We left Cuendina at just after 7am. We were headed to Ambato for a breakfast rendezvous with Julio. Nathan met Julio somewhere in BC while riding south from Whitehorse in August. The town had one restaurant and they were two motorcyclists, so they found each other. Julio was on a KTM 525, a barely street legal dirt bike that he rode around South America (including a six day boat trip up the Amazon) and to the end of the road in northern North America. During that trip he carried only one small drybag of gear. He met us on the outskirts of town and escorted us to his family home where breakfast was waiting.
Julio convinced us to take a small detour around Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador. This ride was one of the highlights of the trip so far. Chimborazo's peak also happens to be the furthest point from the earth's centre. Seemingly all Ecuadoreans know this fact, and I heard about it multiple times.
The ride around Chimborazo was amazing: we had seen some snow capped peaks on the ride to Ambato, but at 4400 meters there were patches of snow on the ground next to the road.
We descended back to the Panamericana and then all the way down to the coast at Machala. Along the way, we stopped to watch the conclusion of a soccer game in penalties. The keeper made a miraculous save to end the game. My cold was flaring up, but I was glad to be back at sea level.