Lobsters to Llamas, Maritimes to Argentina

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Kedgi, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. DrydenRider

    DrydenRider Sun Seeker

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    Just saw this on Face book about your friend Stephanie

    Sooo only 20 miles from her final destination Steph has been hit by a car. I just talked to her and she does not remember a thing. She is in a small hospital but they are transferring her to a bigger one to get a scan because she has a large swelling on the side of her head, cuts and road rash. She has no idea where her bike and equipment are. Typical of Steph she insists she is just fine and wants to find her bike so she can finish the journey..She has always been a tuff nut.. will keep you updated...
  2. newhoco

    newhoco stromnambulator

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    Hey , Kedgi ,
    Am following along with great interest .
    My 650 Vstrom is hibernating in the basement , stripped of her fairings , to facilitate new brake lines , etc .It's now about
    -5c here , freezing rain , and I'm waiting up till my daughter gets home from the Taylor Swift concert .
    Have you re-instated your paypal ? I'd love to buy you a beer or six ....:freaky
    Alex
  3. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Thanks for asking about my PayPal

    I posted a while ago that rather than post it again I had decided to try and help my friend Stephanie raise money for a Learning Center in her small community of Little Corn Island Nicaragua.

    Steph cycled, and I mean bicycled from Calgary Alberta, Canada to Nicaragua, over 10,000 k solo for her cause. She is driven to help others.

    Sadly, I learned this morning, that 20 miles from her final destination she was struck by a car. Rather than send a donation to me I would love to see my readers donate to Steph's cause. There is no doubt in my mind this young lady will do far more good with the money than I ever could.

    From what I've been told Steph is alright but has been sent to hospital for a scan on a large lump on her head and she has some road rash. She cannot find her bike and equipment because she can't remember what happened.

    Please help Steph if you can

    here is a link to her blog

    http://stephgoescyclingforacause.blogspot.ca/

    Thanks to all in advance

    Kedgi
  4. QCRider

    QCRider Adventurer

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    Hi Kedgi,

    I just sent a donation to Steph (meant to do that for a while now). Hope she'll be all right with a quick recovery. Thanks for posting her link here. I might even go up to Little Corn Island to say hello at some point, and and check out the diving. Now that I have my paypal account set up, I'm hoping to find your own link to send some beer/gas $$$ your way to keep you on the road, while I'm enjoying your RR! :clap

    I've been following a few RRs (yours, Ulyses, JDowns, etc) with great interest, and was kindda looking forward to meet you guys while passing thru Costa Rica whenever possible, however there seems to be a common pattern among riders heading South: get a good head start in the States, spend some time exploring/relaxing in Mexico & Guatemala, and then rush thru Nicaragua/Costa Rica to get to Panama for a boat/flight bookings. A little unfortunate, but I do get the deadline thing. Too bad that the Panama/Colombia ferry never came alive as promised last year! Perhaps I'll have a better luck with JDowns based on his pace so far! :lol3

    My buddy who did Toronto to SA last year spent almost 1 month in Medellin, and loved Colombia in general. I'm hoping to get down there in the next year. Enjoy South America and keep posting whenever possible pls! :clap:clap
  5. QCRider

    QCRider Adventurer

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    Meant to ask you.. which way did you take to go across Costa Rica?

    I think I recall you mentioned something about San Jose traffic being bad. Did you follow Hwy 1 and 2 (ie. PanAm), which would have taken you thru San Jose? Or did you follow the coast line via Hwy 1 / 34 / 2 ? Hope you did the latter as it's much faster than the PanAm way to cross CR border to border.
  6. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Thanks for your donation to Stephanie. That's all you need to do. I would like to send any donations people might have given to me, her way. My intention was to help someone. Steph will certainly do that with any money she receives. She really cares about her community. If you do go to Little Corn be sure to say hi to Steph from me.

    Anyone who wants to make a donation to Stephanie's cause can rest assured the money will go to good use for less fortunate children. Steph is all about making life better for others.

    I intend to do a post with pictures tonight if I can. I'm downloading maps at the moment. I'm in Chia, Colombia

    Thanks again for your donation to Steph's cause. I know she will appreciate it and I certainly do too.

    Kedgi
  7. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    For those of you that missed it my friend Stephanie that I met in El Salvador, was bicycling solo, Calgary Alberta to Little Corn Island Nicaragua to raise money for a learning center there. 20 miles short of her final destination she was struck by a car, hospitalized and lost her gear and her bike.

    Here is a link where you can donate to her cause and really help a girl who cares about others do something good.

    http://stephgoescyclingforacause.blogspot.ca/
  8. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Just got this in

    Thanks to an alert reader in Dryden ON, dryden_rider_54, who saw it on face book

    Steph is ok , no apparent brain injury just a huge squishy lump and road rash on her face and 5% of her body...they want to keep her in for 5 days for observation but some how I cant see her letting that happen....she is eager to get to the Island.
    Amazing, as seems to be the pattern of her journey, her bike has been returned to her with all her belongings, computer, solar pack, Ipod and passport included.



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    Thank God!

    Kedgi
  9. pboulianne09

    pboulianne09 Adventurer

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    Our thoughts go out to Steph. We've donated to her cause and thanks for introducing us to this special girl. I'm sure that she'll get all the support she needs from the community.
  10. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Yesterday we finally made it to South America. Boris and I had some time to kill before our flight so we went to see the Panama Canal.

    Really cool. I was surprised by how fast the locks work. It takes about 8 minutes to fill or drain one so you can watch a ship pass. An interesting comment I heard from the announcer was that the Government of Panama accepts no checks, cheques, IOU's, bank drafts etc. CASH only to pass through the Canal!


    Welcome to the Panama Canal

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    Miraflores Locks

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    Ship coming through

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    These little locomotives tug the ship through and keep it from hitting the sides

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    The Canal has a very good museum that explains how it works how it was constructed etc, with lots of photos, exhibits and even a 3-D movie. We both thought it was well worth going to see.

    After the Canal we caught a cab back to the fish market so Boris could try the $2 Cervice (Seafood Chowder) everyone at our hostel was talking about.

    The Fish Market

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    Not being a fish lover I walked back to Old Town and shot this snap along the way. This is a picture of a man excited about going to South America

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    I had my lunch, pasta and chicken, at this nice little restaurant

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    Old Town is decorated for Christmas, in 35 degree heat

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    After lunch we killed a little more time just walking around

    They are going to great expense to restore the old town

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    I liked the Panama hats. Never bought one, no place to put it on the bike.

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    This is where we had the great pizza the first night in Panama City

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    One last shot of the City and it was time to go to the airport.


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    Boris at The Tocumen Panama City Airport


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    It's a nice airport, even has one of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville's


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    I had to have a beer there just so I can say I did.

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    And before long we were off to Bogata, Colombia, SA

    Avianca was using a brand new A320, really nice!

    Even had remote control for your TV


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    And they brought you lunch and a beer for free on an hour and ten minute flight. First time I had a South American beer


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    The view over the Darien Gap

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    Before we knew it we were in Bogata, Colombia

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    We took a cab to a hostel in the Candalaria Distric of Centro after we got checked in we went out for a couple beers at a pub that was charging 70 cents for a great beer, POKER

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    We went for a walk and came upon a major street that had lots of Christmas lights. It is shut to vehicular traffic and was filled with food vendors serving thousands of people who come to see the lights


    Sorry it's a little shaky but I don't carry a tripod

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    We walked and walked and people watched and tried street foods for supper. I loved this BBQ'd corn

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    Boris tried some Dulce (Not the dulce that comes from the Bay of Fundy) It is Spanish for sweets


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    I took this picture of our hostel this morning as we left to get our bikes at the airport

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    At the airport, it was a long process at Aduana, the guy across from Boris had a great attitude, and we waited in chairs, first time at any border

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    It was a long process at Girag


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    Finally we got our bikes

    [​IMG]:clap

    I looked mine over it was all good except I noticed I had a broken subframe bolt. Not Girhags fault I'm sure, most likely broke it on the road to San Juan del Sur or riding through Honduras. ****Note to KLR riders**** Bring spares. I forgot to, but I'm lucky I have a center stand installed and the bolts for the handle you grab for the centersatnd fit perfectly, well almost. They thred through and tighten in the nut welded to the frame.:D But they are slightly too long.

    When I left Girhag I could here a whining or buzzing sound and realized the bolt I had substituted was rubbing against my chain. Boris and i looked for a garage, or anyone with a hacksaw. At a Texaco we were told just around the next roundabout there was a motorcycle mechanic. In fact there were dozens of bike shops. I don't know how my bike knows to have issues as it's passing a bike shop but I like that about it.

    My Colombian mechanics had me on the road in about 20 minutes:clap

    [​IMG]

    Boris was headed south and I'm headed north to Cartagena so we parted ways.

    We traveled well together, but we are both solo travellers at heart. We do however hope to meet againg further south and will keep in touch. I am very appreciative of Boris' help organizing a flight etc and wish I could speak Spanish as well as he can. Things would be a lot easier for me down here.

    I had a terrible time finding the Northbound Highway out of Bogata and saw a lot of the seedier side of the city but I finally found the "autopista" and I am in a nice hostel tonight run by a mother and daughter who are very nice. They both smile and talk away to me, too bad I don't get much of what they are saying. I am in Chia, just north of Bogata but near the autopista.

    The ladies insisted I bring the bike into their house and thought it was funny when I wanted to take a picture of the Moto in the Casa. In fact the daughter wanted to knwo if I wanted her in the picture too, how could I refuse. So here is trusty and my wonderful hosts in the lobby, or more accurately entranceway to the house. I only found this place cause I asked for a hostal at a nearby gas station, there is no sign, I was told to come down this little street and knock at the Porto Blanco (White Door) So I did and I'm here

    Trusty with my hosts


    [​IMG]

    Headed towards Cartagena tomorrow. I hope I'll see the guys that actually made the Steel Rat
  11. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I feel lucky to have met her. She sure made me think.

    Thanks

    Dwight
  12. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Chia is decorated for Christmas too


    This huge tree is the first thing you see as you ride into town.


    [​IMG]
  13. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I followed the Pan Am and made a gross navigational error looking for 34, realized my mistake when I came to a dead end and had to back track 70k. I have to stop asking for directions. It never fails to screw me up.

    I realize now I had not correctly installed my Central America GPs maps and only had partial functionality all the way through Central America. I could only see the main roads on the maps and could notask for directions to an address etc. It's why I had such a hard time getting out of Bogata today. I fixed the download for SA tonight and now my GPS works again.:clap

    My problems were further complicated by the wonderful set of maps I bought that have everything but route numbers on them WTF?

    Note to potnetial travelers, buy the full sized map for each country from ITMB Publishing of Richmond BC, It's expensive but worth it

    Kedgi
  14. pboulianne09

    pboulianne09 Adventurer

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    Hey Dwight,

    Glad to hear that Steph got all of her suff back. Love the postings. Cross Canada is the first on the bucket list and we'll make sure to look you up when we're out East.

    Take good care,
    Pierre

    In my next life I'm coming back as Jimmy Buffet....
  15. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    17 Southbound Motos at the hostel in Cartegena tonight. Crazy! More llater

    Kedgi
  16. pboulianne09

    pboulianne09 Adventurer

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  17. riverman

    riverman Life is great !

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    Hi Dwight,

    We are practically neighbours as I am in Moncton. I just found this thread last week and have been catching up on it ever since. Epic trip and thanks for the posting and pictures. Nice to recognize the names of some of the other inmates who are following your trip and posting as well. I really like your travel philosophy and honesty in sharing your emotions during the trip.

    I am curious about your GPS and downloading of maps. Do you have them on your computer and are just talking about downloading them to your GPS or are you talking about going to some site, like Garmin, and purchasing/downloading from there?

    Will continue to follow your trip. Next time I am at Duguays in Amherst I will tell Kevin you made him famous by mentioning him when you started the trip. [​IMG]
  18. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Hi Readers

    I have been trying to update my ride report for a while now. I had internet in Cartagena but only sort of....Ther was some sort of limit on how many could get on the internet at once in that hostel. We had a lot of fun there. 17 bikes! I met all the people I had originally planned to sail on the Stahlratte with. ^ of us decided to ride East and go to Venezuela together. We rode to Riohacha last night and got going at 8am to the border, only to find out it is shut for election day, so we rode back. At least Mike, a Scottish rider and I rode back to here. We have decided to go south through Columbia and skip Venezuela. The other four stayed at a hotel nearer the border and will try again tomorrow. Our plan is to ride through the cool (it's actually very hot) little town of Honda Columbia on our way to Cali.


    You will have to excuse me if I'm brief and telling things slightly out of order . Ther is always something to do when you are on the road, even on days off. I have to put my bike in the secure parking down the street and get some lunch and I've already made arrangements to get laundry done. Then a hotel guest from London England has asked us to join him for beers.:1drink

    On the two and a half day ride up from Bogata to Cartagena I never had internet so I wrote some notes about those days and I'm just going to copy and paste them here with picture to follow as soon as I have a chance. ( So here are the note from three of four days ago on the ride to Cartagena

    Bogata to Medellin

    I started out fairly early for Cartagena from my hotel in Chia. Now that I had GPS mapping for Columbia I followed it. The Gps decided I needed to back track 15 kms toward Bogata. Not really what I wanted to hear because I worked so hard to get out of there the day before. I dutifully followed and it turns out the GPS was routing me toward Medellin. Great mountain riding, but there were lots of big trucks. I squeezed myself between two opposite direction ones at one point. Really close. You tend to pass in places you would never think of passing in Canada. No cop cares. You can blow by the cops at three times the speed limit passing on a yellow line around a blind curve and they won’t blink an eye.

    I stooped to buy SOAT the mandatory insurance in the morning. It took about two hours and was expensive $180.00US. Expensive until you think of the possibility of going to a Colombian jail if you have an accident without it.
    I tried to get money from a BancoColombia machine, the only one in the small town where I was, to pay for the policy and no way. BancoColombia wouldn’t change my US money for me even at a cashier. Never saw a bank before that refuses US dollars .

    In the end I convinced the insurers to accept US Dollars because that was all I had. They tried to get a pretty steep exchange rate but I bargained them down. They may have made a few extra dollars but now that I’m able to show the cops an obligatory insurance policy, it’s all good.

    After I paid my Soat fee I rode to Honda, Colombia and found another bank machine and was relieved to get some cash. The insurance charges left me near broke. Cajero at Banco Populaire work with my Scotiabank card. I asked at another bank for a Cjero other than BancoColombia and drew blank stares. A customer understood me and directed me to the Banco Populaire machine. Thank goodness! My Spanish is limited to a few words but I’m learning something everyday and I can usually make myself understood.

    I rode until dark which brought me just south of Medellin. I stopped at a nice hotel and was I glad to see it. First one I had seen in over an hour. I passed several small towns that had nothing in the way iof hotels stores or anything else. This hotel, Hotel Cacique is about an hour south of Medellin and has a restaurant. Yay! I hadn’t eaten all day. I thought the guy said 55,000 or about 27 bucks when I asked the rate, couldn’t hear well thanks to trucks going by. Turns out the rate was only 25000 or about 12 bucks. Awesome deal for a private room in a nice hotel.
    After I checked in and got cleaned up, I went to the Restaurant asked for a menu, they don’t have one. This caused a lot of confusion for me and the waiter. I ran over and got my Spanish English book off the bike. I tried ordering a few things like Friojle and Pollo. Beans and chicken, from what I could figure. He asked me something about “mortay” which I think means dead? I hope the chicken’s dead! I had no clue what he was asking. Finally a customer sat next to me and was served a supper that looked good. I pointed at it and that’s what I got. It was good
    When supper was over I saw a grasshopper like bug at least 6” long climbing the wall. When I took his picture he hopped around the restaurant, which was open air, and caused quite a stir. Even the locals took picture of him, he was huge!

    Anyway I had a good supper, and a couple Pilsner Beer and it’s all good. I continue toward Cartagena tomorrow. I gave the waiter a good tip for his trouble with me and he shook my hand when I left.

    I had spoken with the nearby customer whose dish I ordered, about my bike, and trip and when I got up to go he wished me good luck. I find the Colombian people to be among the most kind yet. They are amazing. When I looked for a Cajero (bank machine)to get money to pay my Soat A young man there offered to lead the way on his bike, he waited for me to make sure I found my way back.

    When I stopped to find a Cajero in Honda my bike drew a crowd. Amazing, questions about the Go-Pro about the bike about the trip, about heated hand grips, about GPS, all of which I’m getting better at answering. One guy even asked if he could sit on the bike to have his buddy take his picture. Sure! Man, he enjoyed that. He was on the vertically challenged and pulled something in his leg, getting on and his buddy cracked right up, but he still got the photo he wanted! Before long there were 5 or 6 guys looking the bike all over. Really nice people!!!

    The bike is working fine except for an annoying squeak that I can fix when I get time. The rubber pucks that the fuel tank slides onto the frame with get dry and squeak. I’ve gotta take the tank off and grease them but I can wait until I stop in Cartagena



    Medellin to Cartagena

    I started out today Wednesday Dec 12 about 120kms south of Medellin, Columbia. The road to Medellin is very slow, twisty, high in the mountains and cold. Had to put my winter liner in and turn the heated grips on.
    I finally came to the descent into Medellin. Wow, what a ride. A spectacular road down the side of a huge valley. With the city of red tile roofs looks like it is trying to climb the valley walls. I was nervous about heavy traffic but it wasn’t that bad except for a few miles down a main street on the valley floor. The GPS wanted me to take an exit that was closed. While it was recalculating a way to Cartagena I was wheeling through traffic waiting for a suggestion as to where we were going, from the GPS.

    It finally picked a route out of town, the exits came so fast and furious the GPS was a step behind the plan and I missed a turn, that through it for a loop and I waited in a Esso Station \|Parking lot while it made up its mind.

    Finally we were out of town, and I rode several miles to a mountain apss which I missed at a rotary and that caused the GPS to send me on about a 20 mile loop of the valley floor. I though things looked strangely familiar.

    Finally I was on the mountain pass> I’m not saying it was high, it was more than that. You could sell safety harnesses to mountain goats! What a road. At the very top there was a hang gliding school. That’s a different king of Loco.

    I rode and road and watched the GPS re-estimate my arrival in Cartagena from 3PM to after 7PM. The road is fantastic but plugged with trucks and busses. The scenery is absolutely awesome. I took a few pictures but you work hard to get by a group of trucks and I hated to stop and take pictures only to have to pass the same trucks again. There are no passing lanes, you just find your own way past. Not always easy. The first part of the pass is very smooth but after several miles gets really rough, or at least huge bumps and holes in several places.

    I rode until dark and was still 175 kms short of Cartagena. I stopped at a roadside restaurant and ordered fish. Those that know me know I don’t eat fish. I thought I ordered chicken. Guess the fish part was one of the dozen or so questions I was asked after I said Pollo (chicken) Oh well. I ate my rice and beans, and I think the waitress was insulted when I didn’t touch the fish. Sorry but I can’t eat a fish with his head on and eyes in OMG.

    On the way here I was delayed by a horrible accident. I had just stopped for a break and drew an amazing crowd of onlookers, like 20 or so, one wanted to know arranger? I hadn’t heard that one before so I looked it up. Rent? I laughed, the onlookers laughed and it was a great encounter.

    Minutes later the traffic stopped. I was going to be pressed to make Cartagena by dark, so I wormed my way up to the front of the line. There were about 100 people in the road I thought it was a protest. (if you’re squeamish don’t read this next bit) Then I saw the body, right in the middle of the road. I think the kid had been riding a small moto but I’m not sure. His head was smashed like a pumpkin and he was ground to hamburger laying there for all to see, including what appeared to be his devastated Dad. Holy fuck. What a shock. I feel so sorry for that poor Dad. I can only imagine how he is tonight. Terrible. No helmet, no gear and they drive those little bikes like crazy men on under engineered roads in heavy truck traffic. God bless that boy.

    I am stopped short of Cartagena, haven’t seen internet for days, so I’m typing this into word. Angele must be getting pretty worried about me by now. Priority one tomorrow when I get to Cartagena is to call home on Skype.
  19. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Thanks for sharing that. She does look a bit banged up but she is unstoppable. She emailed me to say she intends to go back to the scene of the accident and complete the last 20 miles of the ride!
  20. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I purchased Garmin maps, downloaded them to the computer then to the GPS. I think I srewed up the transfer from the computer to the GPS when I did the Central American Maps. I realized my mistake later and it doesn't matter now that I'm in South America. The SA maps work fine.

    I told the Guys at Duguays about my ride report and I think they are following along.

    It is nice to have people from home follow along.

    Angele had a few calls over the last couple days from readers wondering where I was.

    It is much harder down here than it was in Central America to find a place with internet, so I will post when I can but it won't be as frequent as before.

    It's all good. I'm going for lunch and beers and I'll try and post the pictures I have later

    Kedgi