We came back into Ecuador at the busy little Colombia/Ecuador crossing and quickly secured the necessary paperwork for the three of us and also the truck to stay 21 more days. This was the amount remaining on our original visa. If you want to know more about how that works, please send me a note.
Mike enjoyed a HUGE and drippy hot dog. This delicacy costs $1.00 and includes a bun, long hot dog, shoestring potato chips, mayonnaise, ketchup, parmesan cheese and some slices of pepperoni. Inevitably a portion of this ends up on his shirt!
The first stop in Ecuador meant an opportunity to install some more of the parts we had “smuggled” back in with us. The radio install was surprisingly simple, but the bluetooth signal is not reliable. This remains a frustration. The brakes required a little more work, but it is reassuring to have good strong brake pads on the front. The weight we haul really chews up the brakes on these mountainous roads.
And for a break during the mechanical work, Mike would climb on top of the camper and watch the races at the track across the street. Today the racing action was street motorcycles. How about that for a racetrack with a beautiful setting? The lake, the Andes and naturally green grass from the nightly rains!
Ecuador is truly a place of both beauty and contrast. It extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes and then down into the deepest Amazon. During our explorations we spent a little time in each region. And of course, we saw some cute puppies.
Disclaimer: puppy photo added just for attention. We did not adopt the cute puppies, we just dewormed them and fed them! Nica was not interested in puppies, so she snoozed in the sun nearby.
We attended an event that included a gathering of many expats (retirees from mostly the USA and Canada) who came together for a fundraiser benefiting a group of natives from the Amazon. The demonstration included music, dancing and a fascinating depiction of a traditional indigenous birthing with the use of both midwife and shaman style practices. It was very interesting to watch as the ladies acted out the process.
While we attended the event, the truck was parked in a beautiful field of flowers. When the event was over, we took the opportunity to snap a few photos of this setting. Blooming flowers created a lovely color contrast!
Then we wandered on to our beautiful mountainside campsite, it was time to climb into the Andes. The first photo is the view of our campsite. The second photo is the view of the amazing valley below us.
Next stop was the fields below Chimborazo Volcano. This one has great significance in Ecuadorian lore, and is still rumbling and active. It is so high that it is often shrouded in clouds, but we did capture a few good images.
In that area there are many cow and sheep farmers. There are also coyotes and wolves in this region that will attack sheep and cows. So every small herd that wanders the hills is accompanied by one or more humans. This couple is spending the day with their cows near the side of the road. And waking up to find a herd of sheep at our camper or crossing the road in front of us while driving is very typical.
The preferred mode of transportation besides walking (yes, they walk all over those steep mountains) is horse or donkey. These two horses are dressed with colorful blankets and saddles for their day of transportation work. Look closely at the interesting stirrups. They are made of metal or leather and are designed to keep the foot supported and also clean and dry while riding.
In this area we also encountered our first poppy fields. These are interspersed and somewhat disguised among fields of corn and soybean. It is clear that there is still a demand for the by-products of poppies. And as long as there is a demand, these farmers will provide the supply.
Another beautiful campsite in the Andes was in the crater of a sleeping volcano. This is the site of a formerly beautiful and large hacienda being preserved and restored by a local tribe. There is a different weather in the bottom of the crater than at the rim. But the blue skies made for a beautiful day, and as we were driving out we saw the clouds begin to roll in behind us! There are hiking trails that lead the hearty hikers up the sides of the crater to the upper rim. We hiked only far enough to grab the geocache!
Another fun place we visited in this leg of the trip was the Papallacta area. This is small village built along a volcanic fissure which releases naturally hot, spring water. There are several spas, pools and options in town. But we picked the cheap one that allowed camping in the grassy parking lot.
There is much more of Ecuador for us to explore. We hope you will join us as we move along. And if you liked this post, share it with a friend, share it on social media or click the LIKE button below. Thanks, we appreciate the feedback.