City: Riobamba, Ecuador
Kilometres ridden: 197
Cumulative kilometre: 33327
It started to rain heavily in the morning, so we decided to delay our start a bit. That gave us time to take a picture of Thomas, a fellow motorcycle rider who was working at the reception.
We travelled for the next 100km without any problem and arrived in Ambato, where the Ecuadorian Schuberth dealer is located. The building looked great in an average area. The company sells safety glass, for door, mirror etc. and it is a Schuberth dealer as well. It turned out that the visor comes in two sizes and the only size available was the wrong one. But the guy did help us by giving us the visor from a new helmet, which was very nice of him. 😀
For the rest of the afternoon we continued to drive towards the border and decided to start looking for a hotel around 4PM. So we stopped in Riobamba and found a nice hotel after a couple of trials.
Sigrid dropped the bike when she tried to get onto the parking lot, she underestimated the step from the road to the sidewalk, stalled the engine and rolled on the footpath… but no bodily harm was done. I was too busy to take a picture at the time, so we fudged one later on.
The view from the hotel onto the surrounding mountains was great even though there were plenty of clouds.
City: Machala, Ecuador
Kilometres ridden: 310
Cumulative kilometre: 33637
Today we would leave the mountain region and go back to the coast, were the evenings are nice and warm. We were riding through nice windy mountain roads and partially through clouds. Around 4:30PM we arrived in at the warmer ocean region and looked for a hotel. If everything goes well tomorrow we will leave Ecuador and enter Peru.
City: Macara, Ecuador
Kilometres ridden: 216
Cumulative kilometre: 33853
Street: concrete/dirt road, windy
After packing our bikes we were riding a further south before we turned inland again. Here we were riding through banana plantations, the banana plants grow right up to the road. We turned onto a two lane highway and progressed quite well. The highway wasn’t finished yet, so there were some one lane gravel patches, but nothing serious. Then we turned off from the highway to get to the border crossing further inland. The road was great but hardly anybody was on it, sometimes it felt like we were the only ones on the road. The road was newly laid and in prime condition, so why was hardly anybody using it???
After a while we came to a construction site where other cars and trucks waited. From here on the road was partially single lane and the pavement started to fade away, until we were on a gravel road. Then we came around a corner and the road ended in a huge pile of sand and a bulldozer which tried to create a path.
Eventually we let the trucks and car behind us pass before we approached the sand. That was good since a car got stuck on a big boulder which the workers then removed. We had seen in India that you can easily get injured when you hit a boulder hiding in the soft sand. We then just followed the tracks of the trucks, no problem. The road got better and deteriorated again before we finally reached the end of the 70km building site. The joy to be on a good road didn’t last very long, as the fog started. First a bit and it was fun to ride in, but then it got really dense, we couldn’t see further then a couple of meters and all of the sudden there were buildings popping up out of the fog! We passed through a village and hardly noticed it. After half an hour we came to lower altitude and the fog disappeared. We were back on the Pan American highway which meanders along the mountain following a river deep down. It was around 3PM when we arrived at the border town, so we decided to stay there over night and start the border crossing to Peru tomorrow morning.
Here it was the first time that we couldn’t get petrol when we arrived. We still had enough petrol for 200km, but we made it a habit to fill up in the evening, and here it was the first time that it didn’t work. I guess the petrol in Ecuador is so cheap that people from Peru come over and fill their cars up if there was petrol at the border town.
City: Chiclayo, Peru
Kilometres ridden: 342
Cumulative kilometre: 34195
Street: Highway/ partly windy
In the morning we packed our bikes and went to the petrol station, this time we got petrol. The border was not far so we arrived in no time. The border crossing worked without any problem, the Customs officer was even happy to get a picture taken.
All was well organized on the Peruvian side, which doesn’t mean that you have less paperwork. At around 10PM we were free to go, Peru here we are! The road was in good condition and of the nice windy type, the weather was warm but not hot, it was just perfect. The landscape reminded me of Australia.
After the first couple of corners we encountered the Peruvian wildlife for the first time: goats and donkeys were on the road. The goats just disappear when we came close. However the donkeys, as we could have guessed, had to be navigated around…
Or maybe it was a blind deaf donkey?
So after a short while we were alerted to the fact that stray animals could be on the road after each corner or over a crest. At lunch time we stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road where plenty of trucks were. So far we got good cheap meals at these places. The girls cooking and serving in the restaurant didn’t understand our Spanish at all (figure that 😉 ) so we had plenty of fun ordering the meals. Sigrid ordered some fish and I ordered some beef. The fish soup was ok, well, it contained the full fish head but otherwise it was good. I must have gotten a traditional meal that is special to this region. I couldn’t cut the thin piece of meat, you had to tear it apart and chew on it for quite a while. It tasted good, but it was hard work to finish the meal. I think it was beef jerky which they heated up again (at least once).
From here we continued and stopped at a fruit stall where they sold mangos. Sigrid was keen to get some.
Eventually we stopped in Chiclayo for the night.