rfay's blog

Up the Utcubamba River Valley to the land of the Chachas

Tagged:  •  
Loading the bikes into the boat for the crossing of the Rio Marañon
Loading the bikes into the boat for the crossing of the Rio Marañon (View on flickr)

Rice paddies in northern Peru
Rice paddies in northern Peru (View on flickr)

From San Ignacio we descended rapidly into a completely different kind of country - rice paddies everywhere. Neither of us had ever seen the cultivation of rice before, so we were amazed to see the effort required to work with the plants at the various parts of their life cycle. It was beautiful, too, but like we had left the high mountains and landed in a south-east Asian area!

After about 50 kilometers of dirt (formerly paved, but long since decayed) we hit beautiful new pavement for the first time in days. And it was downhill, too. But we soon turned off for a shortcut that we read about in Peter Berechree's incredible blog of his Andes-by-bike adventure. We took a dirt-road turnoff to the town of Bellavista and found our way to the banks of the Rio Marañon, a major river headed to the Amazon. Hoping that we'd gotten to the right place, we waved and yelled to a fellow cleaning his boat on the other side, he eventually came for us. We loaded the bikes up a 2x4 ramp and crossed over in a jiffy, then road a few miles to catch the highway again. We got a pleasant little diversion from the highway and probably eliminated 50 kilometers from our route.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Ecuador Wrapup

Tagged:  •  
Maria from Pungalá
Maria from Pungalá (View on flickr)


Ecuador turned out to be a very pleasant, tranquil country. With the exception of Quito, which has problems like any other large city, we felt completely comfortable and safe everywhere in the country. In fact, we felt that Ecuador was as safe as our previous most-comfortable country, Nicaragua. (Nicaragua would have to exclude its capital, Managua, as well, but we didn't go there.)

Ecuador is incredibly well-organized for tourism and gringos. There are tours and language schools and even a fair number of people who speak some English. They use the US dollar for currency. There is a whole section of Quito (Gringolandia) devoted to nice restaurants and stores of every type catering to gringos. We were able to get some nice sports equipment (warm clothes and such) that you would not have found in most places we have been.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Ecuador route notes for touring cyclists, including map and GPS info

We finally got a clear view of a volcano (Volcan Sangay)
We finally got a clear view of a volcano (Volcan Sangay) (View on flickr)

Some notes about routes in Ecuador that are probably only interesting for people planning to tour here:

  • Our Route, Trip Log, Notes, and GPS Tracks: Our complete maps and notes are now up..
  • Maps: We carried the ITMB Ecuador Map. Although I hate the ITMB maps, this one worked. In addition, we bought the excellent book of strip maps published by the Instituto Geografico Militar, which is available in good bookstores in Ecuador, like Libri Mundi in Gringolandia in Quito and at other sites. There is also a general tourist map available in tourist offices. Its biggest benefit is the extensive charge of distances between cities.
  • GPS Maps: We were unable to find any GPS maps at that time to download into our Garmin GPS, but since GPSTravelMaps.com has come into existence. If you know of others, please send us a note or leave a comment here.
  • We came in from the north, at Tulcan, which is where most cyclists coming from the north would get to. By the time we got to Ibarra, the traffic started to get irritating on the Pan-Am.

Nuestro libro sobre Las Mujeres de Puente de Amistad en Guatemala

Tagged:  •    •    •  
Portada de nuestro libro: Las Mujeres de Puente de Amistad
Portada de nuestro libro: Las Mujeres de Puente de Amistad (View on flickr)

Hemos terminado la traducción a español de nuestro libro que trata de las increibles mujeres de Puente de Amistad, quienes conocimos trabajando en Guatemala en Junio y Julio del año pasado. Esas mujeres fueron tan impresionante y admirable. Por eso escribimos el libro, pero nunca tuvimos bastante tiempo para traducir a español y revisarlo. ¡Y las mujeres del libro nunca lo han visto! Pero en Quito pasamos casi una semana estudiando en el Cristóbal Colon Spanish School, y Randy tomó como su objetivo la traducción y revisión del este libro.

Usted puede leer el libro en forma PDF aquí. También es posible comprar una copia imprimida (a nuestro costo, sin ganancia) aquí en blurb.com. (Desfortunadamente no ofrecen pedidos a muchos paises, pero si a México y Argentina.)

Click here for the English version of the book.

New Photos (Colombia and Ecuador) and the Maps are Updated

Tagged:  •  

We got our photos of Colombia all updated, and also the maps and elevation profiles of our route through Colombia are now there.

You can see the pictures:

The maps and elevation profiles (including an overview of the route) are here.

Stop Thief, Stop!

Tagged:  •  
historical center of quito
historical center of quito (View on flickr)

We had a funny experience yesterday on the way home from a fine afternoon wandering around the old city of Quito. We were on the excellent and cheap, but crowded, trolleybus. Whenever you're in a crowded bus anywhere in the world, especially standing, you need to take care of your possessions, and we were keeping a close eye out. Nancy spotted a young fellow in a brown baseball cap eyeing her as she put her camera away in her bag, and kept an eye on him. In fact, she was giving him the evil eye and he was also making eye contact in return. They understood each other completely.

As we stood there he snaked his way through the crowd, moving closer and closer to us and Nancy thought he was evaluating me as well. About the time Nancy was reiterating her warning to me to watch my pockets, we heard a lady call out "Thief - there's a thief here." Then another woman yelled "The one in the brown cap!" And the first one said "He's after the tourist lady!" (Nancy).

Then came the incredible part. Somebody yelled again, "The one with the brown cap". And they all started beating him with umbrellas and fists and forcing him to the front of the bus. The bus driver asked what was going on and stopped the bus and delivered the apparent theif right into the hands of a waiting policeman.

It was quite amazing. Nothing happened at all. We didn't get robbed or even come close, and I don't think he would have been successful with us.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

We crossed the Equator!

Tagged:  •  
Nancy and Randy at the Equator in Ecuador
Nancy and Randy at the Equator in Ecuador (View on flickr)

Randy at the arctic circle
Randy at the arctic circle (View on flickr)

We crossed the equator on May 29, almost 2 years after we crossed the Arctic Circle on June 14, 2006! The amazing thing is, take a look at our clothing... I think we were colder at the equator (near 9000 feet of elevation) than we were at the Arctic Circle!

There was a fine monument alongside the rode with an incredibly intricate sundial showing the day of the year as well as the time of day. It was all for nought on such a cold, cloudy, rainy day though.

Incredible Scenery in the Colombian Andes

Tagged:  •  
Take a look at this incredible video (view it full-size here). We were riding our bikes through southern Colombia, climbing into some of the most awesome mountain scenery we've ever seen, and here's a little sample. A big sample. Look at that waterfall! Nancy says "I was awed, I was brought to tears, and I was humbled by the realization of how small an insignificant we really are in the big picture of time and space."
Syndicate content