January 29, 2016 1 Comment
Finally, we come to the third phase of the trip but the cornerstone around which I built the entire itinerary. Back in the summer, when I was considering possible “off the beaten track” trips, I ran across a small sidebar in Men’s Journal about a company in Ecuador that conducts guided or self-guided tours around the country. After checking out their website – www.freedeombikerental.com – and some back and forth correspondence, I decided this was exactly the trip for me. Granted, I hadn’t ridden a motorcycle for about 30 years, but that did not deter me.
But, perhaps the biggest coup I pulled off for this trip was getting a friend of mine to sign-up for it, as well. Actually, I didn’t have to do much convincing. I really just had to tell him about it. So, I went out and bought a used KLR650 motorcycle, the same type of bike I would be renting in Ecuador, and started riding pretty much any chance I could find. We also sought out a variety of conditions – winding country roads, sand, gravel, off-road. After all, this was a 7 day, dual sport adventure that promised about 25% off-road riding.
I have to say that I was very happy with Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental. We had a blast. I won’t try to recount the whole trip as they have a complete itinerary on-line for the Cloudforests, Coast, and Craters tour. We spent each night in a different locale – Mindo, Pedernales, Quetavado, Salinas del Guaranda, Banos, and a few others I can’t remember off-hand. We rode about 5-6 hours a day and always got in before dark. The accommodations ran the gamut from simple, rustic inns to some gorgeous boutique properties but all were satisfactory. The meals were very good and ranged from steak to Chinese to excellent Italian pizza in Salinas.
We saw volcanoes, ocean fishing villages, birding lodges in the cloudforest, and one verdant valley after another. We had the chance to deliver school supplies to small villages in rural Ecuador where caring folks are trying to bring basic education to places where it hasn’t traditionally existed. We met workers in palm groves harvesting canola for oil production, saw soccer balls being produced, visited cooperative cheese and chocolate factories where entire communities work together to bring industry and jobs in places that traditionally offered only farming jobs. Probably the best way to capture the trip is through photos..