November 18th, 2011
So maybe I got a little lost on the way through Pasto, and ended up reaching the area of the border later than I thought I would. When I stopped I figured I was 3 or 4 riding hours from the border, which is a ways at the pace I had been keeping, and I hadn’t slept all that well in the gas station, so when the sun was starting to get close to the horizon and I still wasn’t at the border I decided to find a hotel for one more night in Columbia.
As it turned out, the hotel I stopped at was only a couple hundred yards from the border crossing, and was early 70s chic.
That was real wood paneling on the walls. And something of a minibar-
Okay, not much of a minibar, but this is Columbia after all. I imagined drug runners stopping here and deals being made on the tiny chairs.
In the morning I was up and packed the bike. My departure attracted some notice
Which I am pleased to note was over me, and not Blue, who stayed in the pack. Well, actually it was the bike. The hotel has a Herbalife convention going on, I guess the programs hadn’t started yet.
I didn’t know how close the border was when I left, it was literally just around the corner (out of view, so the drug dealers could hide in the hotel). This was my first South American border crossing, and the differences were huge from Central America. No crowds of helpers, everything clearly labeled and easy to find. It was a complete breeze, mostly.
Getting into Ecuador the customs agent was new. I was her first motorcycle, and she kept hurting herself inspecting the bike. I offered her some protection.
Also at the border I met my first Dakar people. There was an off road race the upcoming weekend, and they were headed there first, then to Argentina for the start.
They all had matching shirts, and talked on little radios. And they had stacks of paperwork, poor customs lady.
I was through and into Ecuador
And the police in this part of the country ride new KLR 650s (that one is for you, Kless)
I motored my way south, admiring the new and different things Ecuadorians put up along their roads.
I had gotten into Ecuador very early, and even though I wasn’t really trying the miles were zipping by. I finally decided I would try and find a Hacienda listed in Lonely Planet. Hacienda Guachala is the oldest Hacienda in Ecuador, it’s original building completed in 1580. It was off the highway, but there was a sign (which I missed the first time).
It was extremely nice. I was the only guest, which causes staff to sort of hover around me. It made me uncomfortable, to be honest, but was probably the sort of service owners expected at one time or another. And yes, Curiosity looks a little unstable. They had me ride around to the courtyard.
There was no heat, and the electricity had a patched on feel. Two prong outlets and old switches.
The bed had a massive number of blankets, but I went with the fire
Oh yeah, fireplace in every room. I didn’t even have to start it, just told one of the staff and they handled everything else. I think one would have stayed to keep putting wood in it but I shooed them away.
I slept very well.