We found 2 other folks who wanted to take the dare and just head out on the road to Banos Ambato, about a 7 hr drive away. Well, that is if you dont get sidetracked. We planned to drive from Cuenca to Riobamba on the first day.
Just a word here about the rental car and our route. It was a newer, manual, Grand Vitara. It was very clean and ran great, unfortunately it was 2 cylinder motor.
We were going over the Andes. This translates to alot of long steep climbs up... then down. The ups we were mostly down into 2nd gear going maybe 20 km an hour. The road we took is a wonderful road, but only two lanes with lots of curves, and ups and downs. To add to the mix there is rain, fog, cows, speed bumps (honest!), people walking on the side of the road, very very slow moving trucks and people passing on blind curves.
We made it to Alausi and drove down into the town to walk around. We decided that we did not want to constrain ourselves with trying to get tickets to ride the Devils Nose Train, and that we would just check out the town.
|The road we took into Alausi.|
|St. Peter statue in Alausi|
This part of the trip was relatively smooth and the drive was beautiful..we arrived in Riobamba around 5:30 and found a nice hotel. (Hotel Shalom 12.50 per person w/o bkfst. 16.50 with, and secure parking!)
We took the hotels suggestion and found our way to a restaurant way off the main part of town. We had a Parradilla type dinner. I picked chicken and pork.. it was very good. It also came with blood sausage.. I did not try that.
We were pretty wore out so we all said good nite and headed off to our rooms.
Day one went real well, the weather was good, the scenery was beautiful, the car did pretty well for a 2 Cylinder, and all passengers were still smiling and laughing at the end of the day.