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Lost in the Andes...

Well, we had a beautiful sunrise yesterday morning, and were thrilled that the cloud cover had broken and blue sky was dazzling...remember, at 8300 feet in an area of quite a bit of rain, the air is crystal clear...so, we decided to pack a picnic and go off to one of the surrounding villages to see what the local artisans had for sale.  We wanted a couple of the really heavy wool blankets, and some baskets.

We began well, in that we were able to get out of town cleanly, and head out on the correct road...according to the signs and our compass.  The compass is a life saver.

We saw a turn off for one of the towns, so we made the turn, but then came to a crossroad with no signs.  We consulted the trusty compass, and figured that the road to take was the southeast one.  That road quickly became dirt and potholes.  But, we figured 10 km we could do standing on our head, so off we went.  This was going to be the first long ride for Coco, so we could judge how she reacted to car sickness, and so on.  She did fine--we got lost immediately.

The 10 km came and went with no villages in sight, so we just plowed on, thinking that we misread the distance on the map, or that we had been traveling more slowly than we thot...

Nevertheless, we wound around going up all the time, until we were even with the surrounding peaks.  Probably were sitting at the 12,000 foot level.  Up and down a lot.  We soon were venturing into places that were absolutely beautiful, looked just like Switzerland, and were really off the beaten track---so much so, that a couple of times we ended up in a village square, and there was no road out!!!  We had hit the end of the road...here is a shot of the bridgeBridge%20out.jpg

 

 

That was a little dicey...see the light shining thru...At one point we were sure we were on the right road back to Cuenca after having a great lunch and romp in the grass for Coco, when we came to flowing water across the road.  The water cascaded off the right side and was held up by river rock, only about six inches deep.  The other side, where our left wheel would go, was probably about 15 inches deep.  Well, we have four wheel drive and are high centered, but we were in the middle of a lot of beautiful nowhere.  If we got stuck in the middle, of hurt the car...we were pretty screwed.  Rox walked over to the stream and tossed in a stone that promptly disappeared, so I abandoned the idea of hitting the water at about 40 mph, expecting to coast to the other side if the motor conked out...but smoother heads prevailed, and we turned around.

 

Now the fun part starts...we can see Cuenca in a valley about ten ridges over, but driving the Andes mountain peaks gives you all directions of the compass about every five minutes...so, you really don't know if you are headed in the right direction, or not.  Just because you can see your goal a long way off, doesn't mean the the road you are currently traveling will take you there.  And, boy, did we find that out!!!  In this pic,which I had to dumb down from 9 mega pixels, the far valley is Cuenca...winding%20roads.jpg

 

 

Those little winding roads in the foreground are our choices of how to get there.  We got a whole bunch lost, but took a bunch of fun pictures, so here are a lot of them...These young kids were happy to pose, all wanted to see how they looked in Rox's camera, and when she said that they were beautiful, and handsome, one of the young guys called out--"you are beautiful, too"cottage.jpgguapo%20kits%20with%20sacks.jpg

 

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We waited while she pulled all of those animals up the hill and off the road, and then "She thanked us"  We returned the thought profusely...

 

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Posted on Tue, May 6, 2008 at 07:25AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Bob/Rox - I have 3 letters for you to remember after the latest posting of your "travels" - G.P.S.
You guys rock. I'm living my adventure life vicariously through you. Keep up the good work.
-Andrew

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Reel

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