Monday, August 29, 2011

Flavio Alfaro

On the road again...

With Ruby (Jordan named her) our little iron pony all saddled up, we started our inland journey today, riding from the marina at Puerto Amistad towards northeastern Quito Ecuador in the spine of the great Andes Mountain range. We had started out on rough and potholed roads, the callousness of which was matched by the somewhat barren landscape. You would think that the immediate coastal hills with the prevalent clouds would promote a more verdant terrain. But shortly afterward, we were rewarded better tarmac in the presence of a greener countryside full of beautiful trees and plantations.

As we had left late in the day, our first stop was at Flavio Alfaro after 2 hours of riding. Flavio is a small town and we found a nice little hotel for only $10 US, but as we were still in warm country, there was no hot water. No big deal - we very seldom had hot water during our motorcycle trip through Mexico in 2009.

Flavio Alfaro under threatening skies

The next day we were greeted to a light drizzle. We got an early start after purchasing a couple of cheap rain coats (2 for $5) as the skies looked like they would continue their threat. After riding for about an hour in light rain, our jeans got wet but they soon dried in the wind as we passed into drier climes. Whenever we approached a toll booth, we were waved through as motorcycles do not pay. Nice! As we got closer to Quito, we begin to ascend the Andes Mountains on cliff-clinging serpentine roads. The intoxicating scenery steepness was cloaked in emerald foliage punctuated with flowing waterfalls. The jagged mountain tops at times disappeared into the fluffy white clouds as we weaved past the precipices.

Serpentine asphalt ribbon of blacktop

So engrossed in nature's stage, we totally neglected the thirst of our irony pony. We had almost made it to the top of our elevation climb of 2,850 m when, without presage and acting more like a stubborn mule than a pony, she stopped completely and demanded a full drink! Thank goodness we could just coast downhill to a nearby gas station. This 200 cc motorcycle has a much smaller gas tank than what Jordan is used to with his larger 650 KLR. But what she lacks in fuel capacity, she more than makes up in dauntlessness.

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