My motorcycle trip in Ecuador: from the Andes to the Amazon rainforest.
This travel, which seemed to leave full of problems and without the necessary means, it materializes with our departure from Riobamba, at 2700 meters in the Andes, for a tour that would have made us descend south-east towards the Amazon rainforest on Route 46. Once we reached the Eastern region, we would have continued south on the E-45 and then climbed the Andes again to the west on the famous Pan-American highway, heading north until we returned to Riobamba.
From the Andes to the "Alps"
On 46, the Riobamba-Macas road, after entering the Sangay Volcano Natural Park at about 3500m, we cross the Andean ridge crossing the lagoon area in the Paramo Andino, a truly exciting show: fresh air, the cloudless sky with a sun which, at these latitudes and altitudes, makes the colors brighter and more intense. The landscape, similar to the Alps at high altitude, is composed of grasslands and low vegetation with frequent rivulets of water, there are few buildings to indicate the human presence, but the road is well asphalted, wide and well maintained.
We leave the area of the Attillo Lagoons and begin the descent towards the Amazon in a landscape that transforms itself, filling with woods similar to ours but interspersed with tropical plants and trees such as palms and banana trees, which seem to screech in that mountain environment. We arrive in Macas for lunch time, we stop to have an almuerzo (lunch of the day) in a tin shack not before having topped up the tank of Marco's HD.
Swallowed by the Amazon rainforest
Macas is a town that leaves us quite indifferent, to the offshoots of the Amazon Forest, so we decide to turn north instead of south, on the E45, towards Puyo town considered the entrance to the forest. Looking for a shelter for the night, thinking of finding a colonial villa seen on the internet, past the entrance gate, we enter the dark vegetable tunnel that swallows us with a steep descent. The adventure is rewarded by a rustic structure of stilts at the end of the bumpy path close to the confluence of the Rio Sangay and Rio Pastaza. We decide to use a stilt house without walls and equipped with only hammocks and a light bulb; the idea of being in the middle of the forest and sleeping in hammocks gases us to the point that for $ 3 each we sleep outdoors, letting ourselves be lulled by the lapping of the river with the incredulous locals of our choice. In fact around 02:00 at night, humidity, rain and cold force us to lock ourselves in sleeping bags!
The next morning, after a breakfast of fried fish, rice and guayusa, a herbal energy drink, the little Tundra Raptor 250 doesn't want to get in motorcycle. The journey seemed to end on the second day when, in the last attempt to turn it on, the bike started! She just got wet there candle due to the old and cracked rubber pipette.
The journey resumes southwards towards Macas, skirting the forest up to Mendez where we decide to stop and meet people, customs and traditions. The election of La Reyna de Mendez had just taken place and, to continue the celebrations, a motocross race was scheduled, for which the local youngsters were riding with roaring motorcycles carrying their girls across the country. The next day we arrive in Gualaquiza for lunch, with the rear brake of Marco's Harley in pain. From there we would have had to climb the Andes to reach Loja, a rather large and culturally lively capital city where we would certainly have found assistance; then we leave the city to arrive earlier and to do the correct maintenance on the bike. However, we have not come to terms with the Andean climate where, at high altitude in the late afternoon, the clouds thicken, forming a thick and humid fog that stands between us and our destination. With a visibility of a few meters, a temperature dropped to 5 ° C on the wide but always unpredictable Ecuadorian roads (with the buses speeding safely even in poor visibility) we are able to pass the pass. Completely wet and cold, at a hairpin bend a gap in the clouds, a ray of sun filters through and we finally see the city at sunset.
We do not hesitate a moment longer and walk the last few kilometers of the wet concrete road that has made us away since we started climbing the Andes ...
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