Ecuador 4

On Tuesday the 27th of September we learned a little of the history of Bahia de Caraquez.  In 1999 they experienced a earthquake that leveled much of the city.  Of the 18,000 residents, 2,500 were left homeless.  This apartment building lost nearly all of its walls.  After taking this picture of some of the destruction, we visited an Internet Cafe to post some pictures.  At 8:55 PM, the aquarium tank next to me began to splash from the rolling earthquake that hit, and hit hard.  Here we are in a very old building, and the first thing you think is that it is coming down.  As it turned out, it was a 7.+ earthquake centered in Northern Peru, which is not far away.

Any guesses on what this is?

All I know is that it is a 1951.....

Bahia de Caraquez sits at the mouth of the Rio Chone.

We drove over 70 miles to cross the river, not knowing that there was a ferry.

In Ecuador, everybody takes responsibility for themselves, unlike the U.S.A., where the individual is protected to the extreme.

This ferry lands with the ramp in a horizontal position, and people jump off as the ship is still moving towards the beach. 

A huge potential for major injury!

Our $40.00 per night, on the beach, hotel.

The skies were overcast for 3 days straight, therefore the colors in the photographs are washed out....


We went for a walk, and when we returned, this girl was posing for her boy friend, on the BMW.

The BMW is a large bike in the land of 125cc to 175cc bikes.

It appeared that there were many 1972 to 1978 Yamaha 125's and 175's imported into Ecuador.

My back was still hurting, but the drugs were starting to kick in.

We took a small boat across the Rio Chone, search of another dining experience.

About every 10 minutes a boat leaves with 20 passengers.

When we got to the other side of the river, the first thing we saw were rats the size of small cats scurrying all around the dock area.

Easy decision... Back to Bahia de Caraquez!

But once the sun sets, the small boats are moored and they bring out the big guns.....

I didn't think we would see a boat like this until we got on the Amazon next August!

The friendly Ecuadorian Captain.

Notice that there is NO compass, GPS or throttle.

Only a wheel and a button.

When the Captain wants the speed changed he rings a door bell one, two or three times and a gentleman standing over a 4 cylinder diesel engine, on the deck below, would reach down and move the throttle.

Passengers on the upper deck.

Yes, the pipe was hot, and don't ask how I know.

What did the passenger on the lower deck (with the cross), know that I didn't know?
One redhead and a bunch of friendly Ecuadorians.
The boat ride even included on board entertainment.

And my Dad thought his luxury cruises had one up on this crossing!

Bahia de Caraquez approaching in the background.

I am a happy guy, living a long time dream and feeling very fortunate being able to experience South America traveling like this!

On Wednesday, the 28th of September, the "Back" is feeling good enough to head South.  Riding through the hotel lobby.

During the first 20 miles I thought I would be lucky to be able to ride 40 miles due to the pain, but the father we rode, the pain seemed to decrease.

Or maybe it was the doubling of the pills!

The sun broke out for a total of 45 minutes, all day long.

The beaches went on and on, with people few and far between.

The load on this donkey looked long enough, that I would have bet that there were 2  donkeys underneath.
Most of the truck bodies are made of wood, right along the road.

Small truck body on right, and a larger truck body to the left.

We approached Manta, Ecuador which is a port town of about 160,000.  We spent about an hour driving through, but left fairly quickly.  The US has opened an airfield here in the late 1990's which is a primary staging area for US operations into Colombia, and we were informed that many Ecuadorians don't appreciate being pulled into the drug war in Colombia.

Manta is also a major fishing port.
Pretty basic boats....
Pretty basic motorcycle......

One of my interests has been the Darien Gap (the jungle between Colombia and Panama), and the Panama canal area.  When the Panama canal was being built and also after it's completion, many people wore hats that were very specific to the area.  The hats became known as "Panama Hats".  But they were never made in Panama.  They were actually made in Ecuador.  The best hats are said to be made in Montecristi, Ecuador.  In the United States the best Montecristi can cost as much as $3,500.  My goal was to buy a hat, which would cost about $200.00 at home, and pay about $35.00.  If your life is totally worthless, you may enjoy a book called "The Panama Hat Trail, A Journey from South America", by Tom Miller.  I am sure that if you read this book, you will know more about the Panama Hats than you wished! 

So.... off we go to Montecristi for a Panama Hat!

Do you think that this is a hint that we are getting close?
The village of Montecristi....
This must be the spot!

They have been making these hats since the 1890's....

A little custom fitting and now I have another of my long term goals accomplished!

An original "Montecristi" Panama Hat.

In 20 years I can sit in my nursing home, with my soiled and slimy Panama Hat, and tell the other old farts about a motorcycle ride to South America to get my Montecristi.......

And they will look at me and think.... "What a lying idiot I am"!

This is how they ride on trucks, at highway speeds.  You would hate to see what happens during an emergency turn or hard braking!

More beaches, fishing boats and small villages.
A quick stop at a Hostel, for lunch, and then off again.....
Riding with view like this, did not get old!

This area reminded us of the central coast of California near San Luis Obispo.

More beaches, fishing boats and small villages.

AND AGAIN......... More beaches, fishing boats and small villages.

And then it happen!

Our first FLAT tire of the trip, and I forgot to bring a spare!

I had the wheel off in less than 3 minutes, and already had a Tricycle waiting to take Sandy and the wheel for repairs.

While I guarded (rested) the bike.

Not a bad spot to have to wait for Sandy to return.

The patch for the tube was $3.00 and the tricycle driver wanted $1.00.

Gave him $3.00 and he was overjoyed!

My rest was coming to an end.....

Total lost time was less than 30 minutes....

Once the wheel, and Sandy returned, it was less than 3 minutes before we were up and running again....

John Deykes....

This sign made me think of you........

Spent Wednesday night at the Mandala.
Sandy is in there somewhere!

Our first night of the trip with Mosquito nets.....

The view from Mandala......


We got an early start on Thursday the 29th of September, and headed to Salinas, Ecuador.

Past an evaporative sea water salt mine.....
Past the modern homes on the outskirts of Salinas....
and past some classic old homes and we finally arrive in......
Salinas, Ecuador.


Still overcast, but the temperature is a perfect 75 degrees.

Salinas, in the other direction.  Sure wish the sun would have been out, for better colors.

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