Day 103 - November 13th

Friday 13th today... Surprisingly not that unlucky of a day! Spoiler alert: Dave managed to catch up to Trev and Jo! Two different stories to be told today.
Trevor and Johanna started the day with a wholesome breakfast at a random cart in MontaƱita. It included some more Latin American juice, which is always amazing. After that, we hit the road. The halfway point today is just outside a town called Guayaquil, the biggest city in Ecuador. It was also the point where the climate changed significantly!
The first part of the day had flat, boring roads. As we left the Pacific coast, the air got steadily hotter too. Overall, not super fun. Guayaquil wasn't much better... A large, busy, hot city. Woo hoo, my fave. Somehow, we managed to make it through the entire city with zero wrong turns. Between Trevor's map memorisation, Johanna's navigation, and a bunch of educated (lucky) guesses, we were through. Only another half hour of flat and hot to go!
After a quick gas station lunch, the twistiness hit. Boom! Instant excitement! Up and up and up we went, switchbacking into the Andes. As we entered the clouds, the air got cool and refreshing. Finally! The fog was dense and rolling over the hills as fast as we were riding. So beautiful. Finally, after an hour or so, we break through the fog! Unfortunately, the day is still cloudy. Oh well. We stop for a photo op or two between riding beautiful, linky turns. The steep valleys are beautiful, and we can see the road twisting below us back down to Guayaquil.
One right turn gave a bit of a scare on this section. A riding technique used in these situations is called "late apexing", where a rider stays towards the outside of the corner to increase the line of sight. This allows for more time to respond to hazards in the road, such as animals, traffic, rocks, etc. Doing this improves the safety of the rider, but not without consequence. One downside is, when turning right, it puts the motorcycle very close to oncoming traffic. Today, this became fun when another driver decided to cut the corner and drive halfway in our lane. Thankfully I was able to see the vehicle coming in time to avoid him, but it was much closer than it should have been. That was also due to the fact that he decided not to move back to his own lane even after seeing us. Of course. Classic.
With that over with, we kept heading upwards to the sky. After another half hour, we reached the clouds (again!) This cloud/fog stretch was pretty quick, and finished with breaking out into the sunlight. Beautiful! We were on top of the world. The summit was on a strange plateau with lakes and small sharp peaks, which was unlike anything I'd seen before. And, at 4174m, the bike ran like crap. Classic carburetors. Also, I ran like crap. Classic out of shape Trevor.
An hour outside of Cuenca (today's destination), we started the descent. After the last bit of twisty roads, we made it. It seemed like a beautiful city, and certainty lived up to our expectations at first impression. We even found a hostel (with parking) on the first try! What a good omen.
The evening was spent chilling at the hostel, enjoying some brewskies, until Dave arrived. Then, strangely enough, we continued to enjoy more brewskies. Funny how that works.

Second story time...Dave here.  I flew into town at midnight, went to Gregs place in Quito for a few hours rest, then eventually got on the road heading towards Cuenca at 1:00pm after saying bye to Angie.  Most of the driving was gruelling as I was running on very little sleep after partying hard in Victoria and Vegas for the week.  I did,however ride one really cool road which might have rivalled some of the best riding from the entire trip...not a bad way to get back on the road. I got a bit lost in Cuenca before finding wifi where I was able to find where Trevor and Johanna were staying. Once I got there was had a big reunion and it turns out they already paid for a night and had a bed for me...which was super appreciated. I was dead tired, but oh man it was worth it.

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