From the town of Cuenca, I took a day trip to the cloud shrouded ruins of Ingapirca.
The ride was along a fantastic road...
That wound through the mountains and ascended to about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters)...
And passed by mostly farmland and a few houses.
The Canari civilization first built a city called Hatun Cañar on the site. Then toward the end of the 15th century, during the Inca expansion into present day Ecuador, the Inca built their city on top of the ruins of the Canari city and called it Ingapirca.
The site was built in the Incan imperial style of construction with a mortarless polished stone technique. This means that all the stones were carved to fit together perfectly without mortar.
The city is linked to the city of Machu Picchu via the Camino de Los Incas (The Inca Trail).
This area contained some excavated tombs.
This double semi-circle formation represented both the sun and the moon. Those are llamas grazing on the grass.
There was a sun temple...
That actually functioned as a sun dial.
And this was some form of solar or lunar calendar. It's a mystery as to how it actually functioned.
Outside of the grounds of the ruins was this stone pathway...
That lead to this rock formation...
Called the Cara del Inca (Inca Face). I passed it completely when I was walking down the trail, but then looked back and saw the profile of the face. This is a natural stone feature in the side of the mountain and was not carved.
In August 2011, I purchased a new 2011 Suzuki DR650 motorcycle for a trip through South America. The engine, exhaust, chassis and suspension have been maintained in the original (stock) configuration. This approach was chosen to increase reliability and facilitate repair or replacement of items with original parts while traveling. The modifications were only made to the motorcycle to add durability, safety, comfort and protection. The prices listed below were the original costs of the items. The prices are listed to serve as a reference point for the cost of the build.
Many of you that follow this blog know that I really enjoy hiking, camping and backpacking. Whether it is camping in the front country or back country... it is all good.
I recently came across a resource that has really made it easier for me to research and plan my trips. The website, app and community are called TheDyrt. "The Dirt" is an idiom which means the gossip or real story. So getting TheDyrt is a play on words which translates to finding out the real story about campgrounds.
TheDyrt.com website allows users to search for campgrounds in the U.S. (currently only available within the U.S.) and read user generated reviews of the campgrounds. Sometimes the reviews are very general and sometimes very specific - down to the campsite number or cleanliness of the facilities. The website markets itself and its service as the Yelp.com of camping.
UPDATE as of April 2015. The roll-on roll-off ferry service Ferry Xpress to cross from Panama to Colombia has suspended their service.
The Darien Gap is a 30 mile stretch of land that lies between Panama and Colombia. It is thick jungle that is pretty inhospitable to most human beings. There are some indigenous people, guerrillas and drug runners that do inhabit the area.
There was one group of adventure motorcyclists that crossed through the Darien Gap in 1995 on specially modified motorcycles. Their journey is documented at Outback of Beyond.
For most adventure motorcyclists there are a few options for crossing the Darien Gap.
1. Ship your bike from Colon to Cartagena on a cargo ship and buy a ticket on a separate ship or airplane for yourself.
2. Ship your bike from Colon to Cartagena on a passenger sailboat that will carry both you and your bike.
3. Ship your bike from Panama City to Bogota on a cargo airplane and buy a separate airplane ticket for yourself.