As many of you know, we were on the road to Peru two weeks ago when our monoshock broke and we were forced to haul the bike back to Cuenca, Ecuador, to get it fixed. What we didn't realize at the time was that the particular stretch of road between Cuenca, Ecuador and Jaén, Peru is cursed.
The worst has happened. Well, getting into an accident and injuring ourselves or rendering the bike permanently useless would be the worst. So then I guess I should say the second to worst has happened: our rear shock has broken and now we are stuck in Ecuador without a motorcycle until it can be fixed.
But let me start at the beginning.
After our brief venture into the Amazon, we took a route through southern Ecuador to get to Peru, a route that would pass through some recommended towns. And the first of which was Baños.
After staying with our friends Court and Sylvain at Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental to get our bike fixed (now it has new fork seals / bushings and is as good as new), we wanted to take a quick detour into the Amazon before leaving Ecuador and going to Peru.
The thing about the Amazon rainforest is that rivers have always been its main artery for transportation, and they are a much better way to get around than roads which can destroy the forest itself. This makes getting to the Amazon on a motorcycle a bit of a challenge, but there is a town in Ecuador that is the last outpost for land-bound vehicles and the beginning of the true Amazon, a place called El Coca. Since we knew we wanted to go there, we plugged El Coca into our GPS, and headed out of Quito.
Tim and I often find ourselves alone on the road with only each other to talk to, but for the past two weeks we have had the pleasure of traveling with fellow motorcyclists. After leaving Quito, Ecuador, we have now spent half a month coming full circle, going in a great loop around the coast and mountains of Ecuador. And we were able to experience it all while being in the company of other travelers, which is a real treat for us.
We left the Horizon's Unlimited Event in tow of two other motorcycle couples, all of them coincidentally from Melbourne, Australia, and also riding two-up on their bikes like us. It was somehow fateful and perfect that we had all met up at in the same country and at the same time.
We left Ibarra, Ecuador and headed toward the country's capital of Quito, knowing that we would have a few days to explore the city before our Horizon's Unlimited meeting was to take place. This HU event would be a group of fellow motorcycle travelers meeting up just outside of Quito for three days, and we had been preparing two speeches to give at the conference (we were extremely excited). What we didn't know was that Tim was harboring some nasty tropical disease within him, and this sickness was going to change everything.
This blog post is something new that we're trying out as we start combining our updates with shorter posts every week or so. We will also be doing our much larger country profile blogs with videos, and those will be named after the country without a date in the title. So I hope you enjoy the first of our mini-blog/updates.
Yesterday we crossed from Colombia into Ecuador. It was hard saying goodbye to Colombia, a country that we have grown to love over the past two and a half months. The colorful villages, the green mountains, the welcoming smiles, the typical platter of rice, fried plantains, and meat that we've come to enjoy called bandeja, oh and the free motorcycle lane to skip right through tolls... we will certainly miss Colombia.
But we must head on, especially since we will be presenting at the Horizon's Unlimited event in Quito, Ecuador on July 20-22, which we are very excited for.
Check out our newest book: a Road Guide to Peru