It’s difficult to explain how intense the trip has become since we crossed from Peru into Ecuador and on to Columbia. We drove over 5,000 miles, through sparse populations and many miles between towns. However, once you enter Ecuador it all changes abruptly. The roads are narrower, often lined with Banana trees and traffic isintense due to fewer roads. Towns are much closer; sometimes just a few miles apart.
Yesterday, Thursday the 3rd, was the first day we did not make our riding goal. Our hope was to make it to Quito and spend the night at the college campus, with Dwight and Carolyn Rich, missionaries in Ecuador.
We tried our best but could not make it any further than Quevedo, Ecuador.
As usual, when we stopped to look for a hotel, we met very nice people along the road willing to show us the way to a decent tucked-away hotel.
The hotel we were taken to is called the Olympico. It has the largest hotel swimming pool I have ever seen. At first I thought it might be an aquatic training center, but we found out it was actually built as a hotel. It was very clean and had great food for three very hungry travelers.
We met the owners of the hotel, along with their son and nephew who had both studied as exchange students in Kansas City and Omaha. Truly a small world.
Alex, their nephew was very helpful; staying with us to get checked in and helping us order meals in the restaurant. We later met his family, including his little girl, Isabella. Thanks to everyone at Hotel Olympico for such great hospitality.
We left early this morning for Quito crossing the mountains once again, this time passing over 11,000 feet altitude.
The ride was absolutely beautiful. Ecuador has water falls throughout the jungle that drop thousands of feet into the valley’s below.
The scenery is various shades of green, and everything you would imagine it to be.
We enjoyed a short stay in Quito at the Rich’s home. Carolyn prepared one of my favorite meals; roast beef with potatoes & carrots. This was our first home cooked meal in more than five weeks. Absolutely delicious!! We are used to eating breakfast, skipping, or snacking lightly at lunch, and our full meal is always at the end of the day of riding. After such a great lunch, no one wanted to get back on the bikes and ride. We were more ready for afternoon naps. But, that’s not what you do when you are covering ‘miles with a mission’.
We also met an exchange student from Bethany Oklahoma, Allison Wellman; who was studying Spanish for the semester in Ecuador. We left the Rich’s house around 4 PM headed for Ibarra, Ecuador. We arrived in Ibarra a little after 7 PM.
Once again, without finding a hotel, we stopped to ask someone along the road for directions. It was a mother and her son. She told us she would take us to a nice hotel; so she flagged down a taxi and told us to follow the taxi. Once we arrived at the hotel we offered to compensate her for her time (10 dollars), but she refused to take the money. She wouldn’t even accept money for the taxi she had just paid for on our behalf. When I asked why, she told me in broken english, “if I take your money my blessing to you would not be real.”
We have received so many blessings along this journey. We are full of thanksgiving for so many blessings along the way.