Postcards
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Central Coast Wandering

      A few weeks ago we embarked on our first trailer trip since last Summer’s journey the length of Highway 97. Shorter in time and distance than our round trip to Canada, we spent a week hanging-out on the San Luis Obispo County coast in central California. As it was the first trailer trip of the season, we took our rig to McColloch’s RV Service in Sacramento.
    We like to start the season knowing that our trailer’s appliances work properly, the brakes and tires have been checked by experts, the fresh water system properly flushed and sanitized, and any minor tweaks or modifications we identified during the past season have been completed. Kerry and Nick McColloch, the father-son team that runs their business have consistently performed these tasks for us for over a decade. We’ve come to rely on them.

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                     Camping at San Simeon State Park

 

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Postcard #3 -- Peru

 

If Ecuador’s theme was colonial heritage, then Peru’s was pre-colonial. It was Inca. This was particularly true in the Andes where we spent most of our Peru time. The sights tended to be Inca; our guides emphasized Inca history and culture, even when showing us colonial history; and the appearance of the people, the dress, the art, impressed us as indigenous. It opened our eyes to discover that two adjacent South American countries with similar histories could feel so different.

Edwin, our Peru guide, and his assistant Elizabeth, met us at Lima Airport and negotiated our group through Peruvian customs, boarding the proper Cuzco flight with us. After checking into Hotel Jose Antonio Cuzco, we followed Edwin’s recommendation and joined Jenny and Michael for a late supper at Valentina, a traditional restaurant across the street. Delicious soup and chicha mirada!

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Colorful women at Sacsayhuaman and cloth in local store

 

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Postcard #2 -- Mainland Ecuador

 

Arriving in Quito at night, we didn’t get a good look around until we awoke in the morning to find ourselves in the Andes at 9,300 feet elevation, surrounded by 15,000 foot high volcanoes. There are many contrasts between the Galapagos and mainland Ecuador and one of the most pertinent to travelers is altitude. We had prepared for the altitude with prescription medication, staying hydrated, and not over-exerting at first. Still, we noticed a shortness of breath when merely walking, especially the first couple of days.

Rodrigo, our Ecuador guide greeted our flight and together with bus driver Roberto, made sure we arrived safely and efficiently at our accommodation, Mercure Grand Hotel Alameda in a district called La Mariscal. We soon met-up with our second guide, Eduardo and enjoyed the services of two knowledgeable and personable guides. With a population of over 2.5 million, Quito is shoehorned into its mountain valley, shanties and modest homes creeping up the surrounding slopes. Its colonial center was one of the first World Heritage Sites.

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   “Virgen de Quito” and religious painting on wood

 

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