Ecuador 7

I will repeat myself again, but this experience has been a true trip of a lifetime!  As I sit in our room working with the laptop and FrontPage, to work on the Family web site, I realize how fortunate I am to be in a colonial village, with it's church bells ringing and echoing every 15 minutes.  The noise of the wild life is something we have started to take for granted.  I am getting lazy and not taking pictures of things which I am getting use to seeing everyday.  But once I return home, it will only be memories.  I find myself riding down the road, then realizing that it is worth a U turn, and driving 2 miles back to get a picture of something that the mind will not remember clearly.  I am getting old and I now need pictures to refresh my memory. 

I just wish there was a way to record the smells of the bakeries, fires, the vegetation, cooking food and fresh rain.  I wish there was a way to record the feelings of riding over the Andes, in the rain, at 12,000 feet with unbelievable landscapes.  It is magical. 

I also wish I could capture the faces of the people.  I am uncomfortable taking pictures of people which are visibly uncomfortable around tall white people.  They frequently turn away.  As we ride down the road they turn and stare the other way.  I respect their feelings, so pictures of faces are rare.  I just hope that I can HANG onto the memories of their faces, without the help of pictures to help refresh my mind.

The taste of Coy must be for the rich at $8.00 per serving.

Would have tried it, but it was outside our budget......




We departed Guayaquil and headed East.  Back to the Andes.

We climbed through clouds with the visibility dropping to less than 10 feet.

After about 20 miles fog and rain we climbed back to 10,000 feet

The homes in this area were completely different than anywhere in Ecuador.

Many of the homes had little lions and dogs on the roof lines.


As I said earlier, it is easy to get lazy.  We were heading from Guayaquil to Cuenca and we were running late.  About 15 miles prior to Cuenca, we passed the turn off to Ingapirca, which was a location where we wanted to do a "Then and Now" photo.  I would have gone directly to Cuenca, had it not been for the "Then and Now', so it has turned into a good thing, slowing us down a bit.  This was an easy find, as it was clearly identified on the map.

This photo is from 1915 and published in a 1917 book called "Vagabonding Down the Andes", written by Harry Franck.

This is what it looked like on October 7, 2005, in Black and White.  A few more trees and homes in the area.

And in color.

As I said earlier, this was an easy find.

But why were we the only visitors to the site?

Sandy holds the laptop while I try and get the same prospective as the pictures on the computer.

We have 2 external hard drives for stored files, but drive has already failed.

It was the large 100GB drive that I was going to use for video editing. 

Oh Well.. Going to have to stay with the stills.

A small village across from the Inca ruins.

As we drove on small narrow roads, to get to the ruins, we were stopped by Indians which had barbed wire, logs and lamp posts laid across the roadway.  I thought it was to slow you down so that they could collect a small fee.  This has happened before, on this trip.  We were told at a prior stop, that it was to help the school.  That seemed fair.  So I reached into my pocket and pulled out 50 cents. 

The short old Indian seemed gratified and pulled back the barbed wire, and I fought to get the heavy motorcycle over the obstacles.  The next night we had dinner with Nick, the owner of the largest newspaper in Cuenca, El Mercurio.  I lost his business card, so I have to contact a mutual friend to get his complete name.  I was telling him about our "Then and Now" photos.  When I showed him the "Old" photos, he saw the picture of Ingapirca and said it was a shame that we would not be able to get to the ruins "as the indigenous have a dispute going on with the government and they are not allowing anybody to travel in their area"! 

He was very surprised that they let us through.  But it also explains the following.  As we left the ruins, there was a car which attempted to pass the road block and got high centered on the obstacles.  The indigenous actually lifted the Peugeot off the logs.  As soon as the car was removed, a younger, aggressive indigenous re-hung the barbed wire, not allowing us to pass/leave.  This was the first time that I realized that this was not a "simple money collection point".  For a moment I was very concerned to be on the wrong side of an obstacle.  But, in less than 20 seconds, I saw the older gentleman who let us pass earlier.  I gave him a slight bow of the helmet, and he immediately grabbed the barbed wire from the younger guy and then allowed us to pass.

This finally explained why we were the only visitors to the Ingapirca Ruins.........

I know I look like a rookie here, riding over these small obstacles, but there is a lot of pressure with 20 Indiginous watching, that did not want you there.  And there is about 120 pounds suspended behind the rear axle, in the Jesse cases.  Bless the older guy that let us through.

Glad I am not a pig...


But I guess it depends on who you ask...

Hill top church in Biblian, Ecuador.
On Saturday, the 8th of October we awoke to this view from our hotel room, in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Population of 400,000 and the Crown Jewel of Ecuador.

This city has history and charm.

And it has growth and modern sections.  Many of the homes could be located in Newport Beach, California and fit right in!

The view from our room, looking the other way.
And the view directly across  the street from our 3rd floor window.

The walls are made of stick and mud.

This church, on the central square in Cuenca, was built between 1905 and 1907.  It was to be the largest church in South America, with seating for 10,000 people.

The tops of the steeples were never completed due to a design error!

Walked past this home where Juan and his friend were getting ready to go dual sporting.

This induced my first heavy dose of home sickness.  Really miss riding with my friends.

Cuenca is a major motorcycle center.  We were told that 50 KTM 950's have been sold here.  Cuenca is very prosperous.

But more about motorcycles after a few more pictures of Cuenca........

The people..........


I would not last 1 block carrying what these older indigenous women haul on their backs.

The flower market.
More flowers and people,
Mothers and daughters walk hand in hand, every where in Ecuador.

It was not unusual to see 3 or 4 generations walking hand in hand.

Contrast is everywhere...

A Yamaha YZ400F provided transportation for this guy to get to work as this indigenous woman carries her things home from the market.

Heading to the Market.......
Colorful dresses...

Neat buildings are everywhere......
The interior of the church with seating for 10,000 worshipers.
Stained glass windows throughout the church.
The roof of the large church.
The doors were awesome....
Ecuador is a huge producer of roses, providing roses throughout the world.
Another friendly Ecuadorian.

The "Market Place"


Fresh Fruit....

Eight pigs, laying at rest.....
and plenty of meat....

When we came into Cuenca, we noticed a motocross track near the main highway, so we decided to drive out and see if there was anything going on.  We had a surprise in store for us....

This was a race for the youngsters.

Yamaha's and KTM's abound.

Then we were approached by another friendly Ecuadorian......

Ricardo Ricco Paz.


If you are a frequent visitor of  or you know who Ricardo is!

He has done a lot for the motorcycle industry in Ecuador.

He helped to eliminate the Carnet requirement in Ecuador.  He is very active in promoting the motorcycle and tourism industry, in Ecuador.  I will put a link to his web site as soon as I can locate his business card.  And a gentleman he is!

He lives in Quito, but was here in Cuenca for motorcycle racing.  His daughter also races.  As we rode around Cuenca, other motorcycle riders (on bikes such as African Twins), would pull us over to talk motorcycles.  And they always started out with "I am a friend of Ricardo Ricco".  Everyone is proud to know Ricardo and everything he has done for motorcycling in Ecuador.

Ricardo asked us if we would join him for dinner, along with Nick (the owner of the largest newspaper in Cuenca) and his son and grandson.  Others joined us but I misplaced the business cards.  I will request of Ricardo, their names.

This is Nick's 6 year old grandson, with a collection of 15 racing trophies

He also rides a KTM.

Nick is a proud grandfather....

On Sunday, the 9th of October, Nick and his wife Ana joined us for our ride out of Cuenca.

Nick has a doctorate in Archeology and his wife has a doctorate in Geography.

With their backgrounds you could not find better guides for Cuenca.

Nick's bike is a 950s KTM Adventure.

The bike is one of 50 KTM 950's in Cuenca.

The oldest monument in Cuenca, which is from the 1500's.
Nick and Ana, leading us through their city....

As I was getting homesick to go riding with friends, this was really enjoyed by Sandy and I!

The remains of an Inca fortress...
Monument to an Inca King....
Nick and Ana, in front of a home where Simon Bolivar once lived.
Cuenca, from a hill top lookout.

Notice the home in the lower right hand corner....

Then they led us through country sides like this.....

After 1 1/2 hours of riding in the rain, Nick and Ana headed back to Cuenca. 

Sandy and I continued on to Loja, Ecuador.

We are getting to the area which was in dispute between Ecuador and Peru.

The border has now been agreed to, and fighting has ended.

Two girls riding horses down a hill which I would not ride the KTM 525 down!

Unless there was some peer pressure of other guys riding along!

Homes are located all over the hillsides, with narrow steep trails.

In some areas the elevation change, to get to a home was over 2,000 vertical feet.

We rode many miles with vistas like this......

I sure hope that my memory does not let me forget this ride!

I have to keep telling myself "Do not take this ride for granted......."

Not a familiar name on the list....
The churches of Loja, Ecuador.

We are going to stay 2 days and get caught up on administrative things....


That's it through Monday morning (10th of October, 2005).

Back Home Up Next