Ken and Fi Morton

Ken and Fi

Ken and Fi Morton

A little about us: Ken grew up in the U.S. (near Boston, MA), while Fi was born in England (Shropshire) and lived there until 2010. We first met each other in Peru, quite by chance: Fi had been backpacking through South America for about 9 months and Ken was on a surfing vacation that went wrong. To make a long story bearably short, we met on a hiking trail near Machu Picchu and things took off from there. Now 14 years later, and after 9.5 years of marriage, we still share the same love of travelling and adventure. (By 'adventure' we mean riding our bikes for months on end or relocating to a non-English speaking country, not stuff like cliff diving or alligator wrestling... that's just nuts). Our two big bike trips are on this website, where we rode through the US, parts of South America, and most recently New Zealand. From Nov 2017 to May 2019 we drove our plucky little truck camper - Tortuga - through Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador: you can read about all our escapades during that 18-month overland trip in "Travels with Tortuga". We're finally off the road and have settled down in Ecuador, which is so far proving to be a great place to call home.

Follow us on this blog site, if you like. We'll post lots of photos here, and we'll try to keep the narrative succinct, but hopefully entertaining!

Well, this is it folks: the final leg of our Travels with Tortuga Tour. After a year and a half, 22,000 miles, (and only four countries visited!), Fi and I managed to limp our aging truck & camper to South Carolina, where she's safely tucked away in my parents' storage garage. It's been a wonderful trip - we've seen some incredible places, have made some lifelong friends along the way, and also found a place to call home in beautiful Ecuador. Tortuga Tour may be over, but we have a lot to look forward to in the near future...more of that later. Since Arizona, we plodded upwards to Zion National Park, then through Utah and into Colorado, where we spent some time mountain biking in Fruita, and visiting friends in Pagosa Springs and Colorado Springs before ... read more
Mule Deer in Zion National Park
Angel's Landing hike, Zion NP
Zion National Park

North America » United States » Arizona » Payson April 7th 2019

Hello folks, and thanks for checking back in with us! Sorry it's been a while since our last blog post from Cartagena. We left about six weeks ago, and I think I'm just now fully recovered from the heat. Fi, being much more adventurous than me, enjoyed her self-inflicted marches through the old town there, while I was quite content soaking up the hotel's wifi and air conditioning until we finally flew to Bogotá (after leaving Tortuga at the port in Cartagena for shipment to Galveston, Texas). In Bogotá we enjoyed three days exploring Colombia's capital city, and I enjoyed the much cooler temperatures. Bogotá is a fascinating city, with a rich history that begins, at least as far as I learned, with the pre-Incan natives who adorned their communities and themselves in the plentiful gold ... read more
Before Ken fell off his bike!
Ken and Coast Guard friend Doug
Fi with Anna and Catherine

South America » Colombia » Cartagena February 22nd 2019

I promised no more blogs from Colombia but here are some photos from Barichara and Cartagena...too beautiful to not include! After a long, hot drive from Barichara to Cartagena, Tortuga is now safely at the port and set to sail to Houston on Sunday. We will spend another few days in Colombia and then fly to Houston to collect Tortuga at the end of next week. Enjoy the photos...there are 22 in total! ~ Ken & Fi... read more
Bougainvillea in Barichara
Old city walls, Cartagena de Indias

South America » Colombia » Santander » Barichara February 5th 2019

Being back in this beautiful country for another month before we ship Tortuga from Cartagena is turning out to be very enjoyable so far. After we left Cuenca mid-January, we put in a few long days of driving to get up to Ibarra, in northern Ecuador, where we spent four nights back at one of our favourite campgrounds, Finca Sommerwind. It was great to catch up with our friends there and spend a few days relaxing around camp before crossing the border into Colombia. We had been wondering how the border crossing would go this time, as when we crossed over last August it took a very long time and the immigration officials were completely overwhelmed by the huge number of Venezuelans heading south. The night before we left Sommerwind, an unfortunate incident occurred in Ibarra, ... read more
La Serrana campground, Salento
Sunset over the coffee region
Iglesia de Belen, Silvia

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 1st 2019

We decided to make an effort for Christmas this year, so have rented a nice, modern apartment in Cuenca for a month. This is the city that we hope to move to later this year, so we have been enjoying exploring the different neighbourhoods and experiencing some traditional Ecuadorian Christmas and New Year celebrations. For the first week in Cuenca we stayed in Tortuga at an overlander campground - well, driveway - run by a very welcoming Ecuadorian family. It's a tiny little place and can squeeze in about 4 small vehicles at a push, but Miryam and Richard were so kind and friendly that we felt at home right away, and I especially enjoyed befriending their sweet 9-year old daughter Romina. We were also able to meet up with our friends Jen and Kyle, the ... read more
Christmas Eve parade
Cute kids with a basket of roasted guinea pigs!
Free chicha!

South America » Ecuador » South » Vilcabamba November 28th 2018

One whole year in hardly seems possible! Admittedly we have only travelled through 4 countries during this whole year, and one of those was the US, but that's beside the point. Moving so slowly has allowed us to get to know certain places really well, and evaluate their livability potential, instead of having to rush through them to stay on a faster and more distance-covering schedule. When we left Colorado last November we really didn't know what to expect. Would we survive Mexico, despite all the disconcerting security warnings? (well we're still alive!) How would it feel driving a relatively large vehicle through a bunch of developing countries? (ask Ken!) Would we really go through the hassle and expense of shipping Tortuga all the way down to South America? (yes!) And, most importantly, would we ... read more
Sunset at the house
Hiking with the lovely Roxy
Hiking to the Palto waterfall with Jen

South America » Ecuador » South » Vilcabamba October 6th 2018

Our last blog entry saw us in Quito, finishing off the sale of our Colorado home, which, we are pleased (and a little surprised) to report, went off without a hitch and officially made us homeless again! There was one moment of tension, when we were at the DHL office trying to send off the closing documents, which included the signed and notarized deed, to the title company in Colorado, and noticed that the employee assisting us had not entered the destination address in the correct US format, and had recorded the recipient's phone number without the area code on the mailing label. When I tactfully pointed this out, she assured me that that was the way it was always done in Ecuador. We went round and round this issue for a minute or two before ... read more
Ruminahui hike in Cotopaxi National Park
Baños central plaza
Roasted guinea pigs (cuy)

South America » Ecuador » North » Ibarra August 18th 2018

There are very few absolute certainties in life. "Death and taxes" is a common lament, which only serves to emphasize this point. I guess that if I were to list those things I knew, with absolute certainty, I would still be able to count them on one hand. For instance, there is only one sun/star in our solar system; socks that go missing in the washing machine are never found; and there is only one equator encircling our planet, right? Well, imagine our surprise when Fi and I learned that, at least in Ecuador, there is not just one, but at least three equators, as we've been assured, that run parallel to one another. I'll get back to that later, but first want to bring you, our faithful readership, up to date since our last check-in. ... read more
Border Crossing near Ipiales, Colombia
Border Crossing
Finca Sommerwind

South America » Colombia » Ipiales August 5th 2018

Driving in Colombia has kept Ken on his toes more than he could ever have expected, or wished for! There is barely a flat or straight stretch of road in the entire country, so you inevitably end up stuck behind one slow truck/bus after another as you crawl up or down one huge mountain after another. Throw in never-ending roadworks, landslides, police checkpoints, local parades, suicidal stray dogs and crazy motorcylists, and you get an idea of why it can take up to 8 hours to drive 100 miles! There's never a dull moment, that's for certain. On the plus side, the scenery has been stunning without exception and reminds us often of the more spectacular parts of New Zealand's North Island. So we left Medellin after a week at the Al Bosque hostel, where we ... read more
If this is a motel room, I wouldn't want to see what a jail cell looks like!
La Serrana campground, Salento
Zona Cafetera near Salento

South America » Colombia » Medellin July 19th 2018

In 1992, while living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I bought a used Subaru for $600 from a used car lot. I paid cash, signed the usual bill of sale, title etc., as well as a bunch of acknowledgement forms advising me that the vehicle lacked even the most rudimentary safety equipment. The entire transaction took about 15 minutes. That's about how long it takes to check into a hotel or pay for groceries in Colombia. There is a cultural penchant for red tape which has taken (me) a little while to get used to. This just about drove me to the brink of insanity three days ago as I witnessed a five-minute transaction at a toll booth between the attendant and the vehicle immediately ahead of us, involving phone calls and consultations with supervisors. So far, however, ... read more
Tropical plants, San Gil botanical garden
San Gil botanical garden
Barichara, UNESCO World Heritage site

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