What a beautiful ride though! Through the valley of the River Pastaza that I had just rafted, and all the beautiful waterfalls and vegetation, absolutely nowhere near what could be considered a major city, traffic, or pollution.
(Above, just like any other day in a random small town in Latin America, there seems to always be a celebration going on. This was in Tena, a small parade with all the costumes and locals. Below, buzzing by on the route to Quito, somebody either didn't do her homework last night, or was so anxious to do her homework, she had to do it there in gutter along side the road : )
The next day, these riders and I head out of Quito a bit to see some Rally Racing action, and had a great time touring around the beautiful countryside of Ecuador. Much of our conversation was about this topic of motorcycle touring in Ecuador, as there's very little of it being done. Without getting too much into this topic here, let's just say there are ENORMOUS possibilities for running great tours. Having the beach, mountains, jungle, and valleys all concentrated in one country, and so much dirt-riding connecting it all, I predict the touring of Ecuador is about to BOOM.
Stopping for all the photos, the park ranger actually did a nice job explaining all the history of this location called “Quitsato” and how pre-Incan cultures were actually using the surrounding mountain and volcano peaks to mark the Tropics of Cancer, Capricorn, and solar declinations, etc. This moment, actually stepping across the line represented my first time being in the northern hemisphere in almost 2 years (the last time being on the steamship headed from Panama to Chile, shown in the February 5, 2009 blog post.)
Northern Ecuador becomes even more beautiful than parts I’d previously seen, as the cloud covered mountains carve the pathway to Colombia. Whereas the Pan American highway is generally not a pretty stretch of highway (usually polluted, and littered with too much traffic) this final stretch out of Ecuador is simply beautiful. It was interesting again to see how the faces of the people change, this time evolving from the more typical Inca-Indian appearance to that of Caribbean & African black. Whatever the case, the people have been completely friendly and always inquisitive about where I'm from, and where I'm going.
More news soon….the thirteenth and final country on my trip is ahead….