there to ride extreme single-track or to obsess over bikes. We went for the landscape and the culture. The riding and the pace were tame, with a few hairball moments here and there. As Court told us, we're going WAY off road and if you crash, you may be 12-36 hours from any kind of medical attention, so we are keeping everything "reasonable". To which Jen replied, "Safety Third!"
To be honest, the DR200 did great! It was jetted properly and Jen was always able to stay 1 bike behind the leader, while the rest of us played cat and mouse catching up.
So, all smiles, and Mark and Mark are still awake!
We start making our way down the mountain to Otavalo and towards our final destination for the day. As we ride through town, there are many homes that almost look like huts. I start to wonder where in the heck we are going to stay for the night, and will it be able to keep the rain out.
I am pleasantly surprised that the guys from Freedom have really picked out THE best places to stay. First class!
We each get our own cabin on the edge of beautiful Lago San Pablo
Complete with a well-stocked bar
And view of the water
If that wasn't enough, we are asked to quickly stow our gear. The boat ride starts in 15 minutes. The green railing in this picture is the outer edge of the party boat, which also has a bar, tiki torches on the corners, and a decent sound system.
Night time cruise on the lake, complete with traditional red ponchos, and maybe a beer or three...
Tour Day 2
First stop, the street market in Otavala. The Marks need some additional clothes, as they will not see there luggage from Miami until about 12 hours before they head home to Texas.
One of the Marks goes minimalist and buys one change of underwear for the next 5 days. At least he had the good taste to get something with motorcycles on it
The other Mark goes missing for a while, looking for boots and riding pants. No picture, but the best boots he could find were roughly equivalent to rubber fishing boots. Gonna be a long ride...
Jen gets her game face on ( and new scarf from the market)
Sylvain discovers chocolate chip cookies
Court gets ready to mount up
One of the rules for the ride was that, if you dropped your bike or crashed, you had to carry the baby, prominently displayed for all the villagers to see. Someone (from Texas ) put his kickstand down on soft spot on Day 1 and nearly saw his bike go over the edge while being nowhere near it to catch it. The baby had a ride...
And that edge would have been a real doozy...
We saw our fair share of flats on tour day 2
The GS800 (behind Sylvain on his KLR)
Are you guys EVER going to finish fuckin around with the KLR? :ddog
Lots of vertical landscape again on day 2
And great mountain roads
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.
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!
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
Some of the kids even ran to get their bikes and cruise by a few times
Ladies ride side-saddle in Ecuador
After lunch, just lots of great scenery and riding, mostly above 12,000 feet.
Our descent down into Sigchos
Peaks above us towering at around 18,700 feet
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
You gotta love a hot tub big enough for 20-some people, and a table in the center to hold your drink
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!
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)
Snow-capped peak in the background is about 20,500 feet
This looks completely awesome!