After a late start from Cuenca, we left for the Ecuadorian / Peruvian border. After Loja the Panamerican highway turned right and headed towards the coast. We stayed straight. Eventually the highway, turned to a country road, then finally dirt, but still easily passable. As we rode the passes, up to 11,000 down to 5,000 the roads wound around the steep drops and creeks that cut into the mountain side. Then it began to light rain and some road construction. We were making the kind of distance we had planned and it soon became apparent we were going to need to stop for the night. We came to a little town Valladolid.
After a few questions at a local “tienda” (store), we were directed to the town Hotel!
The woman at the hotel; showed us where to park the bikes, as she worked to sweep out the parking place. We stayed on the second floor. I wish she hadn’t because we knew we were just going to mess it up again with the bikes. We each took a room. Mine with two beds, Chucks with one, windows that opened into the area below where the bikes were parked. There was a common restroom with a shower and toilet. The shower had the first electric heater (heater of death) located on the head. It works by electrically heating the water as it comes out of shower. However, it didn’t work, which is probably a good thing, so I had a VERY cold shower that evening, that took my breath away.
Valladolid, from a distance is actually a very pretty little town. This seems to be common of most south American towns. Closer examination however revels an infrastructure in sad need of repair. Houses are partially finished (as was the “hotel” we stayed in), exposed electrical systems held together with crimped wires and electrical tape, and plumbing that sometimes seemed to come from nowhere and lead to nowhere. We had dinner just down the street.
I came into the hotel after dinner to find a man changing out a light bulb dangling from the ceiling with a kitchen knife. I went to my box and found my leatherman with a screw driver and lent it to him. Chuck and I both wished we could bring extra tools to give to some of these people.
That night I slept on a mattress that was about two inches thick, underpinned by wooden slats. Eventually I got up, went to the bike and got my air mattress, which finally led to sleep. The next morning we were up, had some basic breakfast with instant coffee, packed and we were on our way. We are slowly learning the language but still have no idea what we get when we order meals. We had scrambled eggs, mixed with ham and some fruit. The guy next to us had eggs, ham, some rice, fruit, bread and juice. All we could do is look at him with envy. J