It was hard leaving the comfort of Cuenca, Ecuador. We spent time with Bill, Darren's friend from his disaster response days, and Bill had loads of great stories and an enormous flat with a gorgeous view, at which he graciously hosted us.
But move on we must, so we packed our bags and headed to Vilcabamba, the last town of significance before the border with Peru, and where the road becomes unpaved. Oh by the way, Darren discovered an interesting route for us, one that would take us on backroads instead on the boring but reliable Pan-American Highway. Thus the next week would prove to be as rewarding as it would be challenging.
==Day One: Through the border to Peru==
We dropped off the pavement on the edge of town early that day, anticipating the border and further. After all, we had less than 100 miles to go.
==Day 2: To Chachapoyas, Peru==
The road away from our hotel improved with distance from the border, which is typical, but being under construction we often encountered recently-graded and uncompressed earth, which was very unstable to ride in, our semi-knobby tires leaving tracks and squirming around under us.
==Day 3: Kuelap==
We made a day trip out to the ancient fortress ruins of Kuelap, but first we would run into Andy and Bina, friends of ours from the Stahlratte.
The funny thing about tomorrow is, tomorrow you might be climbing a volcano.
From Quito we arrived in Baños, Ecuador, and the quaint town turned out to be a center for outdoor activity, offering hiking, rafting, paragliding, and all the rest. Nestled into the hills, it was basically Ecuador's version of Colombia's San Gil, except with better nightlife.