Day 108 December 9 Pasaje Ecuador to Punta Sal Peru
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Today was another border crossing day. First we had about 70km to ride from Pasaje through vast banana plantations.
The weather seemed to be threatening rain but it turned out to be a really nice day.
Just have to sneak in one more of the crater lake. Panorama shot.
We arrived at the Ecuador Aduana around 11am. This place is actually about 5km before the border but you can’t miss it due to all the activity and orange traffic cones.
The fellow at the counter needed the originals of our passports, driver’s license, registration/title, and the Ecuador import permit. He photographed the VIN, license plate and the bike, then stamped a copy of the permit and returned it to us. We had some great chats with the guards on duty while we waited about 20 minutes for the process.
Then we rode to the big border complex on the Peru side of the border.
There is an identical one on the Ecuador side for folks coming into Ecuador. At the complex we found Ecuador and Peru immigration side by side in the same room so this was simple. There is a short walk to the Peru Aduana an in that building there is an insurance booth at which we paid $33 USD for 1 month insurance. Then we each sat down with a customs agent to get our import paper. All told the whole process took 2 hours. There were no helpers or money changers anywhere and the whole time we left our bikes unattended feeling quite safe about it.
Our first impression of Peru after the great border was Tumbes. Interesting place if you want to feel like you’re riding in India. The smell of garbage was intense and the traffic absolutely crazy. We found a bank machine and got the heck out of town.
100 km later we found a nice little spot near the beach for $15 each. No Internet but that was kind of nice for a change.
Day 107 December 8 Alausi to Pasaje 297km
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Leaving Alausi on a Sunday, market day
Today was a great day of riding the PanAmericana and E59.
We originally thought we’d stop in Cuenca for a night but arrived there at 11:30 so voted to keep going. By 3 o’clock we had reached Pasaje just in time for the rain to start.
We are about 80km from the border so tomorrow morning we’ll cross into Peru.
Day 106 December 7 Salinas to Alausi
After consulting a lad at the hotel about local roads we set off with the sun shining.
We were to backtrack about 15 minutes up the dirt road we arrived on, then turn east towards the Chimborazo volcano and wildlife refuge. This route took us to over 14,000 feet again but this time the scenery was dramatically different.
It was really cold and we felt as though we had been transported to another planet. The plateau was devoid of trees but covered in short grasses and small bushes. I kept my eyes peeled for wild vicuna and was rewarded before long.
Finally some wild life larger than a rabbit.
After reaching a crossroad we continued on to meet the Pan Americana once again.
By 12:30 we arrived in Alausi and decided to stop for the day so we could do some much needed bike maintenance.
Day 105 December 6 Chugchilan to Salinas
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Continuing on with the Quilota loop we left the Hostel after breakfast to find the Quilota crater lake. Once there we were dismayed to be told to park the bikes and walk to the crater about 5 minutes away. We pleaded with the man but he wasn’t going to let us ride up to the rim. Then the host from our hostal arrived in his truck and convinced the man to let us go on our bikes. Normally a motorcycle would not be in a picture of the crater but I have seen it so we wanted to do it too.
After this wonderful stop we carried on south. Every turn made my jaw drop in awe of the beautiful scenery. This day would have to be in my top 3 of the trip thus far. I found myself saying in my helmet “you have got to be kidding me” the vistas were just unreal and photos can’t do them justice.
Eventually we came to a fork in the road. The GPS said take the road less travelled but it was REALLY the road less traveled. We decided to give it a try and are glad we did. It turned out not to be a part of the loop we intended to ride and was quite steep and loose in places.
Market day in a small village we passed through
A lot of moon dust created some visibility issues and combined with the cloud we entered a grimy mess was created.
Nonetheless we had a great day and rolled into Salinas at about 4:30
Day 104 Quito to Chugchilan
Sorry Chugchilan is not on Google maps
Today we set out to follow one of the route suggestions from Freedom Bike Rental, the Quilota loop. We opted to take the longer gravel road but first we had to get out of Quito.
The PanAmericana is high speed slab south of Quito so we quickly found our exit to highway 20 and headed west.
At Alluriquin we turned south and began to climb into the clouds.
Most of the afternoon was spent in thick cloud with less than 20 feet visibility. Visors were of no use and we rode at a crawl to keep the water droplets from stinging our eyes.
I’m sure there was beautiful scenery if we could have seen it.
We arrived in Chugchilan to find the Cloud Forest Hostal. A really great place for $15 including dinner and breakfast.