into the Amazon

A few days ago I visited a bike shop in Quito hoping for good route information. Specifically I asked about the Amazon. Peru is also a good entry point from this side of the Andes but wouldn’t fit with what I have in mind for down there. The owner told me they were working on an idea to take a journalist who wanted to go to the Ecuadorian Amazon as part of a bike experience. He told me his idea.

This is a multi-day thing so I’ll save the complete story for the next posts, but it’s pretty obvious how this is going to go, if it plays out…

The day’s track. A shame Basecamp doesn’t have nice relief in this case
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Since we’re talking about Basecamp, here’s a detail of the sort of screw up you can have when your GPS isn’t giving you legible info in cities. A messy error in downtown Quito rush hour right after we left. But to a previous generation of riders, complaining about a GPS is laughable, so.
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Anyway off we went. It’s an aggressive ride, 258 miles up and over the Andes and foothills on the far side, then into the Amazon to the end of the road, the town of Coca.

I like to take photos without holding people up so we agreed on a waypoint to meet up about 200 miles down the track, once we were out of the city, and took off.

We were travelling away from Cotopaxi (19,300 feet) but I got a shot of her over the outskirts of town
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And one more later before she disappeared from view
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Then the trees cleared and we started the long climb. First this
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The excellent small road gained altitude through gold and green hills
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The road construction started
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And turned to ripio for about an hour. Spectacular. I had no idea what to expect, certainly not this
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As we got closer to the top the trees returned
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And peaked out here at 13,200 feet. Very cold. Flip the heated grips on
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Some huts about 1000 feet down on the far side
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We round the corner and there’s thisDSC00342

Here’s a better one, says Lucinda
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Three shots of the same thing is pretty bad blog form but I didn’t know which on to pick. It was special

Down a bit, an alpine village
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Small streams appear frequently
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Which became waterfalls
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Exotic landscapes and crags
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And then ahead, trouble. Rain ahead. We had to ride the Andes for another 100 miles, then the Amazon for another 75 and if we got slowed down we weren’t going to make it by dark
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Worse yet, as we passed through a small village we got fogged in
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Luckily the rain only lasted a short while.

The next couple of hours was riding endless twisties through this wonderful tropical forest
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Eventually we descended to the forest floor by which time the rivers were big
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It was time to make serious progress and let her rip. This is a bit of a risk in Ecuador as speeding gets you three days in jail, really. We met up with Ben and Maddie at the waypoint and set off for Coca.

Then the very best thing happened. A ferry crossing. Bikes onIMG_0196

We passed some local motos coming the other way. Happy days
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Then we rode fast into Coca. The temperature had gone from freezing this morning to furnace heat.

Coca’s a tough town at the junction of the Rio Coca and Rio Napo.
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It’s the end of the road, there are no tourists and we are oddities here. They’ve never seen bikes like ours. We all agree that we like it here and we’re happy to be in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. But we’re very tired, it’s been a big day.

Saludos
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Comments

3 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Claudia Terreaux,

    … Un poco de aventura!
    Deseo que tengas una buena experiencia y que cumpla con tus expectativas.
    Disfrútalo y cuídate.

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