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.
Baños has also made a name for itself in the extreme sports world, as it has many bridges to bungee jump off of, lots of trails for hiking, biking, horse-back riding, there's white-water rafting, and it even has these extreme “Swings at the End of the World" where you can be pushed out on a swing overhanging a cliff. All that is fantastic stuff, and I can see why backpackers who are looking to meet fellow travelers while having a thrilling time love Banõs. But for Tim and I, we get plenty of excitement riding along gorgeous cliff edges all the time, and we did not feel the need to do any of these adrenaline-inducing activities.
So after a few wet and cold days of camping, we left Baños and headed south, slowly making our way to Peru.
Feeling refreshed and having ended our tour of Ecuador on a good note, we were ready to head to Peru. And that is of course when disaster struck.
But that was all fine, and we were going over the bumps and ridges as they appeared out of the fog with ease, until I heard a pop, and it sounded like we had run over a large branch, breaking it in half with a crunch as we rode over it. Actually, this was the rear shock failing beneath us, and we immediately pulled over, knowing that something was majorly wrong.
Well, that put us in a bit of a situation as we stood in the middle of nowhere with the cold rain pouring over us like the heavens were laughing at us. All I could do was curse over and over again and stand there shivering, wondering why we were the most unlucky two people in the world. But Tim did not go into freak-out mode as I had, and instead sprang into action.
He said we have two options, either get someone to tow us out from there, or somehow get the bike to a place where we could find someone to tow us. Once on a tow truck, we would need to get the bike to a KTM repair shop, which the only one we knew of was way back in Quito, nearly 15 hours away. But I took a deep breath and told myself to take this one step at a time. First we needed to get ourselves and the bike out of the remote mountains before a Speckled Bear ate us.
And so that's what we did, and we arrived in Valladolid, so small a village that it didn't even have a hotel or restaurant. It was still raining, so we pulled over at the only place that looked like it was open, a little store that sold chips and toilet paper. The guy inside shook his head at me when I asked about a tow truck, saying it was Saturday afternoon, and the nearest truck might come from over 3 hours away in Loja, though they're probably closed. And the next day was Sunday, so they'd be closed then too.
And then the man looked down the street and said, “Or you could put it in that guy's truck."
And so after some ropes were securely attached to the bike frame, our great 5 hour ride to Cuenca began. We ended up paying the truck man $130 to get us there (as far as he would go), and I still have no idea whether we overpaid him or got the deal of the century, but after another stroke of luck of finding a park hill that we could use as a ramp to get the bike out, we safely got ourselves and the bike to Cuenca.
We left the bike at the dealership yesterday, have ordered the Monoshock part that we need, and now all we have to do is wait ten days or so for it to arrive and be installed. So no more adventures for at least a week from now, but truth be told, I think I could take a break from adventures for a little while.
As always, we'll keep you posted.