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Old 09-20-2013, 02:33 PM   #106
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Quevedo to Los Llinizas Ecological Reserve

The Hotel Olympico is an example of what makes traveling in Latin America so appealing. The ridiculously oversized and under maintained pool would have been ordered closed decades ago by the Health Department if it were located in the US, Canada or Europe. In Ecuador, the attitude surrounding all types of infrastructure is " use at your own risk".



We walked the town at night and had a nice meal of Chinese food. Apparently Quevedo has a large Chinese immigrant community and it was evident in the local culture and cuisine. In addition to the aquatic amenities, the hotel overlooked a massive soccer stadium:


The view from my third floow balcony wasn't quite as impressive:


We were up early, had breakfast at the hotel consisting of scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, and tried to hit the road before the morning rush hour. We did not accomplish our objective:


Once we approached the Vinces River the traffic became less congested:


I was feeling a bit grey from the diesel exhaust fumes:


The outskirts of Quevedo, Ecuador:





We had been told that it may be difficult to find gas along our route for the day, so we gassed up when we had an opportunity. The two KLRs were exhibiting strange oil burning patterns (if that is possible for KLRs). At altitude my bike was burning nearly 1 quart per day and CulinT's bike consumed almost none. During the past few days riding near sea level Culin T's was burning oil and mine was not.


Our stop for gas, water and oil:


Motorcycling paradise, $2.00 USD per gallon super:


We would ride on pavement from Quevedo to La Mana, then hit the dirt:


Valencia:


After Valencia there was virtually no automotive traffic, just farm vehicles and livestock:









Late in the morning we stopped at a scenic spot for a water break. We had been riding fast twisties through the foothills of the Andes and had not seen another vehicle in some time. Like I said before, motorcycling paradise:






Motorcycling paradise soon turned to motorcycle ice-skating. The road had been sprayed with oil!


Then it all began to register. No vehicles in either direction for many kilometers, and then signs of road construction. Finally a sign stating the equivalent of "Road Closed, Entry Prohibited".


We decided the sign really didn't pertain to motorcycles and continued on until we were stopped by workers. They explained the cliffside road had literally fallen off the mountain and would not reopen for several months. They advised the only way to get to our next point of interest was to backtrack all the way back to Quevedo and then travel 400km on the highway.

We studied our paper map and found a series of small 4X4, high clearance tracks that meandered generally in our intended direction of travel.


Backtracking:


After several attempts at locating the track we finally stopped at a police station to inquire:


We were told to backtrack again, and look for a small dirt trail beside the next bridge.

Backtracking again:


In case anyone still has confidence in my navigational abilities, you can see all the backtracking from my SPOT log:



We found the trail and continued on a course roughly tracking the river toward the Los Llinizas Ecological Reserve. The tracks did not show on our GPS, and it was difficult to determine which was the correct route when the trail forked. None of the branches showed on our paper map:




After traveling 60 or 70 km on the unmarked one lane road we crossed what looked like a more substantial unmarked one lane road. We stopped to discuss navigation when we noticed the smell of frying fish wafting through the air.

We found this unnamed restaurant on the unmarked road, precisely in the middle of nowhere:





More to follow...
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:10 PM   #107
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Glad to see you guys found one of my favorite dirt roads through Pucuyacu and to Sigchos...looking forward to the pictures...

Great job!
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:58 AM   #108
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Glad to see you guys found one of my favorite dirt roads through Pucuyacu and to Sigchos...looking forward to the pictures...

Great job!
Court,

You have excellent taste in dirt roads... this turned out to be one of my favorites as well. I also recommend you try the little restaurant pictured above next time you are in the area (provided, of course, you like fish).

Cheers,
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:55 PM   #109
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Fresh Tilapia

It turns out we stumbled upon a Tilapia farm and they were serving fresh, pan fried fish for lunch:


We ordered lunch and I explored the property while our fish was being prepared. One of the Tilapia ponds:


Closed for maintenance:


A man with a machete motioned for me to cross a log bridge across a small river. He seemed friendly enough, so I obliged:


He led me to a grove of fruit trees and explained that the sweetest oranges in Ecuador were grown in this region:


I was a bit skeptical given the thick green skin, but he expertly used his machete to cut an orange from the tree and split the peel. In all honesty it was the most delicious orange I've ever tasted:


And this was my favorite lunch of the entire trip:


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Old 09-25-2013, 10:47 AM   #110
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Unnamed Restaurant on Unmapped Dirt Road to Andean Mountain Pass

Well fed any hydrated, we purchased some additional water for the road and asked some of the locals if our route would take us over the pass to Sigchos. None that we spoke to had ever been as far as the pass, and they recommended backtracking to the main road (which was closed due to landslides).

The track became rougher and steeper as we began our climb into the Andes:




My confidence was raised as we crossed a somewhat modern bridge:


The scenery did not disappoint:


Did I mention we love unmapped dirt Andean pass roads?


As we continued climbing the switchbacks, the leeward side of the mountain had a jungle flavor while the windward side was slightly more arid:




The switchbacks became tighter and steeper as we continued our climb. I had to feather the clutch to get through some of the turns, but the KLRs performed flawlessly:
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:50 AM   #111
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Andean Mountain Pass to Sigchos, Ecuador

We were getting quite a workout negotiating the KLRs up the pass road, and working up quite a sweat even though it was only 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit at this altitude. I felt surprisingly winded.

We stopped for a break and I turned on my GPS. Our track was unmapped and I had to zoom way out before our waypoint in Sigchos would appear. I then noticed with surprise that our altitude was 4,300m (over 14,000 ft). No wonder I was out of breath!

I sat on the side of the trail and absorbed the view of the bike, the pass road, and the high altitude Andean scenery. It occurred to me that this would be the defining moment of the trip. The twisties, the beach riding, the great food... they were all bonuses; this moment, shared with a good friend in the High Andes, captured the essence of the trip.

The bike:


The pass road:


The Andean scenery:




We wanted to arrive in Sigchos before dark, so we twisted the throttles:




Road conditions improved once we cleared the pass, as if a different municipality had jurisdiction over the roads:


Llamas blended in well with the landscape:


Sigchos is located in a mountain bowl, and as we descended into the valley the temperature decreased to 35 degrees F:




We rode through the town of Sigchos in an unsuccessful search for gas, then made our way to the Hosteria San Jose de Sigchos lodge located on a working farm outside of town.


More to follow...
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:50 PM   #112
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Man, this is great!
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:18 PM   #113
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Man, this is great!
Thanks Matt, I'm glad you are enjoying the ride report. Doesn't the mountain pass remind you of the Sacred Valley area of Peru that we both transited en route to Machu Picchu? It brought back fond memories for me.

All the Best,

Pat
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:02 AM   #114
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Thanks Matt, I'm glad you are enjoying the ride report. Doesn't the mountain pass remind you of the Sacred Valley area of Peru that we both transited en route to Machu Picchu? It brought back fond memories for me.

All the Best,

Pat
Yes, a lot of similarities, but enough difference to make it all new. Itching to ride somewhere new, but on my limited time off and somewhat limited budget, South or Central America is a likely destination again!
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Old 09-28-2013, 02:23 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by poolman View Post
...I sat on the side of the trail and absorbed the view of the bike, the pass road, and the high altitude Andean scenery. It occurred to me that this would be the defining moment of the trip. The twisties, the beach riding, the great food... they were all bonuses; this moment, shared with a good friend in the High Andes, captured the essence of the trip.

...


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Old 09-29-2013, 10:18 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by poolman
...I sat on the side of the trail and absorbed the view of the bike, the pass road, and the high altitude Andean scenery. It occurred to me that this would be the defining moment of the trip. The twisties, the beach riding, the great food... they were all bonuses; this moment, shared with a good friend in the High Andes, captured the essence of the trip.


EC,

Thanks, I suppose this is why we ride!

If I babble enough, something profound will eventually come out.

Cheers,
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:51 AM   #117
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Terrific ride report, thanks. Looking forward to the next update.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:47 PM   #118
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enjoying this Sigchos segment......
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:21 AM   #119
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Nice...
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:36 PM   #120
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Terrific ride report, thanks. Looking forward to the next update.
KHVol,

Thank you for the kind remarks, the next update is coming soon. I've been in DC, Chicago, Madrid, Ibiza, and Palm Beach since my last update, and it is hard to find the time to catch up.

Quote:
Hektoglider Yesterday 07:47 PM
enjoying this Sigchos segment......
Hektoglider,

The pass road was a bit tough on the big KLRs, would have bee much better on your bike!


Quote:
whizzerwheel Today 01:21 PM
Nice....
Thank you whizzerwheel, I'm having a great time reading your ride report as well!


All the Best,

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