South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. Clem Kevin

    Clem Kevin Nude With Boots

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    I read a book about Dacha culture in Russia recently; your anecdote reminds me of it.
  2. Tyko99

    Tyko99 n00b

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    Columbia may have changed in some ways but not in others:

    http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/canadia...apped-by-leftist-rebels-in-colombia-1.1119938

    Be careful JD
  3. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Sending you one of these:

    Right Angle Spy Lens
  4. MikeS

    MikeS For sure! I'm game for it

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    Nuestros Turista Advisor-

    VERY interesting. Now how do I explore that option? My inerest is perked, a lot!

    There's this thread, which is a little old: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=555514
  5. estebansos

    estebansos Been here awhile

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    I dont really know where this came from but, shipping from MIA is just as expensive as shipping from PANAMA. (Air fright). About 1.200 USD per bike.

    If you want cheaper options, ride to panama and ship your bike on those vessels that cross from the northern part of panama to cartagena (about 500 USD). We shipped on the stahlratte and flew to cartagena (COPA AIR 350 USD per person).

    Rode from there. PM me with details so I can provide further info.

    Safe travels.!
  6. estebansos

    estebansos Been here awhile

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    Columbia? Dont know where that is, but if you travel to ColOmbia keep it wise and dont start prospecting for gold or other treasured natural resources in the middle of a red zone in order to avoid being harmed. :deal

    Colombia has changed, but still, play safe and use common sense. Dont push your luck, not here, not anywhere.
  7. Dracula

    Dracula Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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    Slippery subject.. May be related to local's feelings about mining companies changing their environment, giving nothing in return. Few ride reports here mention about those feelings in South America.
    With every village he visited, John may have already passed their screening as not being an intruder with dubious intents and the rat Sherpa fits right in to prove it. But nothing is black or white or always makes sense.. The only way to be careful is probably avoid being in the wrong place at wrong time. And that's a bit too general to be helpful. Just sayin'
  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Re: pot pics

    Take a picture of:

    crucifix
    bible
    indigenous people
    pyramid

    even it all out and offend everyone :deal :clap

    You are doing a grand job, keep on doing what you are doing. star star star star star
  9. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF Road, or off?

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    I appreciate your style and inclusiveness more than any other report I've had the pleasure to peruse! Please don't back off from the fascinating things most would shy away from. Siga siendo periodista con su bello humor único! Maybe get a "Prensa" sign attached to your Sherpa... :D You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time.... well, you know the drill. I'm also trying to keep up with Ulyses but can't stay with either of you real-time.

    Your love of all aspects Colombianos is resonating perfectly with mine of Ecuador - overwhelmingly positive! :clap

    Adelante,
    su admirador Jorgito, el gringo arrepentido
  10. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF Road, or off?

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    Originally Posted by JDowns
    Not much going on Sunday evening. I have been asking people if they mind me taking pictures and alas the resounding answer is no. I am a failure as a paparazzi I am afraid.

    I interpreted this to mean "no, they don't mind" (as paparazzi take pictures on the sly, hence the failure). I could have interpreted this incorrectly. In Ecuador, the only time pictures seemed to be discouraged was by the older indigenos; perhaps they subscribe to the theory of 'every time I click my Kodak pics, it steals a little bit of soul', but that's purely speculative on my part.
    :dunno
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Finally hopped the Sherpa down the stairs of the Amber Hostel and onto the streets of Cartagena around noon today. Beautiful day:

    [​IMG]

    I only scratched the surface. There is plenty to see and do in Cartagena. Yes it's touristy and a tad expensive. But I enjoyed my stay there. Boats in the harbor:

    [​IMG]

    and miles of historic seawalls and battlements as you make your way out of town along the coast to the east:

    [​IMG]

    Not far down the road was the turnoff to the Totumo mud volcano. It's not really a volcano. Rather a tall mud cone with wooden stairs going up one side and down the other:

    [​IMG]

    It's maybe 40 feet tall or so. Once on top there is a mud pit where the slathering takes place. Didn't get any pics since I didn't want to trash the camera. Here is a slatheree coming down:

    [​IMG]

    and down this road to the lake for a rinse:

    [​IMG]

    It's one of those things that tourists should do once just for fun. There's not much else on the way to Baranquilla:

    [​IMG]

    Desert like arid land meets the Carribean. The wind was whipping today, so I wasn't looking to camp. I did head down some of the side roads to beaches just to see what was there. A lot of vacation houses. I liked this round homemade three story one:

    [​IMG]

    I think this was the beach down at San Veronica. I was always an Archie comic fan so had to see what Veronica had to offer. Pretty nice beach with kicked back restaurants. Hardly anyone on the beach since it is probably the off season. Plus it was really windy:

    [​IMG]

    Plenty of places to camp out in the bush past Baranquilla:

    [​IMG]

    But I kept going up to Santa Marta where I am staying this evening. Got into town late and checked an internet cafe for hostels and found a good looking one. It was full, so went down the street to the Nuevo Granada. He wanted 70,000 and finally came down to 50,000 (28.75). That's the price you pay for arriving late I guess. Santa Marta old town is pretty nice. Went for a stroll down on the malecon and bought some groceries. I'll take pics when it gets light out mañana.

    I think I'll head over to Taganga beach tomorrow. It looks nice in the pictures. Actually Tayrona National Park looks good as well. 35,000 pesos entrance is like 18 bucks, so I might pay the price. No more than going to Chichen Itza. I need to do the research and development for when you get down here to see if it's worthwhile.

    I spent 108,000 pesos (62.07) today on gas, food, entrance fees and lodging.

    Hasta Mañana
    Juan Caribe
    johnthomasdowns.blogspot.com
  12. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    If you're entering the tayrona park you can camp in there for a small fee IIRC. Might as well bring you're own food. There's plenty to see in the form of beaches, from pool-like bays to surfer' paradise. You'll see plenty of foreigners backpacking there. You could hike to Pueblito and explore the Sierra Nevada. Going around the Sierra you can actually do some riding.
  13. Dracula

    Dracula Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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    Hi John,

    Cartagena looks very picturesque, must be very nice to visit. And the beautiful pictures show splendid weather.
    They probably built the hose round so no one can hide and talk around corners :D
    Maybe you can keep the camera handy on a lanyard and snap some pictures while riding though perhaps is not easy in city traffic.
    When I had my Gopro on helmet found way too much video was boring but caught some nice pieces as well. Someone else used a mount for their camera on the handlebar so they can snap pictures when interesting scenery came up, I think I'll try that my next trip.

    Best,
    Vic
  14. GeneC

    GeneC Been here awhile

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    Hi John,

    I checked in with you a couple of weeks back (I think I was on page 15 at the time) and have been slowly reading every word, not just of you but this great supportive community. I'm getting back into bikes after doing the family thing (wife and three teenagers). Long story short, a few years back my son kept asking for a bike. There were many reasons I kept saying no. One is living in the NY area, there simply aren't a lot of places to ride (legally). But I think the main reason was I realized what a nut I was on mine and didn't want him to hurt himself (boy do I sound like my parents). My parents wanted nothing to do with me having a bike but they said if I used my own cash... Well that's all they had to say. Bought a used Honda xr75 when I was about 13 and then a bunch of bikes till I was in my early 20s. A good friend of mine was selling his sons crf80 for a good price so I said "sure". He was also selling his beat klx125 and said I should buy it and ride with him because I would be bored just watching my son. I bought both and it was frigin magic. I remembered how much I really loved it. Since then my son is now 17 and into cars, so we don't ride the bikes much, but its really rescinded my love for bikes. Since then I've owned a 2003 f650gs, then a 97 r100gs. Neither bike felt just right, so I'm planning on a vstrom 650 as my next attempt at finding the "right" bike. My longest trip to date is a week, but I can dream an you have to start somewhere :-)

    As everyone has mentioned, your way of traveling is how I wish I could travel. I'm speaking of mental attitude here. Literally going with the flow and "dancing" with the "problems" as they come up. Truly an inspiration.

    One more note: you keep mentioning how people are so kind. You also ,emotion how others have warned you about places being dangerous. I truly believe that you draw to you the energy you are putting out. If you are always looking for the good in people, then that is what your experience will be. If you are always thinking "somebody is going to do me wrong" then that is what you will draw to awards you. So, i guess you could say that everyone that travels the same path will have a completely different experience because of the state of mind they are in. And I think this is the secret to your success. Always seeing the good in people and always looking at what you can "give".

    Look out for another meal and tank of gas in your pm.

    Thank again John, will be checking in every day and thanks again for your story!

    -gene
  15. DeeJay Rider

    DeeJay Rider n00b

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    Please don't self censor and filter the reality of your experience to please a few narrow minded bigots. Your unbiased observations are what makes this one of the most entertaining and informative ride reports I've ever read.
    I am in awe of your open minded level of Zen.

    Keep it real, Juan! And stay safe.
  16. mario33

    mario33 Howling around...

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    Juan, mi Amigo,

    I've been popping in everyday here (and sometimes even a few times a day) to see the next batch of your reports. I would give you 50 stars if I could, for being so real and so humble at the same time. You keep me alive while I have that behind my window:

    [​IMG]

    Not that I dont like winter :)

    Ride on ! There's a whole bunch here following your adventures.

    And if you need anything - just give us a shout.

    Su amable Mario.
  17. marior97

    marior97 marior97

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    Juanito excelente RR !! thanks for all those tales and pics of LA !!:clap:clap:clap:freaky
    Saludos amigo
  18. midlifecry

    midlifecry n00b

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    5 stars is the least I can do for the great journey you're sharing. I was in Colombia 30 plus years ago and am really enjoying it again through your reports. Tayrona was a highlight for me. Beautiful beaches and some cool ruins that took a few hours hiking to get to.
    Thanks again,
    mlc
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Took off from Santa Marta this morning around 9 or 10. Heading down the street in the historic district:

    [​IMG]

    Went down to the malecon and took some pics of the harbor:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I didn't catch the name of this Spanish conquistador:

    [​IMG]

    As with all cities, the historic district is the most visually interesting. Santa Marta is a port town and it was actually fun riding through the barrios as well. Weaving through the traffic on a little dirt bike is always fun.

    I don't have a very good map of Colombia. It didn't have Taganga or Tayrona, so I just hit the main road to Riohacha that wound up into the mountains from the flat plains. Really nice riding. Arid hills that reminded me of the dry side of the Big Island of Hawaii. Lots of scrub trees and bougainvillea with some pink blooming trees that I am not familiar with. I saw a sign to Pueblito and remember trespalacios had recommended heading there so stopped for a coke and asked the owner if it was possible to ride a dirt bike up there. He said I could probably make it the first 5 or 6 kilometers. Pretty rough road:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    He was right. After 5 or 6 kilometers with no tire tracks, I determined that this was more of a mule trail. Decided it was too early in the morning to die, and turned back to the highway. I had missed the way to Taganga and headed back to find the road. It was across the railroad tracks. Had to stop for this rail repair rig:

    [​IMG]

    The road wound up into the hills:

    [​IMG]

    Headed down this side road:

    [​IMG]

    to a private beach:

    [​IMG]

    before heading back up and down to Taganga. Here is the first glimpse you get heading into town:

    [​IMG]

    Beautiful area with a relaxed vibe. Looks like a Greek isle. Not that I've been to Greece. But I read plenty of National Geographic mags growing up:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is where I'm staying up on the cliffs overlooking the bay. Hostel Techos Azules. I'm into blue technology:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the only cajero automatico in town to get money. Right as you enter on the left:

    [​IMG]

    Down on the beach plenty of restaurants to hang out and watch the world go by:

    [​IMG]

    Actually it's all dive shops and tourist oriented places down at the beach. It you head up the hill on the back roads you will find the real people:

    [​IMG]

    The prices are half up the hill in the grocery stores and local eateries.

    more later…..
  20. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    Nice!! As a teenager living in Santa Marta I'd go with my friends to Taganga on the weekends, armed with goggles and snorkels, riding two up on a honda c70 semi automatic scooter wearing shorts and flip flops (ATGATT now though). These views made my day Juanito. Gracias
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