Day 145 – Quito, EC to Banos, EC

Day 145 – Quito, EC to Banos, EC      01/13/11       Mileage: 213

I skipped breakfast and just had a granola bar while I worked on getting another post up and return some emails. Once that was done I packed up the bike and headed south for Banos.

My camouflage parking spot….

I had read about a detour off the main road that went high up into the mountains through some small villages, so that seemed to good to pass up.

I left the main road near Saquisili and started up into the hills. The road was paved and full of twists and turns and the scenery was phenomenal! The best part about it was aside from the occasional farm truck, I had the road to myself.

After about 45 minutes, I came upon a fresh landslide that had buried the entire road and was still in the process of being cleared. They were building a path around the slide, as it seemed the entire hill at slid onto the road.

After about 30 minutes though, they allowed me and the few trucks that were waiting to sneak through.

Here’s a pic looking back at the slide, you can see that part of the hill just slumped onto te road.

The road then began to climb steeply and soon turned to rough cobbles up a series of switchbacks. The bike was floating over them like Muhammad Ali…it was awesome.

The iconic image of Che…

The cobbles soon gave way to a rough dirt road that was in spots full of washboard, holes and very rutted…but the bike was handling it great!

It seems the Ricor parts were working their magic….I know the bike did not handle this well last week on the dirt roads back in Colombia. It was confidence inspiring and it allowed me to ramp up the pace. Soon I was hauling ass over hill and dale grinning from ear to ear in my helmet. That was of course until reality, and the limits of my skill, brought me back down to earth…almost literally. I was jammin around a right hand corner when the front end began to slide out in some soft dirt. Once again my butt was sucking up my bike seat and it was just luck and perhaps a fresh new rear tire and a bit of throttle jockeying that saved it….probably more the luck though. Well, I had my near miss for today, glad I got that out of the way. Ha. The temperature was dropping as the road continued to climb right up into the clouds and topped out at around 12,500 feet.

Once over the pass the clouds cleared and before me was an idyllic high alpine valley with a little town of Quilotoa nestled into it.

The road also soon turned back to fresh pavement and they seem to be in the process of paving the entire road…though I think it will take them some time yet to pave the whole thing.

The road continued to twist and turn and started up one last pass, this time topping out at over 13,000 feet!

Great spot for a break and a granola bar…

 The bike handled the altitude great for a carbureted bike. The only noticeable difference being a loss of power, say maybe 20% for a round number…which still proved plenty to make some passes on the way up.

Just beyond the top of the pass the road came to spot where you could see for miles up and down the valley below and a volcano off in the distance.

At that point the road plunged into the valley below down a series of switchbacks and soon after I was back on the main road south. I pulled into Banos shortly before dark and settled into the Llanovientos hotel. They gave me a great corner room with a fantastic view overlooking the downtown. Once I dropped my gear I went out for dinner and a…eehhmm…few beers.  😛

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15 Responses to Day 145 – Quito, EC to Banos, EC

  1. Bine says:

    Hiiiii,

    now it is starting to get really beautiful….wait until you hit the andes !!!
    Take some more extra time in Peru/Bolivia. Besides Machu Pichu, see if you could go until lake Titicaca to Copacabana. There they have floating islands ! Amazing. Peru, Bolivia, Chile…..you have some amazing landscape ahead of you.
    Have fun !

    xoxo, Bine

    • Lenny says:

      Thanks Bine! Lake Titicaca is in the list of to-do’s for sure….if not just becasue of the name itself! LOL!

      I agree, the best is yet to come!

  2. James says:

    Most of those pictures could easily have been taken in my home country, NZ, remarkable resemblance, right down to the vegetation, especially the South Island, Canterbury plains, Mackenzie high country, and Otago lakes… real doppleganger stuff. Although we don’t generally have patchwork cultivated hills.

    Thanks to your last few posts, Ecuador has jumped pretty much to the top of my must-spend-time-here list for the Americas. The Ecuador tourist board should hire you!

    • Lenny says:

      Thanks James! Yeah, Ecuador is a great country to visit for sure. NZ is very high on my to-do list…and I hear the riding is only rivaled by the scenery and the hiking, mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, rafting……damn…I can’t believe I haven’t been there yet!

  3. Dori says:

    Hey Lenny-
    This was a most amazing post! The pictures are incredible. The mountains look awesome and the agriculture in the hills is a really cool sight. Thanks for sharing your adventure. I’m really enjoying the blog. Be safe and have fun!!!
    Dori

    • Lenny says:

      Hi Dori!! Thanks! Yeah, they farm fields on the hills and mountains here that are impossibly steep, and of course it’s being done all by hand…perhaps with the help of a donkey or horse. The amount of work that must take is crazy though! How are you….what’s new in the great white north?!

      -Lenny

  4. Arlene says:

    Sunday night and I hope you got my e-mail. Hopefully UPS Resolution Team will get in touch with you tomorrow morning, Monday. Read my e-mail.

    Have you had any magazine offers?????? It is like a fairytale how you are doing this trip. We are living through your eyes.

    Be safe and be well. Love ya, Mom

    • Lenny says:

      I hope so too….no word yet, though I did call again earlier today. No magazine offers….I think you have to go after them, not the other way around. I might try and polish up one of the posts to submit if I have time…we’ll see…

  5. Jill says:

    Great scenery, can’t wait until you get up into the Andes, hope you plan to spend some time…find a way to stay till ski season, you’re crazy if you don’t!!!!! 😉 ox

    • Lenny says:

      I know…you’re so right! Skiing in South America has always been on the life list…it would be silly to not try and make that happen while I’m down here… 😀

      • Jill says:

        get a job in a ski shop, lots of American instructors go down there to work in the summer, so I’m sure you can find something to do to hook up some skis and lift tickets and fun tickets!!! Let me know if you need any contact info, should be able to get some leads from my PSIA Ski Team friends that ski down there often…you’ll kick yourself if you don’t hang around! Got Sabine out on the slopes Sunday and she agrees about Patagonia and skiing!

      • Lenny says:

        Thanks Jilly…I am thinking about it!! :-O

  6. Arlene says:

    7:30p, Monday night. Just spoke to UPS and there is a notation that they are going to call me tomorrow morning, Tuesday, before 10AM to resolve the problem. Please try to get in touch with me before this.
    Did you hear anything from them today? Love, Mom

  7. Lynn Hilliard says:

    Outstanding photos and scenery. I can’t believe how they farm those hillsides.

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