Itís just short of 700 miles from Cartagena to Bogota on the main highways. I should probably mention that highways in Colombia are some of the twistiest roads youíll ever ride through mountains that will take your breath away. The trip took about 3 days with a stop somewhere in the mountains and another in Medellin.
I was hoping to make it to Medellin from Cartagena the first day. I knew mileage-wise it would be a stretch, but it was the goal for the first day. I got into some intense mountains in the late evening, along with some intense rain and fog. Driving off the side of these mountains could easily mean falling thousands of feet to the ravines below. I pressed on for a little while, but when the visibility dropped to about 20 feet in front of me, I made a U-turn back to the last town I passed that had a hotel. Iíve since lovingly referred to the place as the trucker hotel, because I was the only person staying there that wasnít driving a semi. When the fog lifted in the morning, I found that the place was built on the side of a mountain with a spectacular view. Hereís a few pictures of the surprisingly nice and cheap trucker hotel in Valdivia, Colombia.
The view behind the trucker hotel
The next day I was off for a more relaxing ride to Medellin. The mountains continued to be spectacular. I pulled off at an overlook and was fortunate to catch a couple paragliders run off the mountain and float into the valley below. I must have stood there watching them for an hour and a half. I arrived in Medellin in the afternoon, and just kicked back at the hostel. Some of the people I met on the boat ride across the Caribbean were staying there, so we chatted over a couple beers. Medellin seemed like a really nice place. I wish I had more time to visit, but I needed to get to Bogota to meet up with my little sister, Emily who was going to visit us in Bogota. Actually her plane arrived while I was still in Medellin.
The third day was a long one from Medellin to Bogota. Again, the ride through the mountains was amazing. While taking a break from the rain under the shelter of an abandoned gas station, I also met a nice guy from Spain who was bicycling south from Alaska. Jorge, started 11 months ago in Alaska on his bicycle, and pedaled all the way here. Iíve passed a lot of people doing long distance riding on bicycles, but Jorge was the first one Iíve chatted with. Thatís an Alaskan license plate on the side of his bike.
Traffic in Bogota was the worst part. Bogota is a darn big city, and driving there is nuts! I was riding in bicycle lanes and sidewalks just trying to get somewhere, and so were every other small motorcycle and scooter navigating the city streets. I arrived after dark to meet back up with Coco, Rufio, and my little sis, Emily.
Hola Emily! Emily says Hola!