Let’s get one thing clear – This is a write up about my brother and me riding motos through Ecuador. There are multiple write-ups on this type of adventure, including the company that we rented from. I am also writing about the non-riding days in Quito. Please, feel free to merely skip to the next thread if you are rolling your eyes at this point. However, we did have a blast! In October of this year, my brother Dave and I had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador and ride motorcycles -mainly on dirt roads- through the country. For us, this was the trip of a lifetime. I gave some thought as to what to entitle this report. As I write this section, it is Christmas Eve, so my brain is not functioning at 100%. I’m going with something simple. Two Brothers Ride Ecuador. Dave (MufflerBearings on ADV Rider) and I (FrameOil on ADV Rider) have ridden motos all over Baja, and have explored almost all of the peninsula. We live pretty close to the Mexican border, so Baja is an easy weekend outing. As I have stated in other posts, if you have an abundance of free time on your hands that you are able and willing to waste, you can see our trip reports from some of our longer rides in 2013 and 2017: “Las Tres Chaquetas Ride Baja” and “Los Siete Afortunados en Baja”. Anyway, we ride a fair amount and always have a good time. We decided to expand our adventures to further south, so we started looking around at other countries to ride. Having never been to South America, and after reading some other ride reports, we chose Ecuador. Above - Dave – his name in the background in case you questioned it… Above - Me. For all of my friends and family who have not seen me in 6 months – chicks dig the beard. We searched for companies that rented motos and offered services in case of catastrophic break downs since we would be a long walk from home. Dave and I are both pretty well versed with motorcycles and maintenance (even field fixes), but sometimes engines blow up, and not much can be done. Being out in the remote mountains of a South American country on dirt roads without any type of life line is not preferable, so we went with a well known moto rental company out of Quito. This company has operated for some time in the region, and offers support if needed. We made our reservations to depart from Quito on the bikes on October 8th, returning October 13th. In order to acclimate to the higher altitudes of Ecuador (Quito is 9,350 ft), we arrived on October 5th. This also gave us an opportunity to explore Quito for a couple of days. Enough of this. Let’s talk Ecuador! October 5th: After flying through Panama, we landed late at night in Quito and had an uneventful walk through Customs and Immigration. I am always reminded how most countries don’t have the stringent standards of international security that the US has had for the last 17+ years. We proceeded out to the terminal, and the driver from the hotel where we stayed the first night was waiting for us, sign in hand, and drove us to the hotel. Dave doesn’t get out much. October 6th: You may see some pictures of random cars throughout this write up. We are both huge fans of the odd and awesome. After a quick breakfast of pancakes and eggs at the hotel, we proceeded in to the city. We checked in to the Hotel Inter Americano, which is right next to “La Ronda”. I will explain in detail what La Ronda is later, but the hotel was not bad for $40/night in the center of a major city. After dumping our bags, we immediately called a taxi to take us up to El Panecillo, a large statue of the virgin standing on the head of a serpent way up on the side of the mountain above Quito. The virgin is holding her hand in the air and is giving a blessing to the entire city. Please note – I am not proselytizing. Merely regurgitating what the historical meaning of the statue represents. It is a cool landmark. There were a few vendors that were already set up and ready to sell their goods to visitors. We even found a Peruvian flute band! If you know me, the last comment was sarcastic. You can find Peruvian flute bands anywhere in the world. We decided to get out in to the community and walked down the 50,000 steps back to the city. We are pretty sure that we found the route for some of Quito's intense urban downhill competitions for mountain bikers. Just look it up on youtube and I am sure you will know what I mean. At the bottom of the hill, we meandered the local's market and then proceeded to the Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus – a very ornate church that is all gold on the inside. One interesting fact – There is a listed price for Ecuadorians, and one price listed for foreigners. Any ideas what the ACLU would have to say if something like that was found in any place in the US? We had our first real Ecuadorian meal at a café. The Seco de Chivas was delicious! I was somewhat surprised that the despite the name, the goat was awesome. We made it to the Plaza Grande; the center of town, and were promptly greeted by two Tourism Officers. They were nice and asked us for our names for their records. They allowed us a quick picture, and let us know where their offices were located should we need anything during our stay. No – we don’t stick out, at all! After taking pictures of the Simon Bolivar statue, we proceeded to the Basilica del Voto Nacional. This is an impressive church in Quito, complete with gargoyles on the exterior. We walked through the church, then climbed to the top, where we walked on the catwalk above the main sanctuary, then climbed ladders to the top of the highest point. From here, we were afforded impressive views of the city. The above picture is of a statue that is in the church. I dunno…seems like an odd pose… Afterward, we made our way back to the Plaza Grande, where we waited out the rain in an ice cream shop. The ice cream in Ecuador is made with real cream. We made it back to the hotel after the deluge, and then proceeded to La Ronda. La Ronda is an alley where there are a lot of restaurants, shops, night clubs, bars, etc. It is mainly locals that go there, so we definitely wanted to see it. We walked through and found a good place to eat some empanadas. Real empanadas are so tasty! October 7th: Since our hotel was so close to Santo Domingo Square, we walked there, then caught a bus to Parque Ejido to rent some bicycles. Quito is quite bicycle friendly. Every Sunday, the city closes one direction of the main street(s) through the city to allow cyclists a stress free opportunity to ride. Even better, there are police officers at most intersections to allow an added sense of safety to the ride. We rented bicycles for super cheap in the park, then rode around the city for a while. It was awesome. We both thought we were a little out of shape, then remembered the 5000+ feet of elevation difference between home and Quito, so we allowed a pass. On the right – Soviet made Lada. These are all over Ecuador. On the left – unit-body Toyota pick up. While riding through the city we found a BMX track…in the middle of the city. It was awesome. Dave and I both raced BMX in the 80s. So, we had to take a couple of hot laps for old times' sake. https://photos.smugmug.com/Ecuador-Greg-2018/i-bWGS8pX/0/88081363/1920/IMG_6407-1920.mp4 We proceeded over to the moto rental place where we would be picking up the motorcycles the next day. We filled out all of the paper work, paid the remaining balance, then were briefed on riding motorcycles in Ecuador. We were definitely not in California or even Baja, anymore. After checking out the operation, we left the moto rental place, then returned the bicycles. We ate lunch at a fantastic Lebanese restaurant. I speak fluent Spanish, but the waitress asked us in valley girl English, “Do you guys speak English?” She studied in the states and learned while living here. She brought us food that she recommended and we had the best meal of the trip in this place. After lunch, we taxied across town to the tram and took it to the summit of the mountain at 13,000 ft. It was foggy and cold, so no view was to be had. We walked around and found an insane downhill mountain bike trail that goes from the summit all the way to the bottom. About 4,000 ft. decline of elevation on the trail. Since it was almost dark, and since we did not have bicycles, we just looked around a bit then rode the tram back down the hill. The ride down the hill was entertaining. We were in a tram car with some locals who appeared to be about 10-15 years younger than us, and seemed amazed that we Americans understood Spanish. They were nice and gave us some great ideas of places to see before we left. After a quick taxi ride back to the hotel, we grabbed a light dinner and turned in, excited to be on the motos once and for all the next morning. Stay tuned...Tomorrow we actually get to ride the motos!