Pre-trip week, November 10-14, 2014
Monday I was cycling from Corp 3 to Corp 1 (DTNA) and when I was close to the last corner to the 2 nd floor entrance I hit some slick wet sidewalk and fell to the sidewalk on my bike. It has been a long time since I fell on the bike and this time I hurt my arm. I kept thinking it was going to be a problem on my trip to Ecuador , but it slowly got better and only hurt a little by the time I was in Ecuador .
Tuesday there were some high winds and my gate blew open breaking the latch that keeps it closed. I backed my car up to the gate and placed logs on the other side of the gate so it would not swing freely while I was in Ecuador and Peru . I was glade it did not break after I left or it would have swung back and forth for three weeks. Instead it was lodged between by car and logs for three weeks. I fixed it in a way to make it wind proof the first week after returning from Peru .
Thursday I went to the Mazama ramble and no one was there, it turned out it was canceled due to cold windy weather. I did not find that out until I returned from Peru . I was a couple minutes late to the ramble and spent 2 hours looking to see if I could find ramblers. No luck, so I went to the Lucky lab at 8:00 PM thinking I would find Rambler. They normally go to the Lucky Lab after the ramble, well no one was there. I had a beer and then cycled towards home. I was getting on the sidewalk on the Broadway bridge and my bike slipped out from under me on the sidewalk due to a layer of ice. The roads were not icy, only the sidewalk. I did not get hurt at all. My backpack fell out and I walked carefully up to the top of the bridge, then I noticed I lost my backpack and went back down to where I fell. Some people were walking up the sidewalk and confirmed my backpack was on the sidewalk. I saw someone cycling to the sidewalk and yelled to him to watch out for the ice and he ended up hitting the ice and falling to the sidewalk. He said he did not understand what I was yelling. I found my backpack and cycle home with it.
Friday the project I was working on had a major glitch and due to a bug I found in the software they decided to cancel the pre-series for the only cluster that will be available for the M2 trucks.
Day 1, Saturday, November 15, 2014
It was a long day. I woke up around 2:30 AM and finished getting ready for my trip to Ecuador/ Peru. I went to turn off the water coming into my house and found the ground around the door was frozen and had trouble turning off the water. I forgot to drain pipes, remembered after I was at the airport (so I never drained the pipes, but no problems). I had reserved a Yellow cab to the airport on-line a few days earlier and I called yellow cab about 4:15 AM (about 30 minutes before they were going to arrive, I had reserved a cab on-line to pick me up at 4;40 AM) to make sure they had my reservations. They said they informed me they would not be able to service me. I had received an e-mail suggesting a luxury limousine to the airport and I ignored that one. I assumed it was an advertisement and not a way of telling me they could not get me a cab. I complained to taxi guy and he said he was sure they sent me a notification, I never saw it. They transferred me to another taxi company which also could not service me, for 45 minutes. While the second cab company had me on hold I looked up tri-met and I noticed I could take the max, then I went to the max stop on the corner of interstate and Rosa parks. Once at the max stop I checked the schedule and it looked like the first max was latter than expected. I then used my cell phone and found I was supposed to go to the bus sop near my house, good thing I had my cell phone. I had to walk to Albina and Rosa Parks for the bus. I took the bus to Rose Quarters and then transferred to the airport max. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time for my flight. I had arrived at airport 1 hour and 10 minutes before flight left. I like to get to the airport 2 hours early. There was no extra charge for my luggage, cool! (2 bags free on international flights using Delta Airlines, most airlines are charging for any bags now a days). For some unknown reason I was able to bypass security in PDX and no searching me in Quito. It was snowing in Minnesota and they had to de-ice the plane, the flight arrived late in Atlanta and my flight to Quito had started boarding, I still had enough time to get to gate. Good thing I had my cell phone I had looked up my gate while still on the plane. I had to take a train to another terminal. I had trouble finding the train. I wanted to try to get to Peruvian money at the airport, but I did not have time. I was lucky on the flight to Quito I had an empty seat next to me. The person on the aisle seat (2 seats over) lived in Peru and at the end of the flight I mentioned my cycling plans. He thought I would have a great trip. He did mention something about the desert and he asked if I was planning on going to the Galapagos Islands. I asked him if it was possible to go to the Galapagos without taking a boat tour and he said yes. Between him and Bill from Portland they planted the seed that kept me thinking about going to the Galapagos Islands on this trip. Originally after talking to Phyllis I had decided not to go to the Galapagos Islands. Once in Quito a man offered me a taxi ride. He was not a taxi and he way over charged me. I guess I am lucky he did not rob me. I did not get to the hotel until about 1:00 AM. (Daily Bike 0 miles; Estimated walked 10 miles)
Day 2, Sunday, November 16, 2014
I wanted to find a tour to the equator. At the hotel they suggested hiring a driver to take me there, to a museum and then to a crater. They said the driver would charge by the hour and that it would probably cost about $50.00 for the full trip. I would also need to pay all entry fees for each area separately from the hired driver. I thought it was more than I wanted to spend so they suggested the bus and the clerk at the hotel told me how to get to the bus stop. I walked a little looking for the bus stop and found it was very confused to figure out where the hotel clerk told me to go. So I went back to the hotel looked it up on-line using my iPAD and went back to the hotel clerk with the notes he wrote for me and the map on my iPad with where I thought he said. Then he told me it was one street further on the map than the one I thought it was on my walk and I was then able to figure out how to take the bus to the equator. The bus ride was easy with the instructions from the hotel clerk and my IPAD map. The first bus stop was La Ofelia and then I took a different bus to Mital Del Munda these were the name the hotel clerk wrote on the paper. I thought the bus was ending at the equator. The man behind me on the bus said something and another man pointed up the road. It was my stop I needed to get off for visiting the equator (I recognized the monument from a picture I had seen on the internet) good thing that guy told me it was my stop (I would have stayed on the bus, although I think the bus would have looped around). I was thinking the last stop on the bus was the equator and was going to stay on the bus. I had marked the equator visitor center (Mital Del Munda) on my GPS and that also made me convinced it was the right bus stop. I checked out the equator tourist area for a few hours. The security guy told me to get off the grass in the middle of me making a movie. When I boarded a bus to go back to the hotel I tried asking the bus operator if it was going to La Ofelia by showing him the name on the paper, he shook his head yes and said city center. I took the bus and had tracked the first bus using my GPS after a few miles this bus was talking a different route than the outbound bus and the bus was getting too crowded to get off where the route deviated. I decided to continue on the wrong bus (it was going in general direction of the hotel) to where people indicated they thought I was headed (The bus driver and a couple of other tourist) and once I was close to parallel to my hotel a bunch of people were getting off the bus, so I decided to get off at that stop. Per my GPS I was slightly over 2 miles from my hotel. Good thing I have the GPS, I forgot to bring my hotel name, not sure if I could have any taxied there without the name. The area I got off the bus was near old town, the place that I was recommended to check out by friends in Portland. I wondered around checking things out quickly. I was concerned about getting back to the hotel. I was hoping I did not need to go through any bad neighborhoods. People in Portland had told me there were parts of Quito that I should not enter as a tourist and I did not know where those areas were located. Well the walk back to the hotel was fine, but I noticed the traffic was bad and therefor I was worried about getting out of Quito on my bike in the morning. I saw a road not far from my hotel with a lot of bikes. I went back to the hotel and took a break. After a while I decided to get something to eat and check out the bike road. I did not get anything to eat, but followed the bike road to a park and found another bike road and followed it passed old town. After that I was feeling a lot better about riding out of town the next day. I walked about 15 miles on this day. (Daily Bike 0 miles; Estimated walked 15 miles)
Day 3, Monday, November 17, 2014
When I left me hotel I decided to take a short cut to the bike road I found the previous day. When I got on the road I thought was correct and looked at my GPS, it looked like the wrong road. I ended up getting confused and biking most of the way back to the hotel to start over (I did not want to get lost). I ended out wasting about 15 minutes going the wrong way. I had left the hotel around 6:30 AM to avoid the morning rush hour. I did fine up until the point where I had gone the previous day on the bike routes. At that point I was no longer able to find bike a paths and the traffic was getting very heavy. Most of the traffic was going into town and I was leaving town. Since the roads are narrow and I no longer had bike lanes it was hard getting out of the city limits, it took about 2 hours with tough traffic and then another hour of not so bad traffic to get away from the city. Lots of elevation gain, at one point I cycled up to 10,437 feet about sea level and then down to about 9,800 feet. At that point I figured my high point for the day would be 10,437, well the next big climb was higher, I ended up getting to my highest point of the day of 11,534 feet above sea level. It was a hard and long ride, often pushing the bike. Then I finally got a long downhill to the town of Latacunga. Overall the day was uneventful, it looked like it would rain, but never rained on me. I could see that it was raining in nearby areas. It is funny when I looked at the weather for Quito from the airport in Atlanta, there was 80 to 100 percent chance of rain in the 10 day forecast. When I checked it again from Quito the weather forecast showed 40 to 50 percent chance of rain. Lucky so far! However I was chased by 2 Germans shepherds on this day. I often get chased by dogs, but these ones were scarier. The hotel I found in Latacunga was nicer, cheaper, but noises than my hotel in Quito. (Daily Bike 62.3 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 62.3; GPS total trip miles 62.3 miles; estimated walked 2 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 2868 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 2868 feet; Highest elevation of day 11534 feet; End of day elevation 9133)
Day 4, Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I could not figure out how to use the shower in Latacungo hotel, very strange set up with multiple shower heads. I could not even figure out how to turn on the water. The hotel did not have normal plugs receptacles, it had the 2 small round hole types. No lamps in the hotel. The ride this day was uneventful. When I arrived in the outskirts of Ambato at an Intersection looking at my GPS it looked like the town bypass road was the one I had taken. About 0.5 miles later I realized it was not the bypass road. I had turned too late, but never did see a right prior to the one I took. I continued on that route and it took me through the center of the city, took about an hour to get through town. I wished I would have found the city bypass road. After a little more uphill I was out of Ambato. A little later when I left a small town the long downhill started and I was behind a cyclist with a loaded bike, he was a French man whom had started in Quito and was headed to Lima, then Bolivia and then who knows where. He said he had already biked parts of Europe before coming to South America and had already covered over 8,000 KM. When he was going up a hill his chain came off and he was not able to get it working again. I did not know how to help, after a while he figured it out and started biking again. When I arrived in Banos I found the French cylinder looking for a hostel, I went with him to the hostel, but they did not have private rooms and I did not really want to stay in a dorm. His dorm room was only $7.50 a night. Then I biked into town and a person running a hotel near the bus stop showed me his $10.00/night private room with bath. I was planning on staying 2 nights and did not like the looks of the hotel, so I refused the room. If I was only staying for one night I would have taken the $10.00/ night room. Then I found a very nice hotel and it was $69.00 per night. That was too expensive. The next place was a hostel with private room, the rooms was very nice and $20.00/ night. I took the room, but sort of wish I didn't since the bell rings every time I left or enter or if anyone else entered the hostel. At first the hostel manager wanted me to put my bike in the yard with his dog, but I decided to lock it to the fence in front of the hostel so it would be easier to use. Finally he told me I could put my bike in my room. It seemed like a lot safer hotel than the $10.00/ night hotel. The bad thing is the room does not have a clock (like most of the hotel in Ecuador and Peru) it will make it tough to determine when it is morning. I was able to use the clock on my IPAD to see the time throughout the night, but it does not have an alarm clock. I had arrived at the hotel around 1 PM so the day was young. I biked all around and found my route for the next day. I cycled everywhere nearby and it started getting boring. I put my bike away and walked back and forth in town for about an hour looking to see if I could find genie pig to eat, no luck. Phyllis from Portland had told me I should try the genie pig as a local food from Ecuador. I did see some cooking corn that looked good, but continued looking for another meal. After having no luck I went back to where the lady was selling the corn and the people that showed up before me bought the last of the corn. I ended out not getting anything for dinner again. I sort of don't trust the food. I don't want to get sick and went back to my hostel and had a tuna sandwiches for dinner. I dropped lots of elevation that day, end elevation was 5961 feet. The following day I wanted to bike down to the Amazon and then take a bus back to Banos. Then the next day take a bus back to Ambato, where I started my downhill to Banos and head south again. There was some sort of parade with people dancing near the hotel that afternoon. (Daily Bike 63.93 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 126.23; GPS total trip miles 126 miles; estimated walked 3 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 5088 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 2220 feet)
Day 5, Wednesday, November 19, 2014
A little before 6:00 AM I looked out my window and noticed the gate to the hostel was still locked shut. That is one of the things I do not like about cheap lodging, you often have to wake someone up to get out of the place. Well I was only day biking and did not feel I needed an early start. At about 6:05 AM I heard someone leave. I then woke up and got ready for the day, by the time I was ready to leave it was no problem getting out. I then started biking east towards Puyo. I passed some great waterfalls and a dam. My first real stop was to hike down to Pailon Del Diable falls. When I arrived in the town of the falls I saw a sign saying 1 KM to falls, I went a very short distance, about .5 km and came to a place that looked like a tourist attraction. I asked someone where the falls are and he pointed at this building. Near the building there was a sign that said free bike parking, on the bike rack there was a stripped down beat up bike locked to the bike rack. It did not look like a safe place to lock my bike, but I locked it there and had no problems. The trail through the building did not look right and I was trying to find a sign, I saw the guy again and he gestured for me to go through the building to the trail. From my travel guide I was expecting a fall better than the twin falls I had already passed on the highway. I figured I went to the wrong falls. At one point on the trail I had to crawl to get to the higher view point. There was even a higher bridge and I could not find a route to that bridge. I asked the guy that I paid to see the falls and he said it was the right falls. On the hike out of the falls I saw a guy with a Portland Marathon shirt and taking to him, he was from Rainer, Oregon. His girlfriend was also there, she was originally from Bend, Oregon and now living in Rainer, Oregon. Later in town, I saw photos of the falls and it was the falls I visited. There were some other places I wanted to check out, from my travel guide. But I missed them, after Rio Negro I was in the Amazon rain forest I think. The vegetation was thick with interesting plants and lots of butterflies. I stopped at one small, not exciting waterfall and saw people in some sort of tour working their way down the river in wet suits. Seemed like a very strange tour. The road to Puyo was very nice, whenever there was a tunnel in the highway there was a no traffic route for bikes around the tunnels, great for biking. When I was about 5 miles from Puyo I used my GPS to find the bus station, the closest bus station in my GPS was in Banos. At that point, I was worried about finding a bus back to Banos. Well about a mile later I found the Puyo bus terminal and was on a bus by 1:50 PM back to Banos. It was a very nice bus and they had a neat movie, but it was in Spanish. The bus had assigned seats and I was not in the right seat, at one stop people were looking for their seats and that was when I realized they were assigned seats. A guy helped me find my seat, but it was occupied so I went back to my original seat. That seat was OK for the rest of the trip. I saw several neat plants and building that I did not notice as I was biking to Puyo from the bus. I guess I was in too much of a hurry, I should have slowed down and enjoyed the scenery on the bike ride. I was back in Banos about 1 hour later. I then went back to the hostel, took a shower and decided to look for a tour of some sort. I think I could have done the town overlook swing, but decided to go for a hike instead. I hiked up to Banos Bellavista the trail seemed like a bad place to be by myself, I think I read too much about people getting robbed on hiking trail in foreign countries. It turned out to be fine, by the time I fished the hike I saw people even a single girl doing the hike. The elevation gain on the hike was about 838 vertical feet from the town of Banos to the overlook at Banos Bellavista. I think it was as safe as a hike in the USA. Back in town I saw the guy that I had seen the previous day that said he saw me biking out of Quito my first day. I told him my plan to bus to Ambato and then start biking south. He suggested that I bus to Riobamba, he said it was as much elevation gain from Ambato to Riobamba as the stretch from Quito to Ambato. He told me he had done a lot of biking and I think I should listen to him. For the first time I ventured out and ate street food, to this point of my trip I had only eaten snacks and tuna sandwiches. The food I bought was strange, like calamari with Posole, not sure what I ate, it tasted good. I also had some BBQ corn. It was too dried out, but still good. The previous night I looked at the weather and there was an 80 percent chance of rain. It was sunny most of the day, a very small drizzle near Puyo and then on the hike down from Banos Bellavista it started lightning and thunder, I did not want rain on that trail it was very steep with loose dirt that would have turned to mud. Luckily I made it back before the rain. It did rain, but very lightly. (Daily Bike 41.48 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 167.71; GPS total trip miles 165 miles; estimated walked 7 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 6423 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 1335 feet)
Day 6, Thursday, November 20, 2014
I had to wake up the hostel operators to leave at 6:15 AM. Then I cycled to the bus station and was immediately able to get on a bus with my bike and gear from Banos to Ambato. When the bus dropped me off in Ambato I used my GPS to find the spot that I marked to start the ride to Riobamba. The GPS took me on this dirt road and when I looked at where it was taking me it would have been faster and easier to cross the medium and go directly to the spot I wanted. The GPS shows the route you need to take in a car. As I pushed and cycled up the mountain I kept thinking I should have listened to the guy in Banos and took the bus all the way to Riobamba. I just did not want a gap in my route yet. It was a lot of uphill riding, starting at 8454 feet above sea level and going up to 11,877 feet over sea level. Then back down to 9110 feet above sea level in Riobamba. It was a tough day. When I was done I was glad I cycled it, other than the elevation it was an uneventful day. A very small amount of drizzle at the high elevation and when I arrived in Riobama it started lighting and thunder. I found a nice hotel and checked in right before it started to rain. I ended out getting my rain coat and walking around town before sunset. It rained medium hard for about an hour. I had arrived at the hotel around 3:00 PM and the sun goes down around 5:00 PM, so I did a lot of walking around. I think I saw all the sights worth seeing in town and tried some great corn bread treats. The hotel only has one electric receptacle in a large room and one in the bath room, no lamps and the only clock was on the TV box. I had been using my IPad clock in the hotels for the past few nights since they did not have clocks. At one point, I could see some of the snow covered mountains coming out of the clouds. Since I had been close to 12,000 feet without any sign of snow, these peaks must have been over 16,000 vertical feet. The route I was cycling is Ecuador was called Volcano Avenue and must be a great drive if the sky is clear. I only saw glimpse of some of the Volcano bases so far and the other snow covered mounting I saw did not appear to be extinct volcano. (Daily Bike 35.89 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 203.6; GPS total trip miles 204 miles; estimated walked 9 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 8904 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 2481 feet; Max elevation reached on this day 11,877 feet)
Day 7, Friday, November 21, 2014
The ride up to Cajabamba was a big uphill like expected. When I was not too far out of Riobamba I came to a small town and the bus driver was looking at me as you calling for people to load the bus for Guayaquil, I was very tempted to get on the bus so I could get to the Galapagos Islands. By the time, I talked myself into taking the bus and turning around the bus was leaving, too late! In one town there was a big church with a snowcapped Mountain peeking out behind it. In that town and along the highway I saw several mountain people with traditional Andean clothes. I was very tempted to take a photo of the ladies lined up in traditional Andes clothes waiting for a bus. A couple of them smiled at me, I do not take photos of people dressed in traditional cloths in the back country to keep them from getting mad at me. When I came to the intersection that I could either go to Cuenca or Guayaquil I stopped to look at my map and a group of locals came to help me decide on the route, they suggested Cuenca route, so I started going that way. I really wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands and kept thinking about turning back. After about 16 miles and looking at my map and GPS I started wondering if I would find a hotel. Then I decided I wanted to go back to the intersection and go towards Guayaquil. I stopped several busses and they would not take me, I finally found a bus that took me with my bike and gear back to the turn off to Guayaquil. The bus only cost a dollar and I was very thankful so I gave the guy that loaded my stuff, helped me figured out my stop and unloaded my stuff a one dollar tip. I then started the uphill climbed, if I would have known about the large uphill I would not have taken the bus back to the turn off to Guayaquil. The top of the pass was 12,678 feet above sea level before the downhill started. There was still some uphill after the downhill started. The sun started going down and I was concerned about finding a hotel, so I tried hitch hiking. The road had step sides and lots of curves, no way to get a bus to stop. I was about 10 miles to the next town and my GPS did not indicate lodging was available in that town. I found a place next to the road where I could sleep on rocks until the morning and spent the night. I did not bring camping gear and put all my clothes on and tried to sleep. I think I slept pretty good, I kept noticing the stars disappearing in clouds. I was not ready for rain, luckily it did not rain. Even with all my cloths it was very cold, the sleeping spot was at 7813 feet above sea level per my GPS. (Daily Bike 67.16 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 270.76; GPS total trip miles 287 miles (I had the GPS on with track off for the 16 miles on bus back to turn off to Guayaquil); estimated walked 0 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 13,627 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 4723 feet; Max elevation reached on this day 12,678 feet; Slept on ground at 7813 feet above sea level)
Day 8, Saturday, November 22, 2014
I slept until it got dusky light, not a great sleep too cold. I ended up leaving camp a little before 6:00 AM, about sunrise. It was still quite cold and as I went downhill I kept taking off layers until I had all 3 coats off. The ride was mostly downhill, but there were several uphill sections. I lost almost all my altitude and then it became a very flat ride. People always try to talk to me, one guy was talking and I wanted to get a photo of his family (Him with his wife and 2 kids). Everyone wanted in the photo except the lady (his wife) in the traditional Andean clothing. A guy on a motorcycle stopped to get my photo, so I took his photo as well. Between El Triufo and La Troncal the police stopped me to ask about my trip. They were very nice and followed me at my pace for a few miles, I did not realize they were still there and stopped to change my GPS batteries. They had a camera and was asking my age and stuff. I think they filmed me for a while. I took their photo as well and then they left. I ended out getting to a hotel by 1:30 PM and researched getting plan tickets to the Galapagos Island and found I could still get tickets. I wished that my searches worked the previous night, the previous night all my internet searches (Orbitz, Travelocity, etc) kept showing no flights available to the Galapagos Islands. It must have been something I was doing wrong on that previous night. It turns out I could have gotten a flight from Cuenca and that was what I really wanted. Oh well I made reservation to fly to the Galapagos Islands for 3 days and I reserved a hotel for 3 nights on Santa Cruise Galapagos Island. I also reserved a room for one night in Guayaquil, so I could easily get to the airport for my flight to the Galapagos Islands. As far as activities in the Galapagos Islands the plan was to get there and then find day trips on the Galapagos. I found that when buying drinking water in Ecuador and Peru that most of the water is carbonated (sin gas). After making me reservations I walked around the town. I found one old church and a place to buy cooked chicken with a small banana on top. It was not very good, I think the chicken was the chicken’s tails, there was a lot of bones and almost no meat with a lot of fried breading on the skin. I ate it like there were no bones and ended out spitting a lot of it out. I also found a park where people were playing soccer and bally ball. (Daily Bike 66.05 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 336.81; GPS total trip miles 357 miles; estimated walking 3 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 14,385 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 758 feet; Current elevation 314 feet)
Day 9, Sunday, November 23, 2014
I left the hotel in La Troncal at around 7 AM and started biking towards Guayaquil. The ride was very easy I did the 50 miles by around noon. During the ride I saw lots of neat birds and an iguana cross the road. I went over to the iguana to get a photo and it did not move I was able to get right next to it for the photos. My Guayaquil hotel check-in time was 3:00 PM, so I decided to find the bus station before going to the hotel. I found it and it was huge. I walked into the bus terminal with my bike and the security guards looked at me, but said nothing. It took me a while to find the ticked area, it was like a giant shopping mall. The bus station had about 100 separate ticket areas, one for each bus company. I found a bus company that had busses to Piura, Peru so my plan was then to buy a bus ticket to Piura when I got back from the Galapagos Islands. The bus is an 11 hour bus, leaves at 15:50 and will help me make it to Lima on time. I was worried about making it to Lima on time, when I check the distance on my GPS and found it was almost another 1000 miles. The bus will help, I was also worried about getting over the border from Ecuador to Peru, than I had a plan to go over the border into Peru on the bus. I then cycled to the hotel and they gave me my room. The room was not good for me, a shared bathroom, no TV and no windows. I asked for an upgrade and was able to get a much nicer room, but the price was 25% higher than the original room ($15.50 more). I think the internet told me about the shared bathroom, but I did not look that close at the room description on Orbitz. I then walked around town, all the way along the Malecon 2000 and up the 500 steps to the top of the light house. The first 444 steps from the Malecom 2000 to the base of the light house were numbered, the steps in the lighthouse are not number. I also walked to the cathedral and found there were iguanas all around the park in the front of the church. Lots of people were checking them out, you could touch them and they would not run, seemed strange. I then went back to the hotel and packed my bike for the flight to the Galapagos Island for the following day. (Daily Bike 51.99 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 388.80; GPS total trip miles 409 miles; estimated walking 9 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 14722 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 337 feet; Current elevation 60 feet)
Day 10, Monday, November 24, 2014
I did a morning, walk to the nearby Cathedral to check out the iguana. When I arrived at the Cathedral the iguanas were all in the trees not on the ground. I wanted to get more photos of the iguanas walking around. Oh well, I guess it was too early, the iguanas looked like they were asleep. I walked a short way on the Malecon 2000 and then rushed back to the hostel for the included 8:00 AM breakfast. This was my first sit down meal of this trip, the breakfast was included with the room and was only served from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM. I ended up eating breakfast with a lady that had just moved to Ecuador from the USA. She owned land in Ecuador for 7 years and was now retiring on her land. She told me her land was a quarter ownership of an organic farm in the Andes Mountains. She told me that she had lived in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a few years, she left Pagosa Springs in 2008. I had lived in Pagosa Springs after graduating from High school in 1978. We talked a bit about Pagosa and found we probably did not know any of the same people. When I lived there it was a very small town and it seemed like everyone knew all the people that lived in town. I guess all of those people moved on and new people moved into Pagosa Springs. Breakfast included tree tomato juice, the lady from Pagosa would not drink it she said every time she drank tree tomato juice she felt sick afterwards. After talking to this lady (I sat with her at breakfast) I finished packing up my gear and left the hostel. I was able to quickly get a taxi, it was unmarked, before getting in I agreed on a price and it was $4.00 to the airport from the hostel. I ended up giving him $5.00. A little hectic at the airport, had to clean my suitcase, there was dirt from my bike ride on the outside. It really never came clean, but they finally let me check my baggage on the plane. I also had to figure out how to get the tourist fees to go to the Galapagos Islands, some ladies from New Jersey helped me figure out the lines so I could get my tourist papers and finish checking in my luggage. It was pretty easy after that and there was free Wi-Fi at the airport. I was hoping to also exchange some money to Peru money, so when I returned from the Galapagos Islands I would have money for Peru. Well I found there was no money exchange at the Guayaquil airport.
The flight was not very crowded, I had 2 empty seats next to me on the plane and the guy across the aisle also had 2 empty seats. The plane was only about 80 percent full. The plane served orange juice, banana chips, peanuts with raisins and a granola bar. This day was my biggest eating day so far this trip. Once at the airport there was a $100.00 island parks fee, they would not take credit cards, they said I could get cash from ATM and then return. I came up with the cash. So far this trip, I have been carrying too much cash, now I wonder if I have enough cash for the rest of my trip. Might be good to get rid of some cash and then use an ATM in Peru to get more money. Once on the Galapagos Islands the luggage was unloaded from the plane and everyone had to wait behind a line while they unloaded the luggage, then they let a dog run all over the luggage sniffing trying to find something. After a while they removed the dog and then let everyone get their luggage. After getting the luggage we loaded a free bus to a boat. Then we took a boat from isle Baltra to isle Santa Rosa. Then most people hopped (including me) on a bus that took about 45 minutes to cross the island to the town of Puerto Ayora. The bus was overcrowded with some stinky people, me probably one of them. Once in town, I used my GPS to find my hotel. Well by the time I found my hotel my luggage handle was broken. I thought it would be difficult for the rest of the trip, but I ended up screwing it shut and quit using the handle. The screw used the same hole as my trailer, so I could put my trailer back together in Peru. Once at the hotel, they said I needed to go to the main hotel to register, nowhere on Orbitz did they tell me the address of the main hotel. They gave me a free taxi ride to the main hotel from the hotel I was staying. At the main hotel they could not find my reservation. Then they gave me a huge oversized room for 2 nights and said they would find me a new room for my last night. I think they never found my reservations. I had to e-mail them my Orbitz confirmation number. Once at the hotel, I quickly put my bike together and cycled to the Charles Darwin research center and checked out the turtles in large open cages. I also saw several iguanas. Then I went to town to look for tours, a lot of choices. One tour was $90.00 to Isabela Island and there were similar tours to Isabela island for $110.00 or $120.00. The $120.00 tour had great photo, the $90.00 one had no one else on their roster. I could not decide, will show up at 6:45 AM to make sure the cheaper $90.00 go through. At one place the fishing boats we're returning with lobster and fish. As the fisherman prepared their fish for the market pelicans and a sea lion were waiting for handouts. Then I cycled towards Turtaga bay and was turned away because if closes at 5:00 PM and it was already 6:00 PM. I found a grocery store in town and bough supplies. As I was walking around town I saw some people I met at the hotel I stayed in at Guayaquil and they asked about cheap eating. I tried to tell them about the grocery store, but I do not think they understood me. They were French and spoke minimal English. I speak no French. The guy across from me on the plane from Guayaquil was also French. (Daily Bike 6.4 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 395.2; GPS total trip miles 419 miles; estimated walking 5 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 15059 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 337 feet)
Day 11, Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The hotel I was staying in was too nice and large for me, it had 3 beds, a full sized kitchen and nice bathroom with hot water. One big issue with the room is there was a loud noise that sounded like it was coming from the room below the bathroom, I could not figure out what the noise was, it may have been scuba compressor related since I was in the diver’s lodge. The noise must have been something that consumed a lot of current, each time I heard the noise the lights in my room would get dim. Strange noise, but since I cannot hear in one ear it was easy for me to live with, I could put my good ear down on the pillow to block the noise while sleeping. At about 6:30 AM I cycled to the place with the Isabel Isle tour for $90. That was the cheapest Isabel island tour I could find the previous day. I had locked up my bike and the guy asked if I was bringing my bike. With a little more talking I found that it was not a real boat tour, it was a ferry to and from Isabela Island then a car ride on the island. That was not what I wanted, so I went to the more expensive place, well their tour to Isle Isabela was full for the day. They did have space for the isle Santa Marie tour so I signed up and paid for that tour. The previous day the man selling the tours to Isabela Island wanted $120.00 for the tour and when I was not sure about the price he went down to $110.00. Well this lady was charging the $120.00 again and I told her I would pay $110.00 for the tour and she said OK. So I gave her a deposited the next day's isle Isabela tour. We went to catch a water taxi to the tour boat. I went through the area were they check your backpacks, I think they search things looking to make sure you do not bring any product to the other island that may change the wild life/ plants. Once through the checkout I stopped to take a photo and people on another tour got in front of me and I almost missed my taxi to the boat I reserved to isle Santa Maria. A man in the other group said I was not in his group and I ran and got on the correct water taxi to my tour boat. The taxi guy did not think I was supposed to be with them and I had to convince the water Taxi driver I had already paid for the Santa Marie tour. When I bought my ticket they did not give me my receipt and they had me follow them from the travel agent to the island check location. Well I got on the boat and we set off for isle Santa Marie. I sat on the top deck and it was a rough and wet boat ride to Santa Marie, it took about 2 hours to get to Isle Santa Marie. I was glad to finally get off the boat, we spent 15 minutes near the boat dock and checked out iguanas, crabs and exotic wild birds. Then we loaded into a bus and truck to hike on the mountain trails. The trail was nice, caves were the original settlers lived, narrow passages through rocks on the trail and a walk in a tortuous cage. Then we had a lunch in a restaurant on the island. It was a nice fish, vegetable and rice snack sized lunch. Then we went snorkeling. The fish were scarce, but there were plenty of sea turtles in the water. On the beach the sea lions laid down next to sun bathers. On the way back to Santa Cruise Island I sat on the bottom deck, a lady from Puerto Rica at lunch made the bottom deck sound bad. She said it was overcrowded and people were getting sea sick on that deck when the boat was coming over to Santa Marie Island. However on the way back to Santa Cruise Island the water was not as rough and it really did not seem crowded to me. For me it was nice, it was dry and I was relaxed enough to fall asleep a little. Back on Santa Cruise Island I tried going back to the Charles Darwin area, but it was off limits after 5:00 PM and we got back around 5:15 PM. Good thing I went to the Charles Darwin research center the previous day. I then cycled around Puerto Ayora, there was not much that I had not already seen. I did buy a souvenir wood turtle and some juice. (Daily Bike 7.19 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 402.39; GPS total trip miles 426 miles; estimated walking 6 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 15222 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 163 feet)
Day 12, Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I woke up around 6:00 AM and cycled to the cemetery and at 6:45 AM to the travel agent to finish paying for my trip to Isabela Island. The travel agent lent me fins and took me to the boat loading waiting area. When they checked my bag the guy did not put an inspection tag on my bag. I questioned it and the guy gestured that I did not need a tag. On the boat I only noticed one other person that may have had an untagged bag. I was wondering what would happen when we landed at Isla Isabela and nothing bad happened other than they looked for the tag and then let me go on the island without taking off a tag. The boat ride to and from the Isla Isabela was about 2 tough hours each way. But the water was not as rough as the previous day’s trip to Isla Santa Marie. The lady from Puerto Rico from the previous day's trip was on the boat, this time with her husband. She is very attractive and friendly lady, although I might be old enough to be her dad. Talking about old, I might have been the oldest person on the trip. There was a couple from San Francisco, California that may have been older or close to my age. Most of the people were probably less than 35 years old. Once on Isla Isabela there were lots of sea lions all over the place. I saw one come right up to this child that was wadding in the water. There were not as many iguanas as on Isla Santa Marie, but we saw more sea iguanas in the water. We also saw penguins and sting rays in the water. There were lots of Pelicans and other cool birds too. We went on this hike to a channel were you could see sharks swimming back and forth. Then we did some snorkeling and saw lots of sea turtles. The fish did not seem as colorful as other places in the world I have snorkeled in the past. Back in the boat they gave us candy bars and bottled water. Then we had a great lunch with a fish soup, then fish and rice as the main course and jello for desert. Then we went and checked out flamingos, they were sleeping and not very photographic. Then we went to a turtle farm and then back to the boat for the long ride back to Isla Santa Rosa. Back in town I got money and a shirt for the flight home. I accidentally left on my GPS on during the boat trip. That created a GPS track for the boat trip back and forth from island Isabela and Island Santa Cruise. Not a very useful track. (Daily Bike 2.39 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 404.78; GPS total trip miles 542 miles; estimated walking 4 miles; Total trips accumulative 15,985 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 763 feet)
Day 13, Thursday, November 27, 2014, Thanksgiving day
I woke up around 5:15 AM and cycled to trail head of Tortola bay and hiked to the beach. It was a lot longer hike than expected, should have spent more time at beach. I was worried about getting my bike packed and to the airport in time for m y flight back to Guayaquil, Ecuador (mainland). Once I got back to then hotel I was able to pack the bike in about 10 minutes. That is probably a new record time, sometimes it takes about an hour. I did shortcut things and put some stuff in my duffle bag instead of carefully packing it all in the suitcase. I was told I could leave my stuff at the diver lodge, and get a ride to the main lodge to check out and then come back and get my luggage. Sounded too hard, it was a short walk to the main lodge, so I drug my stuff over there. I also wanted to go over and see if I could find out why I was charged the $45.07 (I noticed the charge by looking at my charge card activity on line the previous night, it was from Orbitz and appeared to be a Puerto Ayora hotel charge (Travel agent had same phone number) , they said I was not charged extra. It turns out when I returned to Portland that I found the additional charge was actual the cost of my hotel in Guayaquil, not an additional charge for the hotel in Puerto Ayora). Then the hotel called me a cab to get me to the bus station, they said I needed to hurry the bus left at 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM. Good thing I took the cab it was a long ways and not where the bus dropped me off the first day. I had a lot of time at the airport, walked around several times. It seems like I could have stayed at the beach for another hour, but if I did I would have wanted to take the taxi all the way to the airport boat shuttle. I guess I was glad I took the bus and was able to get some down time. When I was checking in for my flight they said they were trying to page me, they needed to check my luggage. Not sure what they were looking for, but they wanted me to open my cheeked in luggage and then they inspected the belongings. It was not the bike it was the other bag, probably looked funny in the X-ray with bike seat and trailer axle tube and trailer tire. They then let me load the plane. Once back in Guayaquil, I took a cab to the bus terminal, hard trouble telling the cab driver where I wanted to go, but he finally understood me. I really need to learn more Spanish. At the bus terminal I was trying to line up the bus and a guy helped me store my stuff so I did not have to lug it around for 3.5 hours. Good thing, I was able to figure things out by walking around and I found the gate I would need to depart from when I bought my ticket. I wrote down Spanish term to help me buy a ticket with a window seat on the bus and then bought my ticket for the bus to Piura, Peru. I bought a meal and groceries at the bus terminal. The bus terminal is like a shopping center and has 2 upper level floors where busses load and the bottom floor is for unloading busses only. It was a huge bus station where I probably walked up and down all the rows and floors multiple times and covered about 5 miles of indoor walking, lots of time. Probably between my short hike and walking around the GPS (Galapagos) airport and Guayaquil bus terminal I probably walked more than 10 miles. I tried to find a place to exchange money for Peru money and they would not do it at the banks in the bus terminal (no Peru money at the banks), I had also tried the Guayaquil and GPS airports without any luck. I ended up entering Peru without any Peru money. I boarded the bus to Peru and it may have been the nicest bus of my life’s travels. It looked like it may have even had sleeper rooms in the front lower level of the bus. My seat was nice enough with a foot rest, window on one side and an aisle on the other side (right side of bus had one seat next to aisle and left side of bus had 2 seats next to aisle). There was also an upstairs in the bus, not sure what it looks like upstairs. The bus ride was great when we arrived at the boarder to Peru they had us line up and to go through customs, it was the easiest border crossing I have ever done in a Latin American country. (Daily Bike 1.91 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 406.69; GPS total trip miles 406.69 miles; estimated walking 10 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 16,052 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 67 feet)
Day 14, Friday, November 28, 2014
I arrived in Piura, Peru on the bus around 7:00 AM, several taxi drivers asked if I needed a ride and I said no. As I assembled my bike and attached the wheels to my suitcases a large group of taxi drivers were watching me. I ended up getting a photo of them near my bike. Then I started biking and was hoping to find a bank. When I had not seen a bank and was about to leave town I looked up banks on my GPS and found out I had passed the banks and then cycled back to town, close to where the bus originally dropped me off. Even with the GPS it was hard to find a bank, once I found one I used the ATM to get money. Then I cycled towards Lima and the GPS took me throughout the desert. I had researched my route on the Galapagos and was planning on going the long way taking the Pan American highway so I would be able to find hotels. Well I missed the turn off and decided to go through the dessert. I found a gas station with a store before leaving the metropolitan area and bought 2.5 liters of water and a 1.5 liter soda. I figured I would find stores in the desert to get more water. I kept thinking since I did not see any towns on my GPS map that I should turn back and get more water, but I continued through the desert. The ride was not that hot and had a great shoulder. There was no place to get water, I saw some people doing some land surveying along the highway and they offered me water, so I drank down the rest of a 2 liter water and had them fill up the 2 liter water container. I still had most of the 1.5 liter bottle I bought earlier that day. They had a large jug of water, probably about a 30 gallon jug we exchanged photos of each other before I biked off. The ride was not that exciting and I had light headwinds. It started getting close to sunset and I wanted to get past the possible store at KM 882. (I had seen a billboard advertising a store at KM 882). A little before KM 882 I saw a nice covert to sleep in, but I then noticed one of the only houses I had seen in miles was not far from the covert. Also I had not seen the store yet. I continued past KM 882, there was no store like advertised on the billboard. I continued further and a little past KM 881 (At that point I was far enough past the KM 822 to know there was no store). I found another covert and slept in it under the highway. (Daily Bike 75.88 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 482.57; GPS total trip miles 619 miles; estimated walking 0 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 17,361 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 1309 feet)
Day 15, Saturday, November 29, 2014
I started cycling around 6:00 AM. The shoulder along the road deteriorated and was gravelly and sandy. It made for a very tuff day of cycling. Every once in a while I would cycle on the road which was a lot easier ride, but the cars and trucks made it feel dangerous. So mostly I stayed on the gravely shoulder. I still was thinking I did not have enough water, I saw some people working on a covert and they offered me water, so I filled up my 2 liter jug and thanked them. I would have never made it through the desert without the water from the people along the highway. I did see few restaurants, but they did not look sanitary and I do not think the water at those restaurants would have been good. When I arrived in the town of Morrope I figured I should get more water. I did not see a real store and stopped at a gas station and its store was empty. So I continued cycling with little water and rationed the water and still had some left when I arrived in the town of Lambayeque. Here I found a gas station with a store and bought plenty of liquids and a couple small snacks. There was not much in the store. I continued to Chiclayo and used my GPS to find a hotel, the first hotel was about $186.00 (550 PED). They told me about a cheaper motel, but I could not find the one they told me about. I then continued to the next hotel I could find using my GPS. The city was getting crowded at a stop light a van full of people hit my bike trailer. The trailer is low and I guess people cannot easily see it, I should get a flag for my next trip. The trailer was also hit in Leon, Nicaragua the previous year. In Nicaragua the trailer axle was damaged (but I was able to fix it by bending it out) and I ended up getting a trailer flat. This time there was no damage, the van had just jolted the trailer. The next hotel I found with my GPS had a casino and charged 350 PED (~ 120 USD). At that hotel, I asked about a cheaper place and the man in the hotel walked me to a cheaper hotel. On the way to the cheaper hotel we passed a hostel and the man leading me to the cheaper hotel shook his head no and pointed his finger at his neck resembling a gun. A guess he figured the hostel was way too hostile for me to stay there. We continued to the cheaper hotel that he recommended and he helped me get checked in and waited until I was properly served. I tipped him for getting me to the cheaper hotel and then he returned to the more expensive hotel with Casino where he was working. I walked to the nearby cathedral that I could see from my hotel room, a shoe shine guy really wanted to shine my tennis shoes. I had to say no repeatedly and then finally walked away from the shoe shine guy. The hotel has wifi, but I could not get it to work. The guy at the front desk blamed it on the router. It seems bad for such an expensive hotel not to have a person that could get the wifi router working. Oh well no WiFi that night. (Daily Bike 61.46 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 544.03; GPS total trip miles 680 miles; estimated walking 1 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 18,451 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 1090 feet).
Day 16, Sunday, November 30, 2014
On this day I cycled through more desert and then some desert like farm land. It was another day with headwinds. There is a lot of trash on the side of the roads and a large dumb right next to the highway south of Chiclayo. I still had some head winds and the shoulder was only good about 75 percent of the time, which was a big improvement from previous day's shoulder. There are some interesting houses in the desert, mud (Adobe) and straw homes. I would have thought the straw homes would have blown away with all the wind. As I was biking a man in a truck had me come over and he offered me a beer. I did not want it, he also offered me ice and a swig of water. I did not think I should trust the ice so I refused. We talked for a while, he gave me his card and told me if I was ever in the town where he lived I should look him up, I thought he point to Pisco, Peru as where he lived. He must have been visiting his daughter, his daughter was in the truck with him and she could speak some English, it made it a lot easier to communicate. He was 61 years old and his daughter was 29 years old. After talking to the man and his daughter for about 30 minutes I continued biking and when I came to a small town a man on a motorcycle was very insistent in having me follow him. I sort of did not trust him, I thought he might rob me. I did follow him to his house and he invited me in for grapes. He kept asking me questions in Spanish I kept saying I did not understand. I did get his age as 53 years old. I think he was inviting me to spend the night, but I did not want to stay there and was finally able to leave his place. It was nice seeing the inside of his house. The inside of the house looked nicer than I would have expected. Maybe when I was younger I would have stayed, but I really wanted to continue to the ocean town, Pacasmayo. I did not properly attach my bike odometer and did not record about a miles on my total miles. I often saw dogs roaming the desert far away from any homes, I think they are stray dogs that live off desert trash. They look healthy, at one point 2 of them were charging me and I yelled at them and they turned and ran the other way, shew! With respect to all the dogs I saw in front of people house I had been chased by well over 100 different dogs on this trip. That might be more than usual, but most of those dogs don’t appear to want to eat me, they just don’t want me getting any closer to their home. On occasion the dogs do seem scary and get too close, but not too often. Once in Pacasmayo I found some hostels, but wanted a hotel. Then people I tried to ask about hotels all pointed to the hostels, I wanted a hotel, but I did not know how to ask in Spanish. I finally asked were more hotels (you could see a lot of hostels from the front of the casino) where to the guy at the casinos and he pointed at a road and said playa (beach in English). I went down the road and found a very nice hotel right on the beach and got a room for the night. It looked way better than the hostels and I was able to put my bike in the room. After checking into the hotel I walked along the water front that was in front of the hotel, up to a cemetery with a view of the town and to the end of the rickety pear. It did not seem like a real safe peer some of the boards were loose and some had big gaps, I guess none of the gaps were big enough to get your foot stuck in. I noticed a couple bars near the water with lots of young men drinking beer. I did not think I wanted to be out at night in that area. I think the average age of the men drinking was about 30 years old and I only saw a couple of women in these bars. All the people around the beach area look like local, no other gringos except me. (Daily Bike 62.94 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 606.97; GPS total trip miles 746 miles; estimated walking 4 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 19,394 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 943 feet)
Day 17, Monday, December 1, 2014
In the morning, I had to get them to open the hotel so I could walk to the beach while I was waiting for breakfast that was included with the room at 7:00 AM. I found a couple of shells and got some great bird photos. I made it back to the hotel by 7:00 AM and had to find someone to serve me my breakfast that was included with my room. Well the breakfast was only rolls with jelly, cheese, juice and coffee. I probably should not have waited, but I did like walking the beach. This was my latest day to start cycling yet, I started riding at around 7:45 AM. I started out very strong thinking I had about 68 miles to Huanchaco, per my GPS predicted miles. The GPS is normally very close, but not this time. It turned out to be a little over 90 miles. This was the furthest I have ever cycled a bike Friday in one day. The bike is small and not easy to cycle a long ways. Also it is tough pulling the trailer, especially since about half of the ride had bad shoulders with pot holes and gravel. I often would ride on the road instead of the shoulder, but it was tough riding on the road with all the traffic. I kept getting on and off the highway when trucks and buses and cars came. Then I would be on the shoulder. I spent about a third of the day on the bad shoulders. There were a lot of road construction areas. When the road was paved, but not opened it was OK to bike on the new pavement. If no construction workers I would just get on the closed road, when the construction workers were there they would wave me onto the unfinished road. There were 3 sections like this one for about 15 miles and the other 2 were about 5 miles long each. At the begging of the first section I saw some long distance cyclist going north. The man was from France and the lady was from Mexico. Then had started in Buenos Aries and cycled to Ussuilla and then they were headed to Mexico. We exchanged information, they had a blog in both French and Spanish, vagamondes.blogspot.com. Some of the road construction did not have unfinished portion and just had rough roads and poor shoulders, very hard to cycle these sections. I kept thinking I should have stopped at one of the hostels before Huanchaco. At one hostel I saw a man and cycled over to it and he was no longer there. I looked at it and noticed a single bathroom possible for the entire hostel. I really did not think I wanted to stay there so I continued another 25 miles to Huanchaco. A lot of that portion of the ride was very tough, head winds, bad shoulders, lots of traffic and a gradual uphill climbed. I was only going about 6 MPH I started thing I would never get to Huanchaco before dark. Then I came to a section of unfinished highway with a gradual downhill and was able to average over 12 MPH. Well I made it to Huanchaco a little after sunset and took the second hotels I saw. I did not want to go further into town with all my gear. After checking into the hotel I wanted to get something to eat, nothing at the hotel so I biked into the main portion of the town near the beach. I should have gone further before getting a room, the hotels looked more fun closer to the beach. I checked out the cathedral and beach by nightlight. The roads in town away from the beach were deserted and scary. I did not go down any of those roads. I then went back to my hotel and ate some of the groceries I had bought. (Daily Bike 99.89 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 706.86; GPS total trip miles 818 miles; estimated walking 0 mile; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 21,063 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 1669 feet)
Day 18, Tuesday, December 2, 2014
The previous night I tried arranging the bus on line, but it would not take my liquid card and I did not want to use my USAA credit card. In the morning, I knew Chan Chan was not opened until 9:00 AM, so I cycled to the beach in Huancayo and up to the cathedral. Then I went back to the hotel to check out. I had no trouble finding the main site for Chan Chan, it was on my GPS maps. I bought an entry ticket that was good for 3 sites related to the Chan Chan ancient city. I walked through the ruins and met a guy from France that was traveling in South America for 2 months. He quit his job to travel, good move! I also noticed the truck parked in front of the site had California license plate, do you think they drove from California? After leaving the main site I tried using the paper maps they gave me and the guide I bought to find the other sites. No luck, the paper maps even told me how many kilometers to go, but I could not find the other tourist areas related to Chan Chan. There were no signs. I found myself working my way into the heart of Trujillo and decided to take care of finding the bus terminal. I wanted to take the taxi to the Cruz del Sur bus terminal, so I asked a taxi driver to take me there, but I could not explain that one. The taxi driver ended up telling me how to bike there. I did not exactly understand him and was about to pass the road he wanted me to turn on and he drove up to me and pointed down the road. From his early description I understood it should be near the light. When I arrived at the light I could not figure it out. I asked at a motel after I passed the light and they pointed me to the same area as the taxi driver explained. I was expected a big bus terminal like the one in Guayaquil and could not find the Cruz del Sur terminal. I found another guy that pointed down the main road so I started cycling that way after I went a long ways I asked someone else and they pointed back the way I came and told me how many lights. I ended up at the same place the taxi driver originally told me. I was expecting to find a big bus station with multiple bus companies and assumed it would be easy to find. Finally I had a taxi take me to the bus terminal. He took me a long ways to a hug bus terminal, but there were no busses at the terminal. My Spanish is poor I had a lot of trouble with understanding the girl at the terminal counter for the Cruz del sol bus (The previous night I had determined that was the bus company I wanted to use to get to Lima). She called up someone at their other terminal that spoke a little more English. I still had trouble figuring things out. I wish I could have spoken Spanish. The lady at the vacant terminal Cruz Del Sol ticket office, walk me to the main road and flagged down a taxi. She negotiated a taxi price and directed the taxi driver to the location of the Trujillo Cruz del Sol bus terminal. The taxi took me back to close to where I started with the first taxi and dropped me off at the address of the Cruz del sol bus company. Well there is no big bus terminal in town, just a lot of separate places for each company. It turns out I was right in the correct spot when I took the taxi a long ways to the vacant bus terminal and it was a small building about 1 block from where I was originally told to go. I bought a bus ticket and stored my bike and luggage at the bus terminal and walked to the main square. Very friendly tourist welcoming people at town square, they gave me a town map and asked about my travels. Then a guy asked if I wanted to take a tour, I wanted to go to Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the moon) and he did not have that tour there until the next day. He was able to arrange a tour to Chan Chan and since I never found the other parts of the ruins I decided to do the tour. I ended up having to pay the entry fee to Chan Chan a second time, since I already used one of my tickets previously. It was a waste of time I should have probably taken a taxi to and from Huaca De la Luna. They only went to one of the spots that I did not already see and then spent a lot of time at the beach in Huancayo. Which is the same beach near the hotel I stayed in the previous night and I had already spent a lot of time at that beach. There was one interesting thing the last time at the beach, I had seen all the straw canoes on the shore the previous time, but was not sure what they were. On the trip with the tour group to the beach I saw someone on one of the straw boats throwing a fishing neat from his boat into the water. Then the tour took me back to town and I walked around the square and found a road that only had pedestrians and shops. Nice place to walk. Then I walked back to the bus station and waited for the bus. The bus departed Trujillo around 9:00 AM and was about a 10 hour bus ride. (Daily Bike 24.37 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 731.23; GPS total trip miles 839 miles; estimated walking 6 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 21,355 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 292 feet)
Day 19, Wednesday, December 3, 2014
I boarded the bus in Trujillo around 9.00PM. The bus looked as good as the bus I took from Ecuador to Peru, but for some reason it was not as comfortable. When I tried booking the bus on-line the previous night, I noticed they had something called VIP seats. I noticed as I went upstairs the seats down stair looked bigger. The downstairs seats may have been the VIP seats. On the other bus (The one from Ecuador to Peru) I did have a downstairs seat, but it did not look as large as the downstairs seats as on this Crus Del Sur bus. The bus dropped me off in a busy part of Lima at around 6:00 AM. At one intersection a car cut me off and with both my brakes on I missed hitting him by inches. People drive crazy in large cities, especial in some foreign countries. As I got close to the coast I found a bike trail and changed my route to the coast using the bike trail (I had been using my GPS to find the costal part of Lima). Once on the bike trail the riding was a lot easier, I still had to watch out a lot every time the trail went through a road intersection. I was on the coast before 9:00 AM and I figured check-in time at most hotels would probably be no earlier than noon. So I spent a lot of time looking for a desirable hotel. After checking out several hotels I went to the one that I like the most, well they had a great price, but no rooms available. Then the hotel I liked seconds was even cheaper, but no rooms available for my first night. The rest of the hotels did not look great, so I started looking for hotels slightly further from the ocean, but in the same district, Miraflores. I liked this district a lot better than the district where I unloaded from the bus. I found some hotels that looked way to expensive and did not even ask. Then I saw one that seemed about my level, but it was way more expensive than my first 2 choices (the ones that had no rooms available). They suggested one a couple blocks away. I went there and no rooms for my first night. A taxi driver wanted to take me to the Sheraton and I kept telling him no. I did not want to go back into the city and the Sheraton was probably too expensive. I could not get the guy to understand no, so I had to just walk away while he was trying to talk me into taking his cab. One block away I found another hotel and asked about rooms and they had them for my first night, but not the second night. So I asked how much and they found that someone cancelled on a double room and gave that one to me two nights. It was a little less than the one that was too expensive. Seemed good enough for me and I was tired of looking so I took it. At the desk they asked if I had trouble finding a room and explained to me the reason was because there was sort of convention going on in the district. I was in the room slightly before noon, did some unpacking, changed clothes and then was on my bike around noon looking for tours of Lima. I fund a McDonald's selling ice cream cones, so I bought one and I made a quick turn and the main part of the ice cream fell off the cone onto the sidewalk. I used the napkin to clean up the sidewalk and threw the ice cream in the trash. I still had the cone to eat, I really wanted the ice cream. I could have ordered another one, but decided to continue looking for a tour company. About 12:30 PM I found a place with Lima city tours at 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. I could not decide on the tour or biking to determine if I could make it to the airport when I would depart Lima 2 days later. I biked a ways and decided I should see about getting on the 2:00 PM tour and went back to the travel agent and set up the tour for 2:00 PM. I told them I was at the Airport Inn and they said they knew the hotel. Then I went to the hotel and found out they had changed the name of their hotel from the Airport Inn to Miraflores Pacific Hotel. I had the lady at the desk call the travel agent and explain the name change. They picked me up in front of my hotel around 2:30 PM (about normal they always show up late from what I can see in Latin American country for tourist tours). The tour picked me up in a very nice Mercedes Sprinter van and took me to Puruchuro archeological site and had some of the people in the van change to a different van. The new van was also a very nice Mercedes Sprinter van and took us to the main historic area in Lima, where the palace is located. I guess I did not sleep great the night before, in the van during the first part of the tour I kept falling asleep. Then we got out and walked around at the main square. We started in a museum with some interested ceramics and metal jewelry, the metals where in a fault. There were a lot of security guards and security surveillance electronics in the museum. Then we walked around in the museum where we saw some great paintings and ceramic works. After the museum we walked around the Lima historic town square. Then the tour took us to the San Francisco church and there were a lot of human boons in the basement. The bones dated from about 1650 to 1821. There were thousands of bones, according to the tour guide in the old days the cemetery were normally in the basement of churches and after Peru's independence in 1821 cemetery became above ground. In one room of the San Francisco church there were about 25,000 very old books in a library. It was an interesting church and connected facility building. When the tour was over they were suggesting places to drop us off, I did not want to end up having to take another ride to the hotel I thought they would drive us back to where they picked us up. They wanted to drop us off at Kennedy Park and I did not know where it was I showed them my hotel on the map and they indicated it was close to Kennedy Park. I was still not feeling great about where they were dropping us off. Since I had my GPS I was able to find Kennedy Park and found it was only about 1/3 mile from my hotel, so I agreed to be dropped off there. It turns out it was right near the grocery store I found after setting up the tour and before getting in the tour van. I was planning on going back to get groceries, well it turned out I was able to get groceries and then walk back to my hotel. (Daily Bike 22.22 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 753.45; GPS total trip miles 864 miles; estimated walking 7 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 21,476feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 121 feet)
Day 20, Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Lima hotel like almost all the hotels in Peru and Ecuador does not have a clock, but my iPad has a great clock that I have been using. At 7:00 AM I had my breakfast that was included with my room. It was very good, eggs, fruit, coffee, several different juices and it was OK to get more than one serving. After breakfast I walked around to see if I could set up a tour to Pachacamac, the tour place where I did my Lima tour had a Pachacamac tour that started at 9:00 AM. That tour company was still not open at 8:10 AM, so I went back to my hotel so I could see if they could help me set up the tour and they did set it up. It was a dollar cheaper through my hotel than the travel agent. The tour bus picked me up at about 9:20 AM and took me to the same park (in front of Puruchuro archeological site) as the previous day to transfer from the bus to a Sprinter van. I had about 10 minutes, so I was able to walk around part of the gates of the archeological site and take photos over the fence. Once the Sprinter van shower up 2 other people showed up and they picked up 2 more people in the Barranco district of Lima. This was a small tour of only 5 people. The guide was a very attractive lady that spoke both English and Spanish. She did not speak quite as good English as the Lima city tour guide the previous day. I was very awake for this trip and took a lot of photos from the van on the way to the historic site, Pachacamac. Something I had notice in Ecuador and Peru is there were a lot of busy streets without stop signs. The cars just seem to make their way through intersections without hitting each other. I think they save a lot of money on stop signs, however they seem to spent a lot on having people at intersection guiding the traffic. I notice a lot of the traffic police have trucks or suits saying, "Tourism Police". One of the couples on the tour was from San Francisco and I ended up taking with them a lot. This was the most I have talked to anyone since leaving Portland, Oregon. The tour was very good and I picked up a lot of information from our tour guide. Lima has 43 separate districts with about 9 million people total. The nicer district like Miraflores (the one I was staying in) and Barranco pay higher taxes and are maintained a lot better. The poorer more dangerous districts are more common. According to our tour guide the most dangerous district is Miyashim where the houses are built on a steep slope and there are a lot of drug dealers. Each district has its own mayor and city hall. The majority of the Miraflores district is 80 meters above sea level. When you go to the main road you can see the ocean from the sidewalk with trails that looks down on the Pacific Ocean. It had a very nice parkway with exercise equipment and lots of people jogging, walking and biking along the trails 80 meters over sea level trail. The previous night this teacher that told me he hitched a ride to Lima was telling me that at Kennedy Park all the cats were introduced because the park once had rats all over the place. Well the tour guide to Pachacamac confirmed this and also mentioned the cats were able to reduce the number of pigeons in the park as well. The tour was very good with Adobe structures, bones, a hairless dog and a temple of the sun. After the tour I changed into my stinky cloths and cycled to the airport to get a dry run for the next day. The first half of the ride was easy mostly near the ocean. Then the ride was harder with a lot of traffic and busses coming in and out. However I realized I could do it and I did not have to worry about going through scary neighborhoods, just too much traffic. I spent time checking out the beaches, not very nice beaches. There were some great beach trails that we're work under progress, but the beach was off a cliff with a lot of rocks. The strange thing is there were almost no people on the trails or beaches. They will probably be great beaching in a couple years when they are done with the upgrades. As I biked to and from the airport I noticed a couple sort of bad accidents, I don't think they had injuries, just lots of vehicle damage. I watched the sunset and then went back to my hotel. Then I walked to the market and bought groceries. Then I checked out art markets, one person had a license plate for sale, I like to find them as I bike. Since I did not find any of this trip, I ask the price, it was way too expensive (80.00 PEN ~$27.00 USD), so I did not buy it. I saw a wooded Lama and the price seemed OK, but I wanted to do some comparison shopping. I walked the street and did not find stores with souvenirs. Then I walked through a mall like area and came out across the street from an Indian market. They were closing the shops, but I still had time to check some things out. I could not find a great comparison for the wooden Lama, but overall I felt it was about the correct price. Then a lady gave me some deals, so I bought some stuff. I returned to the Indian market the next day. I found 2 more souvenir markets in that area that were mostly closed. I went back to the hotel and worked on my travel log. (Daily Bike 37.47 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 790.92; GPS total trip miles 891 miles; estimated walking 8 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 21,898 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 422 feet)
Day 21, Friday, December 5, 2014
In the morning, before checking out of the hotel I wanted to get more miles and started cycled south. I saw a lot of the same stuff I saw from the tour van the previous day; I went through Barranco district to Chorrillos district. Some of the sights from the previous day’s tour I was able to see better, like the old train cafe, old wooden bridge in Barranco and the old trolley car. The ride was very nice, mostly on sidewalks with lots of people jogging, cycling and walking, this made for a slow ride. The town portion of Chorrillos was like a secure fenced compound, I think this was a rich district. I was able to get off the hill and follow the ocean back from Chorrillos. The water front at Chorrillos was not off limits and this beach had a lot more people than the beaches near Miraflores. The beaches at Chorrillos looked like they had sand were the beaches by Miraflores you had to climb down an embankment to get to a gravel beach. The ride back to my hotel in Miraflores was a lot faster taking the ocean side road. Some parts of the road were closed to vehicles and under heavy road construction. I went back to my hotel to take a shower and checkout before noon (the checkout time). Well they had gone into my room and taken the towels. I ended up just using my hands to try getting most of the water off after my shower and then I put my stinky cycling clothes back on. I was checked out by about 11:00 AM and had the hotel stored my luggage while I went to the Indian and Inca markets. I ended out buying a lot of good souvenirs, seemed like they were all willing to bargain the prices down. Some places I did not even do the bargaining, they actual gave me a price reduction without asking. I was back at the hotel around 12:45 PM and picked up my luggage. The people who owned the hotel watches as I attached my suitcase to my bike and cycled away. The ride went smooth, one place I was concerned about the traffic and narrow road to the ocean. Well when I arrived at that road a truck was getting onto the downhill and could not make the turn, I was able to get in front of him and cycle to the bottom of the hill before any cars were able to get around the truck. That made for a very easy ride to the ocean. The trail along the ocean has hardly any people and is a great trail. It seems funny that no one is at the beach and everyone is on the trail up the hill with the beach view 80 meters below. I was glad I did a test run the previous day it made for an easy escape and I was able to get around some places that might have been difficult with the trailer. Like the stairs I went down the previous day, at that spot I took the road instead of the walking/ biking trail. When I came to the long heavy traffic section that I was worried about it seemed a lot better than the previous day. It might have been the city lunch break time or just negative anticipation. At one point some people carrying a flat screen TV decided to get a cab in front of me and when I was trying to get around the lady I may have hit her foot. She seemed mad at me, I felt a slight bump (probably her foot, oops). I probably just touch her shoe. When I was across from the airport I changed my pants and socks and shirt to be more prepared for my flight home. When I say I changed my pants it was only the outer pants, I still had my stinky shorts and long biker pants on. Once in the airport I packed my biked the suitcase, several people watched. I even saw a person watching me pack the bike thought the airport windows. It was only about 3:00 PM by the time I was ready to fly. I went to find the delta desk and was told I could not check in until 3 hours before the flight. The flight was at 1:35 AM, so that meant I would not be able to check in until 10:35 PM. The check-in areas did not have much to offer, not even a bathroom. I noticed there was a place to store luggage and shop outside of the check-in area. The security let me into that area so I went shopping, I could not figure out how to store my luggage so I lugged it around the shopping area. I also went into the rest room to remove the clothing layers under the clean pants. The shorts were torn on the crutch and stunk really bad so I threw them in the trash. There was really not any good shopping, so I ate and worked on my travel log. I ended up eating at what looked like a fast food court; they had McDonald, Papa Johns, ect. I decide to try a place I had not heard of before, Padros Chicken. Well they took my order and served me at a table, I figured I need to leave a tip, it was not what I was expecting for a fast food court. It seemed like fast food quality. After eating and working on my log I still had 5.25 hours before check in and had to walk in the small shopping area for way too long. At about 10:30 PM I was able to get my boarding passes and check my luggage in for the flight. I did not have to pay extra for my second bag and was not charged any airport export fees. I think I will aim to use delta in the futures, since this is the first airplane in years where I did not have to pay extra for a second bag. Prior to that I had my luggage in a cart and was walking around in circles in the small shopping area with food court waiting for them to open up the airlines to check in my luggage. After the luggage was checked in and I had my boarding passes I was allowed into the part of the airport with all the airport gates. Well to my surprise that part of the airport was a lot larger than the area I had been walking around and had a much better selection of souvenirs to buy. I ended up finding enough items to buy so I could use the rest of my Peruvian money. I did save a little of the money as another souvenirs. I like collecting foreign coins. (Daily Bike 35.75 miles; bike odometer trip total miles 826.67; GPS total trip miles 917 miles; estimated walking 10 miles; Total trips accumulative GPS Elevation gain 22.264 feet; daily accumulative elevation gain 366 feet)