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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ohio_Danimal, Apr 24, 2018.
You sure caught that light perfectly.
I just returned from my visit to Sancuario de Las Lajas. Wow is all I can say.
You all by now have seen my infatuation with old churches and old structures in general.
Sancuario de Las Lajas isn’t that old, with construction beginning in 1916, but it is, as well as the surrounding landscape, stunning.
I met Caro Botique there, who had ridden her motorcycle to the church before arriving in Ipiales. Caro is French, and flew into Colombia, bought a motorcycle and just started riding South!
We walked the grounds and surrounding walking paths along the river gorge, after having a cup of coffee and waiting for the rain to subside before the exploration began.
Attached are pics from the Church and surrounding area.
Awestruck by the landscape.
Impressed by the structure.
Dismayed by the church's display of wealth.
Still, very glad you shared.
Well I'll be damned...I guess you really do meet the nicest people on a Honda!
Safe travels to you both!
Congrats on making it into Ecuador! Hope its as nice as they all say!
We left Ipiales fairly early at 7:30, in the cold and rain.
The woman I was riding with had no real farkles or whatever for cold wet riding, though her Spidi jacket and pants are waterproof. No hand protectors. No heated gear. She layered up like the Pillsbury doughgirl and it was in the mid-40’s when we left.
On the other hand, I had the goretex liner in my pants, heavy socks inside heavy boots (she’s wearing hiking boots), my Gerbings jacket liner running, Klim cold weather gloves and my heated grips cranking.
It was literally only a few minutes to the DIAN building. There I handed in my Colombia TVIP and headed to Inmigration to get my passport stamped out.
There were large numbers of Venezuelan immigrants today seeking to get into Ecuador. Thankfully they had separated them from “Touristas” in different lines and it only took a few minutes to get stamped out of Colombia.
Then a short ride across the bridge into Ecuador and a stop at their Immigration area.
There we encountered many more immigrants and even with a separate line, it took over and hour to get stamped in.
No fixers were in sight. I guess they don’t see profit around as the immigrants are usually broke.
After the passports were stamped in, we moved to the Aduena building to get our TVIP’s. Interestingly, the guy at the window had US go and take pictures of our license plates and VIN numbers with our phone and bring them to him, rather than him (or someone else) having to come out into the rain and get it themselves. Also strange, he handed me HIS cell phone and had me take a picture of my bike, which he uploaded into their system.
Once through, we rode on, looking for a place to eat and get coffee. Cora was cold I could tell, and when we found a suitable restaurant we ate eggs and bread and coffee.
All this at close to 12,000 ft and cold and wet.
Eventually as we approached Ibarra, where we are now, it dropped to 5000 ft or so and warmed considerably. Also the rain let up.
In Ibarra Ecuador, we found a private campground on iOverlander located in a plant and flower nursery. It’s only $5/night and the folks are awesome. I have a nice spot for the tent. They have bathrooms and showers and fed me already!
Cora isn’t staying however. She has an opportunity to spend time with a friend nearby and changed her mind and left. It was nice meeting her!
I may stay a few days here. It’s that nice.
The ride in today presented some outstanding scenery. I’ll upload the Nikon pics later. Hopefully the mist and rain didn’t spoil what looked incredible to the eye!
Next stop Quito!
A few pictures from the ride from the Ecuador border to Ibarra Ecuador yesterday with Caro.
The northern Andes in Ecuador at around 11,000 ft
One of the three dogs living with Graham, my host in Ibarra. Graham is Australian, and backpacked here years ago, eventually returning to live here, marry a Colombian woman and raise a family. Graham allows Overlanders to stay at his home.
This loveable giant’s name is Dingo
Graham in the red and blue coat by the fire last night, Ibarra in the background. Beautiful!
Graham took me to downtown Ibarra this morning to get my shot for yellow fever, which will be needed later on in the journey.
First stop was the local Red Cross building, where a French couple staying with Graham in their RV went, as the woman is undergoing physical therapy for a broken foot she received in a fall in Colombia.
The Red Cross guy informed me that they no longer offer injections there, but gave me the name and address of a nearby clinic that does.
So Graham took me over to a clinic called Vacunorte, and for a nominal fee I got the shot and corresponding documentation showing I received it, signed by the doctor.
Now, back at Graham’s place to chill out more. Later I’ll use the groceries I bought to make some beef stew. Should be good, seasoned with Tony Chacharay’s Cajun seasoning I’ve been carrying since Ohio.
I spent most of last night and part of this morning feeling “off” from the yellow fever shot.
By mid afternoon I started feeling better, drinking lots of water and several containers of local yogurt and some fruit and granola provided by my host Graham and his wife Amalia. What warm people.
Towards evening Graham asked me to drive his Mazda pickup into Ibarra so he could grab some groceries. THAT was exciting and fun!
So towards evening, it was announced that most everyone staying here was leaving in the morning.
A French couple in a motor home that are touring South America with their three children, another French couple backpacking South America and myself, heading to Quito in the morning.
Graham’s property has a large pond stocked with tilapia. The French couple’s son caught about a dozen large ones, and it was decided we would all get together for dinner tonight.
Fresh bread was baked. Fresh fish was baked. Colombian rum and Ecuadoran wine was opened. A wonderful time was had by all!!
Attached is a selfie from Graham’s truck while illegally parked waiting for himto return from the supermercado. The other is a group picture just taken at dinner.
I’ll miss this place!
It is this sort of experience, interacting with locals and other internationals, that I want to have as much as seeing the scenery and having awesome rides.
Thanks again for sharing your trek and keeping my own dreams of travel stoked.
WELCOME TO THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE WORLD! @Ohio_Danimal
One foot in the Northern and one foot in the Southern Hemisphere!
After stopping at the Mitad del Mundo (middle of the World) on the equator, I made it safely to downtown Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, and rode to the motorcycle shop owned by Sata Gavilanes named MotoHell.
Sata had a room for me right behind the shop.
Sata is also a specialist on all things Suzuki DR650 related. His shop is filled with DR parts! Here I’ll do a valve inspection/adjustment and a few other things. Nothing like being greeted with a hearty hug!
Here’s a link to MotoHell’s FB page!
It’s awesome to finally meet him in person and get to spend some time in Quito. Maybe a week.
I’ve been invited on a DR ride tomorrow with Sata, his wife and another person. It’s supposed to include some easy off-roading and is around a 200km loop. Should be fun, especially since I’ve removed all of Sunny’s luggage. I’ll wear my camelback and even remove the drink holder bolted on Sunny’s side. That way I can even leave the massive tank bag behind and really go lightweight.
Right now I’m a km or so away from MotoHell, walking downtown Quito to an ATM and now am waiting for my meal at a diner called “The Lovers”
Making it to the equator is another major check mark for me.
You’re quite welcome Scott. It’s other’s writings and ramblings of their excursions that stoked the fire in me for so many years, until I decided to just cash in and go for it. I consider it just giving back!
After a while on the road you realize it’s barely about motorcycling. Travel is travel. The mode can vary. Sunny is just a tool (don’t tell her I said that lol)
I did it! Now to do the slow crawl to Ushuaia. Right now there’s 3 ft of snow down there. I’m planning on December to TDF. Miss you Timmy! Tell Becky I said hey and I love her new bike.
How is you bike running @ altitude...
A bit rich no doubt....Im sure your starting without a choke...did you readjust your carb yet ?
Also have you seen the Southern Cross yet in the night sky ?
Bike is running well. Haven’t even adjusted the air fuel screw yet.
That will likely change above 14,000 ft, as she stumbled a few times last Summer on Mt Evans Colorado on a ride with Woody at 14,500 ft. Still ran ok. Still starts easier with the choke.
The bike had the carb rebuilt before I left with all Orings and seals replaced with ethanol-resistant versions. Then she was dyno tuned by an expert and he got the air fuel mix near perfect.
Haven’t looked for the Southern Cross yet. Will check it out.
After another two days of feeling like shit because of the yellow fever shot, today was the day to do maintenance on Sunny at Sata Gavilanes ‘s shop MotoHell in Quito where I’m staying.
There was an empty service bay and I got to work.
Front fairing off, seat and side panels off, gas tank disconnected from both petcocks and gas tank removed.
Then I first removed the lower crash cage assembly that was broken and re-welded in Honduras. The job they did was effective but crude and was causing the oil cooler to sit crooked and touch the inside of the plastic gas tank.
After removing it, I (with the help of Sata’s mechanic Jonh) the rough weld was ground down and clearance restored. Then all welded areas were wire brushed and painted flat black to prevent rust.
Then I removed the valve covers and did a valve inspection/adjustment. Both intake and exhaust valves were within the factory range, but not consistent as to where I last set them.
All perfect now.
Then I removed, cleaned and re-oiled the air filter. Good thing. It was filthy.
Then reinstalled the fuel tank and fired her up. Started right away and ran strong. After warm up, drained and replaced motor oil with 15w-50 full synthetic Motul oil. Removed the stainless oil filter (there was visible dirt in it) and cleaned it with solvent, blew it clean with air and reinstalled. Warmed Sunny up and checked oil level. Perfect!
After finishing, met a German Rider Hannes Tiedens who is riding from Argentina to Alaska. He’s also on a DR650. Real nice guy and we’ll stay in touch as he’s heading back South for more Peru action. we exchanged ride decals for our bikes.
Also met a Belgian Rider who is riding the world on my dream bike, an AJP PR7. I’m meeting the nicest folks who all have similar dreams. Thanks to Sata we all are together here in Quito.
Either later today or tomorrow I’ll find a Claro Store and get a local SIM card for my iPhone.
T-Mobile is cancelling my account August 27th for “excessive roaming” even though they knew when I left last June that I would be travelling Latin America over a year.
T-Mobile sucks. Truly.
But a local SIM card should do the trick (after they billed me over $60 for unlocking the phone)
Here are a few pics from around MotoHell today!
Hannes from Germany and his DR650
Bart Haeck from Belgium and his AJP PR7
Sunny, ready to go again
Hannes’ Ride decal
Sata’s wife Michelle today explained the shop’s name “Moto Hell” as being connected to Sata’s nickname “Satan” lol.
Now you know!
This has been a public service announcement from your wandering hippie
"Went to lunch, back in five years." Love it.
I’m feeling much better today.
Michele (Sata’s wife) took my dirty laundry so I really had no clothes to wear lol, so I lounged around the shop in bicycle shorts and watched Bart Haeck do some work on his AJP PR7. While he worked on a valve inspection I drooled all over his bike and detailed a bit of it, getting lots of dirt out of nooks and crannies and polishing his beautiful red anodized parts while getting an appreciation of what a beautiful machine it is up-close.
His valve adjustment procedure is far more involved than my bike, having shim adjusters and requiring removing cams to change shims. Luckily his were in spec still.
After he finished reassembling the bike, he came back to my room here behind the shop, and helped me with map issues I’m having with my Garmin Zumo 595 GPS.
I recently paid Garmin a pretty sizable chunk of money for their latest South America maps, only to find out AFTER (they don’t say shit before you pay and download the files) that the maps don’t include ANY of Ecuador!!
I knew there are ways of getting free OSM (Open Source Maps) maps to work on Garmin GPS’, but never took the time to learn the ropes of how to do it.
Bart, on the other hand, ONLY uses OSM maps on his Garmin.
So we fired up my laptop and he went to work.
First he determined that I had the latest 4.7 version of Garmin Basecamp on my laptop (the program Garmin requires to upload map files to your GPS unit) and 4.7 has glitches that don’t allow OSM uploads!
So he had to uninstall Basecamp 4.7, find a website that still had the old version available, install that version on my laptop, then download the Ecuador OSM maps, then connect my GPS to my laptop and voila!
I now have updated Ecuador maps on my GPS!
Thanks Bart if you read this.
Now I have clean clothes, a fresh shower and maybe later Bart will take an Uber back this way and we’ll go out for food and beers.
It’s nice to get problems solved. Tomorrow hopefully I’ll get the new SIM card for my iPhone. That’ll be the last piece of the puzzle and I’ll travel somewhere else in Ecuador.
No hurry to head South. I figure a month in Ecuador, a month in Peru, a month in Bolivia and then Winter should be wrapping up for heading into Chile and then Argentina and Ushuaia!
I am enjoying your trip. Thanks for posting.