Feb 13

Day 69 – Somewhere south of Ambato to Machala Ecuador.

by in Field Reports

The day started off with a grumble. Unbeknownst to me, Dachary hadn’t fallen asleep until 2 AM, and I had woken her up shortly after thinking she hadn’t taken the evening’s antibiotics. Turns out she had. In the morning, I woke up shortly after 7am, went to the bathroom and decided to take a shower. Apparently that woke Dachary up again. She grumbled a bit but fell back asleep, so I let her sleep in until 8:30 (an extra hour more than normal) but at that point she was all “let me sleeeeeep”, then got up and grumped at me for a while.

Pack up, grab breakfast downstairs, and start carrying shit to the bikes, while Dachary replies to the developer for the iPad magazine who has promised, yet again, that “one more build” and it would all be fixed. We seriously doubt it, but he’s close, and it’s less frustration and more benefit, to give him the one last chance than file a dispute with E-Lance to get our money back from the escrow.

We set off a bit late, but that’s ok since Dachary’s not 100% and head up into the mountains, passing through a town so filled with indigenous people that the street signs are bi-lingual, then a right up, up, up to 3870 meters (our new record) where it’s raining, owing to the fact that we’re in the middle of a cloud, and we stop to put the rain liners in in our jackets, which we probably would have even without the rain because it’s cold and misty up there in the clouds.

We crest the mountain and discover that it’s even cloudier on the west side. I guess the clouds blew in from the Pacific and got stuck. We have to drop over 2,000 meters before we’re finally below the clouds, and before then they’re so thick that we max out at about 50 KPH (diddly-sqat MPH). By day’s end we will have descended over 3,800 vertical meters, which I consider a strong argument for fuel injected engines.

Putting on rain liners at 3,800 meters

I’m sorry there aren’t more pictures but I didn’t want to get the camera soaked. When we weren’t getting saturated and lightly rained on in the clouds, we were getting intermittent downpours under the clouds.

Fixing the BeadRider... again

Dachary kicked her her BeadRider one too many times today and lost a few more beads which we attempted to tie back in. Great device, but they need to use kevlar thread or something that’ll stand up to repeated kickings better than heavy-duty fishing line.

Soon, we find ourselves in Bannanna country, literally. Bannanna groves line E25 and are only broken by dirty little towns. Seriously. I was annoyed by Mexico’s tendency to just line the town with stores and hovels, but when there were poor towns they didn’t feel as dirty or run-down as these. We started looking for hotels as sunset approached, but frequently said “I don’t care if there’s a hotel in this town. I don’t want to stay here.”

Soon we were on the outskirts of Machala and are presented with four kiss-no-tell-motels, which Dachary is surprisingly into checking out this time. “I don’t want to go into the city” she says. I’m not thrilled with dealing with city either, and later I find out that she’d read in the book that Machala is “dirty” and “not safe”.

We pull into the swankest looking one, ask one of the dudes how much ($11 for 5hrs) which is pretty steep, but the place looks high quality…Well, as much as you can tell from the garages and enclosing walls. But, we figure that since we don’t even have to get off the bikes to check these out we should see what the others are like and what they cost. We skip the Club 69 simply because of the name. Motel Miami looks kinda skanky, and Hotel California you can practically see the bedbugs scampering beneath the giant curtains to hide the cars.

We go back to the swank looking one, pull into one of the garages (with real garage doors), walk up into the place and see that it is, in fact, swank. Round bed, fancy multi-person shower, circular mirror over the bed, big mirror beside it, air conditioning… Only downside? No top sheet or blanket. I guess they figure you’re just coming here to boff each others brains out for a few hours and don’t really need them.

There’s a menu on the wall, with some interesting extras: viagra, Preservativos, Protectores diarios, cepillo dental, Pasta dental (that kinda scares me, is it dental floss?) KY, Aspirina, Alka Seltzer, Sal Andrews, and a few more.

We ordered some food and a couple sodas, but decided to skip the $280 bottle of wine. The food was tasty, and included our first encounter with a Bell Pepper since the US, but neither of us seem to have much of an appetite. Also, I threw my back out of whack this afternoon. I have no idea how. We’ll have to work around that. We can’t let these mirrors go to waste.

Side note: We have come to the conclusion that neither BMW’s Gore-Tex nor RevIt’s Hydratex is capable of withstanding the Ecuadoran rains. Our top halves stayed mostly dry, but our legs were damp when we went to the bathroom. Our shirts were dry, but when we put the liners back on after lunch, the liners felt damp. Also, when you don’t have a chance to dry out at before the end of the day, you have to put on wet liners/shells in the morning. These rains weren’t even the worst we’ve encountered so far, but I think we’re both envying Joe and Vern with their Frog Togs. Not only do they stay dry, they don’t have soaking wet shells outside of the rain liners. Nor, do they have the need to take things off to put the rain liners on. Next trip, we’re totally taking those.

Dachary’s note: Also, apparently my boots are no longer waterproof. I’m pretty sure they were supposed to be waterproof when I bought them, but the last several rainstorms, I’ve had damp/wet feet. Today my feet were squishy when I got off the bike to walk around at lunch. That’s one of the worse feelings ever, and why I decided to get waterproof boots in the first place. Not sure what to do about that. But at least today’s hotel has a hair dryer I can take to the inside of the boots to try to dry them out a bit so I don’t have to put on sloshing wet boots in the morning.

Leave a Reply