South America by Geezer

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Mrs RB arrives today. Get out to the airport early (I’m not toooo excited :wink:) and fortunately see her get off the plane. I’m hanging around the exit for a long time wondering what is taking so long – she hasn’t come out yet and all the others waiting for arrivals have left. Expecting there is a problem with her bags as she changed planes in LAX and this isn't the first lost bag when traveling through there.

    Finally a guy comes out and gets me – sure enough, no bags. Of course I was mainly concerned about the three litres of Mobil 1 and the oil filter along with the replacement LED spot light she had with her. For some reason completely beyond me, she seemed to be more concerned about all the other stuff she had brought along. :d

    Needless to say, they came through with the bags the next day – oil and lights were all ok . . . thank God! :wings

    Taxis are really cheap in Quito – paid between $4 and $8 for the 20-30 minute cab ride between Casa Helbling and the airport - the $8 ride was the morning of Jan 1 . . . understandable. Most towns in North America the cabbies hit that number before they even back out of your driveway.

    Found a nice simple restaurant near Gringolandia and I had a pollo la plancha and Mrs RB settled for a salad


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    Kedgi came into Quito the next day and was staying at a Hostel a couple of kms away so joined us for dinner. Wound up eating sandwiches in the back of some dodgy restaurant. Welcome to Ecuador Sweetie. However, Ulysis and Alison showed up later on and it was great to see them again as well.

    Got all my bike maintenance done and she’s good to go for another 10,000 km. Got all of our stuff reorganized for our trip to the Galapagos with everything we don’t need there stored in one of the many storage rooms at Casa Helbling. The bike of course, will remain in its great parking spot in the storage area of Casa Helbling.



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    It’s amazing how much crap you have to deal with when you are reshuffling things for, essentially, three trips: My big trip, our trip to the Galapagos and our trip around Ecuador. Different things needed for each. It was great that Claus and the Casa Helbling were able to handle all of our storage needs and we were grateful to be able to use it as our base of operations in while in Ecuador.

    Kedgi came over again on the third and we grabbed a cab to the Historic downtown for a wander around and dinner. Of course, what didn’t join us was my camera which caused me to have a hissy fit when I realized the extent of my idiocy. :doh Oh well, it is such a neat place Mrs RB and I decided to return the next day in the daylight.

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  2. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Out Standing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    137
    Location:
    Tallahassee. FL. USA
    "Of course, what didn’t join us was my camera"
    Holy Cow, what were you thinking. :raabia :sweeti :lol2
  3. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Hmmm, hadn't thought of that angle . . .
  4. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Got back downtown with my camera this time. For my penance, I'll inundate you with pictures of churches, buildings and a few people.

    Basílica del Voto Nacional - On the way to the historic town square spotted this huge old church and told the cabbie to let us out. Turns out this is the primary Church in Quito started in 1883 and took over 100 years to complete. It is apparently the largest Neo-gothic church in the world and is modeled after Norte-Dame in Paris. Side view - note the spire on the left and clock towers on the right - I'll talk about them in a bit.

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    To give a little idea of the size of this thing

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    and notice the statue of the dude at the front door . . .

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    . . . that'll be El Papa or better known in our world as the Pope who visited here in 1985

    Instead of sticking the usual Gargoyles around the building, they used images of local animals

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    The high point (no pun intended) for us was climbing the gazillion stairs to the upper part of the church - yes it was wheezin Geezer time again, the city is over 9000 feet. First get a birds eye view of the main church

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    notice the roof structure

    Check out the stained glass

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    and then head up some more stairs. Walk across the top of the main church on this ramp

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    then up a set of steep stairs to get back outside by the Spire

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    Once outside, climb up a couple of steep flights to the platform in the Spire

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    Great views including the clock towers and the religious statue on the far hill

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    and a nice view of part of the city

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    Then back down, across the ramp and up more stairs to one of the clock towers. Then up these funky spiral stairs to the top.

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    Great views again

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    The differential connecting the clock mechanism to each of the three clock faces

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    the cool old clock mechanism

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    This is getting long so I'll do the rest shortly
  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    We walked around the old town, up and down the steep streets. Random pics of streets and buildings


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    Took in the main museum. These ladies studying some Native Art

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    We were at the Museum for about an hour and the entire time we were there this lady was lecturing this young fellow. This was at the edge of a display of some outstanding photography

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    Outside we ran into this young bunch of athletes. Wonder who might be on their way to the NBA?

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    Out in the Independence Square, these guys were discussing Nuclear Fusion or politics or how many beers they drank last night


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    or how to get arrested


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    I told Mrs RB I took this picture to capture this little old lady lecturing the cops . . . honest!


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    A couple of interesting faces

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  6. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Get up early and fly to the islands. We had booked for 7 nights on the Galapagos Voyager. Boat was great and the remaining 11 passengers were even better. Had an interesting, international group: 4 Germans, 1 Swede, 2 New Zealanders, 1 New Yorker, 3 Texans and of course, 2 Canadians. Crew of 8 plus our Naturalist Guide.

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    With no more than 80 or so tourboats permitted in the islands and with the National Park limiting the number of boat visits to each Island and bay, the Ecuadorans have done a good job of protecting the very unique species found there.

    Starting less than 5 millions of years ago, volcanic activity started to build these islands what is now some 500 miles from shore. Since the islands are 500 or so miles from shore, many animals and plants have made their way here over many thousands of years and adapted (evolved) into unique species found only here, and in some cases only on one of the many islands.

    A guy named Chuck Darwin made the islands famous less than 200 years ago as the unique species he observed helped build the foundation for a couple of books he wrote. The guides prefer to call it Adaptation rather than Evolution to avoid the religious discussion but it is a very unique and interesting place.

    Tortoises and turtles

    Once we got off the plane, the first Island we were seeing stuff was Santa Cruz where we visited the Giant Tortoise Reserve.


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    Mrs RB showing off her stylin rubber boots they give you to wander around the fields while observing the big Tortoises


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    I think these birds will eventually discover there are faster forms of transportation


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    "My God!" is that thing alive . . . big animals process large quantities of groceries


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    The Darwin breeding station is also located on this island where they breed the Tortoises for release after they are 5 – 7 years old. This project is helping to re-establish the Tortoise herd.

    We later visited Isabela Island where there is a second breeding station devoted to species of the Giant Tortoise specifically to that island. Some species of Tortoise have disappeared on this island and others are near extinction resulting from predatory actions by man, feral cats, rats and dogs along with consumption of available feed by feral rabbits. Even without all the extra predatory problems tortoises have a very low survival rate. The breeding station is producing enough tortoises of survivable size to reestablish the remaining species.


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    We were admiring this bunch of mature tortoises. You can tell the one with his back to us is a male as he has a big tail. The tail is where he keeps his junk . . . delicately known as his body parts responsible for propagation of the species.


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    Next thing we know, he has wandered over to this group of Tortoises and climbs aboard this other Tortoise. The female will try to get away but once he gets his tail in action and gets himself situated aboard, she just giving him a ride around. They will apparently do this dance for 7 or more hours. Not sure if she drags him by the fridge so he can at least grab a beer or two on the way by – would seem the considerate thing to do.



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    Lots of sea turtles with somewhat the same problem as the tortoises – low survival rate coupled with predators making it tough on the population. The females were laying eggs at this time of year and it seemed like every time we turned around there was a couple of turtles floating by playing wheelbarrow. :feelgood



    [​IMG]


    Apparently the females don’t have many morals and take on more than one male to, um . . . mix things up. They then crawl up on the beach a number of times over a few months to dig a number of nests and lay a few eggs in each. The dark marks in the water just past the surf are females waiting for dark so they can come ashore and dig a nest.


    [​IMG]


    What looks like tractor tracks in the sand is the marks of the females paddling themselves up the beach. The depressions in the sand are their nests.


    [​IMG]



    Of course, when the little guys pop out of the sand it’s chow time for any meat-eater in the area. Although one female will deposit at least 500 eggs over the season, she will be lucky to see one of her young reach adult size for every two or three years of her reproductive efforts.
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  7. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    971
    Location:
    Santa Monica CA
    Great shots ! I have visited the islands and it is one of the most amazing places in the world.

    I loved the blue footed Boobies and the very small rare penguins.

    Have a great trip.
  8. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,809
    Location:
    Spokane Washington
  9. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    870
    Location:
    North of T.Ho., Ontario
    Great pics and update RexBuck. What an adventure.
  10. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Well, that’s what I thought too. However, turns out on Galapagos they are referring to three species of birds. Who’d a thunk it?



    Nazca Boobies – Very prevelant. Used to be called Masked Boobies . . .




    [​IMG]
    "Uhhh, apparently I'm supposed to point this way"


    They don’t have many predators on this island so the Boobies just make their nest on the ground. Mom not only can warm the egg by sitting on it, she can keep it from overheating by standing up and shading it.


    [​IMG]


    Will provide shade for the babies also.


    [​IMG]


    There was literally thousand of them standing around like this


    [​IMG]


    This is a crappy picture of a Blue Footed Boobie - they actually have bright blue feet


    [​IMG]


    The Red Footed Boobie (The random feet in the background do not belong to a Boobie . . . ) - red feet and blue beak



    [​IMG]


    A young one sitting in a tree trying to cool off


    [​IMG]


    The distinctive split tail of the Frigate Bird


    [​IMG]


    best known for the bright red chest of the male who blows it up like a balloon during mating season to attract a mate. What some guys won't do . . .



    [​IMG]


    Frigate birds fishing


    [​IMG]


    A juvenile before its coloring has changed. They are born white then gradually change their color as they mature.



    [​IMG]



    Frigate Birds can be quite aggressive and will steal the young of others including other Frigate Birds. We saw a juvenile Frigate Bird try to take a young Boobie of about the same size - the Boobie was able to fight him off.

    Galapagos gull



    [​IMG]


    Lava Heron - kind of looks like Mr Burns . . .



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Galapagos Short Eared Owl - likes to hide in caves. Can apparently catch some small birds on the fly



    [​IMG]


    Red-billed Tropicbird


    [​IMG]


    Thought this was some guy's front yard . . .


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    Flamingos get their distinctive color from eating shrimp in the mud


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    There are a couple dozen species of Darwin Finches - one of the more important birds of the islands as Darwin studied them extensively as a basis for his work


    [​IMG]


    They even have a Penguin here . . . some are apparently on the northern islands making them the only species of Penguin in the Northern Hemisphere.


    [​IMG]



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  11. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks and, thanks for following along.

    Thanks Jeff

    Thanks Sunday
  12. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Tons (litterly) of sea lions lounging about.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And they will lounge anywhere

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The dominate male likes to swim back and forth and make a distinctive racket to protect his brood from interlopers. However, he is so worried about other dudes sneaking a quickie behind his back that he doesn't bother to take time to eat. So, a combination of swimming back and forth, hollering and charming the ladies eventually wears him down.

    Other males are always sneaking in trying to grab the eye of one of the females who are probably mad at the big guy anyhow because he just swims back and forth and yells and never buys her any jewelry. When the dominant male discovers the other guy eying up his ladies, the fight is on. Usually Mr Primo wins but eventually he has worn himself down while the new guy who is well fed, well rested and has been pushing weights lays a lickin on Primo. The new guy
    can now swim back and forth acting like an 18 year old kid with a new car. Ex-Primo is then relegated to the Loosers Beachwhere all the looser males hang out, rest up, eat and pump iron so they can try to beat up some old guy and get some hot sea lion chicks.


    In this video of some pups playing, you can hear the male and see his head pop out of the water a couple of times.

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5pb6H1zA4l8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



    I seeee you . . .

    [​IMG]


    The two main types of Iguana are land and see. I love these guys - they are so ugly!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The favorite food of the Land Iguana is the flower of this cactus


    [​IMG]


    On islands with Land Iguanas, the cactus developes a trunk and the flowers grow out of the reach of the Iguanas like below. On islands with no Iguanas, the cactus grow low to the ground.


    [​IMG]

    This guy found one of the flowers and rolled it around on the ground and in his hands, I presume to get all the spines off of it then, gobbled it down

    [​IMG]

    Marine Iguanas are mostly black and have a long tail that they use to swim with

    [IMG]http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/i-4xDWwfz/0/M/IMG_4586-M.jpg[/IMG]

    [FONT=Times New Roman]A mug only a mother could love[/FONT]

    [SIZE=4][URL="http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/27118135_NXMBfn#!i=2331094437&k=XgcZxpZ&lb=1&s=A"][IMG]http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/i-XgcZxpZ/0/M/IMG_4764-M.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    [SIZE=4]Godzirra . . .

    [SIZE=4][URL="http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/27118135_NXMBfn#!i=2331091087&k=6Rk7tXT&lb=1&s=A"][IMG]http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/i-6Rk7tXT/0/M/IMG_4534-M.jpg[/IMG][/URL]


    [SIZE=4][FONT=Times New Roman]To show how well they have adapted to the lava background, I counted 18 Marine Iguanas laying on the rocks in this photo[/FONT]

    [SIZE=4][URL="http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/27118135_NXMBfn#!i=2331092728&k=2m5wfQ7&lb=1&s=A"][IMG]http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/i-2m5wfQ7/0/M/IMG_4619-M.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]

    A steady supply of the very colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs

    [​IMG]

    We did a lot of snorkling and the area abounded with colorful fish and other animals. I was using my GoPro which took lousy photos and ok videos but, not worth posting. Saw sea lions (A Big Daddy was not happy when I was nearby), turtles, sharks, rays, etc. Here is a ray taken from the surface

    [​IMG]


    The last day we hiked up to the top of the Sierra Negro Volcano on Isabella Island. It is one of the many active volcanoes on the islands and last erupted about 5 years ago. It just bubbled up in its caldera, part of which can be seen here. The far wall which looks like some mountains in the first pic is about 8 km away. It measures 10 km the other way.

    [URL="http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/27118135_NXMBfn#!i=2331093687&k=5cNgCMj&lb=1&s=A"][IMG]http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/i-5cNgCMj/0/M/IMG_4745-M.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    [SIZE=4]Looking along one wa[SIZE=4]ll - it's a few hund[SIZE=4]red feet to the lava surface

    [SIZE=4][URL="http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/27118135_NXMBfn#!i=2331093852&k=KtxVd8w&lb=1&s=A"][IMG]http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/i-KtxVd8w/0/M/IMG_4752-M.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    [SIZE=4]Galapagos is a fascinating place and if you ever get the opportunity to go there[SIZE=4], do it.[/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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  13. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Hey SR, glad to have you along and thanks for the props.

    Think of you every time I come across some metal that was extracted from the ground or being extracted. Sure seems to be a lot of it around down here.
  14. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Quito, Ecuador
    awesome pictures! Thanks for posting!
  15. holckster

    holckster dougholck

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    905
    Location:
    Lodi, Ca
    And I've been wasting my time watching the Discovery Channel when RB give us Nature at it's best from a motorcyclists viewpoint. :bow

    Hello to Mrs RB.:babe
  16. Jick Magger

    Jick Magger Exile on Main Street

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    861
    Location:
    Okanagan Valley BC, Canada/Scottsdale, Arizona
    Hey Rexbuck

    Happy New Year. Its nice to see you back on the road. Great photos indeed. Keep them coming.:thumb
  17. GaryWild

    GaryWild Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Vernon, BC, Canada
    Hey Rex and Mrs. RB

    Those Galapagos shots were really good. You really have a way with photographing iguanas. I am fascinated with the tortises....are you allowed to touch them?

    Have fun,

    Gary
  18. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Hey Court, thanks for joining in. Big props to Freedom Bike Rentals again as I thought I needed a new front tire PDQ and you folks were able to hook me right away. :clap Many thanks. Sorry I missed you again as you were out showing some folks around Ecuador.

    If any of you want to see another spectacular South American country, think about Ecuador and look up Court and his crew here If nothing else, the website has a fantastic amount of information about touring around Ecuador.
  19. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks Doug, appreciate that.
  20. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks Jick. It is good getting back on the bike. Will be resuming the solo trip in a couple of days.