Friday February 26, 2016, 130 miles (209 km) – Total so far: 14,724 miles (23,696 km)
February 24, 2016 After a pancake breakfast at our hostel we once again started the morning in rain. It was a long day of climbing from 6,000 feet to 9,200 feet over a steady 40 miles. None of it was very steep but just a gradual ascent. The rain continued all day and once again we were soaked and very cold. While riding through the town of Riobamba we found another nice hostel. Once again it was $8 per person no matter if we shared a room or got separate rooms. In these situations we will take two rooms at $16 total. Next door was an excellent Chinese restaurant where we each indulged in a hot bowl of vegetable soup. Across the street was an excellent bakery where we purchased fresh croissants for breakfast along with chocolate cake and a cookie for dessert. At our lunch spot today in Pelileo the waiter loaded us up with fresh fruit so we will have the croissants and fruit for breakfast. We rode around the backside of Volcan Tungurahua hoping to see the always snow covered peak. But due to heavy clouds and rain we only had an occasional glimpse of the side with recent lava flows.
February 25, 2016 Our goal for the day was to meet up with the Pan-American Highway. We have cycled on this highway very little but it is the only road that heads south over the top of the Andes to Cuenca. We spent most of the day winding through canyons to find it. The best part of the day was that the sun was out for a few hours and it felt great.
We are in very classic Ecuador with the way the people dress and live. Farming is king here and we were surprised how organized the farming is. After another six hours on the bikes and 44 miles we made it to the town of Guamote where it was market day! What a crazy time it was trying to find a home stay through the crowds. We did find the Chuza Longa Home then took off exploring the town. Market day here reminds us of the market days in Asia. Everything imaginable is on the street for sale. Jocelyn bought a really cool colorful belt. Our very pleasant and friendly homestay host, Manabi, cooked us vegetable soup for dinner and this morning a really good breakfast was include. What a nice place to rest.
February 26, 2016 It was a beautiful sunny morning as we took off and cruised the Andes at 10,500 feet. We did climb to over 11,000 feet before descending to 8,000 and climbing back up. The afternoon rain caught us for many hours but this area of the Pan-American Highway is a good ride with wide shoulders, ample drainage and surprisingly little traffic. We surprised ourselves and made in to the city of Canar which is only 72km from our next goal of the Spanish Colonial city of Cuenca.