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A Feel-Good Trip from the Coast to Cuenca...

Bright and early on election day, we rolled out of our gates and headed south to join the Ruta Del Sol for the first leg of our trip to Cuenca...and already the main road was blocked by vehicles and law enforcement personnel--the detour would go through Manglaralto right past our gates...  Since we were going the opposite direction the police officer gave us his official, snappy "MP at the Gate" wave on...

 

Being that it's Sunday, and election day, almost nobody is working--but we did notice that in all the little towns we passed, a whole bunch of folks were all dressed up and already waiting for the buses that would take them north to cast their vote--Correa is a sure winner on the Coast--he has done more in a year for the poor than the last 6 presidents of the super rich...more for us, too...

Traffic is light, so we make good time and are zooming into Guayaquil in less than two hours.  Now, Guayaquil is a town that a lot of people love to hate--it is a duplicate of all the bad things about Los Angeles--it is sprawling and ugly, and really easy to get lost in--Rox and I probably have the record as we have been lost in there about 20 times.

 

But, Today we know all the tricks, traffic is light, and we never slow below 70 mph (120 km/h) as we take the Perimeter Road, up and around the town...and, we made the total distance from the West side to the Eastern city limits in 24 minutes--we have spent over two hours doing the same thing in the bad old days.  So...needless to say, we are pumped!!!

 

So we begin our hour drive east through some jungle, and a gazillion farms...and we are making such good time that we decide to take a coffee break, just to make sure that we stay alert and can give Coquita a little walk.  So, we find a little side road, turn in, and decide that we want to turn around so that we can watch the people coming and going.

 

Now, this is where over-confidence can kill you...I know that the road is kind of narrow, but I figure that I can just jockey the car back and forth a couple of times and turn easily--wrong!!!  I made my forward turn, and then reversed right over an embankment where the back wheels almost went down so that the frame was touching the dirt road.

 

No problem, I will just pop it into four wheel drive and zoom right out...wrong again...for some reason, the pressure on the undercarriage prevented me from engaging 4WD...the gear shifted in OK, but the front wheels did not move...bummer...

We are both out of the car looking at the situation, as we begin to draw a crowd...everyone has a solution, but the easiest one, where everyone pushes, is out of the question, because of the drop off behind the car.

So...now we are facing losing all of the great time that we had made driving like maniacs thru Guayaquil, plus we are not really sure what to do to get a pull out...about now I was feeling like a really dumb Gringo--over 50 years of driving experience, and I back into a ditch!!!

Two of the best helpers were two different guys who had been driving by on Moto-bikes...they had lots of advice, but their word speed was a little more than we could understand easily.  The gist of every one's thoughts was that the embankment was not really so steep, and maybe I could just back down it.  Everyone in Ecuador thinks 4WD is magic--sort of like it will let you climb trees if you want...

However, they did have a point...the embankment was about eight feet down, but then it did level out, go through some soft ground, and my projected path took me right over some eight foot high bushes--not thick but tall...and then the terrain leveled out and joined a farm road, which wasn't too wet...

About now, I am thinking that the delay in getting some equipment out here in the middle of farm country--on a Sunday, Election Day, was pretty long...and the trip backwards down the embankment was looking a little better all the time.

So...to make a long story short (too late, I know), I walked all over the ground behind the car, found some boulders that should be avoided, and a little ditch, and said "what the hell", gravity is on our side...

I got in, put it in reverse, left it in 4WD, and gunned the engine...I was starting fast, 'cause I didn't want to get high centered on the big bushes...and off I went--just like a Disney E ride...checking my mirrors, and making the angle of the turn to miss boulders and ditches, I was crashing thru the underbrush backwards, and the whole thing took about 2 seconds...Everyone, of about 20 people, are all cheering, but they really cheered, when I kicked the 4WD into low range and drove straight up the eight foot bank and was barely able to stop when I hit the road again...

I love these people!!!  And, now I guess I have helped foster the idea that 4WD is magic...

And, when we arrived at the apartment in Cuenca, Richard and Nancy had drinks and a huge and delicious dinner waiting--plus lots of news about their last month here in Cuenca...

So...to say that this was a great day, was an understatement...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Mon, April 27, 2009 at 12:37AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

We laughed so hard. Too bad you didn't film it, America's Funniest Videos would have loved it! Bob and Rox you have nerves of steel.

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShelagh

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