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Old 02-10-2013, 07:17 PM   #1636
NitroRoo
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I had fallen way behind and last I had heard you were on a boat... then I saw the wheel mishap I have been catching up every free moment I had since. Fantastic way to overcome and with such a great attitude. I truly believe this makes all the difference in life, no matter what obstacle you are facing. Way to go, and I can't wait to read more!

I've been really enjoying the Columbia chapter - my dad was born in Bucaramanga and has told me many stories of growing up down there. I spent a few childhood years in Venezuela, which is where my wife is from - so I'm looking forward to that installment too.

Loving all these roads you are exploring. Sure beats trying to plan out every single moment of every day (something I am prone to do). Sometimes you just have to go with the flow :)
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:58 AM   #1637
Sahararover
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Hi John, thank you for the RR it's a great and inspiring read.

I put the coordinates form the hospederia in google earth and I saw that it matched a pin I had already saved in my account, was the name of the place "La Violeta"?
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:54 PM   #1638
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Originally Posted by Sahararover View Post
Hi John, thank you for the RR it's a great and inspiring read.

I put the coordinates form the hospederia in google earth and I saw that it matched a pin I had already saved in my account, was the name of the place "La Violeta"?
Hi Sahararover,

Yes, La Violeta Hospedaje. Very charming place. I had a hard time leaving. Small quaint cabin in the woods with a kitchen with propane stove for making breakfast and coffee, nice tankless hot water shower, great TV with hundreds of channels for 40,000 pesos ($23.00). And friendly staff. Highly recommended.

Glad to have you along for the ride amigo.

Saludos,
Juan Violeta
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:58 PM   #1639
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Originally Posted by NitroRoo View Post
I had fallen way behind and last I had heard you were on a boat... then I saw the wheel mishap I have been catching up every free moment I had since. Fantastic way to overcome and with such a great attitude. I truly believe this makes all the difference in life, no matter what obstacle you are facing. Way to go, and I can't wait to read more!

I've been really enjoying the Columbia chapter - my dad was born in Bucaramanga and has told me many stories of growing up down there. I spent a few childhood years in Venezuela, which is where my wife is from - so I'm looking forward to that installment too.

Loving all these roads you are exploring. Sure beats trying to plan out every single moment of every day (something I am prone to do). Sometimes you just have to go with the flow :)
Hi NitroRoo,

Glad you are still following along. Pretty nice place that Bucaramanga for such a big city. And lots of great riding all around in the mountains. What a great place your Dad had to grow up in.

Venezuela coming soon. There's nothing wrong with planning things and trips. I do it all the time. At least three times a day. I get distracted by a good road though. Plenty of those around the Colombian mountains.

Saludos,
Juan Pamplona
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:59 PM   #1640
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I guess it's not so unusual any more o'days to experience people suddenly cracking up while otherwise intently glued to a computer screen. The times they are a'changin'. Thanks for the needed warmth and comedic relief to the winter doldrums. You've apparently mingled with lots of diverse crowds, including software engineers (and that's a feature, not a bug).

This previous leg here of the journey is sublime. You found some killer roads and killer views. From the photos, I kept thinking I was in Ecuador. It's quite a feeling looking from the side of a ridge SO far down to a river and dots for houses, then looking equally SO far up to the top of the facing slope, and it feels like the stomach is trying to force its way into the thoracic cavity. Then you look at your photo later and it's like, meh, nice view. There's nothing like being there. Encima de su humor, thanks for your encouragement!
Hi ONandOFF,

Glad you enjoy my unique sense of humor. And yes, the scenery in this part of the world is too big to photograph.

Juan Panorama
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:19 PM   #1641
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Still in the Colombian mountains. Had a wonderful day yesterday. No internet since the owners went back to Bogota at noon on Sunday and I returned the USB modem they let me use.

Was watching the 2013 Dakar race movie on a sports channel in the morning getting pumped up for more mountain riding. The movie ended after a couple hours of super human riding by some of the motos. Those guys can fly. Then it started to rain hard and I thought to myself, "Self, do you really want to leave an idyllic mountain cabin in a quiet beautiful place with killer cable TV to go out in the rain where the Sherpa is surely going to cut out and die someplace interesting."

I decided as much as I enjoy the random places I coast into, it was an excellent day for hanging out . So I walked to town and got some groceries and cooked up some breakfast and made some coffee on the stove and settled in for a relaxing afternoon studying Spanish i.e. watching independent movies with Spanish subtitles. Suscaron is above 8000 feet so it was cozy. I got in my down bag under the covers last night and was snug as a bug.

It rained off and on all day yesterday with dramatic thunder and lightening as a couple of big cells moved through the valley and knocked out the power briefly. Really quiet in Suscaron. No loud music in town. Well okay, except when I cranked up the TV on the cable salsa radio channel and rocked out to Reuben Blades playing Pedro Navaja while I cooked breakfast. It's an idyllic little hamlet way up in the mountains far from anything.

Three little goats came up to the front door bleating maaaaaaaa this morning. Here's the one that wasn't too shy for a photo:



Packed up and left late morning and headed down the hill on a decent paved road. Almost alpine up at this elevation. Julie Andrews wouldn't look out of place down in the meadow twirling around singing "The hills are alive….":



The road turned to spotty pavement with mostly gravel as it ran along a ridge over a river valley:



No traffic so I stopped every once in a while just to sit on the ridge and watch the raptors catching thermals and soaring. Really peaceful up here:



And then the road turned to patched paved and dropped down into the river valley:



where it turned to gravel:



and rode along a roaring river for a while. Really twisted geologic strata on the cliff across the river:



and into a canyon:





before climbing up, up and up. Nice views out to little pueblos on distant ridges:



The road continued to climb up to 13,000 feet where it turned to mud and rock:





here is the top of the pass right near the Venezuelan border. Pretty chilly up this high. I tried to get a waypoint but the batteries died. I'll charge it up this evening. While I got out the GPS from the topbox I noticed that the bag of hardboiled eggs I put in had turned into a bag of yellow and white powdered eggs with tiny bits of shell mixed in. That's how rough this road is. My thinking was that the worst that could happen is that they would be pre-cracked for easy peeling. HAH! Once again, failed logic on the roads less traveled:



It got soupy for quite a ways:



Really tricky staying upright in this stuff. It was really slick. Came around a corner and there was a backup:



You know it's gnarly when 4wd jeeps are getting stuck:



I stopped to help push. But eventually it was the trackhoe and a rope that got that guy out of the muck. Continuing on around the corner the road turned into a 6 inch deep slurry of mud. I didn't want to put my feet down for a photo. Sorry. Just imagine a soupy mocha shake six inches deep and twelve feet wide for a mile. I couldn't see the bottom and there were no tracks since it was so soupy, so just let the Sherpa find it's way in the ruts under the surface. I was glad to get out alive without dumping the bike.

Here I am relaxing in the next pueblo at a little tienda after surviving the mocha shake boogy:



And then the soup abruptly stopped and the road turned into a racetrack for the next thirty miles or so:







with tantalizing roads zigzagging up the mountainside across the canyon:




I think this carretera 55 will be paved all the way before too long so better hurry up if you want some mocha action. The road climbed up and up. Here is looking back to the road in the distance:





into the clouds and fog until it finally dropped down into the town of Pamplona where I am now typing this up at Piero's Pizza:



Using their free wifi. A special tribute goes out to ClemKevin for tonight's evening meal of Piero's Especial Pequeño pizza with everything on it:



Muchas gracias amigo!

And thanks to Throttlemeister and SS in Vzla for directions to this fine pizzeria. Really tasty. Highly recommended.

I'm staying at the El Alamo hotel, also a recommendation from Throttlemeister. Decent room with wifi for 30,000 pesos ($17.00)

Not sure what I'm doing tomorrow. I think head to the coast. I spent 64,000 pesos (36.78) today on food, gas and lodging. Bank of Colombia let's you take out 400,000 pesos at a time at their ATMs. Some of the other banks only 300,000. My account is debited 230.00 with bank charges when I withdraw 400,000 pesos at the ATM, so I am getting about 1740 pesos to the dollar which is what I am using to figure these daily costs.

Hasta Mañana
Juan Piero
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:31 PM   #1642
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Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
evening meal of Piero's Especial Pequeño pizza with everything on it:


Man that looks damn good to me, I thought you would like that stop, SS put me on to it. Didn't remember what the hotel costs but it was a good location with parking and internet. Glad you like, I thought Pamplona had a nice vibe the first time I passed through, I stayed the next time.

Keep up the good work Juanito

Your going to miss our mini Dakar this weekend with the Tulsa crew Maybe next year, everyone gets to race in this one

Looking forward to what's next...
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:03 PM   #1643
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Man that looks damn good to me, I thought you would like that stop, SS put me on to it. Didn't remember what the hotel costs but it was a good location with parking and internet. Glad you like, I thought Pamplona had a nice vibe the first time I passed through, I stayed the next time.

Keep up the good work Juanito

Your going to miss our mini Dakar this weekend with the Tulsa crew Maybe next year, everyone gets to race in this one

Looking forward to what's next...
Hi TM,

Thanks for the great ideas! I was going to head up to El Cocuy today but it was socked in with dark gray clouds over there as I passed by, so kept heading north. My current thinking is to come back up to this area on my way over to Venezuela, so after checking the weather, I think instead of heading over to Cucuta and north, I will head over to Bucaramanga and jet north to Carnivale. Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, and if I get an early start I might make it to Baranquilla by midnight when things get started. It lasts all week and I just want to go check it out for grins. Then head to Cartagena before coming back down to the Tres Cordilleras on my way over to Venezuela. This place is awesome! Get down here, would ya? And as far as being a hot area, I haven't got that vibe around here and I was 5 miles or so from Venezuela today.

Well okay, an Okie Dakar does sound like fun I have to admit. I would be so in if I were within a few hundred miles.

Muchas gracias por todo,
Juan de las Montañas
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:24 PM   #1644
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Good stuff

Awesome ride through the road less traveled. Since you skipped Carnaval (Joselito gets buried tomorrow), I'd consider entering Venezuela through Cucuta and San Antonio and enjoy what Venezuela has to offer. Or not. No matter what, we will await the next installment
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #1645
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Superb update señor Juan.

The Sherpa is looking good and if you have to do the mocha mud mix mad dash then you were on a good bike. Light, not bloated with gear and ridden with the right attitude. Thanks for the excellent commentary, pics, that pizza looks incredible, and minimalist wisdom you share.

Jay
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:35 PM   #1646
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Awesome ride through the road less traveled. Since you skipped Carnaval (Joselito gets buried tomorrow), I'd consider entering Venezuela through Cucuta and San Antonio and enjoy what Venezuela has to offer. Or not. No matter what, we will await the next installment
Hi Ricardo,

Not a bad idea. I was watching Carnivale coverage on TV yesterday up in the mountains on the Colombian news channel and it looks like spring break in Cancun times ten. I just thought it would be interesting to see once. But if Joselito is getting buried tomorrow then Juanelito might give it a pass. Sometimes the Sherpa takes me places I wouldn't expect, so we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Muchas gracias amigo,
Juanelito
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:39 PM   #1647
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Superb update señor Juan.

The Sherpa is looking good and if you have to do the mocha mud mix mad dash then you were on a good bike. Light, not bloated with gear and ridden with the right attitude. Thanks for the excellent commentary, pics, that pizza looks incredible, and minimalist wisdom you share.

Jay
Hi Jay,

Coming from you that is high praise. Glad you are following along. I have enjoyed reading your excellent ride reports in the past and am dedicated to keeping you entertained this winter amigo.

Saludos,
Juan Sherpa
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:17 PM   #1648
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We haven't seen you buying fuel Juanito. Are those day rides just one tank full? Are you finding fuel easily enough on the back roads? Do you plan ahead to see if there is gas where you are going? Like measure the miles to the next Peublo on a paper map? How many smiles per tankful does Sherpa get? Really earned the Sherpa name taking you over 13,000 feet. I always remember Sherpa Tensing with Sir Edmund Hillary scaling Mount Everest, Hillary said he couldn't possibly have done it without Sherpa.

My name is Diego now
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:31 PM   #1649
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We haven't seen you buying fuel Juanito. Are those day rides just one tank full? Are you finding fuel easily enough on the back roads? Do you plan ahead to see if there is gas where you are going? Like measure the miles to the next Peublo on a paper map? How many smiles per tankful does Sherpa get? Really earned the Sherpa name taking you over 13,000 feet. I always remember Sherpa Tensing with Sir Edmund Hillary scaling Mount Everest, Hillary said he couldn't possibly have done it without Sherpa.

My name is Diego now
Hi Tuckers,

You might go 100 kilometers or so without seeing a gas station around here on the back gravel roads, but there is gas around once you get back to a paved road in the small towns. I don't have an odometer so I just unscrew the gas cap and take a look. and if it's down a gallon I'll fill up just because. I haven't had a problem in Colombia. Rural Mexico is actually the only place I ended up buying gas out of jugs so far when there wasn't a gas station on the back roads for 200 miles or so out in the boonies.

The Sherpa got mid 60's mpg usually, sometimes over 70 back when I had an odometer and could measure such things. With a 4 gallon XR650 tank bolted on I haven't hit reserve in the last 14,000 miles or so that I've traveled on this trip.

Saludos,
Juan Tenzing Norgay
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:58 PM   #1650
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You could zero your GPS when you fill your tank and eyeball that once in a while.
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