22-A Wet Ride Today

Baños was a fun little town I passed a night. This morning I was heading towards Macas. A few kilometers out of Baños was a brand new road with beautiful indications to Riobamba. Not all the new roads are in Garmins system, so I thought I will take that one. A good road until the nice pavement ended and some smaller bumpy one continued. It followed the beautiful valley and it was dry by now. Time went by on the curvy roads until I ended in a small town called Lico. It looked to me that something was not right. Not a town with through traffic. I stopped and a lady waved me indicating to continue with her hand…so I thought at the exit of the town the pavement will continue…and so I continued ….yes it continued to a electrical power plant next to the river. Now the road narrowed even more and crossed a bridge where a car could not get through and then steep up to another little town Pungala. I reached the top into town and was hoping to find someone to ask again, some ladies where on the street. I asked directions and they said oh, no here is the end of the road. 

Hmmm my gut feeling was right…. well well, had to go back again to Lico.  I asked in Lico this time a bus driver, he should know the area and roads better. He indicated me the way up a narrow street, I went on but….hm…. I saw a dirt road at the end. Stopped turned around and asked the same man again, it is a dirt road you send me, is that the correct way? Yes he said….hm…is there another paved road, I asked again, oh….  he said,  you want a paved road…you have to go 10 minute back at the circle or roundabout and there to the left. 

The distances here are not measured in km, but they go by time. 2 min from here is this……10 min from that point, half hour to that other place and so forth, so you have to interpret how far it is. Ha, ha.

Went back the 10 min and no circle or rotonda, but I saw a road to the left. Where is the circle?  …Two ladies where standing there, before getting myself in trouble, I thought ask for directions one more time and yes it was the right road. At the next lady further down I stopped again to double check for another time and yes it was the right road.

Finally I was on the right track. Moral on the story, do not rely on the street signs if there are any (many times not) and do not rely on you GPS, ask the people 3 times and if two answers match more or less you are heading the right direction.

After that,  I reached the next intersection in Guamote, where I had to turn to Macas, I realized it was late and I would not get there in a decent time, I had lost a lot of time wandering in the back roads, so….. decided to head towards Cuenca. I was smooth riding until the rain came, heavy rain and then the fog slowing traffic down. I thought to myself it was a good decision done, with the fog I could not see much scenery anyway.

Riding in 2400m elevation it was usually dry and cloudy but as soon you where reaching 2800m the fog started to cover very thick.

I have learned to guess the altitude by the temperature. Above 2800m it starts to get chilly but its Ok, you know it does not last long because soon you will descend again, it continually goes up and down.

Today,…. if fooled me. I was at 2800m for a long time and was waiting tho get lower but not…..then I got cold enough that I had to stop at a gas station and get some warm coffee and ad another layer. It was the right decision, after that it started to climb even up to 3200m and stayed there for quiet a while, only  at the last end a beautiful deep and wide valley appeared where Cuenca was, then it was descending for a long stretch to the city.

I had a great ride after all, I was tired after 7.5 hr in the saddle but felt good. That is what the adventure is all about.


Chat Lunatique:

How did you handle going to high altitude amiga? Any soroche?


Bill, the altitude is not bothering me much. I have to walk slow because I feel more tired, but I have been for the last 2 weeks or more already in altitude between 2500m and 3000m many times. Specially sleeping at higher altitudes has helped with that. 

When I was in Manizales, Colombia with Astir, took a tour in a van, to the Volcano at 4400 m altitude, they stopped several times and we had to get out in fresh air for 15 min or so so people could adjust. Windows had to be open all the time too. There was a young fellow at 4000m who fainted so we all waited and he could continue after a little while. We had all kept an eye on him and if he would have felt bad agin we would have descended rapidly. So spending at higher altitudes prior to an ascend helps. I feel very comfortable. Hope that helps for your future trip.


No troubles with the Moto at 4000+ meters?


Mosquito bike, as I call it, has no troubles in the altitude thanks to fuel injection.  It runs smooth like a sewing machine. I am so happy with her!!


My sister is a OLD WEED ? iI dont think soo, she is a a spirit out of a Botle, plenty of Energy !!!!!!!

We are Globetrotters !!!!!!!



This is a wonderful country, genuinely friendly people from deep down inside of them I know you will love it. In addition you speak the language which makes it even better to communicate with the locals. You do not have to wait to be 70 to do this trip. I offer to be your guide .welcome on board from the other side of the world.

© Nina Boonacker 2012