She's got this crazy idea- exploring the 3 America's solo, for better or for worse...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hewby, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    I take my leave of the wonderful Franki, Tony and Carlos (who’s homeland insights on Columbia were fabulous, and his organization and planning and negotiating for our trip together was wonderful- thank you!), and head into Tayrona national park. I decide I want to go camping for the night and walking out along the beaches. Its a beautiful place that I felt I should have stayed longer and organized to camp further into the park. But wanting to be by my bike, led to a shorter trip. Though on reflection feel the car parking that is a mandatory expense anyway would have been secure enough to leave the bike. The stars at night were fabulous, and again I was taken by the fireflies.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8278920149/" title="IMG_3744 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8084/8278920149_a4766c06bc.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3744"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8278921061/" title="IMG_3746 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8069/8278921061_61e1d39233.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3746"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8278922311/" title="IMG_3749 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8223/8278922311_e291003b3d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3749"></a>

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  2. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    I then decided to head out to the east skirting the mountain range between Bogota and Venezuela. Knowing nothing about the area or its safety I stopped along the way and talked to some of the police and military along the roadblocks. They all indicated that my intended path was safe and enjoyed asking questions about me and the bike.
    After enjoying the smoothness of the road, and the long open stretches I go to pass a car on the open road and suddenly they pull out into the overtaking lane for no apparent reason. I slam on the breaks, unsure which way to turn, not knowing why they have pulled out or if they will head back into their lane, and crash into the back of them.
    I am strewn across the road. Shaken and hurting all over. A crowd of people appear around me. And the car I hit speeds off into the distance. People are calling the police. Describing the car. Helping me pick up the parts of my bike. Asking me if I want an ambulance. My body is pounding with adrenalin and I decline. A mechanic arrives and looks at my bike. The forks are cracked. They tell me they might be able to weld it together. A lady comes out to offer her house to stay beside the road. The police arrive and then suddenly everyone disappears. The lady’s offer stands but it seems the police want to help me get my bike into town to the welder, and I need to follow. They put me in the van, and the mechanic retightens all the screws on my bike and drives it slowly into town to the police station with a police escort. My head is spinning. The police ask me if I want a hotel. I ask for camping. They offer the station, and the police dorms if I don’t mind sharing the room. They are amazing. Helping me sort out my bike. Giving me internet. Insuring that I have food. Showers. Whatever I need. The tell me a mechanic will be in the morning to check out my bike, as today is Sunday and everyone is closed.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8280317948/" title="IMG_3782 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8063/8280317948_10ffc84f4e.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_3782"></a>

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    We decide that the bike is not actually able to be welded, and I am on Skype to wonderful Huzar who starts the search for new parts. They are crazily expensive. He finds a second hand dealer in the UK and posts for assistance on ADV and someone has a front end to sell me second hand for me to pick up when I return for Christmas. Its almost all wrapped up by the end of the day. The police are amazed. The next issue I have to sort out is trying to get myself and the bike to Bogota where I have to catch a plane to the states by the end of the week. It’s a 21 hour bus ride. I look at shipping the bike to the BMW dealer in Bogotá where I had planned to leave my bike over my holidays anyway. It seems there is no way to ship the bike with my time frame or within a reasonable price range. The police convince me to leave the bike with them and bus to Bogota, and return to them after Christmas. They are amazing people.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8280319098/" title="IMG_3790 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8077/8280319098_9bb6825d5f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3790"></a>

    I stay with them for another night experiencing the strange reality of living in the police station. The shift work. The evening radio, on in the dorms at night. The nightly Christmas carols and events they host for the local children.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8279263699/" title="IMG_3795 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8066/8279263699_c23b197a9d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3795"></a> Handing out ice cream and candy to the local kids

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8292665370/" title="IMG_3808 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8502/8292665370_2755e3fdf0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3808"></a> The local dog has 11 puppies, almost fittingly behind the police station manger.


    They banter me with a strange custom, shouting ‘Mano’ whenever they see me, in which I am to reply with ‘Yeah!’ and give them a high five! To a round of laughter. They tell me it means locally ‘better than good’ but a text to Carlos and I discover it actually means something like ‘blondie’. Some of them friend me on Facebook and write to me in a local lazy Spanish which I often cannot google translate. They joke later its like the local song 'la Gringa' about a indigenous Colombian man, who only speaks a dialect, trying to talk to a girl in the states over the internet using google translate. I dont get all the reference but it feels almost true. They are well aware of my love for Huzar, but we each have our own reality. The mood at the station was lots of fun, and I was starting to get stuffed with gifts of food from everyone who passed by.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8291609835/" title="IMG_3799 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8214/8291609835_9f515ee87f.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_3799"></a> Egg fried arepas and freshly squeezed juice for breakfast

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8291610825/" title="IMG_3804 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8084/8291610825_859eaed9d2.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_3804"></a> The big boss shouts me cervice

    At one point a local newspaper comes by and tries to take a photo with me and the bike. The police are mortified. ‘It’s not safe’ they tell me. We don’t want people to know that your bike or you are here, and they convince the newspaper to run the story after I have left with my bike in the new year.
    Hanging out with the Police was hard in a way, as we discussed finances, as they often wanted to know the details of the cost of my bike, how much I made to be able to travel, the expense of things in a world that was not theirs. They told me they earn the equivalent of $7000 a year. They work 12 hour shifts and some of them basically live at the station that has a rustic shower, no kitchen, one computer and one television, as their families are far away. We talk a little of the FARK, and they state while Columbia is a lot safer now than before, the FARK are still everywhere in the mountains and the jungles, and selling drugs to wage the war on the police and the army. But basically they say their job is quiet. The police station is large as the big boss of the region works from here and the station feeds all of the stations in the state. It’s a job that I don’t envy. Lots of sitting around in the hot sun, with the knowledge that a guerrilla army is out to get you. But they laugh and they joke with me, bring me a constant supply of gifts of food from local food vendors, and try and convince me to stay longer. But the heat of the town, and my impending flight put me on the 21 hour bus to Bogota leaving my bike and luggage in the safe hands of the police.
  3. DustyRags

    DustyRags Idiot

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
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    1,367
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    The Beast, California
    Wow, serious props for coping with all that! :clap

    Great report, I love this! The Colombian cops sound like standup guys all around.
  4. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    The bus to Bogota is better than expected. The seats are large and comfortable and recline well. The food stops are enough, and the company good. it actually nice to move through the country without having to focus on the roads for a little while.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341904497/" title="DSC00137 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8492/8341904497_592a4e06db.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00137"></a>

    Though sadly my neck starts to seize up and when I arrive in Bogota I am in a lot of pain, unable to turn my head. So sight seeing is turned down a notch. though the local street art is pretty interesting.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8292668130/" title="IMG_3819 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8221/8292668130_ece2f99458.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_3819"></a>
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    The owner of the hostel takes me under her wing and says she will be my Columbian mother. She arranges a massage for me, and makes me a herbal tea she assures me will be helpful. She ensures I can get good food and arranges a taxi to the airport for my flight. Once again I am overwhelmed by the generosity of others.


    The trip back to the states was wonderful but short. A beautiful traditional Polish family Christmas with Huzar and his family, in the snow flurries of Philadelphia.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8343076832/" title="DSC00117 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8492/8343076832_d44f3375a0.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00117"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8343305308/" title="DSC00027 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8217/8343305308_49a5d99100.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00027"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342250025/" title="DSC00025 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8358/8342250025_84805e0bfa.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00025"></a>
    After a lovely, but short week, my bag is packed with new parts for the bike, including a new windscreen as my old one was shattered, a new set of tires, and I am back on the plane to the heat of Columbia.
  5. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    A quick sleep at the hostel with ‘my Columbian mother’ with open arms as I arrive at 12pm at night and I am back on the 21 hour bus to Fonseca in the morning. This time as the bus arrives at my destination in the wee hours, and I have to be awake to tell the driver where to let me off, and the trip is not so restful. I wander the streets of Fonseca at 4.30 am as the bus driver did not hear me when I asked him to stop, and I lug my gear down the almost empty street looking for a moto cab to the police station. Finally I find some police who are a new shift than those of my last visit and don’t know me, but they get me to the station and have a few hours sleep before sorting out the bike at a more reasonable hour.
    The police arrange the mechanics for me and over the day up to five men are working on my bike, changing my forks and oil, replacing my screen, changing out my tires, replacing my rear break pads, and trying to straighten the forks so I can get on the road again. They joke that I will have to take all of them with me, as I will need mechanics on the road. They mime how they will strap themselves to my bike. They all took her for a test ride, I think loving zooming around on the bike, and finally at 3pm gave me the stamp of approval to get on my way.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342637186/" title="IMG_3839 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8494/8342637186_b63a0841ae.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_3839"></a>
  6. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    The crash has put me out a week or so, and Huzar is meeting me in Peru for a ride in a few weeks, so I need to head south as soon as I can. I head in the afternoon heat towards the large town of Valledupur, pulling in on sunset, tired, and a little sore. My neck is still not happy with the weight of the helmet, and gives a niggling indicator that it is not happy getting back on the bike. I explore the town briefly, heading out to the colorfully light streets, walking the markets for street food. It seems like the town has a lovely little place for swimming and walking by the river, but I need to head off early in the morning.


    I drag myself out of bed, but cant move fast. I am tired. I get back on the bike and ride, but the heat after the snow is knocking me about. I stop for something to eat for lunch, but I am too hot to eat. So I settle for a freshly squeezed juice on the side of the road. Sitting there the children curiously come to talk to me, sitting cutely on the hammock all in a row. I think to take a photo, but I am too tired to pull out the camera. My Spanish is garbled because I am so tired, my eyes start to close, but interested people are surrounding my bike where I parked it a little way away. The juice lady comes over and talks to me, she tells me to get my bike and bring it in behind her stall, and pulls up a chair in the family space under a tree for me to sleep. I don’t complain. Amongst the laughter and cries of the children, and the bustling family interactions I am out for an hour. Its brilliant and just what I need. As I take my leave the family all line up to wave me on my way. My heart is warmed once again.


    I head on through the flat hot plains, small town, road works and military stations. I realize I am too tired to take photos at this point but thankfully the wonderful Hunter Clark at GoPro gave me a Christmas present of a replacement GoPro. So at least I have some shots on the road again! Thanks Hunter!
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341703781/" title="GOPR0009 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8224/8341703781_0fa42a7ee7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR0009"></a>
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    With the heat of the day dissipating, and my extreme tiredness quelled, I make a few more miles before pulling into a hotel on the side of the road as the sun is setting. They have a pool, and take American dollars, as I have been too much on the move to get out more money. It’s a brilliant find and I finally have my own room, for cheaper than a hostel. I relax in the pool and eat a great home cooked meal, am taken care of by the lovely Columbian lady owner and her staff, and have a little time to recoup. Again when I leave in the morning they all come out to wave me goodbye. Some of the staff that had to leave earlier, personally came to give me best wishes as they left.

    Columbia and its people keep showing me amazing kindness, its almost overwhelming at times and I am incredibly grateful.
  7. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    315
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Winding up through the mountains towards Medellin, the scenery becomes more and more beautiful. I stop to take photos, and a busload of people come over to talk with me about my trip. They all insist on taking photos and want one of me beside their bus too- the picture of the Church on the back seems incredibly important to them. But I don’t quite understand the whole story.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342637714/" title="DSC00147 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8220/8342637714_6c6795f56c.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00147"></a>

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    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341584043/" title="DSC00158 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8073/8341584043_d50c2b239b.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00158"></a>

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    Along the river several pipes on the side of the road start to appear, spraying water onto the gutters, and in the heat I decide to take advantage of the cold water!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341850837/" title="GOPR0035 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8503/8341850837_8e6a24b3dc.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR0035"></a>

    As the hills start to wind down towards Medellin I stop to see the Paragliders. It’s a beautiful spot and I am so tempted to take a flight, even though along time ago I promised myself to not do these sort of adventure sports on my travels so I had something new to look forward to in moments of stability, when I finally settle down a little. Lucky for me, just as I caved in on my resolve, the credit card machine went offline, and I didn’t have the cash on me to fly. So I simply enjoyed the view and went on my way.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342643852/" title="DSC00169 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8364/8342643852_d64c77f1df.jpg" width="500" height="75" alt="DSC00169"></a>

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  8. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

    Joined:
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    Deb, Your adventure continues to both amaze and delight. The take away for me is that you have approached this journey with not just an open mind but with an open heart. Your openness appears to have been returned to you several fold. I have the title for your book.

    un abrazo grande
  9. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Arriving in Medellin my bike starts to overheat in the traffic. I keep stopping and cooling her down, but it is frustrating and hot way to get to where I am going. As the afternoon progresses the New Years Eve closures set in an allow a better run toward the Shamrock Irish bar and Grill of ADVer Al aka theturtleshead. I check my bike in the car park and the fan is no longer working. I find out Al has rooms above the pub and I pull my bike in. Al states that there are great mechanics here that can take a look at the bike on Wednesday after New Year.

    As Al goes off to dinner with his girlfriends family, I go and finally get some money from an ATM and wander the streets looking for a lovely meal to end the New Year. I am astounded as nearly everything is shut. All the restaurants are closed. Most of the bars are closed. And my growling stomach is getting inpatient. I spot a grungy looking small 4 small table tapas bar open and head in. They have Paella on the go so I grab a glass of wine and sit at one of the 2 tables outside. I am just checking my iphone and suddenly there is something going on inside the tiny bar. Someone runs out behind me, and everyone in the bar comes out, looking at the road and talking in rapid Spanish. The owner holding her heart and stomach, visibly very distressed. I ask what’s happening and they state that a man has just come into the bar with a gun and demanded the money and stripped the other diners of their necklaces, wallets, and watches. He then ran out behind me to a waiting motorbike, jumped on the back and fled. I am astounded. I feel my recent ATM withdrawal burning in my pocket. My iphone is moved from my hands out of sight. Woah! The staff call the police and the people who were robbed walk away, not waiting for the police to show. Others joke “Hey don’t worry. The safest place to be is a place that has just been robbed!’. We see no police for 20 minutes then some come, but and ride past the shop. This happens twice much to the distress of the owner. One of the fellow diners that had observed everything came over and sat with me, he had moved here from Spain 4 years ago, we drank more wine and he explained in English what was going on. He stated that often in these cases, people don’t want to talk to the police either for fear of retribution, and generally if the robbers are actually caught there is no recourse and they are let free, hence the ongoing crime.

    About 40 minutes later 2-3 police bikes rock up, take a quick statement from the owner and within 5 minutes are on their way again.

    By 11pm some of the pubs are starting to open up and there are more people on the street. I have a few drinks with Al, some of his friend and the staff at the pub, with stories of hold ups and stabbings, and head to bed to the ongoing sound of firecracker blasting away like machine guns throughout the night.
  10. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Thanks for your kind words Tom, lovely to have you along on the ride with me. x
  11. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    It seems Medellin has shut down, and in the quiet of the new years I take time to finally sit down to the ride report, that had been sorely neglected. After the ongoing push and tension of the last few weeks, the extreme changes in temperature and the poor sleep, my body starts to shut down a little. My throat starts to ache, my nose is running like a tap, I am constantly sneezing and it seems my energy is sapping away.
    I take a trip on the new metro, an easy way to see the city when not feeling 100%. Winner of the sustainable transport award for 2012,
    The metro has been partly responsible for changing some of the dynamic of the city’s violent past. The metro is cheap and easy to use, and links up to a cable car system heading deep into the hills of the cities slums, allowing for the first time people access to employment, and city services without having to walk hours through the hills to get to the town.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342670428/" title="DSC00250 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8500/8342670428_a20bfc7441.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00250"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342675194/" title="DSC00255 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8492/8342675194_e4a6fc41e8.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00255"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342652738/" title="DSC00206 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8224/8342652738_9ae157fff7.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00206"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341595053/" title="DSC00201 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8492/8341595053_a59421f082.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00201"></a>

    Some of the cars are covered with advertizing empowering women of the city to take part in life, make their own decisions, and not accept violence for any reason. Its an ongoing theme I have seen throughout central America, and it lovely to see societies start to recognize and work towards making a difference to the lives of women in their communities.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342667238/" title="DSC00242 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8491/8342667238_d909235065.jpg" width="500" height="256" alt="DSC00242"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341610069/" title="DSC00241 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8502/8341610069_2a0bc02c01.jpg" width="333" height="500" alt="DSC00241"></a>
    The Metro and community projects at work in this city touch the heart of my professional philosophy, and I know many OT’s that would be inspired by the work that is being done here. Its also a fabulous tourist activity and I joined many Columbian families heading up into the scenic hills simply for the ride.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342677056/" title="DSC00259 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8211/8342677056_909fab59d6.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00259"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8342678490/" title="DSC00262 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8078/8342678490_b691422232.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00262"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341623033/" title="DSC00264 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8214/8341623033_d1f1eeb3a8.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00264"></a>


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8341620299/" title="DSC00257 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8360/8341620299_95c7061f86.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00257"></a>
  12. wdeTA

    wdeTA TransAlp Adv

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    I've really enjoyed the trip report so far. Thanks for taking us along. Glad the bike got fixed and you avoided the robbery so the report could continue (and you could be safe and having fun as well of course).

    FWIW, I learned from one of my 8 year old snowboarding students once that if your nose runs and your feet smell, you are built upside down :D
  13. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    HeHe, I wonder if this this is made worse with being from 'down under' too!? At least I should be crossing the equator soon! Maybe that will help the situation?!
  14. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    I get my bike to BMW on the 2nd and they are not happy with what they see. They want to rebuild the forks as they are still twisted, it seems my fan is broken and needs a new one (with the import duty an already expensive fan $244 from BMW in the states, and it turns out to be almost $380 here and has to be shipped from Bogota over the next few days!). I cringe as I have just been to the US and could have got one there. And I have a chance of a restock in a few weeks, but know if I ride south quickly to meet Huzar, as I need to do and hold off fixing the fan, I will likely cause damage to the bike going through the high mountain passes and the traffic joys of cities like Lima. I bite my tongue, pull out my wallet, wish for a smaller local bike, and settle with the fact that while my time is once again ticking away, I am lucky to be in the lovely city of Medellin, and now I have time and permission to recoup, and explore this lovely city.

    I head out to a couch surfing language exchange and meet up with a host of lovely people. I love how this organization works, with more than just beds on offer.
    We talk late into the night, practicing language, sharing jokes and stories. One of the girls tell about her motorbike, and how while here brother all have bigger bikes, she has a 100cc &#8216;a girls bike&#8217;, I laugh and tell her my bike has been described in North America as the same. She almost chokes on her meal. There are some biker bikes in Columbia but the import duty on them is huge, and insurance &#8216;insane for local standards. One of the others, an expat from China, tell me about his new Kawasaki costing him $20,000 US and being robbed of it the other week in town by three men at gun point to his head. He had not taken out the $1000 insurance as he thought it too steep. A tough way to learn.

    We talk about the difference in life and culture. The simple things of the ways our countries deal with broken thing- in Columbia repair shops line the streets- where you can get anything from the broken blade on your blender to an electrical plug. &#8220;We fix everything here, from a broken fridge to a broken earring&#8217; they tell me. Questions are asked about the cupboards and fridges full of food in people&#8217;s houses that they hear about in the western world that go too waste, the waste of resources and the environmental impact of throwing things away on the earth. My explanation of &#8216;its cheaper to buy a new one than getting it fixed&#8217; seems hollow and empty. While I always have struggled with consumerism and trying only to buy only what I need, this is relative. Yes at times I try for buying second hand if I can, but I am still very guilty of this waste. Only just throwing away my broken sunglasses yesterday, and buying a new pair. I&#8217;ve gone through plenty of cameras, without getting warranty or having them repaired, as there is a better model out on the market. I think of the cupboards of food, the bulk buying marketing, and the times of pure laziness that leads me to waste. It makes me take a moment to think more about how I am in the world, and the effect of my action on others.

    They leave me with hugs and kind words of admiration for my trip. It&#8217;s touching and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to met them. Another event is scheduled for the next night so I am happy to catch up again with this new group of friends and enjoy my time in this vibrant, welcoming, however edgy, city.
  15. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Maybe a lesson here ... remember that $380 BMW cooling fan? I'd bet a pint any number of little Taller's could rebuild that fan for less than $10. Whadya' think? :lol3

    A simple fan is not rocket science ... as much as BMW would have you believe that.

    Far as the forks go ... How does the bike ride? Does it go down the road fairly straight? Pull left or right? Turn OK? Suspension work OK? If yes to all ... then why mess with success. New fork tubes will be very costly indeed.

    Loving the pics (all showing up now!@!) Stay safe ... Eyes UP, Rubber side down! :clap:clap:freaky:freaky
  16. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,011
    Location:
    SoSoCal
    Oh man! A bad fan.

    It could just be dirt/grit binding it up.
    How 'bout a 120mm or 140mm computer fan. Those are by far le$$, are 12v and could be adapted.
    EDIT: A high CFM fan would draw about 5 amps.

    If a direct hit of 12v won't spin the fan, it is the fan.
    But if it does spin up the issue is up stream... relay or sensor.
    An on-off switch could bypass all that until a later repair. Just use as needed.

    My Best, John
  17. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Right now my head is clogged with a cold, and I need to head south as soon as I can. Over the phone I said yes to the fan as it was explained as broken. It spun in my hands freely so not sure if its dirt. It's ironic really that I am getting a new one after the comment about fixing everything in Columbia. I will ensure I get the old one and have someone look at it to see if they can fix it. And the forks as far as I understand don't need new bits just pulled apart and put back together. Understanding what's going on with Spanish/ English mix being able to explain what i want from others, and my poor mechanical skills make it hard. Mixed with the want to be on the road safely and stay the way, leads me just to say yes fix it. Order the part because I have no time at the moment to think otherwise.
    Yes if I was to do this trip better I would be fluent in mechanics and in Spanish. But sadly I am not....if I needed that I don't think I would have ever left home. Never a better place to have to learn than by experience and necessity....
  18. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Hang in there girl ... and get well ... that's the most important thing now.
    I got the Flu in every Latin American country I was in ... I nearly died in Guatemala and had serious bouts of Flu in Ecuador, Peru' and Bolivia ... in Bolivia ... turned out to be infectios Hepatitis. Be careful around bathrooms.

    Guatemala to Bolivia took me a year. Once in Argentina thought I'd died and gone to heaven! :D Espresso, Comida Italiano, Vino Tinto y Bife de Chorizo!
    ... and the most beautiful Women (and men) in the world.

    I built up my immune system drinking lots of fresh sqeezed juices: Orange, Beet, Ginger and Carrot. Kept me alive. Caldo de Pollo is good if the real thing. (not the powder Knorr variety! :D ) Take some time off and get strong. Sleep. Being sick makes travel impossible.
    Get well, stay well! :freaky
  19. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    Thanks Adv Grifter, spent almost the last two days in bed... so much for seeing the city. Fan still not in and now I hear that there is another holiday on Monday, so tomorrow I am going to rescue my old fan from them and try and get it fixed so I can get back on the road again. But it seemed my body needed some time out- I have hep A and B shots thankfully. One of the Perks of working in healthcare!
  20. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,304
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    Hewby is on the move again, and arrived in San Gabriel, Ecuador tonight. Safe and sound, no bike issues, great riding and a painless border crossing. Unfortunately, she's got no wifi this evening, so we'll have to wait some more for a new RR entry.