Following the Equator, an Ecuador Fly-N-Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by poolman, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    After passing through the heat and traffic of Manta our track paralleled the coast. I had looked at the route on Google Earth, and there appeared to be an unmapped road following the beach south. The area was quite remote, so I doubted there would be any private property issues:
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    We spotted a Playa sign and followed a sand road to the beach:
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    We had a blast riding south directly on the beach until we came to a rocky outcropping which extended to the ocean:
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    We then climbed to the trail we had seen on Google Earth:
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    There was a cool breeze from the ocean and the scenery was spectacular:
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    We stopped for water, turned off the motos, and were discussing the serenity of this little patch of heaven:



    It was at this time the National Police of Ecuador arrived armed with pistols and a machine gun. Two officials approached us on a 250cc motorcycle (one got to drive, the other got to carry the machine gun).

    They blocked the trail and began addressing us excitedly in Spanish.

    It was clear they were inquiring as to our purpose and intentions of being on this remote beach.

    I removed my helmet and gloves, smiled, extended my hand to shake, and replied " No Fumar Español".

    They looked at each other and smiled "he does not smoking Spanish"

    They then discussed our extensive luggage capacity and asked if they could search our bags.

    I smiled and politely replied " No Fumar Español".

    They then asked if they could look at my GPS route.

    "Sí, por favor" I responded.

    It was clear they initially thought we were smugglers, using our GPS and luggage to rendezvous with a boat on this remote beach and transfer contraband. Once they saw my GPS tracks and touristy waypoints they became more interested in our big 650cc KLRs and our travel plans. Not entirely sure we were off the hook, I smiled, shook hands with the policía, helmeted up, and rode around their bike (which was still blocking the trail). CulinT wasted no time in following.

    Breathing a sigh of relief, we continued on and crested a ridge only to find two more National Police agents waiting at the bottom of the hill in an SUV. We gave them a friendly wave but maintained speed as we got the hell out of dodge:
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    Looking back in retrospect, I learned four valuable lessons :deal

    1. National Police in Ecuador consider violations in "no vehicles permitted on beach" zones to be serious offenses.

    2. Google Earth does not denote narco smuggling transfer points.

    3. Do not ride a big bike with luggage and GPS into said narco smuggling transfer points during a National Police sting operation.

    4. If the three valuable lessons above are ignored, " No Fumar Español" may possibly save you.




    More to follow...
    #61
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  2. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Great story!:clap:clap:clap

    May I also add that your photography has made a marked improvement.:D

    [​IMG]



    :lurk
    #62
  3. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    #63
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  4. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Thank you EC,

    Just curious, are you referring to lighting, composition, or subject matter?


    Cheers,
    #64
  5. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Yes.:D
    #65
  6. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    We wanted to put some miles between us and the National Police, so we continued south on the dirt road at a spirited pace. The adrenaline was still pumping, and the riding was spectacular:
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    Many animals were grazing beside the road.

    I had a near miss when a donkey got spooked and ran in front of me. Spooked donkeys running in front KLR650s can produce horrific outcomes. I shuddered in my gear thinking of Clayton's tragedy.

    I noticed that although most of the animals were tethered, the ropes were not actually tied to anything:
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    The dirt track meandered through farm land and jungle for 60 km and then joined the coastal road, passing through several quaint seaside villages:
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    Anyone who has ridden in Latin America is familiar with "topes", the giant speed bumps which are placed before towns, after towns, and often randomly both in and between towns. There are many iterations, and each variety requires the appropriate technique to safely navigate over, around, or through.


    Normally CulinT and I are in sync when crossing topes, but on this occasion he slowed for a "tope" that was not an actual bump but only stripes painted on the road. I was busy taking pictures and nearly rear ended his bike:
    [​IMG]
    #66
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  7. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    The cool Pacific air felt fantastic:
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    #67
  8. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    As we approached the village of Piña, there appeared to be a dark cloud hovering over the beach. Through my fogged goggles I first thought it was smoke, but as we drew nearer we encountered a massive flock of sea birds:
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    The fishing fleet had just brought in the day's catch and entire village came out to participate. Apart from the outboard motors the scene was timeless:
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    #68
  9. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    The men go to sea and net the catch:
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    The women and girls are responsible for sorting the fish and pulling the boats above the high tide line:
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    #69
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  10. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    The boys haul the sorted commercially marketable fish up the steep bank to the waiting wholesalers:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    #70
  11. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    The girls monger the low value species for consumption by the village (note the eels under the table):
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    Leftover fish are distributed to the villagers:
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    The dogs diligently guard the fish from the hovering birds:
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    The people of Piña were incredibly welcoming and friendly. Our timing couldn't have been better, and they were happy to show us their craft. I helped the girls pull one of the boats up the shore and the fishermen all had a good laugh.

    Considering the value of the daily harvest, I have to assume that most of the profits go to the wholesalers who purchase all of the prime species. The fishing families live in relatively humble accommodations:
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    Culin contemplates life in Piña:
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    #71
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  12. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    :lurk
    #72
  13. miguelitro

    miguelitro Chuchaqui

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    The good old tweeky shack in Canoa!

    Great RR.
    Mike
    #73
  14. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Enjoy your popcorn, more to follow soon...




    Thanks Mike. Canoa would be a great place for someone half my age to spend a week! The Snak Shak and Tiki Shak were both extremely popular with the backpackers.

    I see you are located in Salinas. We were hoping to visit but didn't have time to go quite that far south. There is always next time...

    Cheers,
    #74
  15. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    The village of Piña was definitely the highpoint of the afternoon, especially after our morning encounter with the National Police of Ecuador. We wanted to get to our destination of Puerto Cayo before dark, so we reluctantly said our goodbyes. I gave a pack of Starburst candy to the kids, and they were so delighted they didn't bother to rinse the fish guts off of their hands before devouring it.

    We continued south, and again the route detoured west around some of the coastal mountains:
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    The Sanctuary Lodge at Puerto Cayo was recommended to us by Court at Ecuador Freedom, and we couldn't have made a better choice:
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    We were welcomed personally by the owner, Roberto, and promptly given ice-cold beers:
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    It had been an exhilarating day in the saddle, and the Sanctuary Lodge was just what we needed:
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    After we relaxed in the hammocks, Roberto came out with our keys, gave us the WiFi password, and showed us to our rooms:
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    I cleaned my boots in the outdoor shower. My Sidi Adventures had served me well in Peru, Costa Rica, and again in Ecuador:
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    After dinner we sat outside with Roberto and talked until late in the night about all things Ecuador... Government, security, education, religion, crime and the economy were all discussed in detail.

    We told Roberto about our encounter with the Ecuador National Police, and he laughed and told us that we were had ridden into a notorious Narco trafficing area.

    Roberto went outside and returned with a cocaine pallet he had recovered from the very beach where we were detained:
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    The Sanctuary Lodge provided excellent accommodations and amazing hospitality:
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    Our route for the day:
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    More to follow...
    #75
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  16. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    It takes effort to put together a quality ride report like yours. Thanks for letting us "ride along".
    #76
  17. stuser

    stuser Putt putt putt

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    Yep sure is nice to see your trip....

    I live a long way away, no idea if I'll ever get to that part of the world, but it certainly inspires me to go do something similar!

    Now, get those filthy boots outa that hammock! :evil
    #77
  18. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile

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    This is great, guys! Glad you liked the route! Keep the report coming!:clap
    #78
  19. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Danger4u2,

    I appreciate the kind remarks. Preparing a ride report does take effort, but it also brings back a lot of fond memories!

    All the Best,
    #79
  20. R-W

    R-W Been here awhile

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    Ditto... great RR P'Man.

    Cheers! :freaky
    #80