• Thursday , 14 December 2017
And, the Parts that aren’t the Amazon: Ecuador

And, the Parts that aren’t the Amazon: Ecuador

The border crossing from Colombia to Ecuador was a shock: it was orderly, logical, and free of people hassling us. A drastic change from the chaos of Central America. A couple of months ago a plan was set a motion to meet friends from New Zealand in Peru. They will all be renting motorcycles and we will all ride from Lima to Machu Picchu together. What we failed to comprehend is the sheer size of Peru. After all the itty countries of Central America we were lulled into thinking in “days” of transit time and not “weeks”. Unfortunately this meant we had to make quick work of Ecuador.

After being rained on for most of the day we pulled out all the gear to dry in the sun at camp Finca Sommerwind.

After being rained on for most of the day we pulled out all the gear to dry in the sun at camp Finca Sommerwind.

Every place we went in Ecuador was remarkable and we were surrounded by new friends and great riding. Oh, how we wish we could have stayed longer. We camped our first night in-country at Finca Sommerwind. It was definitely a place we could have gotten “stuck” and stayed for a week or more but after only one night it was off to Quito for the Amazon trip.

Mike posing for the camera in Quito, Ecuador

Mike posing for the camera in Quito, Ecuador

While a somewhat gritty town Quito did have some cute pockets here and there.

While a somewhat gritty town Quito did have some cute pockets here and there.

Street art in Quito, Ecuador.

Street art in Quito, Ecuador.

Gotta love a restaurant that has no menu and as soon as you sit down plates are put in front of you. Daily set lunch (meat or vegetarian) for $3.

Gotta love a restaurant that has no menu and as soon as you sit down plates are put in front of you. Daily set lunch (meat or vegetarian) for $3.

Gerd and Frank, the owner and manager, of Zentrum Hostel in Quito are salt of the earth and we loved our stay with them.

Gerd and Frank, the owner and manager, of Zentrum Hostel in Quito are salt of the earth and we loved our stay with them.

It is not every day your phone reads all zeros for the latitude. A big day for us crossing the equator.

It is not every day your phone reads all zeros for the latitude. A big day for us crossing the equator.

Equator marker deep in the Amazon rainforest.

Equator marker deep in the Amazon rainforest.

After Quito we made a soggy camp outside of Banos at Pequeno Paraiso near Rio Verde. This overlander oasis is run by Mark and Sue and as fellow overlanders they know what travelers need. Again we found ourselves at a place we could get stuck for a week or more. We highly recommend you stay here if you are ever in the area. After two nights we felt like Sue and Mark were long lost friends and we were sad to go.

The Andes mountains of Ecuador near Rio Verde.

The Andes mountains of Ecuador near Rio Verde.

Shannon and her pal Sue walking the dogs.

Shannon and her pal Sue walking the dogs.

Shannon packing the bikes in the rain while Mike looks on from the covered porch. It is good we left that day because landslides have been plaguing the road out ever since.

Shannon packing the bikes in the rain while Mike looks on from the covered porch. It is good we left that day because landslides have been plaguing the road out ever since.

It is amazing how high and steep farmers are willing to go to plant crops.

It is amazing how high and steep on the mountain  farmers are willing  to plant crops.

Near the village of Vilcabamba we were invited to stay with Scott from Bentleys Big Adventure. Scott had bought property and is in the process of setting up an overland camp tailored to overland motorcycle travelers. While not quite ready for business he is in full construction mode and should come online soon with Rio Moto motorcycle camp. This was a perfect stop for full tune-ups on both bikes and we ended up staying here for four-nights.

Street art in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

Street art in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

Vilcabamba camp.

Vilcabamba camp.

Mike spent three days giving full tuneups to both bikes in anticipation of rough roads ahead in Peru.

Mike spent three days giving full tuneups to both bikes in anticipation of rough roads ahead in Peru.

View from Rio Moto campsite near Vilcabamba.

View from Rio Moto campsite near Vilcabamba.

A little trail breaking was required if we wanted the motorcycles next to the tent.

A little trail breaking was required if we wanted the motorcycles next to the tent.

Scott is putting together an excellent overland motorcycle campground.

Scott is putting together an excellent overland motorcycle campground.

The final push to the border with Peru was supposed to be an easy day using an obscure and little used crossing near the village of Zumba. The best laid plans of mice and men…..It is an El Nino year and the rain has been relentless, dry season has yet to materialize. The soggy conditions paired with a road cut through unstable Andes mountainsides meant more landslides and mud bogs on the track then I care to count. It was a slow slog but extraordinarily beautiful. We were forced to ride after dark, something we never plan to do, and our anticipated 7-hour day ended up being 11-hours. It still rocked and we would not trade this adventure for anything. Our lives have become rich and full and I wish everyone could travel like this at least once in their lives. The world would be a better place I am sure.

On the road to the Peruvian border, not only was the mud from landslides deep and thick, the thousand foot sheer drop did not make the driving any easier.

On the road to the Peruvian border, not only was the mud from landslides deep and thick, the thousand foot sheer drop did not make the driving any easier.

Zippy catching her breath after a little tumble in a mud pit.

Zippy catching her breath after a little tumble in a mud pit.

More landslides than we could count.

More landslides than we could count.

We cheated Ecuador by not staying longer. It is a small yet diverse country with a lot to see. We will be back someday.

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