17-From Pasto to Ibarra, Ecuador

I have stayed one more day in Pasto, Colombia.....my Garmin with South America maps did not want to see the streets I was riding….not good in these towns!!…

On the other hand my tracking SPOT device failed too. Now my family can not follow me where I am, lost in the jungle of mountains, have to adress that here also. :)

After adjusting my problems with Garmin and Spot have found a way to continue.

I would have left 1PM but not knowing what to encounter on the border, I did not want to get stuck in the dark. Roads are slow and you do not know in advance the time it takes. I always guess 50% more than what Google or Garmin tells me. Therefore I try to be safe. What will one day more be on a long trip. 

How I fixed the tracking of myself, it  will track me through my iPhone  with Spotwalla.com.  My family will see where I am, thanks of my extended family/friends help. Precious!!   

After lubing my chain and checking tire pressure I left finally Pasto. It was a rainy morning just a drizzle. It is always hectic going through a town and specially in the morning.

The road was climbing again and could feel the morning chill, but was pleasant. Arrived at the border after following my GPS which guided me through the bussy border town. Mainly all kind of vehicle service specially for heavy trucks. I saw many small busses probably some kind of taxis just stopping at the boarder offices where people cross on foot to the other country.

Me, as I have heard, I pulled to the front of the car line to the ‘Aduana’ and they let me pass with a nice smile. I know I had to get my import papers stamped for the way out. So was looking around where I had to go. Found a calm space to park and in view site of an office where it said “DIAN” ….Ahaaaa that must be it.

Walked to the office with helmet on but open and the door was locked. Girl was sitting behind a chair and opened the door after explaining what I need. No problem, I showed her the docs, she took them and she said you can go. Well I felt uncomfortable with this and asked her if I could get a copy of the tamped paper so I have a proof of it. Oh yes she stamped in front of me and said you can go now to  the other building for the police. I suggested if I could take a picture of the stamped exit papers and that was OK. So I did and walked out with a smile. Now passport stamp out. Next building was Immigration offices. Found the line to wait, a short one and I was out. Hm that was easy!
Got back on the bike and crossed the bridge to Ecuador. Now I thought same procedure. 

Saw a building with a sign ‘Importation de vehicles’ must be here…I thought. No line just a tiny window opening on the outside and I asked how I had to go about my bike temporary import.

Well this was little more complex for the man. He asked me to enter his office. He needed registration papers, Y showed him the WI registration. Where is the license plate ? Y had to look at it myself and did not see it either. Well I told him in the US they go by the vin number and it is here. He was not satisfied. So I remembered that I had recently renewed my license plate because they would expire during my trip, and had that in the bike. So walked over got it and showed it to him, that helped. Ok now my passport Ohhh..I did not have the stamp coming into Ecuador.

He handed me all the papers back and said to go to the next building. There the info lady gave me a paper to fill in and now waiting in a long line. Helmet off now and standing in line. Families with crying kids in line, but there where 4 windows open so tin 45 min aprox it was my turn. Profession they asked…’Retired’ I said with a smile. Where are you going?…Ibarra, Quito....and voila...got my stamp.

Walked over to the previos agent for my bike papers and quick received the document to be legal in Ecuador. I asked if I needed a SOAT insurance, and they said not needed.

I was in Ecuador. 
Soon I could notice some changes in appearance. Everything was more orderly. First observation they do not cross the double line in the road. Ok that is great.

The scenery was still similar and climbing again. Rain was stopping and the road was dry.

Climbing again on a good and wider road reached a altitude of 3200 m. and of course chilly.

I though to myself at least I will not expect snow here so close to the latitude 0. When crossing the highpoint and descending agin landscape changed to more dry. Beautiful ride and larger fields cultivated with what looked to me wheat. Apparently they use machinery, the fields looked to have been plowed. Even further down it was warm and really dry. Suddenly there was a detour. I thought I could may be go through, but knowing they have bridges could be cut off, I did not want to risk having to backtrack a lot of Km. The detour was wonderful 30 km, going through a few small towns and was all by myself. I could see now some of the villages off the beaten path how they live, still much orderly then in Colombia. Infrastructure is better maintained.

Soon back on the main road and arrived in Ibarra. I found a hostel in the old center. $12 for the night. Very simple but has private bath.
Ecuador has the US dollar as currency It was an interesting and new experience and all was good.


My Posting on ADVrider:

Staying one more day in Pasto, Colombia.....my Garmin with South America maps did not want to see the streets....

I would have left 1PM and not knowing what to encounter on the border, I did not want to get stuck in the dark.
The Old Weed

ADV rider Comments: 

OK Lucinda:

If your Spot is down, perhaps consider replacing it with a Delorme. Rock solid and your husband can follow your pings as usual. Plus you can SMS him from literally anywhere via satellite. A back up GPS in a pinch. And of course SOS. It's a superb piece of gear used with as far as I know a zero failure rate among the current riders I know on multi-year rides.

My response:

You are right, I have looked at this model. it has several advantages and a friend of mine has it. I have checked here but can only find the Spot Gen-3. So I feel forced to stay with that one. Thank you for your input.
I will be responding more about questions when I have finally resolved my little issue with 
Spot. Will be riding shortly into Ecuador and will report on the hurdles of crossing border :)

Good advice from ADVriders:

OK Lucinda:

Sorry to chime in again.

The road to the border from Pasto is mostly hilly, twisty and beautiful. But not so fast. The border was efficient on both sides.

Garmin South America maps (a typical Garmin disappointment) despite the front page sales spin are incomplete. Equador and Bolivia are dark and Peru partial only. The best option is to install OSM maps from here: http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl although it sounds like you have it resolved now.

Received a message from some riders on the road:

Abosit, congratulations on the beginning of what looks to be an awesome journey. You have chosen the perfect bike with the perfect luggage set up!

I am very close by to you, having ridden down from Vancouver also on 250s. My best friend and I are camped near St, Augustine, about a 2 hours ride from Popyan. We will be crossing into Ecuardor some time in the next 6 days or so. Any chance could take you out for a jugo naturales (or a beer) some time in the next week or so? We would love to hear about your bike setup, travel plans and route ideas.  

You are an inspiration to many! ROCK ON, ROLL SAFE!


My answer to CJ:

I think there is a chance to meet. Who knows how long I have to stay in Pasto.

Here is my first little hicup!!
Since I started my trip I have been carrying a Spot Gen-1. 
My husband ( sorry TEWSTER2 I am married to a good man for 45 yrs) 
is following me and worried about if something happens. Therefore it is important to me to have it running.

In Medllin a friend of mine joined my
Colleen was riding for 10 days and the first bad luck with spot happened there. 
She carried a Spot Gen-1 too and was so kind to leave hers with me for the remaining trip.

UNFORTUNATELY Spot # 2 quit this morning. So I am back to square one.

I have been looking if there are some available in Colombia and the closest dealer is in Cali, there are two dealers

( I just was there , bummer) 
Today is Sunday I called them up, to check out if they have the Spot Gen-3 available, but all is closed. Have to wait until tomorrow.
Shipping from the US will take to long and where when I do not know where I will be. 10 days they say.  
Just was able to locate a dealer in Bogota and talk to the person. They say they can ship it here to Pasto.
I do not know the express shipments here in this country, it could be 1-2 days or may be 5.

So stay tuned to the 'Old Weed'.....ha, ha later pictures from todays riding!!

Time for more  responses.

my silly question - 90 kg weight really?


of course not....but the agent put it, who is going to complain about the weight if it is cheaper to ship. Not my problem. A few pounds or kilos in a big ship will not make any difference anyhow! You are a good observer!!

:  and thank you also Shampoo for helping out.
I was going to say an old Fugi waterproof camera. You helped me out with doing the research :) According to the EXIF data the photos were taken with a FinePix Z33WP.

OK Lucinda:

Thank you for the info, I guess you go through a very high pass right. Must be beautiful. Looking forward to that ride.

Slow is fine gives time to see things. 
As for the map, will keep the info just in case I need another country missing in Garmin, I agree disappointing.


I have though about that. My friend and I had the same one running in each of our bikes. Then mine quit. Changed batteries ...nothing. The light where blinking differently as normal. Hers was doing fine. As mentioned then I received hers and changed it to my account. i worked a few days and now hers is doing the same thing. Coincidence or what.
They both had the same age from around 2009 so does it have an expiration day or what!!
Several people have been suggesting possibilities, contacted Spot and offered replacement with same old Gen-1.
So I think it is the unit itself.

I am aware about the inReach by Delorme, Ireally like that. Not available here. For now I will use my iPhone for tracking. It is set up with help as said from extended family, and will plug it in my bike not to run out of battery.
I have an electrical connection for heated vest for when I get to the real chill, so I can use that for now.

© Nina Boonacker 2012