Rain fell off and on all night and we wake to a chilly morning in the cabana. Brian starts the stove to make a pot of coffee and boil water for tea for me. I have some oatmeal on the bike and its a nice warm way to start the day since we will be going out into the rain for the day and continuing to climb in altitude. I’m a little worried about ice. But the farmer who owns the finca (farm) walks by with a milk cow and says there won’t be any ice. I ask about the road to Merida and he says it will take two hours and it will be slow with all the rain we have had and he explains that is the way it is in the mountains of Venezuela.
We ride out the green lane of the terraces of the finca and down the cobblestoned drive to the gate and then onto the highway. The climb never ended so we are climbing as soon as we leave. And within a mile or so of the finca i can see waterfalls all around the valley springing forth.
I watch one way up ahead and its this thin silver-blue thread tracing down the mountains ahead and coming toward the road…and then I round the corner and see where it leads.
I pull over for a quick peek of the valley below after fjording the small falls and round the next corner to the road above. I’m reminded of Switzerland when I look down into the lush valley.
We climb higher and higher and after a few more miles the trees are gone. The road is a series of switchbacks with tight corners and I ride mostly in first and second gear with the wet surface, the way the thin air is affecting my bike and my trying to take in every view.
And within an hour we have arrived at what the farmer called “pico” the Pico el Aguila and we are at over 12,600 feet according to my watch. But I forget to take a photo until I start the ride down. It’s foggy and chilly here.
Then we start our descent, through the fog and clouds and rain and eventually out into the highlands. We pass a sign announcing that Condors can be seen here and are protected. And then we continue to wind down and around the switchbacks and through rural areas. We see locals checking out how high the streams are running after the nights rains.
We arrive at Apartaderos where we have to make a turn on the road to stay on Troncal 7. A valley filled red-tiled roofs and stucco-walled homes so picturesque. More trees start to appear as we descend and we ride through village after village.
Since Pico I’ve been seeing lots of stands selling strawberries and cream. The cool rainy weather must make for good strawberry growing. And as we get closer to Merida women stand along the roadsides with trays of them ready to buy without getting out of your car. If only I had a place to put it until I could park and enjoy it….
Wishing a very happy birthday to my bestie, Miss Megan, tomorrow…sending you my love, chica.