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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GSL, Nov 4, 2012.
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
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
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.
The day was Saturday, October 27, and Jen and I were celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary!
The guys from Freedom treated us to the Honeymoon Suite! Thanks again guys!
Looking out our hotel room window at the 50-meter pool in the courtyard.
On the final day of riding, we needed to climb from 243 feet above sea level, up to near 12,000 feet, before dropping back down into Quito, at around 9,000 feet. It would take most of the day to do it. Lot's of steep and rocky climbing, and a few stream crossings
Looks like a narrow mountain road
But even on this one, you had to watch out for the occasional bus or truck, coming around a blind corner
As we gained elevation, the scenery changed back to the previous awesomeness
And the road even became paved in some areas
If you look close, you can see Jen's right shoulder and elbow all the way down trying to squeak more power out of Pepper, as we topped the E35 summit over Quito at about 12,000 feet
Dropping down into Quito
Parting shots of our awesome hosts
The sometimes-vertically-challenged, always flirting with my wife, crazy Frenchman, Sylvain Gallea
Don't go to Ecuador without checking in with these guys
Ecuador is a great place to fly and ride. Motorcycles are everywhere in Ecuador, although I did not recognize many of the brands. Lot's of 125cc Chinese imports and other, all dressed up to look like KTM, Yam, Suz, Kaw, etc.
Ecuador uses the USD as its currency. Yay! No exchange bullshit.
Lot's of stuff is cheap. $0.90 for a beer, under $5 for lunch, gas seemed to be at a fixed price of $1.48 everywhere we went. And by fixed, I mean painted on the side of the building, not some L.E.D. readout that changes by the second. We stayed at what I considered a very nice hotel in Quito for $70/night and it came with a full 'merican breakfast. Similar place in the US would have been $150-200/night, and another $20 for breakfast.
No one expects a tip, but they are really happy when they do get one. The standard tip for any meal, regardless of price, is $1.
Carry cash. Many, many places do not take credit cards. Also, don't carry anything bigger than a $20. Very few (no one?) will accept $50 bill or larger.
The people there are super-friendly, once you get outside of the cities. We didn't have anything stolen from us, even when leaving a pile of gear at the lunch table and going out for a stroll through town for 15-20 minutes. But I wouldn't try that in the cities. I did stick to keeping my money hidden in my boots, throughout the trip.
Arrive a day or two early. Mark and Mark made the best of it, but I know they were missing having their luggage. It only arrived 1 day late, but the logistics of getting it to us in the middle of nowhere did not exist. They had to make due without.
Jen and I did not even check luggage. 1 carry-on each, that's it. The carry-on had a helmet, riding pants, 1 change of quick-dry clothes and a bunch of little packets of Tide. We washed our clothes in the hotel room sink every night, and rolled them tightly in hotel towels to dry. I didn't have my motocross boots, but my Sidi dual sport boots were good enough for this tour, and could easily be worn on the plane.
The international flight was a lot shorter than I expected. Only 4 1/2 hours from Houston.
We never got sick. Followed the simple rules of drinking only bottled water and never eating fruits or veggies that still had skin on. i.e. peel your tomato if you're gonna eat it.
When we go back, it will be hard to decide whether to do another guided tour or go it alone. Alone is certainly more adventurous. But the guys at Freedom were just too much fun to have along, and they know where the hidden gems of the countryside are. We would not have seen half of the stuff we did, had we gone solo. And they are starting to do research for a Snakes and Spiders Amazon Tour...
All in all, it was a great time! And a good good way to decompress from work, for relatively little coin. Cheers!
Really enjoyable ride report and pictures. The scenery reminds me very much of the Sacred Valley area of Peru a little farther south. Thanks for taking the time to write up and post!
Thanks for posting . Great pictures. Glad to see your wife enjoying riding. Now you are back in Ft Collins ! Your life doesn't suck
This is the kind of trip my wife and I might like to make. Thanks for all your information. It sounds like the perfect getaway, even with DR200s which we like!
Great report. Thanks for taking the time.
Anyone have an idea of the weather there in April/May?
Here is a good article that explains the weather in Ecuador. The answer is complicated - it depends on where you will ride as weather and season varies according to elevation and region.
As Will mentioned, we will be adding some additional tours in the Amazon region to balance out the seasonal changes to keep riding here all year long. (the tour they rode is not offered from mid-February to mid April as the rainy season creates lots of landslides and road closures). We do have riding all year long here...
Adam took the original video down after I requested a couple of small edits - here is the new version:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/daOm-vSFVVw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Adam really did a great job making a video of the ride to Guagua Pichincha. Here is a longer edit:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/82CPZgznnas" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Great report Will.
Hi there, Alan! Are you and Katie comin' with us next time?
Would like to.