One thing is for sure, Colombia will be hard to beat for it’s combination of great scenery, people and roads. This fact became immediately obvious soon after we left Otavalo, Ecuador. Sure, the people are nice here too and the scenery can be quite stunning but the roads well, let me tell you about the roads. We left the Panamerican highway on the way to Banos. To be fair this stretch of road wasn’t too bad, just the occasional mind numbing pothole. Rather it was the stretch from Banos to Cuenca that tested our limits. Things started off relatively well but we soon came upon this….
Marie’s smile is masking some concern…..
The landslide was cleared relatively quickly so within an hour we were on our way. That’s when the cloud started rolling in….
It was about to get worse, a lot worse. Within a few kilometers we could only see about 10 feet in front of us. And to add a bit of spice to the day, the road was potholed gravel with a sheer drop off to the side. At it’s worse the fog was so thick that at one point the 2 lanes narrowed into one and I only realized this when we were about 5 feet away from the entrance of this single lane.
I immediately slammed on the brakes for fear of having a head on collision only to hear (and then see in the mirror) a very large bus hitting the brakes and missing us by about 2 feet. The rest of the 8 hour day was just as intense. We’d zip along at 60km/hr then drive headlong into a cloud at which point we would slow to a crawl until we passed through. And again and again and again for hours. As for the road, sometimes it was paved (and potholed), sometimes it was partially paved (and potholed) and at other times it was gravel (and potholed). In fact, potholes were the recurring theme the entire day.
There were little potholes that would just give you a jolt.
Then there were the “I dare you to put your front tire anywhere near me” potholes.
And how can we ever forget the “am I a pothole or an archeological dig?” potholes
But the ones that really got us worried were the “phantom” potholes. The road would look good and all of a sudden…BANG! which was usually follow by some colorful language on my part.
At around 4pm we decided that we had enough and stopped in the town of Ingapirca about 2 hours short of Cuenca (Ingapirca’s claim to fame is the presence of ruins a kilometer away from town). There wasn’t any parking in town so we ended up parking the bike in the restaurant under our hotel…
Although the hotel wasn’t great the shower was potentially electrifying (note the breaker on the left)….
All in all we were happy to have finally gotten off the road and were looking forward to visiting the ruins the following day.