From Loja it would be about 750km to Quito. I could have gone on a shorter route through the mountains, but I decided instead to drop down to El Oriente, the foothills of the Andes where they drop into the Amazon. I figured it would be flatter than the mountains, and also I wanted to visit my friend Nick, who had not only hosted me on my first day in Mexico, but also I’d ridden with in Cuba.
There was a climb into the clouds out of Loja, on rather steep roads (as seems to be the Ecuadorian
It was an earlyish start, the father taught classes at the local school as apparently the area is not very religious, which considering how I was still fairly low was perfect for me, so I spent the day following the Rio Mantaro valley, and generally climbing up slowly. The sky was quite overcast at times, and about 5km before the town of Mariscal Cáceres I finally did it, and ran into a rainstorm while on my bike. It started to bucket it down, and I tried to take shelter under the overhang of
Having made it more than half way up the hill the day before, there was a mere 20km to go to the top of the climb through countless switchbacks. Just before I got to the top, I met Daniel, a German cycle-tourist who, not being crazy, was of course heading south. We sat on the side of the road and chatted for over 2 hours. Considering the lack of traffic, we could have almost sat in the middle of the road without a problem! We shared stories from the road, and advice for what lay ahead.
Another day, another climb. This time a mere 40km up, and the same down the other side, and after being offered 3 lifts the day before, I did it all by myself! The rain is coming, and I saw plenty of clouds, but thanks to dumb luck I managed to avoid them all. At the top of the climb, around 4000m, I did however see the results of an earlier hailstorm that I’m definitely glad to have avoided. Hail is one of the times when I really wish I wore a helmet on my bike, because otherwise it’s
My package, after a mere 10 days stuck at customs, arrived in Cusco on the Monday, but DHL still managed to throw in another proof of their lack of communication. I got a message from Jon on Facebook when I was having my breakfast that it had arrived and was ready to pick up. I hadn’t been expecting it until the afternoon, as that’s when the guy in the DHL office told me that they usually got deliveries, but great, I’d be able to leave a bit earlier. Of course it wasn’t