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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.  

Carta-frida

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.

 

 

 


Covered in mud and bird poo - My car arrives safely

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Rain storms came through this weekend, the first time since I arrived in Quito.  The storm clouds could be seen coming off the mountains to the east.  The cloudbursts were dramatic and amazing as I watched them roll in from the safety of my patio windows.  

As the subject line states, I was reunited with my truck on Wednesday.  I've adjusted to life without it, but it's great to have it back. Several people have offered to chauffeur me around, and I've also used cabs when needed.  But nothing can replace the freedom of getting to know the city while driving your own vehicle.  Lucia will get a nice change as well, since we can drive to distant parks instead of limiting our walks to the nearest one.

The FJ is well suited for the hilly driving in Quito. Many of the side streets have pavers vs. asphalt or concrete.  So the ride can be a little bumpy for a sedan or other low clearance vehicle.  However, there's plenty of economy sized vehicles traveling the city streets.  And the cost for imports is very high.  I've heard new vehicles can cost twice as much as you'd pay in the States or other countries, even higher if you're talking about high end luxury vehicles.

One of the first things I've had to get use to is parking in my residence's parking garage.  The height and turning radius inside the garage makes driving the FJ feel like I'm a gopher burrowing into its hole.  

Speaking of new things arriving-

Everyone told me that the speed of shipments have improved over the last few years.  Here's how my personal timeline shaped up for my vehicle (POV), unaccompanied air baggage (UAB), and household effects (HHE).  Everything was shipped from Virginia during the week of July 10.  Everything was staged in Miami, Florida for shipment to the coastal city Guayaquil, Ecuador.  From there it comes over land to the capital city.

Here's how long it took everything-

UAB - < 21 days

POV -  35 days

HHE - arrived in Guayaquil Aug-17, a week to 10 days for Customs clearance to Quito

I'm hopeful I'll see the HHE before the labor day weekend.  Fingers crossed.


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.

FR SM1

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.  

FR st1

FR a2

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

 


Ragnar 2014 - Washington, D.C

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This is what happens when twelve people band together for two days of non-stop relay running.
We started in Cumberland, MD on Friday morning at 630am.  12 people run 3 legs each for a total of 36 legs covering 200 miles.  

My legs:

1st leg: 9.4mi (Friday late afternoon)

2nd leg: 7.8mi (Saturday early morning)

3rd leg: 4.4mi

Total for me: 21.6mi

I had never heard of Ragnar until last year when I was invited to join a team.  Unfortunately, I couldn't  since it was last minute and I had other plans.  But this year, I got a second chance when someone offered a spot to me after the original runner was injured.  

While the mileage wasn't a worry, the lack of sleep, strange diet of coffee, power gels, and energy drinks, was.  I wasn't use to running that many times within 30+ hours.

I didn't know what to expect but was looking forward to it.  My team wanted to be ready for the morning of the race, so the captain organized a road trip for the night before.  We all met up after work on Thursday at various places in VA, DC, and MD.  We had two minivans that picked up everyone and made the journey to Cumberland, MD.  We made it to an Econolodge outside the city and crashed for the night around 10pm.  

The next two days were a mix of running, cheering, sleeping, and eating at all times of the day and night.  I'll always remember the great folks I teamed and shared such a unique experience with. Each one of my runs were fantastic, from the riverside tree lined 1st leg, the spooky AM in the woods 2nd leg, to the Mt. Vernon "don't leave anything in the tank" 3rd leg.

Ragnar Finisher

Thanks everyone for asking me to join in on the fun!

Ragnar finish