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Archive for December 13th, 2009

Day 370 – 13th December 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on December 13, 2009

Sunday – Riobamba, Ecuador

I had a plan this morning, the main one was how to get out of town, it turns out that a group of travellers are going to the other Secret Garden hostel in a place called Cotopaxi. They would be leaving around 10.30, so I had spoken to the owner of the hostel last night and he said it would be easy just to follow that car as they were going in the same direction, this would save me a taxi fare to get out of this nightmare city! 🙂

The views from the balcony were better today, with the clouds mostly gone and after breakfast I went and got the bike and parked it precariously on the cobblestones facing downhill and started to pack.

After booking out I was reading a book and ready to go at the required time, so were the others, but no car/truck/bus whatever?

Eventually he arrived and then we were off and I can say right now, I would have had no hope in hell of working out how to get to the Pan American highway from where we were. The one way streets were crazy, the traffic was quite light being a Sunday, but I am glad I get to follow them. 🙂 The road we ended up on was to the east of the city and bypassed everything in the valley, this went on for miles and miles and I could see the city on both sides of the ridge I was on. After a half hour or so, the diversions and turns seemed to be finished and the main PanAm signs seemed to be accurate, so I passed the ute with the backpackers and headed south 🙂

As it was a late start, after 11.30 I ended up stopping a few times, once for fuel and once to add a jacket, crikey it got cold all of a sudden, when I checked the GPS it showed I was up quite high at this stage, over 3km, check out the track profile 🙂

The road was fast and wide, mostly two or three lanes but it was quite windy as well. The scenery was basic, nice but not spectacular, eventually I went through a small town and passed a fast food chook joint and so I stopped for a feed, quite nice as well 🙂

After lunch there were more hills to climb and even some rock slides, some of these rocks could take you out!

Around 3pm I got into Riobamba, a fellow traveller had posted on the Horizons Unlimited about this hotel called Tren Dorado, it had secure parking, so I was aiming for that today, just to get out of Quito and work out a route south. I asked a cab driver and then a few more and found the joint after only a few wrong ways up one way streets. 🙂 It turned out to have secure underground parking, internet, but not strong enough to reach my room all for only $12, and an extra $3 if you wanted breakfast, which I did 🙂

For those interested, the GPS co –ords are

S – 1 40.170 W – 78 39.188 Degrees, minutes, decimal minutes format

I asked about food and he sent me up the road a few blocks to a Pizza place which does other things as well, but apparently not on Sundays! I wandered around for a while and eventually picked another pizza place which was open and ordered a beer and spag bol 🙂

I was being entertained by The Scorpion King, which I have seen a few times, but never before in Spanish 🙂 Lucky I knew the story eh! After my feed I ordered another beer because Jurassic Park III was on and during this time more tourists turned up, maybe having most places closed means we all congregate. But, this is where I met Simon, a Spanish guy from Barcelona, he had been and done 2 weeks diving at the Galapagos Islands and was now doing this region. For those that are wondering, the Galapagos Islands are on the equator about 200 miles off shore to the west. I wanted to go visit, but to do this properly I would need at minimum 6 days and about $2000. I decided I would do that by itself one day and do it for a few weeks with diving included, so that is why this has not been mentioned before 😉

So, we chatted for a while and watched the movie, and during this time my third beer arrived and it was nearly warm, there was no more cold ones, bummer! I forced it down but decided to have an early evening and said farewell to Simon and then spent the next few hours on a crappy slow link, uploading photos and posting a blog entry. After all that it was gone 11 before I crashed out. Tomorrow I was heading south again, maybe to Cuenca, but it is only 200km so I may opt for a further town, it would depend on another chap who is riding in the area and whether he wants to meet up or not.

Day – 126 miles and 203 km
Trip – 44,966 miles and 72,366 km



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