Ecuador – Tales of Motorcycle Travelers
Whether in the wide stretches of the Argentine prairie, the impressive high desert of Bolivia or the endless passes of Peru – often we have been alone on our path. Of course it’s nice to have a cozy place for yourself. But in the long run we have sometimes missed it: encounters and exchanges with other travellers.
It’s always exciting to exchange information about visited places, really helpful to get a tip or two and also incredibly funny to have encountered similar situations. In short: It’s always a great pleasure and with most people the chemistry is right instantly. The common passion for travelling and riding connects.
That’s why this blog post will be a little different now. It is not about our experiences, but about the many motorcycle travellers we have met in Ecuador. Since these people inspired us, we would like to introduce them to you.
Wamuyu and Dos: Overcoming prejudices and barriers
On the border to Ecuador we spot two fully packed BMW motorcycles and two 250ccm Yamaha Ténérés. Stopping next to the four ADV bikes, we are directly approached by Dos. One year ago he started with Wamuyu on a motorcycle trip around the world. Their goal is to travel together all continents. But have a look by yourself:
Dos and Wamuyu are from Kenya. They got to know each other at a gas station and decided to go on a tour with the bikes the next day – the rest is history. When they left Kenya with their 800 BMWs, they left everything behind.
We are impressed how proud they are of their country. It is also very exciting to experience their view of Kenya. They call the fact that they are disproving some prejudices “the untold story of Kenya”. Bravo!
Every morning they say a prayer before their departure, in which everyone who is nearby may participate. Even though we are not religious, it is still a beautiful ritual where everyone grabs their hands and briefly reflects on the most important things.
It’s incredible how much more difficult travelling is for the two of them compared to us. While we’ve never needed a visa in South America, and we get ninety days stamped in our passports easily at each border, the two of them have to apply for a visa from each country. That costs a hell of time and money:
In each country they have to ride to the capital in order to get the visa for the next one at the embassy. For the border crossing to Ecuador for example, they pay 450 US dollars per person, while we don’t pay anything. Once again I realize how privileged we are with our German passport.
Their desire to travel cannot be broken by this hurdle. They were even in Antarctica, the highlight of their journey so far, as they tell us.
Under the name Throttle Adventures they blog and offer practical tips about motorcycle travel.
Priscilla and Steve: Motorcycle mechanics can be so romantic
Steve and Priscilla own the two Ténérés. They are from California and bought the motorcycles in Peru to travel all over South America. A very wise decision as the lightweight bikes are perfect for South American backcountry roads.
The two got to know each other at a mechanic workshop. On their way to Ecuador they met Dos and Wamuyu and spontaneously decided to travel together.
I directly notice that Priscillas bike is actually far too high for her. She tells me that she lowered it three times and raised the heels of her boots. Nevertheless she can’t get both feet on the ground. To make such a long journey under these circumstances and not to avoid any nasty off-road track deserves the greatest respect.
With Steve she has found the funniest travel companion you can imagine. Stevi is a real hippie, always seems to be in a good mood and continuously makes us laugh with his jokes.
We join both couples for a while and form a rather cool motorcycle gang, which consists of three different continents. We spend some cheerful evenings with good conversations. Although we have just met, it feels as if we have known each other forever.
On Instagram you can find the journey of Steve and Priscilla at @left_at_the_lama
Dina and Helge: Lovely relaxed Nordics
A little bit later two heavily loaded adventure bikes with German plates cross our way at the warm Pacific coast. You don’t see such things every day! As the two enduros head for a parking lot, we simply follow them and are finally greeted with a hearty “Moin, Moin” (German nordish saying for “hello”).
The huge KTM Adventure and the 800 cc BMW belong to Dina and Helge. The two have had enough of their everyday life in Northern Germany and are looking for more than “9 to 5”. Driven by a lot of wanderlust, they shipped their motorcycles to Valparaiso in Chile and will travel in South America for a year.
Two very kind people, their North German cheerful nature is simply contagious. We have a lot of fun together and realize that our ideas about life are not far apart. Dina and Helge also got to know each other at a motorcycle meeting. Who would have thought that this hobby may connect so many people!
It’s a pity that Dina has problems with the altitude, so we have to separate again after a few days. We would have loved to go to Colombia together. But one thing is for sure: we didn’t meet for the last time! If not here, then somewhere else.
The two are now in Argentina and have already made many friends with the people there. We regularly browse the blog of Dina and Helge (www.motopista.de) (german only) and giggle about temporary lost smartphones, how they celebrate with Argentine motorcyclists and about being invited to Asado on a daily basis.
Cesar: A desperate optimist
At a campsite on the coast of Puerto Lopez we meet Cesar, a motorcyclist from Peru.
The encounter with Cesar left a big impression on me. He is 65 years old and had a bad accident a long time ago in a Peruvian bus. For a long time he couldn’t walk alone and after the fateful event he decided to travel South America. Cesar is still very limited with his knees, so I help him set up his tent.
He proves that you don’t need a lot of money to travel: Friends have gifted him a 110 cc Motorcycle with which he is now travelling. Mostly he is sleeping at motorcycle clubs, which offer him free accommodation. In order to earn some money, he sells stickers with motives of his journey on the roadside.
Cesar is a cool guy with good taste in music. But above all he is an optimist. And as it should be, he still has big plans: his dream is to ride the Route 66 in the USA. We keep our fingers crossed for him to make it!
It’s been several months since we met Cesar. Two weeks ago he wrote us that something bad happened: During a robbery all his possessions were stolen from the motorcycle and he has to start all over again. But Cesar doesn’t let that discourage him and he travels on. Now he’s on his way to Chile.
Hannes: Found his place
In Quito, the capital of Ecuador, we meet Hannes. Finally we get together, as we only know each other via Facebook. It’s always great to meet people in person of whom one has only read travel reports on the Internet so far.
Hannes has a sympathetic Berlin dialect. In the beginning he had the plan to travel from Argentina to Alaska. In the meantime, however, he has been travelling South America forever and simply got stuck here. We can understand that very well.
With his Suzuki DR 650 he was pretty much everywhere we have been and much further. He flies back to Switzerland every winter, where he works, and then returns to South America with some money in his pocket. We think Hannes fits in very well here. One notices that he has found his place.
That his bike currently has problems with the carburetor, he takes it – typically South American – very relaxed. He is friends with the mechanics and even got a small apartment directly in the workshop.
The plan to meet again with Hannes in Colombia did not work out. But we will certainly meet again. Hannes can be found on Instagram and Facebook under the great name wentforlunchbackinfiveyears .
More photos from Ecuador
Finally a few photo impressions from our time in Ecuador:for many years.