Avenue of the Volcanoes: Latacunga to Cajabamba

We take a rest day in Latacunga after our singletrack Cotopaxi adventure primarily to look around for a replacement to our Sea to Summit folding cooking pot which mysteriously appears to have a new hole. I should have known better not to replace the old folding pot with the same one. Sea to Summit sent a replacement in a snap to the nearest store dealer where I’m riding through so I willingly gave the product another shot. But I totally gave up this time, deciding to look for a normal pot made of metal. I found a 1.3L pot for 3 measly dollars while walking around town. It saves me a trip back to Quito. I’m sure this wouldn’t be durable enough but that’s for another day to worry. It will do for now.

We set our bearings west on Quilatoa, a popular place amongst travelers. It got ridiculously windy all of a sudden and dark clouds were hanging low as we get closer to the rim. My hands got numb quickly from the ferocious headwind that seems to bar us from moving forward. It caught me by surprise. Next thing I know I’m pushing my bike and thinking “What the hell?”. I’ve never been to Chile or Argentina but the notorious Patagonian knockdown wind quickly comes to mind. And I was right when I later confirm that with other cyclists who’ve been to both Quilatoa and Patagonia.

Having said that, we decided to stay in the Quilatoa rim, pitched the tent as taut as possible with all guylines utilized and crossed our fingers. The wind stopped briefly sometime around dusk while a rainbow appeared on the other side of the crater. It was a glorious bookend to our day.
Unbeknownst to us, this was just a prelude to the fickle weather we will encounter along the route. Double rainbow(!), horizontal rain, drizzle, you name it including the rain while sunny affair. Clouds seems to always cover the white-capped Chimborazo but once it peaks through the cloud, it’s always are highlight.

We still vaguely follow the Trans-Ecuador Mountain Bike route by the Dammers and Cass Gilbert but we occasionally skirt the few sections we thought will guarantee strain in our marriage ;-). Overall, this route so far is a blast unless the weather wreaks havoc.

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We passed seemingly endless potato patches along our route.
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Asymmetrical

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Quiet road once again
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Only to be disrupted by some Tonka truck paving the road to Quilatoa. Sad sign but perhaps the locals are elated.
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I hope we’re not blown off the cliff

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View from the crater
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We’re treated to a light show
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Zumbahua town square

We stayed in Zumbahua the following night to do some laundry and just kick back and rest.

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Zumbahua from a distance
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Dang having a quiet time which rarely happens when I’m around.

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Not our usual lunch. Salami, Pan de Luna(croissant) lathered with Ecuadorian cream cheese and washed down with artificial juice
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And this scruffy dude just appeared not even a minute after our first bite
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We resumed our ride going to Angamarca after partaking our lunch with Rastadog

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A color explosion even appeared after a brief rain
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Angamarca from a distance
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We avoided the guaranteed steep climb after Angamarca
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And we find ourselves riding in soft grass
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Awesome ride…
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Especially not knowing what’s waiting on the next curve.
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Aim for sky!
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We ended up pitching our tent in a school yard a spit away from Nelly’s dig. They seem to look alike right?
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And soon her other siblings followed to investigate. Quichua lesson ensues. Kids tends to be the only ones who have patience to teach us.
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We all talk and chat until sun down when the temperature plummets and they scamper back home.

Nuts and Bolts:

LATACUNGA: Hotel Central – decent accommodation with wifi, ask for a room overlooking the main plaza
ZUMBAHUA: Hotel Condor Matzi in the square has wifi and affordable
ANGAMARCA: Got a free night stay at the newly built community Hospedaje, run by municipal
government.

You can check the whole route here.

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