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.
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 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.
But more about motorcycles after a few more pictures of Cuenca........
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....
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.
Then they led us through country sides like this.....
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......."
That's it through Monday morning (10th of October, 2005).