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Old 12-30-2012, 09:39 PM   #271
Turkeycreek
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Very nice video. The crossing was quite an adventure in itself. Adam and Karen are here in Banamichi for our fiesta for Año Nuevo. We will raise a glass to you guys. Prospero Año Nuevo and may your new year be filled with more adventure.

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Old 12-31-2012, 05:45 AM   #272
Dracula
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnjinSan View Post
Hi guys,
I just put together a movie from our crossing of Darien Gap with the Stahlratte. Hope you will enjoy.
Hi AnjinSan,

Thanks for sharing the video!
It is very nice, wow that last bit lifting the bike off the small raft made me think how the GS1200 or heavier bikes would do there.
Great success
Looking forward to reading your posts further.
Happy New Year!!!!
Best,
Vic

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Old 12-31-2012, 08:56 AM   #273
rtwpaul
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makes me look forward to two more sailings!!!
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:14 PM   #274
AnjinSan OP
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They had quite a few of GS's and even a big cruiser and all got the same treatment to get onshore. For sure it was hard work for the quys with the ropes

But more interestingly, was sitting on the bike while the dingy was moving across the waters. Very very different feeling than the one with "tierra firma".
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:53 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by rtwpaul View Post
makes me look forward to two more sailings!!!
He he Paul, I just wish that you will not have to put your welding skills to work again to get to Cuba and then back to the mainland :)
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:04 PM   #276
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Today, in our hotel's basement:





What a way to finish the year for Gunnar, near 4 KTMs that will race in Dakar Rally 2013. Happy New Year to everybody!
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:12 PM   #277
ChiriLeo
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Happy New Year!

Alex and Andreea,
I'm enjoying your report so much... even if it makes Canada seem much colder that it is these days!
Happy New Year!
Leo
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:55 AM   #278
TOTim
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Happy New Year Alex and Andreea.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:04 PM   #279
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Guys, I hope you had a blast for New Year's Eve party. We celebrated in Lima and then headed out on 1st of January towards the Andes.

Right now we are high in the mountains and enjoying every moment of it. Here's a picture from today, taken at 4500 meters. In search of llamas!



New entry in the ride report coming soon, still trying to get out of Colombia in there
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:13 AM   #280
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Coffee and sweet people: 17 – 20 December
I´m not a coffee drinker. But I did have a coffee from time to time ever since I got into Central America, in the coffee areas. Never too much and always with milk- I know, I know, the taste is not the same but what can I do, I am not a genuine coffee drinker.
As we are heading South out of Medellin, we are entering the Colombian coffee plantations.
We are heading towards Manizales where we will couchsurf for the first time in South America. We are making slow progress mainly because we cannot take our eyes of the scenery.
The hills are all coffee plantations, waves of green interrupted from time to by colored spots: white, yellow, blue. Farm houses. It´s hard to tell how you can reach them up there on the hills.
Even the road signs seem funnier here. Hmmm, what animals should we pay attention to?
We had a dilemma to solve in Manizales. Gunnar was unstable for a while, the steering wheel was vibrating pretty hard. I supposed it was the front tire, it was an old one and had some small bumps. I changed it in Medellin and the “symptoms” didn´t disappear, to my disappointment. Therefore I decided to change the break pads also (thinking that maybe they didn´t wear off equally) . Nothing again! The steering wheel or the fork were tight and good. The wheel was spinning freely. I couldn´t figure out what´s wrong with it.
Our hosts knew a mechanic so we went to see him in the morning. The mechanic did the same thing and everything seemed to be all right. Then he takes a look a the rear wheel. I look also and we see a big crack in the rear tire. I think it helped that the tire was heated now because I checked it few days before when it was cold and I didn´t see anything. Anyway this was bad. The tire had large surfaces with cracks so deep that you could see the casing. Pretty scary. So we know what we have to do without further discussions, we get into the mechanic´s car and hit the city to find a new tire.The only thing I can find is a very expensive Bridgestone. Great, now my both wheels have tires I don´t trust (TrailWings), and since I bought them without researching before I payed a lot of money for them also. But at least Gunnar is fine.
We say “Goodbye” to our very helpful and friendly hosts and pick Salento as our next destination. Salento is a small village further South. We like lazy days when we don´t do too many kilometers but discover beautiful things.
We get to the main plaza in Salento and begin our usual “accommodation ritual” (we are looking for an affordable place, with safe parking for our motorcycle and pretty ok for us also, and that´s what we are asking around for). We get really funny directions, they vary according to how much we can understand from the locals and how much we think we understand….

“Todo largo” on that street (??), walk 4 “cuadras” (I do know what that is), then left and “recto” (watch your language) and you are there. Got it? Hmm, we will see what we can find. We found a different “hospedaje” where we cross the “finish line” of the day. Right on time as sun is sneaking behind the roofs.
In Salento we discover life in the countryside, all peaceful and quiet and two very beautiful souls, Maria del Mar and Nicolas from Bogota who came here for the holidays. There are both bohemians and singers and we get along very well (we were staying at the same hostel). We go out for a coffee together (best coffee I had in my life), alfajores (typical cookies) and we share thoughts and experiences.
We ask them about life in Bogota. Nicolas gives us a straight answer: “We are buying things that we don’t need, with money that we don’t have, to impress people that we don’t care about”. Hmmm, does this seem familiar?
We are really getting along with these people and we continue walking the streets between houses dressed up for celebrations.
On top of it all, Nicolas owns a car that is very special to me. It was the car my father bought the year I was born and 18 years later I learned how to drive it. Here´s the Colombian version.
The next day we say “Goodbye”. Maria offers us her music album on a CD we will listen to when we get home (where we have a CD-ROM). Farewell friends!
Before leaving we go back the the coffee place we had the very good coffee and meet the owner of this small business, Jesus. He is very passionate about this place and he is telling us about coffee growing also inviting us to the place where we selects and grinds the coffee.

We learn a lot of interesting things about coffee growing process.
Even more impressing is the fact that this man is a lawyer. But came back to the “countryside” and started a project trying to support the people there.He told us “I am trying to build something positive for my family, environment and the community I live in then extending it to the region and my country, Colombia. We have to start locally, in small communities. We will be able to see the results when more an more people will start doing the same”.

He is telling us that most of the Colombian coffee producers only grow the coffee, take out the beans and sell them for a low price, mostly for export. Thus the good quality Colombian coffee cannot be drank in Colombia as it is exported.
He decided to build a small processing factory so that the good quality Colombian coffee can be drank in Colombia also. He takes the coffee from his father´s coffee farm but also buys it from other plantations, carefully selecting it, roasting it at the right temperature so that his customers can enjoy an exquisite cup.
I like his approach. He resisted the “big” challenges and doesn´t expect for his solution to universally solve these problems.
Most of the good coffee will continue to leave Colombia in its early stage and for little money and most Colombians will only be able to drink lower quality coffee. But he found a way to bring little changes. He decided to do something, although his work is just a small drop in the ocean. But what is an ocean if not millions of drops getting together.
We shake hands and wished him good luck with his project. Maybe one day our friend will be able to send his good coffee to Romania also.
From Salento we go to Popayan, keep heading South. We leave the mountainous scenery for the sugar cane plantations. Apparently it´s harvest time.
It getting more and more difficult to overpass. Luckily we are not in the mountains anymore so there are not too many curves.
But hei, if you ride for many days in a row and don´t know where to keep your bananas… here´s an idea:
It´s almost dark when we reach Popayan and some rain clouds get there in the same time. We confine to our ritual again searching for a place to sleep. Hard to find an available and affordable spot. It´s holiday time apparently and everyone is traveling home. As I come back unsuccessfully from a hotel search I see another DL650 parked next to Gunnar. Red, clean, 2012 model (but the old lines not the new design) and lots of after market parts.I meet the guy talking to Andreea. His name is Fredie and the red DL belongs to his boss. He is trying to help us guiding us to other hotels but the ones that still have rooms have touristy prices. Then Frankie says “if you want you can come stay at my places. I´m on Couchsurfing but cannot host people right now because my place is really small. But if you want and don´t mind cats you can come sleep at my place”.
We stop by the ship where Fredie is working meet his boss, Jaime (the owner of the red DL650) and he offers to help us well, with a place for our motorcycle overnight.
We feel so taken care of, needing to do nothing and having so much consideration from these guys. We settle in the motorcycle (first worry of any rider ) and then we set up our place to sleep in the hallway of Fredie’s small apartment (which he share with 2 other girls). We move around some furniture to make room on the floor for our two sleeping mattress. The space was very limited but who cares? His heart was so big. So we felt very very good in the end.
Heading back to the shop, Jaime and 2 other friends are waiting us with some beers and a lot of happy mood. My Spanish must have been improving due to the beers or so I think because we are taking about “heavy” subjects and these guys seem to understand me… Hmmm…
One of Jaime’s friends is a cop (oh and I just told all the stories about passing in Colombia) and he is so funny! He educates us about how we should handle the situation if we are stopped by cops on the road. I must confess that I am not good at the methods he explained and I would prefer not to be stopped at all
And, to he honest, now that we’re out of Colombia I must say that the cops and the military met in Colombia where among the friendliest we’ve seen in the hole trip. No stopping, no control, and every time big smiles and “thumbgs up”.
We talk with Jamie Frankie and their friends a long time, well into the night. Next morning we are invited for breakfast before leaving.
Then, we have to say good bye and start a new day of discovery!
The map of these post:

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Next time we head full speed into Ecuador and try to change the Hemisphere in which we are traveling. Stay tuned!
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #281
jbcaddy
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Always a treat to find a new post from you two A late happy new year to you both!
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:50 AM   #282
Turkeycreek
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I enjoy your perspective in each post, Alex. Waiting patiently for the next installment and more of Andreea's photos.

Abrazos
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:54 AM   #283
poolman
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AnjinSan,

Enjoy the Peruvian Andes, some of the best riding in the world!

Will you travel to Machu Picchu? If so, the route from Cusco - Ollantaytambo - Santa Maria - Santa Teresa - Hydroelectrica is a spectacular ride, and leaves you positioned to take an easy two hour hike along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.

Great Ride Report,
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:24 AM   #284
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Very nice post on Colombia. Happy New Year!
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:47 PM   #285
Hewby
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Love reading your posts. I am still in Medellin awaiting more bike repairs so sadly with my time ticking down I won't get too see all the places you have. But such is life. Travel safe my friends.
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