T – We were up before anyone else it seemed today. Ecuadorians seem to be late risers with nothing much happening until 10am and later. We were hoping to do around 250kms of riding today as Chantelle found a little loop just south of here that would take us to see a lake in an old volcano.
We had to do a little Pan Am to get there though but it didn’t seem to take us long before we were on a quite narrow road threading our way into the hills. The scenery out here was incredible! We were already quite high up, around 3000mts above sea level, and numerous mountain peaks loomed up in front of us, many of them with a patchwork of greens and browns on them from farming plots. How the hell do the people farm on such steep slopes here?
C – Ecuador is definitely up there as one of the most scenic countries we have been through. The endless green mountains and valleys, with the clouds moodily hanging off of the mountain tops – it has been beautiful. And the riding today proved to be wonderful as well, as we wound up and down mountains and into valleys with every type of corner imaginable!
T – The road was quite a bit of fun for us, the start of it seemed to be brand new bitumen, covered in recent landslides, washed out sections, and fast cornering fun! Well right up until Mabel got herself another….yep, flat tyre. This is really getting on my tits now. I know there is something in the tyre that is causing these flats. I mark the tyre and the tube before removing them from the rim but I can never find what it is that is causing the flats. Until today.
We sat on the side of the road and had a really good long look at the tyre. I found several very thin, barely discernable slivers of staples hidden in the tread blocks. None seemed to stick through to the tube but they hinted at the fact that there could be more in the tyre. In the end we removed 5 staple pieces and one chunk of broken glass. Hopefully that’s it!
The road turned to mud in a few places where the bitumen was yet to be poured. One of these spots had a stream that flowed over the road. With the recent rains it had gouged a small dip in the road which was deep enough to cover our engines as we rode through! It was fun but I wasn’t fast enough to get the camera out before Chantelle splashed through.
C – I noticed the water was nearly up to Mabels panniers at one point, but did not think too much about it before I plunged into the freezing cold stream. I was a little surprised when Rosies front end dipped down into a hole and the water came well above my feet. Rosie plugged on forward and climbed out and back onto the muddy road! It was a little bit fun!
T – The road wound up and up and soon we we standing at the edge of the lake. It was very pretty up there. But the wind was damn cold! The bikes did well but poor Mabes was back to 2nd and 1st gear for quite a while on some of the climbs. We topped out at just under 3900mts!
We continued on riding until we made it to a small town near the highway for the night. It was a quiet little place with a beautiful little square and some great food!
Tomorrow we head down into the Amazon Basin for a while as we head south. We are making up a plan to tackle Peru and think we will likely drive through most of it as quickly as we can. The flooding there has caused some major damage and we don’t want to be those tourists who rock up and take photos of people’s lives in ruins.