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Guayaquil, Ecuador

 

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During my trip to our U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I took some time after work to stroll the city's boardwalk, called the Malecon, and see the sights.  

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Is the dog real or a painting?

Guayaquil is actually larger in population than Ecuador's capital city Quito.  It's rest near sea level and provides all the amenities that comes with being a coastal city.  Great seafood, beautiful waterfront views, and fascinating urban architecture, I look forward to coming back and seeing more of the city.

While I was away for a few days, Lucia had her own adventure.  I told her she was going to summer camp, but she knew that translated to a dog kennel.  Fortunately, we were put in contact with a great vet who also runs a very nice kennel just outside of Quito.  It's run by Dr. Ellen and her husband, who both run a veterinarian clinic called Ecuavet.  Over the labor day weekend, I took Lucia to check it out and get use to the surroundings.  Upon arrival, she was welcomed warmly by all the current canine residents.  So I knew she'd do well while I took my first trip for work. 

 


Parque La Carolina

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I blew Lucia's mind awhile ago when I took her out of our neighborhood for the first time.  The destination- Parque La Carolina. Up until then Lucia was only exposed to the normal stream of neighbors, dogs, and traffic.   We hopped in the truck and drove a few miles to this large central park.  Since the park lies in the city center.

Parque La Carolina offers many activities for all ages, such as football, basketball, tennis, biking, paddle boats, Ecuavolley (similar to volleyball), just to name a few. The park is over 160 acres and surrounded by high rises and these main thoroughfares, Río Amazonas, de los Shyris, Naciones Unidas, Eloy Alfaro, and de la República.  It use to be an airport until the city grew around it and they decided to move the airport farther away.

Among the most popular attractions in the park, is the Jardín Botánico with native habitats covering páramo (high-altitude Andean grasslands), cloud forest, wetlands and other areas, plus an orquideario (orchid greenhouse), ethnobotanical garden (exploring the plants used by indigenous groups) and Amazonian greenhouse.  Since I was with Lucia, we didn't have a chance to explore them.  But I'll check them out next time and post an update.

All in all, Lucia gave it her paw of approval, so I'm sure we'll be back.

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Frida Tacos

 

Frida tacos

Frida Tacos

- located at Andalucia 584 y Francisco Salazar in Quito.

Six of us from work met up for tacos and drinks on Wednesday night.  I volunteered to drive since I was the only one that had a vehicle.  Frida Tacos was the destination.  It's around 5 miles away from  the U.S. Embassy.  

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Here's more info on the restaurant.   I had the Tacos al Pastor, Campechano, and some Doggerlander craft beer.  Portions were small but tasty, that's why I bought a couple entrees. There is limited sitting so large groups may have to find space where available.  We placed three bar stool tables together for our group of 6.

 

 

 


Front Royal motorcycle ride

The showers of May have passed.  But by last weekend, the heat of summer had slipped into Virginia.  But not before I took my Harley 48 out Saturday morning for a long ride.  I've been wanting to see how it handles on the open road besides the 30 minute commute it takes every weekday.  It didn't disappoint.

After topping off my 2.2gal peanut gas tank, I left town on interstate 66.  It was mid morning, temps around the 80s, with a bit of wind in the air, just enough to keep me cool in my new mesh jacket and textile/mesh pants.  My destination - Front Royal, VA, about 60 miles from my starting point.  Most of it would be on 66.  

The ride on 66 was excellent.  Traffic westbound was light to medium.  The bike felt great and sounded great.  With the 48, your posture is different than if you're using ape hanger handlebars or on a crotch rocket.  The handlebar is short and straight, the seat sits low, forcing you to lean forward, and causing your boot heels to angle about 45 degrees from the road. In my opinion, the 48 is similar in looks to a bobber style bike, with the exception to the fenders, seat, smaller tank and a few other features.

Cycle styles

48 classic
Harley Davidson Sportster 48

As you can imagine, the 48 is not very comfortable for long rides.  This forced posture will take it's toll on the back and shoulders.  But for my ride, I felt fine by the time I turned off 66 and rode the rest of the 5 miles or so to Front Royal.  My gas indicator light had yet to come on, so I kept riding towards Flint Hill after passing through FR.  At 65 mi the light had yet to come on.  I pulled over to check Gas Buddy for the nearest pit stop.  FR was about 5 miles back but Flint Hill was southbound about 4 miles away.  The indicator light came on as soon as I started rolling again, so the highway miles were definitely an improvement to my city miles per gallon.  In Flint, I had used 1.4gal out of the 2.2 tank and traveling 70 miles.  So I could have pushed it for another 20 miles (90 mi total) or so before it would start to chug along.  Normally, I'm running to the gas station when it hits 60 miles with mostly city driving or I'll end up pushing the bike by the time it hits 70.  I made a mental note to get a gas canister that I could throw in my side bag for the next ride.

I made it back to Front Royal and stopped by Soul Mountain Grill & Cafe to get lunch.  Great service with a simple but pleasant atmosphere. I had a Soul Burger with a couple sides that didn't break the bank.

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Soul Mountain Burger meal
Soul Mountain Burger meal

After lunch I walked around the small historic city center and checked out some of the shops.  The whole time I was in town, you could see and hear different biker groups passing through.  

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FR park

The ride back home was just as nice except for a little congestion around the 495 beltway.  Aside from a little fatigue in the hands and my back, it was a great ride.  I'll see how I do on a longer one next time.  

Total miles round trip = 130mi