Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Onward to Peru!

Day 84 (January 7, 2013)
Cuenca, Ecuador to Tambo Grande, Peru
Day's Ride: 312 Miles

Lots of riding today and not many stops for pictures. Left Cuenca at 8:00 AM and made tracks for the border at Macara. The entire ride out of Ecuador today was curves, curves, curves! Unfortunately, the weather continued to be uncooperative.....

Still, there were opportune breaks in the clouds which allowed for beautiful vistas.

The entire route to Macara consisted of descending into deep mountain valleys, then climbing up to dizzying passes. To give you a picture of the elevation changes that we experienced today, at one point I was over 11,000 feet; however, by the end of the day, we had descended to 300 feet above sea level.

Around noon the weather began to clear up and we were rewarded with beautiful blue skies and warm weather.

The roads in Ecuador have been consistently the best of the entire trip. I was a little surprised; however, I haven't found a single significant pothole or obstruction on any main road. The views continued to be amazing.

....and the roads continued to be pristine.....

....until we hit road construction!

In all fairness, a little bit of gravel was a welcome change after riding pristine pavement all day.

We arrived at the border with Peru around 4:00 PM. Once again, things were "muy tranquilo", and we were done with whole process in about 30 minutes. It's amazing how easy things are down here compared to Central America.

Here's "migracion" on the Ecuador side:

And here's the "aduana":

I forgot to get pictures of the Peru side, but it was all very similar. Once into Peru, the road leveled out and the temperatures heated up.

Before long, we had descended to 300 feet. The roads continued to be nice; however, the locals were burning a lot of trash, and the smell, combined with the terrain and the heat started bringing back memories of Afghanistan.
Eventually we arrived in Tambo Grande. Their welcome sign was entertaining:

Literal translation: "Smile, you're in Tambo Grande".

There weren't a lot of hotel options, and no one seemed to have wifi; however, we found an upscale place that let us camp in their yard for 20 Soles.

This is only the third time that I've camped on this trip since I left the States. Still, I'm glad I brought my gear. Hopefully I can start using it more to save money. That's all for tonight; it's been a long day.

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