The Ten

The Ten

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Pan American highway south to Ecuador.

After the worst "Chinese" food I have ever had, a couple of Immodium were necessary before I could head south. Fortunately, I had no destination in mind and all day to get there. This was the first time I was on the Pan American proper. No dual carriage-way here; just beautiful sinuous curves over and around the Cordillera. Slow moving trucks made for some exhilarating overtakes. I was fortunate in that there was a section of road-works which had southbound traffic stopped and queued. I rode to the front where the other bikes were waiting. Then a few bikers appeared going north; one of which gave me the "no need to wait" nod (at least that is what I took it to mean; don't you just love bikers??), so off I went past the road-works, leaving the queuing trafficbehind and had lovely clear roads for the next hour or so. Great riding day, lush valleys alternating with arid semi-desert sections.

Should have stopped for lunch, but I was having too much fun. Before I knew it, I was at Pasto. So a quick stop for fuel and back to the twistys. The "advice" I'd come across, recommended not stopping between Pasto and the border. Probably paranoia, but there was a noticeable change in the locals driving in this stretch to the Ecuadorian border. Much more aggressive, fast and reckless. A quick detour to see the dramatic Las Lajas church near Ipiales at the border and I was early enough to attempt the crossing into Ecuador.

Leaving Colombia was very easy (once I was pointed in the direction of customs; which I had ridden straight past), they just collected my temporary import documents and weren't bothered with even looking at the bike. Ecuador customs was more time consuming as the one person dealing with temporary bike imports was also dealing with the many Ecuadorians bringing in flats-screen TVs from Colombia who had to pay import duty (I presume??). But, just as dusk was falling, I was in. Ecuador!! Got a hotel in the border town of Tulcan; and the obligatory meal of meat and potatoes. I would kill for a good curry.
A short film of the road between Pasto and the border:

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