E35 follows along the Andes Mountains, and the landscape is green and lush as we drive north toward Biblian and Canar, which are towns William and I have previously visited. We stop at a local restaurant along E35 for breakfast, then are back in the car. There is a light rain and fog, but after an hour or it clears and we see the top of Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest mountain peak at 6,268 meters (20,564 feet).
We drive past Ambato to Latatunga, where we are to take Highway 40 west (part of the Quilotoa Loop). The Garmin has stopped tracking and providing directions and Google Maps also doesn't work. It is already well past the time we thought we would arrive near our lodge. We stop and ask directions six times as we circle around the roads of Latatunga. Finally we find the right road out of town! As we pass the first town on the Loop I am quietly guessing we have another hour to the lodge. Evelyn calls to reconfirm with the lodge that we are on our way, and also to get an idea of the drive time....2 more hours!
The drive along the Quilotoa Loop is gorgeous and the road condition is generally good, however it has many twists and turns. The sun is going down as we come to a construction detour. Luckily there are a few locals chatting who tell us where to go for the detour and also that we are getting close to our lodge. Burt puts the Jeep in 4 wheel drive and we go down a steep dirt detour road and then up the other side to rejoin the main road. It becomes very rough near the town of Chugchilán. We press on. In the dark we spot the sign for Black Sheep Inn. Good thing we have 4 wheel drive as Burt heads up the steep dirt road to the Inn. It's 6:45 PM and we have arrived; almost 12 hours after we left Cuenca.