Our friend, Ray had a hankering to ride yesterday and I decided to tag along. When we met up I asked Ray where he intended to go and he said that perhaps we should head to Portoviejo.
Portoviejo is over twenty five miles away. The roadway is relatively level with a broad shoulder for bicycles, but I was not sure if I had it in me to ride quite that far in the Ecuadorian sunshine, so I suggested that perhaps we should just go to the town before Portoviejo where they sell tagua and other artisan made goods. Ray thought that was a good compromise and we set out early on Wednesday morning toward Portoviejo.
Almost every expat that lives in this area has traveled that roadway many times by bus, taxi, or private driver and knows that the route takes one through Charapoto and several small towns toward the larger city of Rocafuerte before turning inland to Portoviejo. Also anyone who has been attentive would have noticed a most unusually decorated small house along the roadway in San Eloy that looks like this:
I noticed this unusually decorated house the first time we drove through San Eloy almost four years ago and I asked the taxi driver why there were so many horns adorning that house. He sort of snickered and told me the owner was famous in the area and I assumed he had been a rodeo champion of some sort. After several more inquiries and as our command of the Spanish language improved we came to learn that the owner of the house apparently has a cheating spouse and the horns (together with the names of the guilty parties) were posted to show the people with whom the wife had cheated.
According to the signs, the owner has established a club called, “San Eloy CNC Club National Cachudos” and proudly recognizes each member with their own set of horns or individual signs.
The one prominent sign says, “A household without horns is like a garden without flowers.”
Reminds me of a country song entitled, “Making the Best of a Bad Situation.”
For the record, neither Ray nor I joined the fraternity.
After San Eloy the roadway gets a bit hilly as we wove our way down toward the great fertile valley surrounding Rocafuerte. Along side the roadway just before Rocafuerte there is a small lake or pond with several ducks and other water birds.
The hillside is covered with coconut palms and a couple of homes and docks surround the pond.
I have always wanted to stop and take some pictures of that pond and yesterday provided the perfect opportunity.
I had been having problems with the front shifter on my bicycle, so I decided that Rocafuerte was far enough for me that day. Ray continued on to Portoviejo and I turned back toward San Clemente.
As I mentioned the entire area around Rocafuerte is covered in farmland benefiting from the always available water supply of the Portoviejo River.
Even the hillsides are dotted with fruit trees and different crops in season.
As one climbs higher into the lomas surrounding the valley, the plant growth changes to include the familiar ceibo trees typical to Manabi province.
Even though I have traveled down this roadway many, many times I still enjoyed riding down the road and seeing things that are missed while riding on the bus or in taxis. For example, I noticed a small home along the road. The house is just a humble two story abode on a small lot next to a hillside, but the owners have worked hard to beautify the front yard with a magnificent garden.
I took the opportunity to rest a minute and take some pictures, but these two guard dogs were not pleased with my stopping.
I would have taken more pictures, but I did not want to rile up the watchdogs too much.
What a gem! I will watch for this house and garden from hereon as we pass.
The round trip to Rocafuerte was just over thirty miles (or fifty kilometers) and was quite enough for me!
I made it home just as the sun was breaking out from the morning cloud cover. Ray also made it home safely, but did have to bear the afternoon sun and wind that whipped up later that day. I was floating on a raft in our pool by that time here in San Clemente where…
Life is good in Ecuador!