Monday 27 February 2017

February 24, 2017

Awakening to the sounds of the "Howler Monkeys" is quite something. Amazing how loud they actually are, kind of eery as well, especially at 5:00 am. After breakfast I was joined by Ed and Jon, they decided to stay the day as well. Ed took a tent beside me and Jon set his own up on the grass, half the price. We set out to explore the ruins, lathered in sunscreen and bug spray. It was very hot, but we did get shade on the jungle trails which helped cool us down. Spotting the odd "Monkey" resting in the canapy above was an added bonus. "Tikal" is absolutely breathtaking, almost unimaginable, to think of the time, and effort, to build such a kingdom. There is still so much of it to be excavated, yet what has been done this far, mind boggling. We climed a "Temple" 60 meters up, sat there and looked over the canopy. There were a few other temples to be seen from this height, but most are hidden beneath the jungle. We climbed and hiked around the ruins for about 5 hrs, still not taking it all in. This is a massive "Ancient Civilization". Back at the hotel, we cooled down, and cleaned up for dinner. Nice hot showers out back of the tent area to make you feel refreshed. An early dinner tonight as it has been an exhausting day. The restaurant offers a good variety of food and beverages. Our waiter "Juan" was a delightful individual, great personality and most helpful when ordering, or asking questions about the area. We had some good laughs together "Adios "Amigo" Al Nino,

February 23, 2017

Exiting "Honduras" was painless, entering "Guatamala" was a real treat. Everone was friendly, and most helpful. Charlie at the "Aduana" office was probably the most pleasant person that we have had to deal with so far. He made our importation of the bikes a simple, quick and totally stress free. We would like to thank him for his efforts. The "Costa Rica" "Aduana" could learn a thing or two from thus guy. The countryside is beautiful, lush with jungle covered mountains, quite a sight to see. Our plan is to make it to "Tikal" and do some exploring of the ruins. By the time we arrive it is getting late, too dark, too soon. Andy and I rent the tents that are setup behind the "Jaguar Hotel", pretty cool, mattresses and bedding included. Tomorrow will be the day to explore the ruins. Falling asleep was blissful, listening to the sounds of the jungle. Al Nino

Sunday 26 February 2017

February 22, 2017

Another great day is unfolding before us, warm temps, blue skies, all the right ingredients for a days ride. Our plan has been to quickly go through "Honduras", much like we did in "Nicaragua". Even though we would like to stay longer, we are trying to make up for lost time, due to shipping delays. Again we will ride close to the border of "Guatemala" find a place to stay, and shoot for the border early in the morning. Getting as far as the city of "Puerto Cortes" and checked into a Hotel near the beach. The parking lot is secure for the bikes, security guards with pistol grip shotguns, seems to be the weapon of choice here. Early to bed, early to rise, another early start and another border to cross. Al Nino

February 21, 2017

"Nicaraguan" border by 7:30 am, man we are getting good at this. Today we were approached by the masses of people at the border, helpers who are looking for some income, and it can really help at times. After the fumigation of the bikes, we agreed to hire a team of interpreters, money well spent. They arranged our entrance, insurance, and handled all the paper work. Jon had a bit of an issue with his "Podor", but the guys came through and it all came together. Soon we are barreling down the highway. Driving right through "Nicaragua" and on to "Honduras" we get to the border at dark, and begin the process again. Twice in one day, we must be nuts, actually we are. After a few more hours we are through, pretty good going actually, but exhausting just the same. Now at the town of "El Paraiso" and checked into the "Hotel Isis" a pretty budget dwelling. Ed was blessed with an electrical fire in his room. Nothing like the smell of electrical wires melting to help you relax. He eventually moved to another room. All was quiet until they started their backup generator for power. That didn't last too long, think they ran out of fuel. No power for the rest of the night, but no more fires as well. Another day in the life of a "Panamerican Rider". Al Nino

February 20, 2017

After a little adjustments to the "Motos" we are making traks and heading towards "Nicaragua". On the way Jon, Ed and myself, went to a nice beach Jon scouted out. Nice ride and well worth it, beatiful sand, good wave action, and no one there. After a walk in the cooling water, some great photo shoots of the area, we continued on to the campground near the border. "Canas Castilla" is a lovely spot to camp, great surroundings and full of wildlife. Nice hosts, good food and you can get your exit fee done in advance. Helps speed up the border process. Beautiful river runs through the property, Jon asked about swimming, and we were told that a crocodile had been around, but not for the past few days. That's a pass we agreed, we camped away from the river, in the open field. Only the sounds of the "Howler Monkeys" to rock us too sleep. Early day "MaƱana. Al Nino

February 19, 2017. Costa Rica

It is best to be at the border crossings early, and we are getting pretty good at it so far. Getting out of "Panama" was smooth, even with the electronic fingerprint scans and photos. "Costa Rica" so close we can taste it. First we visit "Imigration", no problem, then off to get "Insurance", no problem, then off to the "Aduana" to import the bikes. Suddenly our world falls apart, we are blessed to run into the most arrogant person one can imagine. I like to refer to him as "Mr. Grande Pinchazo". He totally was rude, made fun of us and caused us grief beyond belief. He would not accept our ownership papers for our bikes. Funny how the other seven countries we visited did, with no issues. We were basically forced to hire a "Lawyer" to endorse documents for us that the papers were real, and to make things worse it was a Sunday. This guy made our entrance into "Costa Rica" a living hell, and he enjoyed it. We have all decided to write to his superiors and make formal complaints. Also have him on video, so no guessing who we are talking about, and will forward a picture as well. This person should not be in the position he is in, and is an embassment to the country of "Costac Rica". After another five hours we were good to go, we travelled as far as the seaside town of "Jaco" and we will camp close to the "Nicaraguan" border tomorrow.  Al Nino

Saturday 25 February 2017

February 18, 2017

Here we go again, back to "Colon", all checked out and on the road by 7:00 am. Arriving at the container terminal just before 8:00 am, we should get the process rolling right away. After about an hour we are directed to another office on the facility, more paperwork, and more waiting. Then we are advised of the extra " Port Fees" we must pay. After paying that hefty bill, sure wish the shipping broker would have told us first, as this was an expensive surprise. We waited to be taken in groups to the container. Finally unloading the bikes then following the dock hand to the customs office to get clearance. Around 1:00 pm we were on our way, not bad, only five hours today. Heading back towards Panama City, we stopped for lunch and said our farewells to Tim and headed towards "Costa Rica". Driving well into the night we put our heads to rest in the town of "David", and will be close to the border for an early morning crossing to "Costa Rica". Al Nino

Wednesday 22 February 2017

February 17, 2017

Right on que, it is off to "Colon" we go. It is an exiting day for us, we are all ready to ride and continue our journey. At the "Evergreen Terminal" we are given bad news, our container is delayed by another day. We can't beleive what they are telling us. Our shipping broker in  "Cartagena" did not email us till we arrived at the terminal. A little late, and the person behind the counter says come back on Monday. Blood pressure rises, we have now been delayed five days. Explaining to them that is not acceptable, and demanding some sort of guaranteed time frame. We are assured the container will be in port by this evening, and we can pick them up tomorrow mornning. Fortunately for us, we were given our "Bill of Lading" so we could start the process of importation at the "Aduana" get insurance and be ready for tomorrow. This process only took about six hours to complete. Almost as painful as a tooth extraction. With paperwork in hand it is back to "Panama City" for us. We will repeat the process tomorrow morning, and should get our bikes from the container. There's the issue of another days "Car rental and Hotel costs", fortunately we all have insurance for trip delays. Al Nino

February 16, 2017

No big plans today, decided to do some souvenir shopping and generally take it easy. Tomorrow we leave town early and go to "Colon" where we will start the process of getting our bikes from the shipping container. We have also decided to rent a vehicle for the trip to "Colon" rather than take a shuttle. It makes economical sense, and Tim still needs to return with his luggage to "Panama" to catch his Sunday flight. Being our last night in "Panama City" it is out to dinner, as it will be the last one we spend together with Tim and Trevor.  Al Nino

Monday 20 February 2017

February 15,2017

Deciding to take in the "Panama Canal" and "City Tour" should fill in most of the day for us. Keeping busy is a must, we are all itching to get on the road again. We depart at 9:00 am, it is a hot and sunny day, perfect for sightseeing. At the "Canal" we first take in a short narrative film on the history, engineering and building of this amazing waterway. The "Museum" is just as fascinating, four floors of history, even a navigation simulator, which adds to the aura. We were lucky enough to witness a "Cruise Ship" in the locks. Watching it rise to the next level, gates open and then proceeds forward with the aid of the "Mules" that are tethered to the ship. A most interesting morning to say the least. Our driver, was very informative as we took in the city, harbours and various areas of town. Back at the hotel it was time for a dip in the pool, which is located on the roof, and has a great view of the modern downtown area. It wouldn't be long before Trevor made an appearence. Wow we thought, he made it, as he had to go on a entirely different route, to get himself and bike to "Panama" a slow boat up the coast with several stops in various villages along the way. He would also like to express his gratitude to Magnolia, her son Victor, and the staff at the "Costa del Sol Hotel" who helped him in "Turbo".  Al Nino

Thursday 16 February 2017

February 14, 2017

"HAPPY VALENTINES DAY" from "PanamaCity" Al Nino

February 13, 2017

We were supposed to be retrieving our "Motos" today in "Colon", but a few days ago while on the sailboat, we received the news. There is a four day delay in the shipping, due to the freighter being damaged. So it's off to "Panama" for an extended stay. There is nothing we can do about it and we will adjust our itinerary accordingly. So much for great timing, just another day in the life of a "PanamericanRider. Checked into the "Hotel Montreal" we can catch up on some much needed sleep, etc. A trip to the "Panama Canal seems to be in the cards as well as taking in a city tour over the next few days. Al Nino

February 11,2017

Sunrise, another beautiful day, up comes the anchor and away we go. Our route today will take us to an island with approximately 20 inhabitants. Arriving in the early afternoon, we all go ashore. It will be a day to snorkel, swim, and relax. Fresh lobster is on the menu for lunch and later we will be having a barbecue, and enjoy the traditional drink "Cocoa Loco". A cocktail mixed in a fresh coconut, cut by the locales. Then another fire for all to enjoy. It is "Keenans 13th birthday today, he is the son of "Captain Charlie" and his wife "Nathalie". It was a fun filled night, enjoyed by all. Anchored for the night, sleep will come easy as the sea is calm. Al Nino

February 10,  2017

Everyone on board is up early, probably due to the rough seas. It takes some getting used to, and we haven't acquired our sea legs yet. It was a refreshing sound to hear the anchor chain making it's way into the abyss. We are served a delicuous breakfast, "Nathalie" is a great cook, and all appreciate her culinary skills. The group on board are , Germans, Aussies, Brits and Canadians, a good mix of people. There is always laughter to be heard, as people share their stories. Outside and up front, the bow seems like the place to be, catch some rays, and chill. Later we will explore a couple of uninhabited islands, do some snorkeling and have lunch on the beach, then back to the boat for dinner which included freshly caught "Dorado". After dinner its back to the beach for a fire, nice touch to end a great day. First light tomorrow we pull anchor and head to another island for the day and evening. Al Nino

February 9,2017

Seas are still pretty rough, our boat "Wild Card" seems to be taking on the challenge. It is 3 am and I am awakened by a loud thump, Tim has just been tossed on the floor from his lower bunk, along with some of his gear. Looking through my window beside my bunk, I can see the whitecaps form on the swells in the moonlight. Wedging myself in so I don't end up like me "Amigo", it seems we are in for a rough ride. I can see the helm from my bunk, and watch the wheel being controlled by the auto pilot. The first mate is doing his rounds while the captain sleeps. At one point some of the "Galley" items are thrown about, a reminder of just how rough it is. In and out of sleep, dawn is upon us now making the swells appear even larger. Nothing but Ocean in every direction, tomorrow morning we will drop anchor. Al Nino

Feb 8 - setting sail from Cartagena

Last minute running around, packing up and checking out of the "Hotel Stil" is the order of the day.We pool some money together for the hotel staff who treated us very well, during our stay and present them with a "Propina". Then it is off to Grocery store, to pick up some snacks etc. for the trip to "Panama". The boat provides all the food, water, coffee and tea, as well as fresh fruit, but any pop, liquor, or additional snacks are your responsibility. We met our captain at the market just up from the marina. He has already cleared us for entry to the port and to leave "Colombia. Entering the dock area, all passengers belongings are searched by the police, then we are loaded into a smaller boat in groups of five and taken to the anchored sailboat, have a safety orientation, and eat dinner on deck. Up comes the anchor and off we go, cruising out of the harbour the illuminated skyline now behind us we sail into the darkness. Open ocean will be ahead of us for the next 36 hrs untill we enter the "San Blas Islands". The seas are a little rough, and I find it unerving as I slide from side to side in my bunk. The swells and winds are hitting us mostly from behind, and should continue to do so, " Captain Charlie"informs me. All are above deck, laying on bean bags and cushions, enjoying the celestial show above. Slowly everone heads to their respective quarters for the night. Al Nino

Wednesday 8 February 2017

February 6, 2017–Back to Cartagena

Today we will say our goodbyes to our new friends and staff at "Casa en el Agua". But not before we enjoy the crystal clear waters once again. Everyone ate breakfast together at the big table, lots of laughter and smiling faces, what a great start to the day. Our boat is scheduled to arrive at 11:30 am and will bring more guests to enjoy the surroundings here. We will depart by 12:15 pm which gives most of us time for one more swim, paddle or whatever one chooses to do. The experience here was one I will never forget, and would definitely recommend it. The surroundings beautiful, a totally different world. The staff were great and made sure everyone was well looked after, and having a good time. The "Panamerican Riders" would like to express our sincere thanks to: Jose, Diego, Marcela, Callem,Samuel and Camilo for all your efforts, you guys rock.
It is "Adios" for us, we board our boat  and off to "Cartagena" we go.
Al Nino

February 5, 2017–Casa en el Agua

Beautiful sunrise this morning, the ocean calm, ever inviting. First thing I do is walk to the edge and slip beneath the refreshing water, what a way to wake up. All invigorated and ready to take on the busy task of relaxation. That is what the day has in store for us, at least until the others show up. Probably go to the "Islote Santa Cruz" an island 10 minutes from here. It is the most densely populated island in the world, based on its size. It has a population of 1,300 and is the size of a soccer field. The rest of group showed up in a much smaller boat at 1:00pm, slightly soaked from the ocean spray. After lunch it was time to swim, cool down, and relax. Really getting to like that word, easy to do at "Casa en el Agua". Deciding to take the tour of the Island we left at 5:30pm, a short ride later we were welcomed by the friendly inhabitants, and began a walking tour. It was interesting walking through the narrow corridors, watching the children playing and being greeted by the locals. There's a small Hospital and School, and they have a very large bank of Solar Panels which they get the power from. At one end of the island we were shown netted fish tanks, which contained Sharks, Turtles and local fish. Later that evening, back at the hostel, Ed, Tim and myself were looking towards the tiny island in the distance, then suddenly it went dark, just as if someone flicked a light switch. All we could see was the silhouette in the moonlight."Wow"
Al Nino

February 4, 2017 – Casa en el Agua

Checked out by 8:am we are off to the "Marina, our boat is scheduled to leave at 9:00am. It is approximately a 2 hour ride via speedboat down the coast and out to "Casa en el Aqua". A Hostel about 10 kilometers off the coast. Built on a small reef, there are only a few separate rooms, a dorm room , and hammocks on the upper floor. The main floor has the dining area, bar, and kitchen. Also chairs, and padded benches to relax.The menu consists of the catch of the day, sign up for lunch and dinner, easy. You can request a special dish if you have specific dietary needs. Snorkels, Kayaks, and Paddleboards can also be rented at a reasonable cost. Swimming, just jump in an enjoy. The water is warm and teaming with fish, pretty easy to relax here. There are no Televisions or Internet, what a refreshing idea, just relax. Our first day here was very enjoyable, meeting people from all over the world and listening to their stories, was most interesting. Everyone eats at one big table, at a designated time, keeping it as simple as possible. The Sun goes down fast and the winds pick up at night, but it is refreshing after a hot day in the sun. Very quiet and easy to sleep, the sky is full of stars, no light interference here. We are looking forward to our "Amigos" arriving  tomorrow,  and see what adventure awaits.
Al Nino

February 3, 2017 - Cartagena

Arrangements have been made through Andy to meet at the Sailboat company office for 10:30 am. Shouldn't be too complicated, ask a few, and pay. Just as planned, quick and painless. An orientation meeting is arranged for the Tuesday evening, prior to our Wednesday departure. Talk about perfect timing, load Tuesday, Sail Wednesday. The bikes will be in "Panama" before us, no waiting, perfecto. Deciding to take in a city tour of "Cartagena",  everyone meets at the hotel lobby, by 1:30 pm, except Trevor. He is out doing the daunting task of acquiring the appropriate papers. Our bus takes us out to the "Beach Area", a "Monastery", located at the highest point of the city and of course the "Castillo San Felipe". A marvel to wander around, as well as the wall that surrounds the old part of the city. What an amazing structure, built to defend the city against pirates, almost 500 years ago. Tomorrow Andy and I head out to "Casa de Aqua" the rest will join us on Sunday, then we will return Monday to "Cartagena" and prep for Tuesdays loading if the bikes.
Al Nino

February 2, 2017 - Cartagena

The shipping office made contact, a 2:00 pm appt.has been scheduled. Things seem to be falling into place well, timing is everything here, shipping the "Motos" around the "Darien Gap" hoping to time it up with the sailboat we need to take a few days later. Off we go, papers in hand to the shipping agent. There are numerous documents to be prepared. Then it is off to the "Notary", where we are photographed and put our right forefinger on an electronic scanner, "Quatro" times. Now we are in the "Colombian" electronic data base. This will be linked to our passports, and put us permanently in the system. Now back to the agents office, more signing, and of course "Tres" copies of our
inked fingerprint. Unfortunately for Trevor he is missing a document and cannot be processed, at this time. He has until tomorrow at noon, then the agent must forward the papers to the container company "Evergreen" we will put our "Motos" in a 20 ft container to "Panama". Tuesday we will load the bikes, the police will check them and our gear, then seal the container. We are all hoping Trevor can get his paper work in time to join us. Again this took about 3 hours to complete the process. Now we must make arrangements for the sailboat that will carry us from "Cartagena" to "Panama" That will have to wait until tomorrow,  we have done enough arrangements for one "rest day."
Al Nino

Friday 3 February 2017

February 1 - Cartagena

Sleep in, had a nice ring to it. Doing it was easy. So many early starts to the day over te past few months. Packing, unpacking the bikes, we have that down to a science. This has been a true test of endurance for us, sometimes almost breaking you, it has been exhausting. Now we will have more down time to make arrangements, for the bikes to be shipped to "Panama".
Andy, Ed and myself catch a cab to the shipping office, give them dimensions, weight etc. of the bikes. They will contact us via email later. John and Tim are at the "Notary" getting the required documentation for John to continue. Pretty successful day so far. Agreeing to meet later for dinner we all go our separate ways to catch up on personal things.
Al Nino

January 31 - Cartagena

It worked out as planned, arriving into "Cartagena" early afternoon, traffic was chaotic, thought we would miss that part. Not likely. Ed and Tim went the wrong way down a one way street, a simple shortcut, hell we are from out of town. Andy and I tried the same, but when the police cruiser turned on his sirens, we were detoured back to following the rules. Getting to our destination was a challenge as some streets were not open to traffic. Eventually we met with the others, relieved to get off the bikes too. Putting on over 18,000 kilometers in approximately two months, our bikes are probably sick of us as well. John who is taking over for Tim, has just shown up, good to see him, safe and in good spirits, pretty exciting for him. Also heard from Trevor, he will be joining us tomorrow, wow, he must have been riding long days to catch up so soon. Everyone is happy to be off the bikes for awhile, and we will look into shipping arrangements "Minyana".
Al Nino

January 30, 2017

On the way to " Cartagena", we won't  be able to get there today, just too far for our bodies and bikes to go in one shot. Especially with the roads which meander you up and over the mountains. After good days ride, we pull up to a small town just around dark. There is a hotel located behind a fuel stop, perfect. No more riding, too many things to squish on the highway. We are over the halfway mark to "Cartagena". Tomorrow we should arrive reasonably early into the city.
Al Nino

January 29, 2017 – Escobar’s ranch

Maintenance and sightseeing complete, "Medellin"  behind us now, today's our ride is a short one, nice change from other days. We will be visiting "Escobars Ranch" out in the hills. There is also a safari you can take to see all of the animals he collected, and a waterpark has also been added. Around 50 kilometers out of "Medellin", Cash has pulled over on the side of the road, waving us on. Another 20 kilometers or so we pull over and decide to wait. A half hour passes, the rest of the group continues to the next fuel stop. I return down the highway to see if I can find him. No luck, nowhere to be found. I return to the group, an hour and a half has passed, we get a text from Cash. He has decided to return to "Medellin" and enroll himself in a language course. See you back in "Canada" were his words. We wish him well, now down to four riders we continue. The rest of the ride to the ranch was amazing, nice jungle, even the road signs of snakes, turtles, and armadillos were a sight. Getting to the ranch a bit later than anticipated, we were limited to a quick ride through some of the property, it was pretty cool, bragging rights anyway. Finding accommodations was a breeze, just a few blocks away a nice hotel with a pool. They gave us a great deal, after Andy told them of our journey. They stare, with a puzzled look, probably thinking, "you are crazy gringos". It is very hot and humid, the pool, was a blessing. It will be an early start tomorrow.
Al Nino

January 27 & 28, 2017

Thought the roads in Ecuador were great. Nothing compares to the roads we are traveling on today. Super twisty high mountain roads, lush dense vegetation, waterfalls, awesome. Columbia is a very beautiful country, my favorite so far. Clean and such a tropical feel, it does however take a long time to accomplish any distance. If you get behind a line of trucks in the mountains it will really slow progress, although passing on the shoulder is permitted, plan it well or off the edge you go. I think we have all learned a new way to drive our "Motos". Easy rule, there aren't any. Pretty simple to comprehend. It did take us over seven hours to put just over 250 Kilometers behind us. A good indication of the roads we travelled today. Exhausting ride,but all arrived safe to Medellin. Here we will also stay another day, as maintenance has to be done, and a rest day is much needed. The plan is to visit the "Assassin's Cradle" the birthplace of  "Pablo Escobar", it is also the area he recruited all of his hit men.
Al Nino

January 26– Buga, Colombia

Leaving "Pasto" and hitting the highway was a breeze. Very little traffic to battle, the weather today is damp, light showers and very humid. It will be good to knock off four to five hundred kilometers today, this will get us pretty close to Medellin which we plan to get to the following day. We do manage to pull off the required amount of k's, and settle in to the town of "Buga". All checked in to the "Hotel Guadalajara" a beautiful classic property. It must have been a bustling hub in years gone by. Beautiful architecture throughout the property and a nice swimming pool. Most refreshing after a long day in the saddle. We wake early to a lovely buffet breakfast, which is included. Say our goodbyes to the ever helpful staff, and here we come Medellin. 
Al Nino

January 25–Colombia

On time we are on the road once again. Stopping for gas along our route, they are limiting our purchase to $3.00 each. When paying the attendant with a $5.00 bill he refuses to give change. He did this to Ed, Andy and Tim. Cash and I refused to purchase gas, and we were not intimidated by the guard with the gun. Are they actually extorting money from us?  Andy told the attendant to look closely at the helmet. Smile your on camera, we are filming you now. Soon the attendant went into the station and presented the appropriate change. Down the road at another fuel stop, we tried again, absolutely no problems, "fill her up".  Here we go, next stop the border. Arriving at about 9:00 am. We were all through and on our way by 1:30 pm, not bad considering it would be worse if you arrived later. You must buy insurance for the bike there, before entering "Columbia".  We are importing our bikes into the country as foreigners and it is a lengthy process. On our way again, we stop  to visit the historic "Santuario" "Nuestra Senora de las Lajas", absolutely amazing, quite the hike down, but worth the effort. Next stop will be at our resting place in the city of "Pasto".
Al Nino

January 24–Ibarra, Ecuador

Today we will ride as far as the city of "Ibarra". It will get us reasonably close to the "Colombian" border. Getting to the border early will be a priority, as to avoid long delays. Checking in to the "Hotel Madrid", a very reasonably priced establishment, basic, no frills, but has secure parking for our "motos". This has always played a key factor when choosing accommodations, as it is easy to have your bike stolen.The group seems a little weary,  tough riding today, and we experienced some cooler temps and rain. Meeting for an early dinner, then shopping for stickers for the bikes. Throughout all of Ecuador we did not find any stickers. 
Someone should get on that bandwagon, it was a painful experience. Retiring early, as we will head for the border at 7:00 am.
Al Nino

January 23–Banos, Ecuador

Our agenda today is pretty light. With an early start we should be at our destination by early afternoon. The ride is glorious, so many twisty's, gets the adrenaline going. The panoramic views are spectacular, terraced  mountains, green pastures, beautiful. There are a lot of rocks on the road, don't be surprised to come around a corner and find a variety of rocks in your path. Also some good sized potholes that they attempt to fill with bricks. Makes for some interesting riding though, just be cautious. Arriving at our destination, the tiny hamlet of "Banos" awaits. It is situated at the base of the volcano "Tungurahua" and surrounded by steep mountains. Lots to do here, hiking, rafting, you can rent  dune buggies also, no dunes though. There is also a natural hot springs from the volcano to soak you aches away, a freshwater waterfall enhances the moment next to the pools. It is illuminated at night, and is worth the visit. Parking our weary butts at the "Gala Hotel" very central, secure parking, reasonable as well. There's  lots of accommodations to choose from here, worth looking around. Many restaurants line the streets, and a good variety can be found to accommodate ones palate. The town is quiet, and shops close early, but I would return here again, as it was an enjoyable experience.
Al Nino

Jan 22 Cuenca, Ecuador

Today is a day to do whatever we want. Visiting the main square of town is fantastic. The "Cathedral" is absolutely beautiful, words can't describe what it is like to stand in such a majestic building. Outside the hustle and bustle of the masses, vendors, musicians, families, what a wonderful way to spend a  rest day. It is  Sunday and most of the shops are closed, kind of nice to see people taking time for themselves. We could learn a thing or two about that. The area of the city we are in, is very clean, and a welcome change to other cities we have visited so far. Deciding to do a little maintenance on the motos, we will adjust our chains, change out the air filters, and re tourque various components. Tonight is a special night as we are out to a very traditional  restaurant where I will indulge in the delicacies and flavors of "Guinea Pig" and the not so brave souls, traditional pork. "Bon Appetite".
Al Nino