Otavalo to Mindo

….another great days ride!

Day 2; Otavalo to Mindo. 161Km/100m
Via; Bellavista Cloud

What a good night’s sleep I had! First time in a long while I have slept right through. Must be being back out in the fresh air again 🙂
We popped back down to the restaurant where we were served a very nice breakfast and managed to slip in a few Spanish phrases along the way – I’m learning! Then it was back up to the cabin to pack up and head on out to see what the day had in store for us.

It was a ‘triple layer day today (see Part 4, Packing for my layering theory!). It was pretty chilly when we started off but things soon got heated as we rode around in never ending circles trying to find the “Cascade de Peguche”. You might guess from the website/blog name that I love waterfalls and most of the journeys we take will incorporate a waterfall visit for me to get my fix! No different today. I had been reliably informed that the waterfall at Peguche was beautiful and not to be missed. Well, we missed it alright!
We started the ride all togged up and raring to go! Back on to the cobbled street and eager to see the falls. We saw the sign, hurrah, we were getting close. Then we were back in the town. Hmmm, turned around and started back. Noticed another sign that we had missed – hurrah, we must be on the right track. Then we were back at the original sign!
To cut a long and frustrating story very short, we went round and round, up cobblestone roads, down dirt tracks, past confused townsfolk who must have been thinking we were nuts….but we never found the falls!
Eventually I was done with it. I guess I just wasn’t destined to view the stunning “Cascades de Peguche” 🙁


We headed out of Otavalo on a more main highway, even so, you couldn’t escape the dogs or the cows at the side of the road!
The road took us back down towards Quito. It was a great bikers road, long sweeping curves on newly asphalted surface. The scenery was mountainous, dry and arid. We had a couple of river crossings but Iain was enjoying the ride too much to stop for pictures! I tried a few times but the best shots I got included the most stunning yellow safety guard rails I’ve ever seen!!
Something interesting that we did pass, but I was too busy laughing at to get a shot of, was a covered truck, and by truck I mean a small F150 type truck (a bit like the “Yellow Peril” Marcus), that was absolutely stuffed full, of SHEEP!


Back on the outskirts of Quito, the roads became busier again and we were subject to the lane switching, horn blaring, busy city folk.
Funniest thing about riding in the city are the folks selling stuff in the middle of the street. We had become used to girls walking up through the line of traffic with pastries, drinks and even ice creams but today there was guy nipping in and out of the traffic selling toilet rolls, hand wipes and various other personal supplies! Talk about convenience shopping!

We stopped for gas before we headed back into the countryside. We totally confused the poor guys trying to direct us to the pump! We have a very special way we have to dismount. It’s to do with being ‘vertically challenged’ and ‘heavier’! Since picking up the bike, we had discovered that the side stand wasn’t easy to operate for us. A combination of height and weight merged to making “hopping” on and off not as easy or straightforward as it should be. We have to plan ahead and think carefully about how/where we can make this maneuver! Hence the reason there weren’t too many scenic shots on the first days ride yesterday, we were still getting used to things and the terrain wasn’t very cooperative! Anyway, we figured it out and in no time a very nice man was filling the tank for us and we were on our way again.

As we rode up out of the city I was able to take some shots that
show just how vast and sprawling Quito is. I had no idea before
coming here. It goes on and on!

Riding back up in to the hills, the vista changed to more green and lush. It was a bit like riding the country roads back in England but more mountainous. Before long the terrain changed back to dirt road and we got higher and higher, more like dirt track!

The road hazards switched up a bit to include donkeys and llamas! It was not hard riding but Iain did have to concentrate more and we had to pray that we didn’t meet oncoming traffic on the sharp bends but we were lucky and all we came across was a local couple out for a ride 😉
  Why did the chicken cross the road?!?!

We took advantage of having perfected the art of getting on and off without tipping, and stopped a couple of times for water breaks and scenic shots! I even managed to find a bit of a waterfall – sadly not in an easy off/on stopping place so a quick shot was all I could get.

Onwards and upwards we rode, twisting and turning, the vegetation began closing in and started to become more tropical like as we moved into the cloud forest area. If I hadn’t been given such good direction and route help from Court back at Freedom Bike Rental, we seriously would have begun to worry that we were waaaaay off track. Nevertheless, we were having fun!


Eventually we did make it to “Bellavista” a cloud forest bird reserve where we stopped for coffee. Would you believe that, this far up and literally, in the middle of nowhere, the girl serving was from the New Forest in Hampshire, a stones throw from my hometown back in the UK – what a small world! After a quick drink and a nice chat, we set off again for the short ride to our Hotel for the night.

The El Septimo Paraiso, what a wonderful place to stay! Lovely AnaLú welcomed us like old friends and we felt completely at home. We were the only guests staying that evening and we were given very personal attention. Our room was very comfortable and well appointed. Wonderful hot water which was welcomed after such a long day. There was a cute little outside room area wher I enjoyed some wine while relaxing and starting to catch up with the blogging! Our dinner was delicious and we sat and chatted with AnaLú for a while before heading off up to bed.

Another great days ride 🙂