One Day at a time - Riding the Americas

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RangeRoad, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    108
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    the roses are real. I think they start out as white roses and then they use dyed water and some kind of system so that the petals soak up the colours. How they do it is beyond me but it sure looked cool.
    #81
  2. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Days 75 to 78 - The Sacha experience

    We worked our way east towards the amazon basin, stopping overnight in the beautiful town of Banos. As it's name suggests there are many natural baths fed by the hot springs from the nearby volcano. The highlight of the area came the next morning shortly after leaving town. We stopped at the Paillon del Diablo, a large waterfall that is reached by a short walk from the highway. Not just another waterfall the Paillon jets a massive volume of water through a small opening in the rock and plummets down to the emerald green river below.

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    We made our way out of the mountains to the east and entered the Amazon basin. We were destined for Coca, an oil boom town that has exploded in size as workers flock to make a buck in the oil patch. Sound familiar? Coca is also the base for many tourists to grab a boat and visit the luxury Amazon lodges that line the rio Napo. After an uneventful night in Coca we were eager to head down river to Sacha lodge where we would be staying the next few days and soaking in the wonders of the jungle. Two hours later we were sitting in a canoe gliding through the dense jungle as our guide paddled along the black waters.

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    Sacha lodge is built around a small lake and contains trails for hiking as well as small tributaries where the guides escort guests on canoes. It makes for excellent tours and allowed us to see a variety of flora and fauna. The tours aside, Sacha boasts 5 star guest service and some of the best food I have ever eaten. The only meal that didn't offer 3 selections of desert was breakfast but I wasn't complaining.

    Our next few days consisted of morning tours, afternoon tours and short night excursions. We saw bugs, tarantulas, monkeys, snakes, toucans, parrots and countless other creatures.
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    #82
  3. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
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    302
    Location:
    Detroit / Toronto
    Finally found your RR Derrick...unfortunately internet is too slow on the Galapagos to load any pics :(


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    #83
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  4. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Nice to have you along my friend. I know your pain in the Galapagos. For anyone who following along who wants to read a great ride report check out Charlie's page. He is way more diligent than I am and takes better pictures.

    #84
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  5. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 79 & 80 - Journey to the middle of the world

    After the Amazon we spent a night in a small town in the cloud forest. I can't remember the name but it turned out to be a kayaking meca for people who like river kayaking. I could see why, the scenery is spectacular and there are dozens of small rivers to chose from.

    A trip to Ecuador wouldn't be complete without walking on the actual equator. We had a day to kill before our flight to the Galapagos and this seemed like a decent way to spend an afternoon. The monument is surrounded by a micro Disneyland style park with artisan shops selling every kind of trinket imaginable. Despite being a fake village it was fun to "explore", take some pictures and laugh at the charade. We ate some very good chocolate and drank some very bad craft beer and of course I had ice cream. I brought along my GPS to check the coordinates.... close but not quite. We walked a few blocks out of the village to find the real equator... a dirty sidewalk surrounded by abandoned buildings with trucks and buses screaming past.

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    #85
  6. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Days 81 to 84 - Darwin's Islands

    We arrived on the desert island of Baltra in the Galapagos archipelago shortly before noon. A 5 minute solar powered ferry brought us to Santa Cruz, where we boarded a bus to the other side of the island. Watching out the bus window the scenery changed from desert to almost tropical in the wet highlands and then back to desert as we descended to Puerto Ayora. After settling into a reasonable hotel we walked to the Darwin center where tortoises are kept and bred before being released in the wild to help restore the populations that once numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Years of exploitation for food during sailing voyages and later for tortoise products such as oils and other consumables reduced the populations to the point of extinction. There used to be 15 species on the islands, there are now only 11 due entirely to human activity. Thankfully the efforts to protect these amazing creatures have been successful and many species are maintaining their numbers naturally.
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    Our next day was spent on an organized tour snorkeling, sightseeing and swimming on the beach. The tour guide was terrible but the tour route was good and we saw all of the animals on our lists. We swam with sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays and a couple sea lions. We saw the ridiculous male frigate bird, his red chest puffed out beyond the tip of his beak. We watched Nazca boobies fly and nest and got up close to a group of blue footed boobies and marveled at their bright blue feet.

    The next morning we decided to avoid any more snorkeling and boarded the ferry to San Cristobal island. After a very rough 2 hour ride across the ocean we settled onto the island and ate a late breakfast while watching two large sea lion colonies swim, play and fight. The alpha males from each colony would bark and patrol the border of their respective groups. If another male got too close they would chase them away or get in a small fight until one of them backed down. The babies would ignore the whole thing and keep on playing no matter what was going on around them. It was very entertaining. The sea lions don't keep to their name, they patrol the entire town and can be seen on sidewalks, sleeping on park benches and even standing as the greeter at the tourism office. We walked some of the nearby trails but ultimately couldn't get enough of the entertainment provided by the sea lions and returned to watch them until our ferry back to Santa Cruz
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    Our last day on the islands was spent walking with giant tortoises and exploring the highlands of Santa Cruz. The highlands are the complete opposite of the coast. They are wet, lush and green with trees and grasses everywhere. A fog covers them almost every day. We walked through a few lava tunnels created by the volcanoes during the formation of the islands and observed the massive turtles up close. Their incredible size, old age and slow movement gives the sense that they have some kind of wisdom to share with the world. Like an old man who has seen and done many things but sits quiet, waiting to be asked for his insights. Some of these beasts are over 150 years old, the same age as our great country!

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    #86
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  7. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 85 - To the beach... and the bar

    This would be the last full day together as we headed for the beach. Ma and Pa were looking for some beach time and I was ready to continue on my journey. We made the 5 hour trip to Canoa in 6 hours, the little Chevy struggling at times with its 1000 cc engine and budget suspension and brakes. As always, things get more wild towards the coast. The orderly ways of the mountain towns gave way to the organized chaos of the lowlands. Soon we passed through Canoa, a town ravagged by a massive earthquake only a year ago. We checked into a beautiful little hotel on the beach only to find out another quake had hit the area that morning. It was smaller and there was no damage but I it made Mom a bit nervous. There was no turning back and so we decided to wash away any bad thoughts with a beer. And another. And another.

    A group of riders from Ecuador's Freedom bike rentals showed up, so we had a beer with them too. And another. And another.

    Day 86 - On my own again

    After a slow morning and a few cups of coffee to get the brain working again I packed up and said my goodbyes. It had been a great couple weeks travelling with mom and dad. I was able to see and do a lot of things that I wouldn't have on my own. Learning to travel with other's was more of a challenge than I expected, but after two weeks we had settled into a bit of a rhythm. Time to let them enjoy their beach holiday and time for me to learn Spanish and get some help with my surfing.

    Back on the road I headed south down the coast for what turned out to be a fairly spectacular 3 hours. Stunning ocean vistas complimented by some twisty mountain sections were broken up by small agricultural towns and surf villages. My destination was Ayampe, a small surf town on the coast. I had booked a week long surf rental and 5 days of Spanish classes with Otra ola cafe. I stopped by the cafe on my way into town to check what time my lessons started only to see an Oilers license plate behind the bar. Turns out the owner is from Devon, Alberta. Small world.

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    #87
  8. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Days 87 to 93 - Chill Vibes

    I quickly settled into the slow pace of life in Ayampe. After my first surf lesson I spent the better part of the day drinking coffee, making a basic lunch and lounging around. By mid afternoon I had started spanish lessons and by 5 o'clock I was ready to find a place for dinner. I attempted to go for a run on the beach but the extremely high tide from the supermoon prevented any aspirations I had of logging more than a couple kms. Like groundhog day, I spent the next week repeating this same day over and over with some minor variations. There are plenty of worse ways to spend a week.

    On the weekend I had time to run to Puerto Lopez where I planned to change oil. I stopped at Suzuki, the only new bike dealer in town. They had 10w-40 synthetic, but nowhere that I could do the oil change. I went to another store... no luck on the oil. Only 20w-50 for the small air cooled bikes popular in the area. Third shop had some 10w-40, but it didn't meet the JASO and API requirements for Lola. Who knows how long they had it on the shelf, it was for vehicles older than 1993. Lola deserves better. I used some of my new language skills to explain that Suzuki had the right quality of oil but I still needed a place to make the change. They immediately suggested that I go buy the oil and come back to use their shop. How many shops in Canada would let you do that?

    Not only did they let me do the oil change at their shop, when I realized that Suzuki had given me two bottles of the wrong oil they let me use one of their bicycles to ride back and exchange them. They asked for no money, even when I offered. They were just happy to help me out. I gave them each a couple dollars to buy a beer and explained that in Canada we buy our friends beer for doing us a favor.

    I think the highlight of spending a week in one place was that I had a chance to meet a lot of people, both locals and others in the hostal. Unlike previous places though, with a week I had a chance to really get to know a few people. A young guy from Quebec and a young at heart guy from Austria were my dining companions most nights. It was a nice change but I was soon ready to get back on the road. Staying in one place for a while was great, but I always have an urge to keep moving.

    Ayampe may be to slow for me, but if you think that surfing and yoga is the life for you look up Otra Ola spanish, surf and yoga cafe. The business is for sale. Ryan and Vanessa have built a really nice little business just off the beach. They teach surf lessons, host yoga every morning, run a small cafe and host spanish lessons in the afternoon. It is the perfect business for anyone looking to live the beach life in a quiet surf town.
    #88
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