going south, see you in five months

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by johnsonal, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Day forty six: 3-1-13
    Woke up and headed to a waterfall that we heard you could swim into a cave system behind.
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    The waterfall was awesome but right when we got there it started raining. So we hiked around a bit and headed back to D&D. Now this was the first rain I have seen in 46 days and the oil-covered roads became an ice skating rink. I didn’t wear any of my gear so I had to take it really slow on the ride home. Then we decided rather than wait it out we would try to ride ahead of it so we hit the road. Only rained for ½ hour or so then it got really hot toward the pacific side of Honduras. We pulled into the border town of Cholutecca and found a hotel.

    Day forty seven: 3-2-13
    This is the traffic you run into in Honduras. I couldn't pull my clutch while holding my camera and ended up killing the bike.
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    The crossing into Nicaragua was shit! The road was 50 miles of potholes eight inches deep. And not the fun potholes you can dodge around and make a game of, shithole potholes that are unavoidable. Then the kids at the border just wont leave you the fuck alone, and not in a sad way, in a get the fuck out of here way.
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    We finally got to Leon and found a pretty awesome hostel and partied with a guy, Barry, who we met from New York. The beer, hostel, smokes, everything is CHEAP in Nicaragua. I like it here. Their motto should be “Nicaragua, better than it looks”.

    Day forty eight: 3-3-13
    Woke up hung over in Leon and hit the road. Staying another day here would have been nice but we wanted to get to San Juan del Sur and relax for a few days before heading to the awesome volcano island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The ride was shit. A bunch of potholes combined with the road suddenly turning back and fourth to dirt. Then when we finally hit good pavement, about 70 miles later, the wind picked up heavily and started blowing us all over the damn road!
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    But we made it, found a hostel and grabbed some seafood happy to be back on the beach after being inland for some time now. Andy didn’t feel to well but I celebrated with some rum and cokes. The wind continued to howl throughout the night as I laid in bed hoping the hotel wouldn’t blow over.
    #41
  2. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    375
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    Agree :deal, awesome.
    #42
  3. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    thanks man. see you in a few days!
    #43
  4. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Day forty nine: 3-4-13
    Got a lot of shit done today. Caught up pretty much on my rr, did a lot of internet research, fixed some little things that needed some attention, sent out some emails. All while relaxing in the sun drinking rum and cokes. Went down to the beach and walked around the town a bit. Got some good food. Nothing to exciting and no riding but overall a productive day.
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    Here is a photo of the sunset over the beach with the fishing boats in the harbor and some ominous clouds rolling over from behind
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    Day fifty: 3-5-13
    Woke up and went to the hardware store to try and find a bolt to replace the one that fell out of my helmet. Of course they didn’t have anything so I just borrowed one from the visor and took the visor off. Ran into Bob who is somehow related to Andrew and the one who told us to visit this place. We are going to meet him down at the beach later for diner and drinks. Was planning on going fishing today but this guy Jim, who is getting a motorcycle adventure touring company going down here, told me the fishing was shit right now. Damnit. Oh well I guess I have to just relax all day in paradise. Later we went down to a bar on the beach to meet up with Bob. He seems to have a pretty awesome deal here. He has a house here and goes back to Oregon in the summer to fish and golf. Awesome. After a few beers we ran into barry, who we met and partied with in Leon a few days ago. He was back down to meet a friend from New York. We didn’t hang out much but I’m sure this wont be the last time we see Barry.
    Barry:
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    Day fifty one: 3-6-13
    Set out early for Ometepe, an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The ferry was a huge pain in the ass. You have to stop and pay people like three times but it only ends up being about seven bucks total. Some guy in an official looking shirt figured he could try and make us pay 10 bucks for some bogus shit but we weren’t having it. People all throughout central America have been trying to screw us out of money and we both don’t put up with it. Im not afraid to make a fucking scene. After unsuccessfully bothering us for 15 minutes he went and apperantly told the lady at the cafeteria we would buy him a beer grabbed one and walked off. I told the lady there was no fucking way was paying for a beer for some fucking asshole trying to swindle me out of money. The security guard that wasn’t doing shit when the guy wouldn’t leave me alone then chased the guy down and made him pay for the beer.We pulled our bikes right into the cafeteria.
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    Anyways, arrived at the island and drove around the top of the island, a dirt road mostly, to the other side where we found a nice place to stay pretty cheap. Along the way Andy picked up a nail and we had our first flat of the trip.
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    No problem a quick repair and we were back on the road.
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    Then went down to this natural spring that wasn’t awesome, but it is a river flowing down between two volcanos that make an island in the middle of a lake, so I guess that’s kinda cool.
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    Lots of fucking bugs here. But I did see a couple monkeys! no pics though they were to quick.
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    #44
  5. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,302
    Location:
    SW Florida
    I climbed Ometempe to basically the top, that was scary & I was suprized at how hot the rock was when you basically climbing almost straight up and down, it was more scary climbing down.

    nice ride report.
    #45
  6. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Thanks man. I couldn't imagine standing at the top of that volcano with how windy it is there. Seems like you'd blow right off.
    #46
  7. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    bad internet but we have made it to costa rica and I'll have an update as soon as I can upload some photos. having a blast see you all soon
    #47
  8. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Day fifty two: 3-7-13
    Took a ride the rest of the way around the island before heading back to pack our things and catch a ferry back to the mainland. The road around the smaller volcano was all rock and dirt and actually a little sketchy in places.
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    When we got to the ferry they informed us that they didn&#8217;t know where the ferry was and that it either ran aground or it was too windy. People here know nothing. So we went to the other ferry about ten miles down the road. It was in port but no one was on it and another English speaking guy informed us it had been there all day and he wasn&#8217;t sure if it was leaving today.
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    So we waited and waited and had a few beers with a cop who told us he was there on the island investigating a shark attack. There are bull sharks in lake Nicaragua and they killed three fisherman yesterday. Glad I didn&#8217;t go swimming. Andy was starting to get a massive case of food poisoning from the hamburger he had for lunch. Around 4 we finally were able to load up. By the time we arrived back in san juan del sur Andrew was fully sick. So I got him some water and went out front to sit around and drink rum. Outside I met the neighbors, a bunch of Nicaraguans who also liked rum. One of them spoke English as he used to live in DC and we hit the town REALLY hard. Tons of fun.
    Day fifty three: 3-8-13
    Didn&#8217;t really leave the hostel today except to get Gatorade and pizza. Andy is still sick so being the good friend I am I decided to make it so Id be hanging out with him all day. That is the only reason I went out so hard last night. For andy.
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    Day fifty four: 3-9-13
    I slept most of the day today. And watched internet movies in between the power going out about 20 times. The power to the entire city is out right now and only a few places with generators are open. I haven&#8217;t had a super lazy day in a while and caught up on some sleep. Maybe I&#8217;ll go see what the Nicaraguans are up to tonight, but we are waking up really early tomorrow to deal with what has been described to us as the worst border crossing in Central America. This should be fun.
    Day fifty five: 3-10-13
    The border crossing wasn&#8217;t as bad as I thought it would be but it was still shit. You have to go back and forth between three or four places getting things stamped and showing it to someone else. Andy still wasn&#8217;t feeling great and neither was I due to meeting back up with Barry and having a few drinks last night.
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    The ride was hot and I was thirsty. Then when we got close to Lake Arenal we dipped off the main road for a few miles of decent off road.
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    Got to the lake and it was beautiful.
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    The greens here are more vibrant and different flowers are blooming everywhere. Stopped at a few places that were way out of our budget. Costa Rica is going to be an expensive country. Finally found a place called the toad hall that was also way out of our budget but the guy was a fellow motorcycle enthusiast and gave us our own three bedroom house for 30 bucks. Awesome.
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    The place is really nice and there is tons of nature here, and also giant bugs that look like they are from Jurassic Park. Oh well there are screens on the windows in the bedroom at least.
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    Day fifty six: 3-11-13
    Hit the road along Lake Arenal toward Alajuela where Greg, GRinCR was nice enough to offer to put us up for the night. The ride round the lake and after through the jungle was amazing.
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    We saw some weird animals, and lots of green jungle.
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    Andy dropped his camera trying to get it out of his pocket at 60 to take a photo of the volcano.
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    About half way there we turned off for some pretty good sketchy muddy rocky off road for about 40 miles.
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    The roads were once again beautiful, winding through the clouds before dropping below them to reveal a panoramic view of Alajuela tucked in the valley between the mountians. Greg was awesome. I hopped on a bus with him, his wife, and his 2 year old son into downtown Alejuela to do some shopping. Got some great steaks, and his wife made us some surf and turf with rice and broccli. It was a delicious meal! Then we sat around drinking rum and trading stories for the rest of the evening.
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    #48
  9. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Day fifty seven: 3-12-13
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    Said goodbye to Greg and his family and headed toward the Caribbean to meet back up with Marnix and Lisan at some place they found. The ride was amazing.
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    Winding through the jungle for 100 miles before getting to Limon, which was rather shitty, and then following the coastline for 30 more miles to our destination, Cahuita. Along the way we stopped at a sloth sanctuary, for injured sloths or something I guess, and although they were closed the woman let me go up and take some pictures.
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    We arrived at the hostel and went out for some lunch. Later the dutch duo arrived and we went out for pizza and saw this little guy
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    They use the power lines as their own little highway and they really are quite quick. Had some drinks, exchanged stories with Marnix and Lison, chased some sloths, went to bed.
    Day fifty eight: 3-13-13
    Today was a day for the books. Highs and lows and everything in between. We started the day going on a little nature hike with Marnix and Lisan.
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    then spent a little time trying to help Marnix fix his motorcycle. Andy had the wiring diagram (foreign language to me) out and narrowed it down to the starter relay.
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    I suggested a hotwire switch involving a doorbell, something that I have done regularly to my friends shitty cars, and before long Andy had it wired in.
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    I left my lights on all night so Marnix quickly returned the favor with a push start. 30 miles later we were at the border in Sixola.
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    The border was shit. The lady selling insurance was off to lunch and we had to wait an hour for her. Only then could we go get our passports stamped and our motorcycles imported. We waited another two hours for this process then snuck around the police officer that was trying to check our shit, at an additional charge to us of course. I am very adgitated at this point. Into panama! We got pulled over twice in the first 20 minutes, both times for going 90 in a 40 (KPH) they let us go both times&#8230;. Things are looking better. We hit the highway, not sure if it would be dark by the time we arrived in Boquete. The weather when we left the Caribbean was unbearably hot and humid. At the border it started pouring rain and as we continued it got much worse. We would go through five minutes of heavy downpour followed by five of sun.
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    Then as we reached the summit it got rainy, windy, and so foggy you couldn&#8217;t see fifteen feet in front of you. All this rain made the many waterfalls that we passed flow in full force. It was a great experience. After we crested the mountians and began decending the pacific side the rain let up and the fog cleared into what I could best describe as a tropical eastern Oregon.
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    The last hour of our ride was through a warm, but not hot, high desert dotted with tropical flowers.
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    When we finally arrived at 6pm it was getting dark. We had no idea of where to stay so we started making rounds at different hostels. After leaving one we pulled out, me right behind Andrew on to the main road and BOOM, Andy got hit by a truck. The truck swerved into our lane for some reason unknown and andy caught the side of it, luckily not the front, and I slammed on my brakes and dumped the bike into the ditch. This truck sideswiped andy hard enough to brake his handlebar stop, bend his wheel, and smash everything in his saddle bag but andy was fine besides a sprained wrist thank god!
    (andy with his smashed REI pot)
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    Knowing the local court system usually doesn&#8217;t take the gringo side we told the guy, who stopped and was concerned, no worries, everyone is fine, and left. We went straight back to the closest hostel and had a nerve settling beer. a coors light even!
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    Way too close! What a day!
    #49
  10. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    375
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    :yikesYikes!

    Very happy to hear the damage was minimal and you will be able to continue on.

    Thank you for stoppin' by. Not much better than contributing to an epic ADV. Hope you enjoyed my "eco" workshop. Nothing like the great outdoors.

    Carry on.:clap

    To the reader: These guys are awesome!
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    #50
  11. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Had a great time with you. Cant thank you enough for your hospitality and local CR wisdom. keep in touch
    #51
  12. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Made it to Panama City. Update to come.
    #52
  13. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Days fifty nine through sixty four, 3-14- 3-19-13

    We woke up and moved to a different hostel. One that was much nicer and much cheaper.
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    Then we went for a little ride around Boquete. The town itself is quite beautiful. Very upper class and nice. It was really a nice change from the third world that we had been in for so long. The next day we went for a ride to some waterfalls.
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    One you could ride right up to but the others you had to hike straight up a muddy path for a few miles. On the way back we stopped at a botanical garden.
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    Then we cooked diner to celebrate Marnix and Lisons one year on the road anniversary.
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    After diner we all drank a lot. I don’t remember some of the little details but I remember having fun! We went to a pool hall that was strictly local and they were nice enough to let us stay. Then we proceded to get wasted and make asses of ourselves. Oh well we were celebrating. I felt so bad the next day I didn’t leave my bed. The day after we went to Coranado where Andy’s dads friends friends friend lived.
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    He was a very nice guy to just let two people he had never met stay at his home. Awesome. Didn’t get to play golf but his lady friend cooked us an amazing meal and we talked fishing and life all night.. Next stop was panama city.
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    There is a lot of construction in panama city. I guess they are trying to make nicer sidewalks for the crackheads to sleep on. The traffic is horrible and you get detoured every quarter mile for construction. This is a shitty shitty town. You have to be very aggressive driving here. We drove around for hours looking for a hostel. They were all booked up so we settled on a hotel in the ghetto. The next day we went shopping to get all the stuff for the boat; mostly beer and liquor. And we went to the panama canal.
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    The people here are literally fighting to get on busses. There are too many people and not enough busses so they scream and hit each other to secure their spot. We met back up with marnix and lison who informed us that they would be flying their bike to Columbia rather than joining us on the boat. We had some drinks and went to sleep.
    #53
  14. benwiggin2

    benwiggin2 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,268
    Location:
    Brea, CA
    Glad to hear from you Johnsonal. Keep us updated with the boat, canal, etc.....

    Don't forget female, nightlife, and liquor reviews are still required as well as the awesome pictures that you have us accustomed to! :deal
    #54
  15. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Day sixty five, 3-20-13

    After getting all our gear and all our groceries secured to the motorcycles we took off toward Carti. We had no idea where exactly we were going but just east down the Pan Am it was very well marked. The road is also very fun and only washed out in a couple very avoidable spots.
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    If you go fast enough there are a lot of roller coaster style stomach in throat moments. You have to pay the local Guni Indian tribe to go onto their land at a checkpoint and then right after a military checkpoint you turn right down the dirt road to get to the launcha.
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    The boat we had to load the bikes on wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected.
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    And neither was the loading onto the sailboat.
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    Very easy. After we tied down the bikes we were shuttled back on the boat to an island that was inhabited by the Guni indians, one of whom runs a homestay.
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    We are plus one now with another biker from LA named Micha.
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    Every square inch of the island had a house built on it. We were the only three white people here for sure. The waters surrounding this beautiful little overpopulated island were filled with garbage. You could see the bottom through the crystal clear water but no rocks, no coral, only garbage. It was very sad. But the homestay was sufficient and the people were nice so…..

    oh yeah and this was the bathroom. it drops straight into the ocean.
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    #55
  16. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    First off let me say that before taking this trip i had read alot of negative reviews. the food was bad, the captain was rude, everyone was sick, the loading of the bikes was sketchy, etc... This WAS NOT my experience. I had a great time. All the passengers were so much fun. the captain and crew were very friendly. The captian had some strange views about politics and the government conspiracies but I'd expect anyone that has been out to sea for 28 years to be a little off. In fact I trust crazy over saine in this situation. The food was great! Three hearty meals a day. And we may have lucked out but the seas were fairly calm and it was only the last day anyone even got a little woozy. No worries loading and unloading the bike either. I never once felt like my bike was going to fall in the ocean and the captain supplied tarps to help reduce ocean spray, which there was none of. From MY experience I recommend this trip to anyone.


    Day sixty six, 3-21-13

    The first leg of our sea journey had us moving only about ten miles down the coast. After shuttling back out to the boat we waited for the rest of the passengers, backpackers crossing the darien gap. I was a little nervous as to what kind of people I would be stuck with. But it was clear when they arrived that everyone was on the same page, and that page was party. We started early drinking as the captian sailed us to our first island.
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    We partied and swam around before having an amazing lobster diner and headed to the island for a bonfire.
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    Then back to the boat for a long night. We partied so loud a boat on the other side of the bay complained to our captain and forced us to shut off the music.
    Day sixty seven, 3-22-13
    I woke up on the deck of the boat to the sun beating down on me. No idea what time it is but a beer and some fishing sounds good. No fish, lots of beer. We somehow went through seven half gallons of rum last night between fifteen people. Good times I think. Everyone slowly started appearing from different parts of the boat and the party got started again as the captain motored us to our next stop. Here their was another island with a bar and a volleyball net, and some other people. After an epic volleyball battle we had another huge meal and drank the bar dry until returning to the boat for more late night partying.
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    Day sixty eight, 3-23-13
    The days of partying and sunshine are catching up to everyone. We are all sun burnt and hung over but a few more beers might help one or both of these complaints. We hung out around our island all day protected from the heavy seas by the coral reef. More swimming, fishing and partying. I decided to take it a little easy today knowing that tonight we would be entering the open sea on our 30 hour trek against the wind through rough ocean to Columbia. Not the ideal time for a hangover.


    Day sixty nine, 3-24-13
    Most everyone is in some form a little sea sick. A few of us are completely fine. I am surprisingly doing fine. I remember as a little kid my dad taking me deep sea fishing for my 14th birthday and puking for 5 of the 6 hour journey. This memory has haunted me since I signed up for this sailboat trip. But no puking or even much uneasiness. Everyone is just kind of scattered around the boat sleeping so not much going on today. I guess I’ll just sit in the sun and watch the dolphins swim next to our boat. Life is hard. Tonight is I guess when the seas get really rough near Cartagena so I will tell you about that in tomorrows posting. Oh and in case you have been wondering 9 girls 7 guys. All very beautiful.
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    Day seventy, 3-25-13
    The ride across the sea was smooth. A little bumpy but nothing outrageous. We pulled into Cartagena in the evening and spent one last night partying on the boat.
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    The columbians were so excited for our arrival that they shot off some fireworks right as we entered the harbor.
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    Today was a holiday so they informed us we would not be able to get our bikes from customs until tomorrow. So we left them on the boat and went into town in search of a hostel. Micha, Andrew and myself decided to go in together on a hotel room to save some money and have a nice hot shower. Everyone else went to a hostel about a block away. We walked around the city to take in the views. The old town section has a really nice market surrounded by historical buildings.
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    We eventually met up with the rest of the crew and had a few beers before bailing out early to get some rest. We had to be at the boat at 6:30 to unload the bikes and head to the customs building. It was a nice goodbye to everyone and hopefully not the last time I will see some of them. Being on a boat in the middle of nowhere with other people you make good friends quickly.
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    #56
  17. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Day seventy one, 3-26-13
    We got up and headed to the boat where the captain took us out to offload the motorcycles one by one. Very easy process. Crane them out onto a small boat, take them to land and manhandle them on to shore. It took only about an hour and a half before we had everything on land.
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    Huge milestone today as the bikes were (unofficially) in South America!
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    Now to customs. We were told to go to a building, that wasn’t that easy to find, and meet with a german guy named Manfred would be waiting to help us with the customs process. Well apparently the customs inspector just didn’t feel like coming into work today… so after two hours or waiting we got insurance taken care of, check. Then more waiting for the inspector… around noon Manfred suggested we go get lunch and come back at two as they take two hour lunch breaks here. Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to ride toward Medillan today as we had planned we went back to our hotel and booked another night. We arrived back at two where Manfred had some papers for us to sign. Progress…. We waited around for another two hours before a really pleasant looking girl, who was not supposed to and had never before, came out to inspect our bikes (read the vin) then headed back in to do paperwork, which she had never done and of course fucked up. It was about four when the Columbia vs. Venezuela soccer match started. No one was working now. Instead everyone was sitting in the lobby with us, who had been there since they opened, watching the game. I figured it was now hopeless. I got yelled at by a security guard for laying down and got fairly pissed. He didn’t like me much. After another hour and a half Manfred saved the day and came through with the last of the papers needed to be in Columbia! Only 8 ½ hours in customs! We headed to the hotel and went to bed early with the thought of 400 miles to Medallin lingering.
    #57
  18. benwiggin2

    benwiggin2 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,268
    Location:
    Brea, CA
    unfkngblvble. Keep it coming. Most incredible adventure.
    #58
  19. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Met the legendary JDowns the other night. More to come...
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    #59
  20. johnsonal

    johnsonal avenger of all evil

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    here today, gone tomorrow
    Day seventy two, 3-27-13

    We woke up early and set out toward Medellin the first half of the ride was fairly uneventful as far as scenery goes. After about 250 miles we started our ascent into the mountains. The roads turned shitty quickly. They got narrow, the middle lines disappeared, and the pavement became bumpy. Not that I am complaining I love this kind of road. It was also very twisty and was wet for a portion. My front tire is now showing its steel belts. It is BALD! I’ve been meaning to take care of it but I’m too busy having fun. Well now it is a problem. It slips out at the slightest hint of moisture. So I had to got (a little) slower. We arrived in Medellin just before dark. It was a full 10 hour ride today. We then paid a taxi to follow him to the waypoint hostel. We have five nights to kill before Robert gets here to visit us for a week.
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    #60