Monday, February 5, 2018

Equator Letdown and Ring Around the Collar - 31 January 2018

31 January 2018 – I was mostly organized last night, so getting my bags ready wasn’t a big deal this morning. I took a shower and then checked with the receptionist to find out how to get my bike out of secure parking. I also asked him if I had to pay to get it out. He said no, that was part of the price of the room. So, off I go to fetch my motorcycle.

I’m standing in front of a sheet metal steel gate that you can’t see through. I knocked on the fence hoping for a response. Nothing. Then it occurred to me maybe they had a bell. I started looking around and found a push button similar to a door bell button. I pushed it two or three times. I waited about 3 to 5 minutes and sure enough a lady showed up and let me in. She unlocked the gates and I went to re-claim my bike. I put my Spot up on top the wall and let it run while I was removing the cover off my bike. I backed it down the small hill it was sitting on to some more level ground. I put the kick stand down and the stick under my right-side foot peg. The stick keeps it from falling over to the right. I started it and let it warm up some. It was 54 Degrees / 12 Celsius this morning. After it had warm up, I grabbed Spot off the wall and drove back to hotel. I hope Spot had sent a message. I can’t tell for sure.  I loaded my bike and check out of the hotel. Another guy walked up and told me in broken English how much he like my motorcycle and would like to take a motorcycle trip similar to me. He took my picture and I gave him a card. He was happy.

I was off and Blanche was navigating. We got out of town just fine. I drove by a gas station, hooked a U-turn and went back. I pulled up and they said they couldn’t sell gas to me. I never did understand why. Then security told me no gas and to go back into town to buy gas. The cars there were filling up with gas. I was mystified. I went back into town looking for a gas station and I ended up back at same gas station with no gas. I saw a couple of guys and they recommended I drive to the next town. I was just hoping there wasn’t some weird gas shortage / problem where they weren’t selling gas to motorcycles. About 20 Miles / 32 Kilometers down the road I found a gas station and filled up.
I drove Hwy 35 most of the day. It was mostly four lane and relatively new pavement. It was a little bit of heaven. While I was enjoying the ride, Blanche deviated from her route again. I caught the mistake in about a mile. I was going to turn around but then just drove the 37 Miles / 60 Kilometers on the two lane. It was a nice road and hooked up again with Hwy 35.

I was excited because I knew today I was going to be crossing the Equator and was looking forward to taking a picture of myself by the sign. I crossed the equator and there no sign or buildings showing that I just crossed the Equator. I was really let down. It was going to be one of those memorable moments in time.

I eventually arrived in Quito. Well, just short of it. My hotel is about 7.5 Miles /12 Kilometers out of the city in something like a suburb. Blanche navigate to it….almost. The coordinates were about three blocks off. I asked lady I saw and she told me where it was and then when I didn’t find it, I asked a police officer. He verified what the lady said. It took a bit but I found the place. I was just hoping it hadn’t gone out of business like one other hotel I stopped at. I parked my bike on some level ground and walked back to the hotel. The hotel is on street that is a hill. I reach for the door handle and it was locked. Oh God, it went out of business. Then I thought maybe it has a bell. Sure enough, there it was bell / timbre.

I pushed the button and a receptionist came out. They had a room and secure parking. I checked in and they had nice rooms. Just out of curiosity I asked if I could get my clothes washed and they said yes. So, I unloaded my bike on another piece of level ground and then drove it into the secure parking area. It was a nice green lawn with a young dog who instantly was my buddy. I parked my bike. I removed all my clothes for washing and put on my riding pants. I put Spot out to mark my location and adjusted the counter balance chain in my motorcycle. My buddy the hound / dog was being very helpful being in the way. I was on one side and she was on the other. I didn’t see it when she stole my tube of blue Loctite. About 5 minutes later I saw she had chewed on it and poked holes into it. I was not happy. Then she thought she was my best friend and started laying on top my tools and stuff. I had to forcibly remove her from my work area. Finally, she got the message and stayed away.

While I was in Tulcan, Ecuador I couldn’t receive Mary’s texts and today once I was hooked up to the internet they came flooding in. By the time I got all my tools put away the lady had my laundry done. I was nice to have clean clothes again. I had some bad ring around the collar on my shirt. I then worked on my route out Quito heading south. I got that pretty much finished except loading it into Blanche. I took a break and went and ate supper. I ordered about a 10 inch / 25 Centimeter Hawaiian Pizza. It was really good and it filled me up. I walked over to a nearby store and bought myself a small container of ice cream. While I was at the store there was a GMC Jimmy parked there. It looked in real good shape. I’m thinking it was a 1975 / 1976. I couldn’t tell for sure because it was dark and I couldn’t see the number on the taillight. For those of you who know him, it looked a lot like Bud Wagner’s 1975 blue Jimmy. I know it was worked over several times but it still looked good.

Anyway, I came back to the room, ate my ice cream and programmed Blanche. The route looked good except for one deviation. I think I can live with it. All I have to do is keep riding the route and ride right thru her goofiness. She’ll catch on and get back on track. I think in the future I will build a series of shorter routes instead of one long route. That way if Blanche decides to deviate, I can fix the shorter route easier than I can fix one long route. Just food for thought. I went to bed after Skyping with Mary.

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