Big O's little trip...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Umarth, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days since leaving Montreal: 129

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    Time was running out to get to our boat ride that would take us to Columbia, so we bid Farwell to expensive Costa Rica and headed on over to Panama. The border crossing in itself was pretty much a copy paste of every other border crossing so far, except for one little catch: to enter you need to show that you are either carrying at least 500 US$ or have a recent bank receipt stating that you have that amount available. Neither I nor Damien carried such a sum so we needed to hunt down an ATM to withdraw some cash. That would mark the beginning of our money woes in Panama. Wandered around for close to an hour to find an ATM that would condescend to give me some money, while all attempts by Damien where met with stubborn denial by all the ATM's in the border area. But I had 500 cash plus a receipt, so I passed Damien the stack of cash and I just showed my receipt to the Immigration dude. Days later, speaking with fellow travelers, it appeared that some immigration clerks require the money proof while others don't. Go figure...

    Our first night, we spent in the town of David and was of such mind bending interest and fun that, two weeks later, I don't even remember having set foot in the place... :/

    After unforgettable David, we arrive in Panama city shortly after sun set. Always a guarantee of fun to drive in rush hour in a big Latin city after dark!

    Damien was hell bent on seeing the Panama Canal the next day and having no real interest in the city I ended up tagging along.

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    I was not expecting much and I was met by even less! (hehehe) I guess I'd imagine the canal to be a lot larger than it is.

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    Once back at the hotel, it was time to hunt down some more ATM's so that we could pay captain Ludwig for our cruise on the STAHLRATTE. And our money woes began anew! Went to three ATM's from different banks and none opened their purse for us. We where getting various error messages from transaction cancelled to contact your financial institution to insufficient funds! So we went back to the hotel and contacted our banks. Our cards had been frozen by our banks the day prior (while at the border) but where assured that all should be fine now. So back to the ATM's for an other round of failure. Then back at the hotel to call the banks. This time, some transactions had half gone through: the money had been withdrawn from the account but they had failed to GIVE the money to us! Ever only managed to get 500$ that day and had an extra 1500$ taken from my account! My bank said that they would investigate and that it could take up to two months.

    Coming back from our latest failure to get money, we took a few pics of Panama city. At night, it's very nice! Very modern and sleek. Had not expected it to be so rich!

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    The following morning was D-Day: we needed to head off to Cali to catch our boat. With not quite enough money but we figured we would be able to arrange something with the captain.

    Big O's take on the days events
    Like the boss said: was not expecting much from Panama and still managed to be underwhelmed by it! I guess there had to be at least one country for which we would not care for on this trip...
  2. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Where: Stahlratte, San Blas islands
    Days since trip start: 131
    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/Maps/i-wjFnqX2/0/M/route%20-%20stahlratte-M.png">

    Getting Big O from Panama to Colombia required a bit of planning in advance (Ok, the only planning of the whole trip), due to the fact that you cannot drive from one country to the other: the Darien gap stands in the way. A few crazy bastards have done it, but it takes about two months just to wad through 160 km's of snake, mosquito and drug trafficker infested swampy jungle. So an alternative was required. Their are two options: fly or sail. Flying is expensive but quick, while shipping by boat come in two flavours: cargo ship where the bike is put in a container and I fly over or, the other option, the Stahlratte.

    The Stahlratte is old commercial fishing sail boat, 38 meters long, from the early 20th century that's been purchased by a non-profit foundation, restored and spends 9 months of the year linking Panama and Colombia. It's cargo being made up of back packers and motorcyclist with their bikes. As a bonus, it wraps the whole experience up as a mini cruise through the San Blass islands off the coast of Panama.

    For the passengers with motorcycles, you board the ship one day early as to give time to load all the bikes on boards. On this trip, we where 18 bikes! The loading is done manually using a boom and some ropes. Here we have Big O wondering why his feet no longer hug the ground.

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    Once the bikes where all on board, we bikers where shuttled off to a nearby island where we would spend the rest of the day and night. As we where leaving, Gene (a third time passenger who got to stay on the boat) bade us all of farewell by saying quite poetically: so long suckers! No one understood the comment but we would soon enough...

    We where dumped on "Devil's island" run by the Kunas (the indigenous people of the islands). We where told to bring nothing as they would provide everything. Well everything, for me, turned out to be a hammock (strung between two palm trees that where to close to each other and so had my but on the ground) to sleep in (it rained all night) and super which was rice and fish. Said fish having the oddest body proportion ever: 80% head, 20% body! All in all, about 200 calories. Hungry anyone?

    Still, was not all bad as I got to know some of my fellow castaways (Germans, Americans, Swiss, Netherlands, and even fellow Canadians) quite a few of themzz also on their way to Ushuaia, played beach volley ball and even got to play a bit of guitar on the beach as the sun was rising.

    The San Blass bay is home to hundreds of tiny islands. Most of them are uninhabited but some are. And some are probably more densly populated than New York city! Case in point:

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    At around 9am a shuttle boat came to bring us back to the Stahlratte where we would have breakfast. And that brings me to the first perk of this boat ride: the food!!!! It's sooooooo goooood!!!! Simple but just ever so tasty! After breakfast, the backpackers came on board, the anchor was raised and the ship sailed off.

    Some three or four hours later we reached our destination for the day and we would be staying put the next also. The location was three little islands in the middle of nowhere: the perfect spot for a beach BBQ!

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    I swam over to the island so didn't have my camera with me, hence the no pictures of the actually beach BBQ. Really to bad as the BBQ was witness to an awesome thunder storm with the craziest lightning I'd yet witnessed!

    The next day was spent eating, drinking, playing guitar and jumping off the side of the boat and trying to impress our judges.

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    And running around the ship, taking pictures at random.

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    All in all, was a real fun day!

    The next day, the boat set sail for Cartagena at 5am and would see uaas arrive at 8am the following day. We only got one quick stop during the day for a swim in open ocean which was awesome. Going up and down those huge swells and the water was a deep blue that just doesn't exist anywhere in real life.

    Here we are, having our last breakfast aboard the Stahlratte,

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    And our first peek at Cartagena as we where closing in on the bay,

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    Even got to see something that you really don't see every day, at least in Montréal,

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    And then it was time to unload the bikes and say farewell to the great crew of the Stahlratte.

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    <b>Big O's take on the days events</b>
    Well will you look at that! Not two days on a boat in the Caribbean sea and already he's playing pirates!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-NvXhWmw/0/XL/_FX04623-X2.jpg">
  3. wingnut11

    wingnut11 generally strange

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    913
    Location:
    Twin cities mn
    Great stuff. I'm looking forward to more. I'll need it to help get through winter.
  4. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    glad you find it entertaining. :1drink
    Heard snow was on the ground this morning back home! Erk! Here was a balmy 25c at 10,000 feet! :rofl
  5. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    42,116
    Location:
    NY
    +1

    Pass the salt.
  6. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days since leaving home: 146

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/Maps/i-DBBt5zb/0/L/route%20-%20colombia-L.png">

    Finally in Colombia and on time! Bruno is flying into Bogotá with his KLR, on the fifth, to join me on the southern leg of the trip! This should make for some interesting times...

    Left Cartagena the 30, heading to Medellin. Was planning on doing it solo but as I was packing my junk, Steve and Don where also on their departure for Medellin so it was decided that I would tag along. The ride out of Cartagena was quite entertaining to put it mildly: morning traffic is chaotic to say the least. But being on motorcycles, the ability to lane split came in real handy, we managed to escape unscathed and in good time.

    The first half to Medellin is rather boring highway but the farther away you get from Cartagena, the terrain slowly morphs into mountains and the riding got quite nice!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-SnSDcSZ/0/XL/day153-1-L.jpg">

    Barely 10km away for our destination for the day, the tiny village of Planetta Rica, we passed a gas station which had an oddity about it: in front of it, two Super Teneres where parked and two over dressed Suisse dudes where sipping cokes! Guido and Raphael from the Stahlratte! So we stopped, partook in some coke sipping and eventually left, all five of us. My solo ride was turning into a posse.

    The next day, we all headed on to Medellin and, about mid way, it was our turn to be sipping cokes when a pair of Germans spotted the bikes on the side of the road: Julia and Hans from the Stahlratte! And so our posse grew into a war party of seven!

    We entered Medellin just before sun set, in rush hour and our hostel lay right on the opposite side of town. With all the stop and go, Julia's bike started to over heat so we turned off on this crowded street to let her bike cool off. As it happened, we had chosen a street that was closed off for Halloween and the street was clogged with people. We had not been there for more than 5 min that a crowd gathered around the bikes and people where asking us all kinds of questions about us, our bikes, our trips, etc. Big O was a huge hit and quite a few kids got there pictures taken on him.

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    At one point the crowd was getting a bit to big for comfort so we decided to move on. Hopping that Julia's bike had cooled off enough. Turns out that it had not and it was giving her trouble. Raphael, being a bike mechanic, quickly diagnosed it as a fried starter relay. We eventually managed to nurse the bike across town to the black sheep hostel.

    After Medellin, headed on down to Manizales and then Bogota: and the ride was great! I was lucky enough to be doing it in a national holiday which means that I pretty much had the road all to my self. And the scenery was quite beautiful to...

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    Rolled into Bogota just in time to pick up my ward for the next 3 months. Here he is waiting for his bike to be released from customs.

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    He landed at 2pm and we where all set and ready at around 7pm. At which time we headed off to our 5 star hotel with the artsy bathroom decoration.

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    Seeing how freakishly polluted the air is in Bogota, we opted to skip touring the city and headed out. I was quite jealous of Bruno as his first day of riding, back to Manizales, was going to be a gorgeous ride. Well, not quite... Fist off, it was not a holiday so traffic was stupidly slow! He did adapt quite quickly to overtaking trucks, buses and vans when ever the opportunity presented itself. That includes blind curves of course. hehehe

    Then there was the fog...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-SNrmDdn/0/XL/day153-8-XL.jpg">

    And, we who know fugly, all know just how mechanically inclined he is: he managed to strip two bolts when he installed his center stand, back in Ottawa . Said bolts came off at one point...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-w8Nhps7/0/XL/day153-9-XL.jpg">

    I had quite the laugh when he showed me his stash of zip ties: all ten of them! In the first two days, he must have used them all! LOL

    So took all day to get to Manizales and because of the traffic, the ride was not quite as fun as what I was expecting. But the following day would make up for it big time! Right next to Manizales, there is a national park with a good sized volcano! We opted for the more "direct" route which turned out to some nice farmer trails going up the mountain!

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    We stopped in Ibague for the night and then on to Popayan. This stretch of the road is along the valley and we took a secondary road that skirts the montains all the way down. They have some really nice trees down here!

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    Popayan turned out to have a really nice colonial down town, and Bruno being even more into photography than I a photo-shoot was mandatory of course...

    Notice anything odd about this phone?
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    The next morning we where off to the town of Pasto.

    But first we stopped at this motorcycle shop we happened to come across, to have Bruno's stripped bolts repaired.

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    Again, some nice scenery as Colombia pretty systematically offers.

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    Here we have Pasto!

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    I've been on the road for 5 months now and have been to countries where I was told I would be mugged, shot, raped, kidnaped etc etc. Well during all the time all those "dangerous" places I never once felt in danger much less like prey. That changed with Pasto.

    When I come to a city that I haven't previously identified where I'm going to sleep, I head to the Centro area and that's what we did in Pasto. The first hotel we saw I vetoed against it as it looked like bad news, the second one was not much better but Bruno casually said: I don't give a shit! So I got off the bike and went up the stairs to check it out. Oh boy! First off, the office was caged behind what looked like inch think Plexiglas. Then there was the room right next to the officina, with the door open and these 5 really shady looking mofo's who all turned to look at me as I got at the top of the stairs. At that moment, for the first time on this strip, I felt like I was moments away from having shit find me. As in really bad shit! "Fuck this" me says, and I turned around and left. As I exited the building, I noticed that I car had stopped next to Bruno and was trying to tell him something. Bruno wasn't getting it so when the driver saw me he started talking to me. In essence, the guy was telling me to get the hell out of this neighborhood as it was very dangerous (full of drugs, gangs and prostitutes) and that nice hotels could be found about 5min from here. His warning was in perfect accord with my impressions that's for sure! Took a bit of doing but finally managed to locate a very decent hotel and happy to say that there is no drama to report. :)

    <b>Big O's take on the days events</b>
    I don't know if Bruno figured it out but his arrival took some getting used to for my idiot rider! Having been on his own for five months, the sudden constant companion was a rather big change of pace. Mainly, it showed through with random flares of impatience and bad humor. But happy to report, to all our fans out there, that dumb-dumb has adjusted to this new style of tramping along South America and seems to be quite enjoying it.

    As for my impression of Colombia: it's a bikes dream land! I'm so happy to be here that I literally shine at times! :p

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  7. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    When: November 12th to 22nd, 2013
    Days since leaving home: 159

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    Ecuador is country that I hardly knew even existing before coming on this trip. Ecuador? What the fuck is that you might ask? A country who's main claim to fame is the fact the equator passes thought it?? If you google facts and Ecuador, as I did, you run the risk of falling asleep before you come up to one that's of any interest! It must be pretty obvious by now that I had very little expectations when we crossed into Ecuador: boy, where we in for a pleasant surprise!

    The first major surprise were the roads: they are brand spanking new! This is Harley Davidson country, not KTM. They put North American roads to shame! Just about everywhere we went the roads were either new or in the process of being re-paved.

    Second, this country <i>feels</i> rich! And that's compared to all countries on this trip. Yes that includes Canada and the USA. Was told it was oil money tied up in a deal with China... Granted, luxury cars remain rare but the population seems much better off.

    Then there is the landscape! Ecuador has a huge number of active and dormant volcanos sprinkled all over it. And he who says volcanos, says dramatic landscapes!

    Our first night we spent in the medium sized town of Ibarra. We met up with Flo and Stephen (from the Stahlratte) and Jonathan. Had a few beers on the hotels terrace. I got there just a few minutes to late and missed the setting sun illuminating the volcano just outside of town. But here is an idea.

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    The next days, we bid farewell to our new friends and put Quito, the capital, in our gps. On our way, we passed more volcanos.

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    And the actual equator!

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    Quito has some very nice attractions, in and around it, so we stayed there a few days. The mandatory first day was spent taking gazillions of pictures of the city's old colonial sector. Ridiculous the amount of churches that they have here. And yet, they are just about full 7 days a week. These Ecuadorians sure look like they sin a lot...

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    This next one, from the Jesuit's local church, cost us 8$ to get in only to be greeted by a big ass sign stating that we could not take any pictures!!! Fucktards!!!

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    And before you all start planning to sneak in at night and peel off all that gold form the walls and make run for it: it's paint! Typical Jesuit ploy...

    Here we have a kid having a ball terrorising the local pigeons that are trying to listen to mass...

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    And the ensuing panic...

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    One thing that did put us off was the pollution from the vehicles. When you have three or four buses pass one behind the other, the air gets plain toxic! Here is the exhaust of one that's actually on the clean side...

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    We wanted to take a walk up the hill overlooking the city with a big angel statue. But as we were about to start up the stairs going to the top, a friendly local told us to turn around as there were a lot of thieves waiting for dumb ass tourists to climb said stairs with million dollar cameras and rob them blind. The motto of this trip is Adventure <i>and</i> Vigilance, so we grudgingly turned around.

    The next day saw us go to a cloud forest reserve where there are hundreds of species of birds. We figured that would be cool and would most likely provide for some nice photo ops. Well you know what? It would seem that neither I nor Bruno give a rats ass about bird watching! We hadn't been there for 20mins that we where ready to leave. But, being the hardy adventurers that we are, we thought it out for an extra 20 minutes!!! It didn't help that we did not have the proper camera lens for bird photography. The birds ended up being tiny in the frame. Well, except for the humming birds that where a bare 5 feet away... oh but wait, humming birds are microscopic! Damn...

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    Since the bird watching took a lot less time than expected, we decided to finish the day with a volcano! There happens to be a volcano a mere 30km from Quito. The road getting there was gorgeous and would push our bikes to their limits, unfortunately. This picture is at about 14k feet elevation.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-KCvrbBj/0/XL/_FX05228-XL.jpg">

    By now the bikes where struggling with the thin air. Not much further up, Bruno's bike turned into a hard headed mule and refused to go any higher up. That was at around 15k. Big O plowed on and got to the end of the road. I wanted to take this picture, from the rim of the crater (I lifted that picture off of Horizons Unlimited):

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Other/Mismach/i-5LwmqwL/0/O/Tyson-Brust-2-riding-the-rim-of-Guagua-Pichincha-volcano-Ecuador-640-X3.jpg">

    But to do that, Big O and I had a short but steep single track trail to go up. Less than 500feet! But Big O failed me for the first time ever! He just didn't have enough breath to make the climb! We where at 15,700feet. I could have stopped and adjusted the carb to compensate for the altitude, but Bruno was waiting for me so I turned around: in ignominious defeat! Aaaarrggg!

    Still, the ride itself was a blast and climbing roads that, at times, where pure volcano ash was a recipe for grinning like morons!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-CCd5JhH/0/XL/_FX05231-XL.jpg">

    Quito happens to have a KTM dealer so I decided to stop by as my clutch lever was about to give up the ghost at any moment and I wanted them to take a look at my rear shock that seemed blown. The mechanic confirmed that the shock needed a rebuild but they didn't have the parts to fix it and it would take 2weeks to get them. That unfortunately just can't fit in our timeline to Ushuaia.

    Ended up calling my KTM dealer back home to see if he could help me out and man did he ever try to! He called every where to see if anyone had a shock (the 640 has a very unique shock and so is rather rare) but could not locate a new one in the America's! He then went through his contacts to see if someone would have a used one that we would get rebuilt and revalved asap. Apparent success as one of his contacts said he had one. They sent it over the next day only to discover that it was for a 690! Bugger! Back to square one. More phone calls ensued. KTM USA offered to buy a used shock off of eBay and rebuild it for free then ship it to me!!! Now that's service! Unfortunately, Peru prohibits the importation of used vehicle parts so that avenue was dead. Or almost. My dealer assured me that if he got his hands on the shock, he would make it look like it was new. So now I needed a shock to rebuild that would get to Montréal asap. That's when Gunnerbuck came in and saved the day! He agreed to sell me one of his spares and sent it out the very next day! Rock star man, Rock star! So my shock will get shipped to Bolivia as the window for Lima is to tight. And in the mean time, Big O rides like a pogo stick!

    The following morning would see us say bye-bye Quito and head down to a crater lake: Quilitoa volcano! But first, we would take a detour through the national park of Cotopaxi. The ride was fun to get to the park as it's a half maintains gravel/stone road and we where hitting it at a good clip. When we got to the park entrance, the park officials refused us entry. Or more precisely, refused Big O and Champion entry! But 4x4 vehicles where fine! For some reason, it really really ticked me off! What stupid mofo though up the idea that a bike would cause damage where a 2 ton 4x4 would not??? Asswipes!!!!

    See if you can find the little message I left them in this pic, the Cotopaxi volcano is in the background for those who care (I know I don't)

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-FqtPFnP/0/XL/_FX05268-XL.jpg">

    But the day was far for a bust. We ended up taking a HPS inspired short cut to the crater lake and that was stunning! It felt like we where in Mongolia at times!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-fzmGgwh/0/XL/_FX05278-XL.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-JkxRNNS/0/XL/_FX05297-XL.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-SdScT2T/0/XL/_FX05306-XL.jpg">

    We arrived at the crater about an hour before sun set. The place is all setup for tourists so that was nice as we where able to get a room less than a hundred feet from the rim of the crater. Here are some pics of the place...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-6zmMCJX/0/XL/_FX05317-XL.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-JR8NXqv/0/XL/_FX05404-XL.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-RvHBN9Z/0/XL/_FX05439-XL.jpg">

    That picture was taken down the crater. Going down is quite easy, but the going back up was ridiculously difficult on the longs! Now I think I know what it must be like to suffer from asthma. The crater rim is at 12,500 feet and the oxygen that's available is a far cry from what I'm use to at home. To add insult to injury, while I was struggling to climb out of the crater, this native girl walks by in HIGH HEELS!!!!

    The next day, we headed to Baños and again the scenery would have bored you to tears...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-6SQdQXv/0/XL/_FX05450-XL.jpg">

    Baños turned out to be a tourist town that acts as a hub for outdoor activities. From rafting to hiking a big ass volcano and everything in between. We made our escape the very next day. we would take the road that skirts the Amazon forest and stop at Macas.

    To be honest, the view of the amazon was quite tame but still, was a bit of a thrill to see in person that mythical forest!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-xMWc8ht/0/XL/_FX05483-XL.jpg">

    From Macas we headed on down to Cuenca. A really nice colonial city! We had to arrive right in the middle of the 1h long rush hour and took 40mins to go 4 blocks. But the hotel was worth it.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-hff7Nvk/0/XL/IMG_0081-XL.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-sgpSM3N/0/XL/IMG_0085-XL.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-vpQLRTh/0/XL/IMG_0088-XL.jpg">

    And this next image is quite at home in Ecuador!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-PG7jmPc/0/XL/_FX05527-XL.jpg">

    If Colombia was the land of exquisite coffee, in contrast Ecuadorian coffee was butter and hardly drinkable. But! The food! Best food so far in Latin America! And the pastries! Sooooo goood!! I'd given up hope of having proper pastries until I got back home.


    After Cuenca, we headed down to the border town of Macara.

    here you have the map lover drooling over his map to see where will get lost tomorrow. In Peru!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-TKhst7P/0/XL/IMG_0094-XL.jpg">

    <b>Big O's take on the days events</b>

    That fat head just had to mention my little hiccup going up the darn volcano! And then he goes on and on about my rear shock being a bit lazy! But does he mention all the times he was going to fast in dirt roads and then only reason he didn't break his neck was by Superior handling? Oh no! Lets focus on the bad things! I swear, if he keeps it up, it's going to let him crash at some point...
  8. wingnut11

    wingnut11 generally strange

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    913
    Location:
    Twin cities mn
    Perfect day for an update. It snowed here today, which sucks. I'm already looking forward to hearing of shock replacements, more pictures, more of a great ride report.
  9. huguesfrederic

    huguesfrederic HF

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    197
    Location:
    Ottawa, Gatineau
    Late, but I am in... :clap

    A little gear freak here... what kind of bags are those? I love them in red.

    Great pictures, love them.
  10. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Quito, Ecuador
    Great report - glad you enjoyed Ecuador - wish we had been able to give you some advice for your route instead of wasting your time trying to get into Cotopaxi National Park. The law was put in place because at some point armed gunman on a motorcycle attacked a tourist bus. Now you need to get a permit to ride your motorcycle into the park. There are many other fantastic places to ride in Ecuador where you don't need to go through tangled bureaucracy and you succeeded in finding a few of them on your own. Good job!

    Have a great ride and thanks for sharing your photos and experience here. We would disagree about the coffee though! Ecuadorian coffee - especially from the Loja, Zaruma and Intag regions - is fantastic. You just need to make it yourself!
  11. Paratrout

    Paratrout Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Cackilackistan, Concord Oblast
    Again bro your photos are the f*(#ing bomb! You definitely have one of the best ride reports going right now.

    Just a side question; are you riding back home or will you ship Big O back?
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
  12. NKOrange

    NKOrange Puny homer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    Flowing with it
    Front page material!

    Awesome report :clap
  13. Spaggy

    Spaggy Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Just for future consideration, If you mention a native girl in high heels by a volcano, WE NEED PICS!
  14. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL

    Those bags are my own creation but they are fully inspired by AdventureSpecs magadan bags.

    http://www.adventure-spec.com/default/adventure-spec-magadan-panniers.html

    But being a cheap bastard, I just could not bring myself to fork out that much cash for them. So I eye balled it off their pictures, order all the materials of the internet, borrowed my mothers sewing machine and discovered just how much i despise sewing! But I'm very pleased with them.

    So far, they have been bomb proof and carry all the junk needed.

    I would not hesitate to recommend the AdvSpec ones over making your own cause they are a LOT of work to make!!
  15. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    What happens if armed gunmen in a jeep do it next? Will they ban those to? Sorry just being snarky. :p I was just so hell bent in reaching the lake at the base of the volcano, for a picture of the volcano in refection, gunning it through the rough road to beat the clouds that where moving in on the cone, that when they told me I could not go, piss me off much more than it should have. A lot more! Bruno had a good chuckle when he saw me reacting so strongly for no reason. He even thought I was about to run over dude! lol

    Now the coffee!? What happened there?? Ecuador exports, at the moment, what is considered the worlds finest coffee! And yet, not once did we manage to find a cup that was passable! :huh Is coffee not something that Ecuadorians drink? In Cuenca, we went to these coffee shops that looked all upscale and figured they'd serve the good stuff, but nop! A lot of places even served us instant coffee and from Columbia no less!!

    But those two things aside, which where extremely minor, I'm not sure my post on it conveyed just how much I loved the whole experience of Ecuador! An amazing country with amazing people! Had the schedule permitted, would have stay much much longer to explore more fully.
  16. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Thanks mate! Seeing how so few people where commenting on this RR I figured I was just boring the shit out of you all and was considering not bothering with it anymore. I guess I'll keep posting. ;)

    As for the trip back home, there are several options with various degrees of probability.

    - ship back home by freighter,fly home and call it quits. From Brazil.
    - ship to Senegal, fly of sail over.
    - ship to Europe, go to the ktm plant, rebuild the bike, then continue onto Mongolia and such.

    the shipping back home also has the option of just being for a few months, to make some cash, do some maintenance on the bike and head off again for Africa or eastern Europe, possibly by way of Iceland.

    But first, lets starts by finishing the Americas that are simply Fantastic!!!
  17. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
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    MTL
    Understood Sir!
  18. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Quito, Ecuador
    Yes the law blocking motorcycles into Cotopaxi is a law that is not "ecological" but rather what we call "Ecualogical.":D
  19. ElReyDelSofa

    ElReyDelSofa Desubicado

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    el Lago De Sal
    I know, I visit there fairly often (annually) as my wife's family lives in Cuenca. To most Ecuadorians that nasty powder is coffee, and the only question is "Leche o Agua?". The aforementioned wife said that when she was growing up good coffee was readily available. But then starting in the 70's Nestle came in and started buying up all the coffee and plantations for export and introduced instant coffee.

    Lately though there has been some good coffee coming out of Loja, I always bring some back with me. We also have coffee plants on our finca South of Cuenca and I have been known to answer "no I don't have any agricultural products to declare" when re-entering the US with fingers crossed. :D

    You can always try asking for cafe posado, that might get you a passable cup.

    Saludos,

    Martín
  20. huguesfrederic

    huguesfrederic HF

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    197
    Location:
    Ottawa, Gatineau
    Wow... But I loved them in red!!! They look great, by the way. Thanks for the quick answer. Keep on riding.