Pan Am Post-Op
Rider’s Report #12
Gabe Rides “El Medio Mundo” in Ecuador, S. America
Passing through the El Alamor into Ecuador from Peru I was surprised that the border was so close. My GPS stated I had another 4 hours to go or so. I ran into this American gringo Dave who in my opinion was politically more with China then he was with the good ole USA. I can accept people for who they are and set aside political differences and focus on what brings us together like motorcycles. He told me he worked in China as an engineer for an extreme long time. He may have been brainwashed there in micro-doses, but I don’t have any evidence to prove that allegation.
I always say you meet the strangest people on motorcycles and especially overseas. We ate dinner at a small shack restaurant next to immigration and the host told us that there were hotels in a town called Zapatillo. After spending 20-minutes for the defective fingerprint scanner to work we both rode into the dusk tired for a room.
We rode into the small town of Zapatillo that our cook referred located approximately 15-miles or so from the border crossing of El Alamor. It started getting dark and my gas was evaporating quickly down to empty. As we pulled in, I found the hotel where I would take a day off to rest. Dave found some other hotels that were cheaper, so I tagged along. We soon found out that the rooms where cheaper but there was no secure motorcycle parking like a garage or protected gated lot. Dave quickly gave up as his stomach screamed for food so back to the first hotel with a swimming pool for the cool price of $25 USD. Dave had to find a money changer to get local bills. I went ahead in a tri-moto as I call them and met him there.
Here the parking was located across the street in a gated lot with a view from the front desk. I was delighted with the strong gate but who was going to get the young desk jockey’s nose out of his phone video games? I did not think he would notice someone breaking the lock to steal our rides as he bested to the next game level. Even though our cultures are different in so many was I guess kids will be kids when it comes to video games.
I went to my room to find out hot water meant warm from the pipes and the AC took about 2-hours to crank up to a sleep-able level of comfort. Dave and I both purchased a bottle of wine from this restaurant owner that more resembled Jabba the Hutt. Sitting poolside, we exchanged our war stories, best rider apps, and border crossing stories. Next morning, he was off into his adventure and to date I have not run into Dave…yet.
Riding the Mountains of Ecuador
I stayed for one more day and I toured the town of Zapatilla, Ecuador. Just like every Latin American town it had his center with all its businesses around and its town hall. But after 10 PM the town becomes deserted literally because I couldn’t find a taxi or tri-moto to save my life. I ended-it by foot about a mile in 80° weather to my hotel. I had some money in my pocket, and I saw some strange people in the park kissing. I guess things never change where you go the guy always needs to get the gal. Next day I packed my stuff and left the beautiful town of Zapatilla.
As I was leaving there was a long line for the only gas station in the area. Many of the taxis and government vehicles were gassing up for the day. Wanting to make up some miles I took off down the road with ¼ tank of gas. I started getting nervous when the needle started poking the red wondering where I would get my gas and out of the blue, I found a gas station on the top of a mountain. I was somewhere near Santiago Domingo of Ecuador.
The temperatures had dropped up there in the clouds were all around me leaving visibility not the best. Writing in the clouds will always leave you with due in dampness leading to wet close but thank God I had my Klim wet suit on. I stopped a few times to just admire the mountains that were so majestic with its vegetation untouched by the concrete jungle monsters.
I wanted you all to see more of the mountains of Ecuador but unfortunately the altitude thinning of the oxygen in the air did not leave me making the best video decisions. I took some pics but not that much video. I did find this video from a guy name Jack who overlander the world. He does not know I am showcasing his video but you can click on the video and subscribe to his YouTube channel!
Conquering Quito the Capital of Ecuador
Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito) is the capital and the largest city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level, it is the second highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, and the one which is closest to the equator.It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains.
I pulled into Quito Ecuador which is currently the capital of Ecuador and the main, but highly populated city. It took a while to get into the center of the city it was that huge. Although I was not super high in the altitudes, I was feeling some of the symptoms of altitude sickness. I still had some of my coca mate leaves that I purchased in Peru. Now these leaves although have the word coca there is no cocaine or any type of drug in the leaves. All it does is it takes your anxiety away and allowed me to breathe a little bit better. I grabbed about seven leaves and a rolled up into a ball and stuck it between my cheek and my gum. What can I tell you I’m a Cuban redneck from South Florida it was a great way to get whatever’s in those leaves into my system to calm my breathing down as to not hyperventilate.
I was using Google maps on my phone following the directions to the Quito Hilton hotel near the center of town. I was also anxious to reunite with my old biker buddy from Quito Mr. Santiago. Kelsey who was already ahead of me arriving at the Quito Hilton before me was enjoying diamond member status benefits eating and drinking for free. I pulled up to the hotel and unlike Lima Peru Hilton these folks treated me like royalty. The man at the front door told me had to go around the block to enter the garage and he met me down there to grab my bags. When I got there, I got my own room because my son was going to fly in with some replacement parts that I needed.
I wasn’t sure at the time what was going on with my gas tank. My mechanic and I had conversations over the phone on what it could be but since he could not be there to check it out, he suggested that I get the gasoline pump and the check valve for my Harley-Davidson gas tank. Not only that the legends suspension rear shocks that I paid a pricey dollar for blue the seals rendering them useless now for the second time. I went back to the company that I used in 2015 when I first did this Pan-American run from the bottom to the top. Terry cable shocks out of California customized a rear pair shocks for my bike after giving them the specs and the weight for my Road Glide. Riding up to Quito my motorcycle was all over the road and it seemed as if I was writing a pogo stick.
The next day I ran into Santiago who came by the airport and we quickly hugged and shook hands like biker brothers. We went, ate caught up in our conversation, and he offered to get his neighbors taxi to help me go pick up my son at the airport. The next day my son Sebastian flew in on what was his first flight internationally flying alone to fend for himself. I met him at the Quito airport, and he was glad to see me. He had never been out of the country by himself and his mama tends to keep him under her skirt but I am glad he got to spread his wings and taste life on his own.
That evening I had planned to purchase dinner for the folks that on this adventure by company, Santiago, and I invited Kelsey along to try to repair the relationship. I invited my son, but he declined instead to stay in the hotel room and watch TV while ordering room service. We went to a great little restaurant that had awesome food and delicious wine. Brian bought his girlfriend and Santiago brought his sister. Santiago sister whose name I forget had just come from work and was still in her scrubs. Nobody really cared how we were dressed because that’s the way we are. I kept asking her why she had that jacket on and if she was cold. Well that was like blood and water because after that everybody kept turning to her are you cold? Through the end of the night we were all joking and having a great time and even Santiago sister was chuckling with us. I didn’t mind paying because the price was greatly reduced compared to prices in Miami Florida, but this is what I live for having friends around me having a good time and enjoying ourselves. Kelsey was enjoying himself because he was being introduced to my international context that in the future of him or his girlfriend wanted to come to Ecuador he had where to stay or with whom to speak with.
Finding A Damn Good Mechanic in Ecuador
the next morning, I grabbed all my motorcycle parts throwing them in my saddlebags. I met Brian at his adventure bike store that was a mile from the Hilton Hotel……………..
“****I think this is a good spot to stop here as to not make this post too long. My next posting will be the repairs of the motorcycle problems and leaving Ecuador for Colombia!”