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Cindie's Ecuador #1 Daily Journal
Travel Writing, Blog, Travelogue
Quito to Riobamba, Ecuador
(June 4 -  July 8, 2003)

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Tim's Letter for this Journal

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June 3 Batesville, Indiana - Panama City, Panama.  We packed up last night and were ready to go this morning.  Such a difference from the first year when we stayed up all night packing.  It was hard saying good bye to the family, the kids especially.  We started out in the Cincinnati airport, as we were checking in our luggage we were informed that Continental Airlines has a new policy for baggage.  We were charged $80 per bicycle and an additional $100 dollars for excess baggage we had to pay $260 to get our bikes and luggage to Panama City.  The cost actually started at $400 and we worked it down to $260.  We carried on a very large piece of luggage or it would have cost us an addition $100.  The flights to Panama went smooth.  When we arrived in Panama they wanted to inspect all our luggage so they opened up every box except the bikes.  Then we stored our luggage in an overnight storage area for $1 per piece.  Since we landed in Panama we had to get a tourist card of $5.00/person.  We slept in a waiting area on the second floor of the airport, we wanted to avoid the cost of 2 taxis rides and hotel room.  It was a balmy 90 degrees outside and a freezing 50 degrees inside.  I slept on and off and I think Tim got about an 1 hour of deep sleep.  
June 4 Panama City, Panama - Quito, Ecuador.  The currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.  We brought our luggage over to check in early.  We are flying on Avianca, a Colombian airline.  We stop in Bogota, Colombia first and then on to Quito, Ecuador.  We checked in our luggage and were charge $5 per kilo (2.2 pounds) we again paid $280 to get our luggage from Panama City to Quito.  OUCH!  Next time we fly we will make sure our ticket is straight through so we do not get charged twice.  We left Panama City and then landed in Bogotá, Colombia, boy did that country look beautiful. I wish we had the opportunity to ride through it. It is much too dangerous now but maybe in the future. We then headed to Quito, a short 1 hour flight from Bogotá. We began to land and then suddenly pulled up and circled the city again. We started in on landing 2 and again pulled up and circled the city. We realized that we were flying into a torrential downpour and that was probably the reason for the aborted landings. Finally we landed, the run way was a lake. We got through customs and out onto the street. We hailed a cab quickly and we were off into the city. The traffic was at a stand still. The low lying areas of the streets were flooded and could not be crossed, after an hour of bumper to bumper traffic and crazy driving we made it to Hotel Bask, it was suggest in our guide book. I gave the taxi driver a good tip for all his troubles. The room is $10 / night private bath with hot water for a shower. Quito has a bad reputation for theft. There were bars everywhere and plenty of locked gates. After removing all our gear to our room I realized that I had left our guide book in the taxi. I was bummed. We did not even remember the taxi driver's name so we were out of luck with contacting him. We ate and went straight to bed. In the middle of the night we get a knock on the door, it was the taxi driver returning our book. I was very grateful that the taxi driver made the extra effort to bring me back my book.   
June 5 Quito, Ecuador.  We woke up early and went out looking for breakfast.  We are in the hotel district so everything is orientated to the tourist.  We found a restaurant that was open, it also had an internet cafe.  Internet is cheap at $1 per hour.   We came back to the room and I slept for 3 hours recovering from traveling, my cold and the altitude.  In the afternoon we went to the South American Explorers Club.  They are a wealth of information, we read some bike reports and looked through some maps.  We stopped and had an authentic Ecuadorian lunch of pork, corn kernels, and puffed rice.  We went back to the room and I slept for another hour while Tim worked on the web page.  When I got up Tim slept for about an hour.  We had dinner in the room and went to sleep early.  I felt achy all over and I still have a head cold.  
June 6 Quito, Ecuador.  We felt like stretching our legs today so we went down to Plaza Independencia and explored the beautiful churches around the plaza.  We asked the hotel clerk if it was safe to take the trolley and he recommended that we take a taxi instead.  So Quito has a total of 86 churches.  The first church we toured was La Campania, that was abandoned for 1768 to 1862 due to the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish colonies.  At least 7 tons of gold were used in the creation of the interior facade.  Wow.  We sat in the Plaza for a while watching people go by. Outside the Cathedral, nuns sold cakes.   An elderly couple walked by arm in arm.  The local indigenous women and sometimes the men wear a cute hat that looks to small for their heads.  We started walking toward the Basilica from the Plaza and a local came up to me and told me it was dangerous to walk in that are and that we should turn around and go back to the Plaza.  We were not going to argue so we turned around and started back towards the Plaza.  As we were walking we heard someone yelling and then a young man came running by at full speed and disappeared into the crowd on the next street.  I guess we were given good advice, robbery can happen just that fast. We then walked to San Francisco Plaza and toured the church.  In the plaza we were approached by little boys who were all dirty, they wanted to shine our shoes for 50 cents.  There must have been 20 or 30 of them.  We found a local restaurant and had the lunch special for $1.70.  We flagged down a taxi and were back in our hotel in no time.  
June 7 Quito, Ecuador.  My plan for the day was to gather more information at the South American Explorers club.  They have a wealth of information on trip reports, bicycle trips and maps.  We found the grocery store in the afternoon.  Coffee, bananas, vegetables, and soup were cheap.  Cheese, cookies (we did not buy any), meat and sweet and low were expensive.  We made dinner at the hotel and met Mark and Luisa.  Mark is from England and Luisa is from Chile, they have been traveling in South America for the past 5 months.  Mark is a film producer, his web page is  
June 8 Quito, Ecuador.  We are building the bikes today and picking out our trekking trip.  
June 9 Quito, Ecuador. We finished building the bikes and took the rest of the day off.  We are still feeling tired with headaches.  It is taking some time to adjust.  My cold is slowly going away.  
June 10 Quito, Ecuador. Rest day.  
June 11 Quito, Ecuador.  Took a trip to equator today. The bus cost 40 cents each way.  The area around the monument cost 50 cents each to enter, it was guarded.  We also went to Museum Inti nan. Where you can watch water go down the drain counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere, very cool.  You can also balance an egg on a nail at the equator, tacky but cool.  
June 12 Quito, Ecuador. We depart tomorrow.  Time to finish web work and go to the grocery store.  
June 13 Quito - Riobamba, Ecuador.  Bus to Riobamba, the bus station in Quito is huge.  We bought our ticket and claimed our seats.  I met Roxana from Riobamba on the bus, we talked in Spanish and English most of the way to Riobamba.  She has a University Degree in Economics, is learning Italian and wants to visit Italy soon.  She is one of the most ambitious women I have met in Latin America.  She has a boyfriend but does not plan to get married any time soon.  She said that women in Ecuador get married around the age of 25 years.  We arrived in Riobamba at night and wanted to find a hotel fast.  Roxana said she knew of a nice hotel and took us to Hotel Riobamba, it was 21 dollars a night a bit above our budget.  We then went to Tren Dorado and paid 14 dollars a night.  It was a nice room and had plenty of hot water.  The also had a breakfast buffet for 2 dollars for person, which turned out to be a good deal because Tim could get free refills of coffee.  The learned the market day was tomorrow so we decided to spend an extra day in Riobamba and then go up into the mountains backpacking.  
June 14 Riobamba.  We went to the market in the morning, it was colorful, crowded and very large.  It covered about six square blocks.  People we  also selling things in other parts of the city as well.  We first went to the tourist area where rugs, sweaters, gloves and hats were for sale.  The we wander around the food market and saw everything for sale from blocks of sugar, fruits to fresh fish (Tim disliked this area especially).  We bought two small weavings for 2 dollars a piece.  
June 15 Riobamba - Santa Fe de Galan.  We packed up in the morning, much faster without all our bike gear.  Our plan is to do the Volcano Watching hike in the book Trekking in Ecuador.  We got on the bus that we thought was for Santa Fe de Galan but got dropped off in the town of Guano instead.  Opps. So we had to get another bus from Guano up to Santa Fe de Galan.   We asked the bus driver where to get the next bus up the mountain.  When the correct bus finally arrived, we had an entire crowd telling us it was the right bus.  They do not get many foreign visitors going to Santa Fe de Galan.  The bus ride up took us through arid areas with large fields of potatoes, peppers and onions.  As we climbed over the mountain the weather changed to colder and wetter. 

 It was very misty when we arrived at Santa Fe de Galan, elevation about 3,600 meters, 12,000 feet, population maybe 100 people.  We were certainly a novelty.  We started down the road towards Palastina asking direction along the way.  We encountered two teenagers and they took us where we wanted to go.  We could not see Tugurahua the active volcano, not far from this area, because of the thick mist.  As we approached our camp site the mist began to clear. 

We began setting up the tent, just about the same time the clouds cleared and we could get a good view of Tugurahua.  Wow, an awesome sight.  We started our dinner, soup with pasta and I was trying out some dried mushrooms I had found in the store.  It smelled great.  Just at dusk a women with three children showed up and she had a pot of potatoes and lima beans she gave us for dinner.  I was so very touched and thrilled to be having some of the local food.  Potatoes and lima beans do not sound like much but they were absolutely delicious and the hot meal kept the chill away.  Maria and her children visited with us for awhile.  Tugurahua let off some steam, it sounded like a car driving up, and we could see the glow of the lava on the rim of the cone.  Maria said that mama volcano was talking to her, but she never elaborated on what she had said to her.   I wonder?  Maria left us to our meal and I gave her some tea that I had brought with me.  It was nice to feel comfortable and welcome in this new and unknown land.

We went to sleep warm and cozy in our sleeping bags.  I think it was just about freezing outside.  In the middle of the night it began to rain.  That's when we noticed that the leak in the tent floor that I had thought I had fixed was still there.  Luckily, the puddle of water we now had in the tent was in an area where none of our gear was.  Tim performed a temporary fix and back to sleep we went.

June 16 Santa Fe de Galan - Hierba Buena.  We woke up to rain, we were not sure whether to move on or head back down the mountain because of the leaky tent.  We decided to pack up and move on to the next camp site recommended in the book, "Trekking in Ecuador".   We tried to find the short cut across the Quebrada Sabanag, but could not find the trail.  After asking four different locals we decided to take the road around instead.  The weather went from rain, to mist, to sunny and back to mist again.  As we walked along we asked the locals where el Guanto was and they kept sending us in the right direction.  Everyone was friendly.  At one point a women told us the trail was by the small white house, we could not figure out which one it was and we sure did not want to pull anyone away from their work in the field so we continued to follow the cobblestone road.  It wound around and finally we were on the other side of the deep Quebrada.  It was getting late when we arrived in Santa Fe de Sabanag and our campsite was still at least 3 kilometers away.  We decided to pay Uncle Richard for a ride to our campsite.  He dropped us off in a potato field and said that we could camp there.  We set up the tent just before sunset.  We planned to day hike in the area the next day.  The stove now started giving us problems.  Tim cleaned everything and changed the jet. An hour later he had the stove going.

We were now straight across from the crater of Tugurahua.  I could see lava flowing down the side of it.  I thought that I would wait to get a picture but the clouds moved in and I did not see the flaming volcano for the rest of the night.  Little did I know that I would not see it again.  We however, could here it rumble, at one point it sounded like a shot gun going off.  I wondered if we were closer than we should be.

It rained all night.  The seams of the tent were wet and water was dripping from the fly.  I think we were pushing out tent to the limit.

June 17 Hierba Buena.  It rained all day.  We could hear the volcano rumbling on and off but we could not see it.  We felt trapped in a tiny little leaky tent.  Right at sunset the rain stopped but then the ash began to fall.  It covered the tent with a thin layer of ash.  Small scratchy pieces of silica.  It was everywhere, it was like being at the beach without the ocean.  We decided that it was time to go back down to a lower elevation and make repairing our tent a priority.  We had originally planned to go backpacking around Cotopaxi but decided that our tent was not up for the challenge and we were not up for more rain.  It has been raining nearly everyday that we have been in Ecuador.  We decided to go to Banos, the resort town with hot springs that we could see from our view point at Hierba Buena.  
June 18 Hierba Buena - Banos.  Sadly we packed our tent and started walking back to town.  We got the bus back to Riobamba the l hour trip cost $1.50 per person.  I thought that this was about twice the amount we should have paid but we could not wiggle out of it.  When we arrived at Riobamba we then walked to the bus terminal for Banos.  The 2 hour trip cost $2.00 per person.  We arrived at Banos at about 7:30 pm.  We first stopped at the hostel Princesa Mara, but it was all full.  We then went to the hostel El Oro.  It cost $4.00 per person and included breakfast.  It has a nice atmosphere and the owners really want to make you feel comfortable and are helpful with local information.  We had a great time practicing our spanish with the friendly owners.  
June 19 Banos.  It was a rainy day.  We checked out the little resort town and of course found the internet cafe.  The internet is $1 per hour.  We can get lunch, the menu of the day, for $1.00 to $1.50.  It includes soup, chicken with rice and a vegetable or beans with a drink, usually pineapple, raspberry or another local fruit.  
June 20 Banos.  Again rain in the morning.  We hiked up to the Statue of the Virgen and then on to the village of Rutun.  It rained early in the day and then started clearing off in the afternoon.  Still the trails were muddy.  We walked past the Hotel Rutun, a Swiss hotel, it looked like an awesome place to stay.

After all that hiking we went to the Banos de la Virgen thermal pools.  The cost is $2 pp.  The pools were nice and hot but a bit crowded.

June 21 Banos.  It rained all day and did not seem to want to let up.  Depressing.  
June 22 Banos.  Met Alex and Gale from Alaska and Pete and Debbie, from the Netherlands, both couples are cycle tourists and have their bikes with them.  Where is my bike when I need it.  I am really feeling the itch to get riding again.  I only wish the weather would get drier or I had a drier tent, which ever comes first.

 We decided to hike the Valley of Waterfalls hike from the Trekking in Ecuador book. It was relatively easy to follow.  The amount of mud was incredible, it was tiring to hop from dry spot to dry spot.  The views were absolutely incredible and as we progressed on the hike the vegetation changed to more tropical with fern trees everywhere.  The weather could not decide what to do, it was chilly, rainy, misty, sunny and hot all in a span of 4 hours.  The hike ends at the cable car that goes across the Rio Pastaza.  There is also another bridge across the river relatively close to the cable car.  We expected to see other hikers on the trail in this area but we did not.  As we came to the last river to cross we found out why.  There had been a recent landslide and the bridge was washed out.  We could see people on the other side, they were not about to cross.  Tim found the area where the locals crossed and we decided to go across rather than turn around.  The water was rushing very fast and crossing a river of this size with out a bridge is not one of my favorite things to do.  Twinkle toes Tim went across with no problem.  As I stepped on the bamboo roots, I felt them give way under my feet.  I scrambled to the next rock with my adrenaline pumping hard.  As I was clinging to the last rock to climb over Tim asked me to stop so he could take a picture.  My response was, "Are you out of your mind, I am scared to death".  So sorry folks, no picture of me clinging onto a rock for dear life.  Tim was a bit frustrated with me but he got over it.  After I was on land again we had to still cross the land slide and it began to rain hard.  Landslides and rain are not a combination I like.  So again we scrambled to the top over quicksand type terrain and around boulders about to roll down the hill.  I was more than happy to stand on solid ground.  We took the cable car (tarabita) across the canyon and could a ride with a truck back to Banos.

We met up with Alex and Gale in the hostel kitchen.  They said they were leaving the next day with Peter and Debbie. They plan on taking the road from Banos to Riobamba.  This road has been closed for 4 years because of the eruptions from Mama Tugurahua.  Peter had enquired with the locals and they said that the locals walk the road and that pickups occasionally make it through.  I had visions of washed out bridges and mounds of ash and boulders in the road.  If we had our bikes it would be a tough adventure to pass up but my gut would tell me to take the easy way meaning the open not closed road.

June 23 Banos - Quito.  In the morning we had breakfast with Alex and Gale, Peter and Debbie, and met some other dutchies who are planning to bike tour in the States.  We all gathered outside the hostel to watch them take off of Riobamba.  The owner of the hostel advised against using the road but gave them directions to it when they asked.  It was raining on and off.  The distance to Riobamba was 50 km (30 miles) but the question is what is the terrain like.  If I was riding I would have been a nervous wreck.  We wished them luck and off they went down the road.

We on the other had, caught a bus back to Quito, how boring.  We asked for the direct bus and got the bus the stopped at every corner.  It took us 4 hours to get to Quito.  the cost was $2.40 pp.

June 24 Quito.  Spent the entire day looking for water proofing for the tent.  The only thing we could find was seam sealer.  I guess I will have to apply it by hand rather that spray it on the fly.  We went to the mall, swanky,  very very upscale.  Such a contrast from Maria who gave us lima beans and potatoes for dinner.  One thing is for sure, Ecuador is a land of extremes, the very rich and the very poor.  
June 25 Quito.  Did 12 kilos of laundry for $4.80, the cheapest yet on the road.  I spent the day seam sealing the tent and fly.  Also tried to patch the holes in the tent.  I hope this works.  I guess we will find out in our next big rain storm.  
June 26 Quito.  Collected our bikes for the South America Explorers Club (SAEC).  We joined in may, cost was $80.00 for a couple.  I must say that it has been well worth the money.  We stored our bikes with them for 14 days with out an additional charge.  They also have tons of information about Ecuador, trip reports, maps, current events, and extremely helpful people.  The also have a lot of information on line at

While reading SAEC news letter I read about a screen test request.  It seems that Creative Touch Films has been contracted by National Geographic to put together a 26 part series called Adventure Challenge.  It seemed like and interesting prospect so off to the web site I went.  We decided to fill out a submittal form and see what happens.  Getting on National Geographic would be a hoot.  It is at least fun to dream about.

June 27 Quito.  Spent the day doing web work, dealing with insurance issues and last minute repairs.  Our equipment is not new anymore.  We have received numerous emails about what insurance we have.  Believe me there are tons of insurance companies out there, it has been a monumental task wading through all the minutia (I could think of more descriptive words but will not use them).  We are still negotiating conditions so we have not finalized anything.  My journal will be updated at a later date with our final decision on health insurance.  
June 28 Quito.  We finished our last minute errands today, of course mostly everything was closed.  I tried to check into the train that goes from Quito to Cotopaxi but could not find out anything.  So we have decided to ride out of here.  I am not looking forward to this.  We have picked up some face masks to ride out of town with.  The diesel exhaust is nasty from the buses especially on the up hill.

Met Stuart at the Hostel Bask, he works for a non-profit dedicated to production improvement, environmental education, and micro-valley conservation, their web page is

We went to Tim's favorite lunch spot down the street.  Lunch is $1.50.  When we received our soup I noticed a few things floating around that we do not usually see.  I dipped my spoon in a pulled out a boiled chicken foot.  Oh the look on Tim's face was priceless.  His eyes bugged out.  The I proceeded to pull out 2 gizzards, a chicken liver and chicken heart.  This would have been a hearty soup for some people but I could not eat these chicken parts.  It felt like a waste of food.

June 29 Quito.  The music in the near by bars raged on until 5:30 am this morning.  So we are not operating on a lot of sleep, but we do have a lot of desire to get out of here and back on the road again.  I did not think that I would use the word fun to describe our ride out of Quito, but at least part of it was.  We wobbled our way to the main street 6 de Dicembre and started our ride out of town with in 2 km (1.6 miles) we came across a city bike ride.  The park was crowded with cyclists and since they were heading in the direction we needed to go we followed the group.  The street was closed to car, bikes and trolleys only.  Their were police at every intersection stopping traffic.  This reminded me of the Tour of Tucson ( a great ride/race held in Tucson every November), we were downtown at the main plaza in no time.  We stopped and watched festivities at every plaza.  We were thrilled, somewhere in the down town area we met David and we told him we were trying to leave town.  He apologized for his dirty city, he had a Live for the Cycle Path T-Shirt on, and proceeded to ride with us until the end of the City sponsored ride.  There we got our picture taken by a reporter with local cyclists.  Then David and Alex showed us the way to the Pan America highway. 

We cycled to the edge of town and decided to get a room before it started to rain.  We found a sign leading to the El Eden hotel.  When we arrived we recognized as an Auto Hotel right away.  We have not seen one of these in a while.  The place was clean, had hot water, TV and mirrors on the walls all for $8.00/night.  We went upstairs settled in and took a nap.

21 km

12 mi

June 30 Quito - Machachi.  We received a call from the management, since we stayed for the entire night we owed $4.00 more.  What could we do but pay.  The weather was cloudy as usual.  We planned to ride to Cotopaxi or at least to the front entrance. We stopped for lunch and it began to rain.  We decided to keep going but as we climbed towards the pass it was obvious that it was going to rain and rain hard.  We pulled over at the first hotel we found.  Motel Hostel del Rey, another love motel.  We got a room on the ground floor.  This time the mirror was on the ceiling. Otherwise the place was clean and had hot water.   Not bad for $10 per night.  Ten minutes after we checked into our room the skies open up.  In the evening the clouds cleared and we could see the constellation called the southern cross. 23


13 mi

July 1 Machachi - Latacunga.  We stepped out the door into a cold wind into our face.  We immediately started climbing.  The wind was cold and cut through me, I was actually glad we going uphill, at least we got warm that way.  We could see the peaks of Iliniza on our right in the distance and Ruminahui closer to us on our left.  As we were stopped to take a photo a group of three cyclists past us at a blazing pace, of course Tim had to jump on and ride with them for a while, I was left in the dust.  I have no jump.

We climbed steadily into a head wind.  I had burned off breakfast in the first hour.  We stopped and ate a snack.  As we ate we saw the three cyclists race back down the hill.  We kept on climbing, I really felt the three months off the bike.  But the scenery was breathtaking so I concentrated on that.  The three cyclists passed us again.  We stopped for lunch near the top of the climb in the only place we could find out of the wind.

 After lunch I walked across the four lane highway to take a look around.  As I was waiting to cross the street an old 1960s truck loaded down with cinder block passed me, I could here that the brakes just scrapping the drum and I could see a man on the inside pulling on the emergency brake as hard as he could.  I ran over to Tim and said, "He has no brakes, he won't make the turn".  Just as I said that, the truck lunged into the ditch and rolled onto it's side.  The cinder blocks were thrown into the street.  We were worried about the men inside and then we saw them one by one climb out of the truck.  Whew that was a close one!

We crested the hill, and the road leveled out a bit.  We stopped to put on our jackets for the downhill ride.  We sailed down the mountain for at least 15 kilometers (9 miles) , the wind was so strong we did not even need to use our brakes.  We stopped in Lasso for lunch, it was delicious, but I could not eat much.  We decided to finish the ride in Latacunga, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away.  The wind was still blowing hard, Tim cut the wind most of the way, I sat on and coasted.  Tim was pretty beat by the time we got into Latacunga.

It took me an hour to find a hotel room, it seems that they have all raised their prices.  We stayed in hotel Tillpulo for $14 per night, we had a very large room with a TV that didn't work, a balcony overlooking the street and plenty of hot water.

57 km

34 mi

July 2 Latacunga.  We rested today, strolled around town a bit and interneted some. The internet costs $1 per hour and is the slowest I have ever seen.  So please do not send us pictures.  We could be in a place like this when we try and download it.  The town is a nice colonial town with a beautiful plaza that is actually a garden.

We were lucky enough to get a glimpse of Cotopaxi at sunset.  Awesome sight.

July 3 Latacunga - Ambato.  We wanted to leave around 9:00 am but it was raining so we decided to wait out the rain some.  At 10:00 am the sky was clearer so we set off for Ambato.  Ten minutes into the ride it started to rain, we rode on, again the wind was in our face.  We rode through a few small towns and passed through a toll gate, free of charge.  We have decided that we like the toll ways, the roads are better and there is usually less traffic.  We climbed up towards Ambato, on the outskirts of town we came to a brand new over pass.  We did not know which way to go and there were no signs to indicate which direction Ambato was.  I finally asked a worker on the side of the road.  We had to ride through a very torn up street, trucks, buses and dust everywhere.  The dust was so thick we took out our face masks that we bought in Quito and wore them for the dusty stretch of the road.  We meandered up and down canyons passed shear walls of tuff, (it reminded me of the tuff cliffs near Bandelier, New Mexico).

We stopped at a road side restaurant but the lunch special was not ready.  I think we stopped at five or six places, one place had a pig's head hanging from the rafter, I lost my appetite.  We moved on, by the time we stopped for lunch we had been riding for 3.5 hours straight.  The hills and exhaust from the cars in Ambato were killing me.

We decided to stay the night in Ambato rather than ride on towards the pass we have to climb before we get to Riobamba.  Tomorrow we have to climb 3,000 feet to get over the pass on the way to Riobamba.  I hope we get a good view of Chimborazo, it's peak is over 20,000 feet.

43 km

25 mi

July 4 Ambato - Mocha.  (2450 m - 3250m) We climbed a total of 2600 feet today.  I was dreading riding out of Ambato and with good reason, we knew there was construction on the south side of town.  We rode through town and climbed over 300 meters (1,000 feet) along the way.  When we finally came to the construction it was dusty a crowded with traffic.  We rode through with our face masks on to avoid breathing in all the dust.  We continued to climb and began to get tired near the town of Mocha.  We saw some foreigners along the road and stopped to ask them if there was a hotel or motel in the area.  They said that Mocha most likely had a motel but they were not sure.  At the gas station outside of Mocha the gas station attendant said there was a motel in Mocha, then we asked another man along the was and he said there was a motel in Mocha.  We climbed a 100 meters (300 feet) up to the town of Mocha and did not find a motel. 

However, when Tim started looking for a place to camp a local who happened to be a councilman for town invited us into his home.

25 km

15 mi

July 5 Mocha - Riobamba We climbed over the pass between Ambato and Riobamba, the top was at 3600 meters (12,000 feet)  We had lunch at the top and gazed at Chimborazo which was partially covered in clouds.  It was cold and we had to put on all our warm gear to be comfortable for the ride down.  The ride down into Riobamba was quick and we had only one minor hill to climb before we descended into town.  The hill reminded me how tired I was.  We got a room at Hotel Rosio for $10/ night for three nights.  The original cost was $12/night.  The big plus was that the room was on the ground floor.

As we were wandering around town we ran into Peter, Tanya, Gram, Ginny, Peter, and a few other folks who are teaching at a village close to Mocha, they came down to take the train from Riobamba to Alausi and down the devil's nose.  We all went out to dinner, first we checked out Luigi, way to expensive, a plate of spaghetti for $16 dollars and that is not including the 24% tax they add.  We ended up at a local joint and had pizza, beer and burritos, more our style.  The group is volunteer teaching at a small school in the mountains teaching English and computers.

36 km

22 mi

July 6 Riobamba.  We slept in late.  
July 7 Riobamba.  Tim worked on his newsletter.  I scouted around the city for a place to do my laundry.  10 blocks later I found a lavenderia.  The cost was 80 cents per kilo (2.2 lbs.).  
July 8 Riobamba.  Tim posted about 40 pictures to the site and sent out his newsletter.  Outside of Quito it appears that all internet is dial up and very slow.  So it took 4 hours to post the pictures and an hour to sent out the newsletter.  Luckily internet only costs 80 cents per hour.  
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Tim's Letter for this Journal

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INDEX #2: South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present

(see all 3 book)

June 4 -  July 8, 2003
Ecuador #1
Quito to Riobamba, Ecuador

Cindie's Daily Journals
Ecuador #1

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Ecuador: Riding on top of the Southern Hemisphere

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Pictures in Ecuador #1

Full size Picture Pages

- Quito The Old City
- The Equator "Mitad del Mundo"
- Volcano Tugurahua, Backpacking
- Banos, Ecuador Natural Hot Springs
- Quito to Latacunga, Ecuador
- The City of Latacunga, Ecuador
- Latacunga to Riobamba, Ecuador
- The Village of Mocha, Ecuador
- The City of Riobamba, Ecuador
- Other


July 9 - Aug 4, 2003
Ecuador #2
Riobamba to Macara, Ecuador
( Peruvian border)

Cindie's Daily Journals
Ecuador #2

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Ecuador #2: The Magic of the Andes

The Fastest Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of  Pictures in Ecuador #2

Full size Picture Pages

- Riobamba to Alausi, Ecuador
- The City of Alausi, Ecuador
- Nariz Del Diablo - Train Ride
- Alausi to Cuenca, Ecuador
- The City of Cuenca, Ecuador
- Cuenca to Loja, Ecuador
- Loja to Macara, Ecuador


Aug 5 - Sept. 14, 2003
Peru #1
The Ecuador border to Huallanca, Peru

Cindie's Daily Journals

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Peru #1 Riding Between The Extremes

Best Place to see Pictures
Peru #1 THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- The Ecuador Border to Chiclayo, Peru
- Chiclayo to Trujillo, Peru
- Casa De Ciclista, Peru Cyclist House
- The Ruins of Chan Chan
- Ruins - Temple of the Moon and Sun
- Trujillo to Huallanca, Peru
- Huallanca to Huaraz, Peru
- Huarez to Pachapaque
- Pachapaqui to Huallanca


Sept. 15 - Oct. 31, 2003
Peru #2
Huallanca, Peru to
Copacabana, Bolivia

Cindie's Daily Journals

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Peru #2: Been Doing Some Hard Traveling

Best Place to see Pictures
Peru #2 THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- Huallanca to Huanuco
- Huanuco to La Oroya, Peru
- Arequipa, Peru
- Cusco, Peru
- Tambo Machay, Pucapucara, Qenqo
- Sacsayhuaman, Inca Ruin
- Machu Picchu #1
- Machu Picchu #2
- Machu Picchu #3
- Cusco to Santa Rosa, Peru
- Santa Rosa, Peru to Copacabana Bolivia
- Uros, Peru Lake Titicaca


November 1 - December 8, 2003
Copacabana to Villazon, Bolivia

Cindie's Daily Journals

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Bolivia: The Calm After the Storm.

Best Place to see Pictures
Bolivia THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- Copacabana, Bolivia on Lake Titicaca
- Todos Santos - Day of the Dead
- Copacabana to La Paz
- La Paz to Oruro
- Oruro to Quillacas
- Quillacas to Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
- Salar de Uyuni Salt Lake to The City of Uyuni

(December 9, 2003 - January 22, 2004)
NW Argentina
La Quiaca, to La Cueva, (border with Chile) Argentina

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's North West Argentina Daily Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Northwest Argentina: The Wrong Way In the Right Country 

Best Place to see Pictures
Pictures of  North West Argentina

Full size Picture Pages

- Quiaca to Tilcara
- Tilcara to Salta
- Salta to Cafayate
- Cafayate to Belen
- Belen to Mendoza
- Parque National Talampaya
- Valle De Luna Provincial Park
- Mendoza to La Cueva
- Aconcagua National Park

January 23 - February 29, 2004
Portillo, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Chile Daily Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnails of Chile

Full size Picture Pages

- Portillo to Los Andes
- Temuco to Parqua National Conguillio
- Conguillio National Park to Villarrica
- Villarrica to Playa Pucara
- Playa Pucura to Puerto Pirihueico
- Bariloche, Argentina Velodrome

March 3, to 23, 2004
  Patagonia, South America
 Argentina and Chile

Cindie's Daily Journals

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

Best Place to see Pictures
Patagonia THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- Southern Patagonia Birds
- Perito Moreno Glacier, (Before rupture)
- Perito Moreno Glacier (After rupture)
- Torres Del Paine National Park #1
- Torres Del Paine National Park #2
- Torres Del Paine National Park #3
- Torres Del Paine National Park #4
- El Chalten  - Fritz Roy
- Cuevas los Manos, Rock Art

- My First Jewish Passover
- Ski Argentina Cerro Cathedral
- Fall in Bariloche
- Cerro Campanerio
- Cerro Lopez
- Nordic Cross Country Skiing Bariloche, Argentina

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

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