Sunday, July 10, 2011

Segment 39: Pitalito, Colombia to Quito, Ecuador (June 8 - 21, 2011)

preparing to leave Pitalito, we found some of the best cookies of the whole trip: whole wheat with honey and raisins, among other things.  We bought 50 to fuel our ride.

climbing out of Pitalito, we stopped for roadside granadilla, a passion fruit-like fruit grown in the area:
absolutely delicious

in Mocoa now, near the edge of the Colombian Amazon, contemplating a big climb back into the highlands
 low foothills as we start up

view from our roadside campsite at dusk, our road snaking an warily climbing up into the mountains

this is good adventure

DANGER: rockfall

Jeff working his way up... in all 55km or so of mostly steep climbing and very rough road

looking out towards the Amazon basin of Colombia
a broken-down truck caused a huge traffic jam for everyone except us.  Here all the folks stuck on the road are coming to check us out.

dense foggy forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes

The following pictures will make you want to smash your computer screen and go grab a bicycle:

cruising past an avalanche

... entering a thick gorge...

.. roadside flowers...

this is the kind of road where everything clicks: low traffic, insane adventure, fun riding, fantastic landscapes

Craig negotiates a flooded road as we approach this rest stop:

fast, rainy dirt road descent in the mountains!

... on our way to Pasto we spent the night in this abandoned shack on the side of the road...

the hills around Pasto, Colombia

arrived in Ecuador, hand-painted license plates and all

... we were hosted by the Federación Deportiva del Carchi at the olympic stadium in Tulcán...

roadside calabazas

street snacks in Tulcán

a street musician in Tulcán

market in Tulcán- unlike Colombia, where public markets are nearly nonexistent, Ecuador thrives with hundreds of them

...scenes from San Gabriel, Ecuador...
this is a huge pot of delicious puffy corn

unusual in Ecuador, an African descent community in the highlands, in the Chota valley south of San Gabriel... here they have taken over half of the PanAm to thresh black beans

view from a rest stop
... our campsite in unusually dry conditions...

Otavalo market, selling bread

Jeff climbing up out of Otavalo on a Sunday morning, great dirt road riding...

beautiful yes, not the easiest riding surface however

... Craig climbing... (on cobblestone roads)

Lago San Pablo in the distance

these local kids took a fancy to us

a fantastic descent here...

near Olmedo

street food snack we found in Cayambe: lots of beans, corn, onions, plantain chips

arrived in Cayambe on a Sunday afternoon, there was an indigenous festival going on, with live Andean music:
these guys are getting ready to go onstage

in Cayambe we stayed with the Bomberos

this is what we saw upon waking in the town of Cayambe: the impressive 5790m (18995 ft) volcano of Cayambe, third-highest peak in Ecuador after Chimborazo and Cotopaxi.

standing on, with bike straddling, the equatorial line at Guachala

a fantastic sundial at the equatorial crossing, Cayambe hulking in the distance, time about 7:30 AM.

riding south, Cayambe in the background

on our way to Quito, this is the view we had of Cotopaxi

arrived in Quito, which was a pure traffic madness, the worst we have seen on the whole trip, we ended up at the Plaza del Teatro in the historic center of the city

(photos this post: Craig Caparatta)


Doug Steury said...

lucky you to be out there in it! Be careful but have fun!

Anonymous said...

Jeff and family, i just started reading your blog. Great stuff, very inspiring ... Good luck in your journey and be safe!!!

Tim Scanlan

MiniSpdRcr said...

Well, if you want to visit the highest point on the earth you should check out

MiniSpdRcr said...

Oh forgot to say its Mount Chimborazo