The last few days we have been at Tierra Del Volcan, which in English means, The Land of the Volcanoes. It is a partnership that Fundacion Paramo, an aid organization that works just south of Quito here in Ecuador, has set up with a few Haciendas around the base of Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi is the highest volcano in the world and the surrounding area has a feel reminiscent of an enchanted valley out of a fantasy novel. With the lush green countryside and sweeping vistas, the surrounding four volcanoes create a sense of grandeur that is a drastic change from the think jungles we just visited around Banos.
This drastic change set the stage for Darrell’s exit from the crew of The World by Road today. Many have left us in the past, but no one has left us with the style that good old D-day has today. Since the hacienda that we are staying at is 22km from the nearest place to catch a bus to Quito and no one here was on their way into town, Darrell was forced to pack up his bags and leave on foot. About 20 minutes walk from the Hacienda El Provenir is the village of Pedregal, where Darrell would would find his ride into Machachi, the main town.
At about nine in the morning Bouey, Craig and I geared up for a horseback ride in full Ecuadorian getup complete with fuzzy chaps and ponchos. Since Darrell’s ride in the village did not leave until 11:45, he saw us off from the Hacienda. We mounted up on our horses, rode off toward the volcano above, and an hour later he was off down the wide valleys of Cotopaxi with only his backpack and small satchel. With low lying clouds and mist in the background, he strolled his way down the old cobblestone roads to the local village, where few foreigners ever set foot and caught his ride out of here.
Darrell decided to leave us in order to take a month of Spanish lessons and do a homestay with a family in the coastal town of Manta. From there he is hoping to make us way up through Colombia and Venezuela eventually heading to Guyana in search of an old house that part of his family used to live in decades ago. So who is the aforementioned Craig? I guess you could call him Darrell’s replacement. Craig Johnson hails from Chicago and has been with us for about a week now, you can check out his bio here. So that makes our crew only four, as Laura has gone her own way as well. Soon we will have 3 more recruits bringing us back up to seven, but for now I will leave their identities a mystery. So welcome Craig, and good luck D-day on your future adventures, you will be missed as part of the team.
The road Darrell walked on away from the Hacienda (Only it was misty and overcast when he left)
Missing one Darrell…