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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rtwpaul, Jul 18, 2012.
Thank you Paul. Sent you a PM with my mail.
i have sent you an email link, let me know if this worked or not, as i am heading to El Cocuy national park (columbia) here's a link to show you why there will be no wifi..in a few days and will be out of wifi range for at least a week or so, zoom the map out, a long way to see the nearest towns!!!
leaving Merida behind in the valley we head of into the Andes
great mountain roads with minimal traffic and amazing views, but it was strange to feel very cold for the first time in months
this was in avery small town in the middle of nowhere...
over time the road climbs and the sky cleared, the air got thinner, and the cold...well it got colder
most of the roads we were riding were like this heading up and down, we stuck to paved roads due to heavy rain over the last few days, and paved roads means about 80% paved in these areas
and in GPS world it looked like this...
finally reaching the summit at around 12,000 feet just as the sun was dropping below the peaks of the mountain behind us, i have kind of lost track how many times i have crossed the Andes over the last two years, i think its in double figures for sure and each crossing is different and an amazing sight
heading thru small rose farms that lined the hillsides and back down into the valley where political slogans lined walls
we ended up in a small town called la grita which on my map and GPS had two streets, a little bigger when we got there, four main squares running up a hill side, we ended up finding a secure hotel with parking for $6 a night
and then decided to stay a couple of days and relax and wander around and do some people watching
and of course there are dogs...
the town felt safe and secure with a large military presence who were very friendly and smiled and said hello on whole
if you have a sweet tooth do they have snacks for you for pennies
as always main squares here seem to have a church and palms trees
and now christmas was done they had it locked away, guess you will have to come here next year to find out who wears this as we missed it...
<iframe width="853" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/3dICJDXHcQE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Paul, I've been a lurker on advrider for years but your ride report is so damn good I had to use my first post to say thank you. Your pictures,comments and videos are awesome! Song choices in video were perfect. Makes me wanna buy a Tenere and ride
thanks man i appreciate that, glad i was the one that got you out into the open...
Great photos from amazing places through a extraordinary rides!
Respect! Very inspiring for me
Incredible !!!! That's absolutley top notch and you've got the magic eye for photography. Love the elusive Tenere just wish they would sell it here
leaving la grita Ryan got knocked off his bike in a gas station - no photos - he is sitting off to one side when a big ford truck with a fat guy driving and a fat women in the passenger seat are next inline for the pump after us, he has NO WHERE to go but starts his truck and drives about one foot forward for no reason, his bumper hits ryan panniers and knocks him over...he then says he didn't do it!!!
a guy comes out and screams a bunch of spanish at him and he drives off...i got the translation from the guy (gas station owner i think) i told to get the fuck out of here, he complained that he had been in line for over an hour,
the response "you are a fat fucking Chavez loving mother fucking bastard and you will never buy gas here again for the rest of your life!!!"
we got an apology from everyone in the gas station and got our gas all 18 cents of it to fill up both the bikes and rode off...not a good start to the day but it got better in minutes
the ride out to San Cristobel thru the mountains is spectacular
loads of little farms dotting the hillsides, mainly growing roses
the day ended in this biker owned hotel just a short distance for a run to the border in the morning
leaving the hotel in the morning there was a good selection of bikes, cruisers, tourers, small bikes and big bikes
first order of business get some gas - easy right? wrong!
the closer you get to the border the gas is regulated, you cannot just pull and fill your bike, the country/ state issues a sticker that is read at the pump so it won't turn on if there's nothing to read...screwed, right? wrong!
there is always a away, gas on the west side of the country is even cheaper, never thought it was possible, but its around 6 cents a liter, YES 6 CENTS A LITER....so what you do is wait for a car to pull up, there sticker activates the pump, he fills his car and then the attendent pull the nossle out of the car, gas still pouring out all over the floor and drags it over to you bike and then fills your bike, oh and covers whatever is in the way with gas!!!
no photos of this but it is funny to that gas has no value at all really and the guy who's sticker i used paid for my gas and his and all the gas all over the floor and smiled and shook my hand and wished me farewell...
onto the border to columbia, you need 90 VZ bolivars ($6) to leave the country, easy, then head over the bridge....no photos here either so picture this
the bridge is four lanes wide, traffic standing still in both directions, bikes alternating directions in the middle playing chicken with each other for the 300 yards or so to cross the bridge, absolute chaos!!!
immigration is on the right as you cross the bridge on the road to Cucuta, you could ride straight thru no one tried to stop me at all, no barriers, guards...nothing...:huh
as soon as i get off the bike a VZ guy comes up and starts talking in English to us, first thought, FIXER, nope just a fellow bike rider, he points out where we need to go and the line has about 1000 people in it, we park the bikes while he went back to the line, as we walk back he is inline with his girlfriend near the back, we join them, he asks people all around if they mind, he tells them we are friends and shows people photos of his bike as proof.
we stand in line for about one hour and when we get to the front one of the immigration guys comes out and tells us to go to the back of the line, we argue and refuse, he shouts at me in spanish, i shout at him in English, (what for he doesn't understand, but it felt good) then one person inline realizes i know he is saying we pushed in line, and they speak good English, he said let me translate and starts screaming at the immigration guy that we had been inline for at least one hour and tourists should not be treated like this they are here to spend money in our country...with that every person in the line starts shouting at this one guy to stamp our passports, about 1000 people shouting at the top of there voices, can you picture that???
it was outrageously loud and two minutes later he had to back down as people were now refusing to get there columbian passports stamped so the whole place was at a stand still, once he agreed to stamp us in everyone started cheering and wanted to shake our hands, even him the little fat immigration guy... mob justice prevails
so when we leave the columbian welcome sign appeared almost too soon for me to photo...welcome to Columbia and what a welcome is was, craziest border i have ever done, and according to lots of people this is a quiet border on most days.
so is it different once you cross?
no they still have big packages on the bikes, crossing from country to country and back, depends on who has the cheapest price!!!
we got away from the border and the border town of Cucuta, coming up a hill BBQ smells filled the air and we stopped for pork ribs, all of them that the guy had on his fire, he was very happy, and so were we...but he was so happy he wanted a photo of his baby on my bike to show his friends that two gringos just rode up and bought him out!!!
the baby seemed very happy about it too
so after being at the border and eating it was already afternoon we rode some more mountain roads and saw a town called Pamplona, like the running of the bulls town in Spain, we headed there
it had a good vibe so we decided to stay here for new years...everyone seems very friendly the dogs pose for photos as well what more could you need to end the year...we'll find out
i was a little late grabbing the camera here...super hot chick with a poodle between her legs on a moped, life is certainly different here
they hide my bike with the laundry
some people should know they make scary shadows at night...kids were running and she couldn't work out why! :eek1
the next morning for breakfast we head to the local pasterie shop and see this, mood cakes
translated into English and ADV
carino - affection -
delicia - delight -
emocion - emotion -
felicidad - happiness -
tentacion - temptation -
pureza - purity - :fyyff
sensacion - sensation -
imaginación - immagination -
Happy New Year!!!
Happy New Year
The Cucuta crossing gave me my evening laugh. Mob justice indeed.
Hell of a great RR rtwpaul.
Happy New Year! Mine will be spent at home online.
This fella, about my age, is a dead ringer for Walter, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's grouchy old man puppet.
Really enjoy the regular updates on your RR. Have been subscribed for a long time. Regarding the fat guy that the attendant screamed at - He missed the word LAZY FF. Just saying.
Have a great day. YK.
Another future inmate judging by the smile...
Gidday Paul, safe travels and thanks for taking the time to share
Happy New Year amigo!
Interesting to see familiar stomping ground through a different eye (and your great photo-skills!). Sad to see you missed a lot of good dirt roads due to the rains. Hopefully you managed to ride from Pamplona to the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy NP and through the park itself as they are great roads with beautiful views.
The asshole immigration officer was on the Venezuelan side or the Colombian side? (the first I would expect, the second would be a first for me).
That border is a free transit area, you can get a Venezuelan vehicle up to Pamplona without any need of papers (passport or TVIP) on the Venezuelan side, Colombian vehicles can circulate around San Antonio del Tachira without problems.
It is normally a very straight forward border crossing, about 45 minutes to 1 hour for everything. Traffic is never light, but you where there in peak season. The thing is that a LOT (a LOT) of Colombians work in Venezuela and go back home in the holidays, so during Christmas, Easter and Carnival holidays it is packed and will take a lot longer. The border crossing in La Guajira (the one you entered Venezuela through) is waaaaaaay worse.
Glad your buddie's tip-over was just that and no harm was really done... I'll take a hundred of those and trade them for my off any time
never thought about that, but yes he is, almost exactly, a real life twin
pamplona was strange for New Years, people were walking around but not many of them, the main square was dead and there was no signs that anything was going to happen, no vendors, no people partying, the few bars in town were literally empty...very strange so it was a non event, we expected fireworks going off all night and it didn't happen....
anyhow here is how the square looked in the morning, no a single sign of life or a crazy party from the night before
within minutes of leaving we we high in the Andes again at 11,000 feet, it was freezing, multiple layers required then the worst thing happened, on a bend Ryan was behind me his rear wheel let go on black ice, BLACK ICE in columbia...what was to blame besides the black ice, i would say the Heideneau tires, they have such a hard compound, i know he is not the first to go down in a situation like this, i saw him go in my mirror, as i turn my bike around he was already up surrounded by a group of locals who had a tienda on the corner he was taking
they ran to help but sometimes this isn't the best thing, they grab whatever to lift the bike and can cause more damage unknowingly just trying to help, same goes for being picked up by them, luckily it was not a bad fall for him, around 30 mph and the hard cases took most of the fall, his left ankle took the rest, so now he is the own of a nice big bruise and a limp for a week or so :huh
not more than 5 miles later the road was bone dry, and ran in and out of villages and up and down mountainsides, the fog came and went a few times due to elevation
heading down thru the mountain valley we spot Bucaramanaga, one of Columbias biggest cities and we are hading into it around midday :huh
times of doing this in Columbia are short lived, overtaking over a double yellow, no overtaking sign and a cop car right there, Ryan was lucky he was looking the other way...columbian police are very sharp nowadays and have no problems issuing tickets at all
we had been told about a little town called Cepita, as Ryan was having problems with his ankle swelling he could only stand up on the pegs for very short times so it seemed our original destination of El Cocuy national park was off, we had been told there was a hostal down in the valley but we struggled to find the road to get down there
after talking to a local, he told me the original road had been washed away and there was a new road, it was not on garmin maps, OSM maps, paper maps, we got directions and headed out to find it in the direction we had come from twice already
some 15km's from where we thought it was we found the sign
the next sign showed 12 km to the town down a steep dirt road with a 2000 foot drop to the left, very similar to death raod kind of drop, very sheer, no barriers, but nowhere near as much traffic as the town only has 361 inhabitants
the ride down is nothing short of spectacular, one of the deepest canyons on the planet you can drive to the bottom of it is a must see if you are near here and can find the road
we found a place to stay - Hostal Cepita, for $8
the town had had its annual celebration a few days before, missed again