South America by Geezer

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Some pretty big festivals going on in this season. Kedgi and I decided to go downtown to take in an annual event in Cali, La Feria de Cali. Traditionaly, December 26 was the only day of the year people were allowed to ride their horses in the streets of Cali. In the past it got a little out of hand so they now restrict it to one area of downtown. There were thousands of horses from all over parading through the whole time we were there and I’m guessing there were a hundred thousand people having a good time.

    It was hard getting close enough to see the horses so, here is one horse pic and some random shots of the people of Cali having a good time.


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    Spray foam is a very active part of the celebrations



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    It seems to be popular for individuals with, umm, enhancements to dance around, stop traffic while passing the hat. This Dude was at least 6' 6"


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    Guy and his dogs


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    A cool old Triumph


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    This one's for Albert - I know he likes hats . . . :D



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    Some of the vendors - here is some more traditional Colombian hats


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    You see these vendors everywhere. Sell cell phone calls by the minute. Usually the phones they have are tethered by a 6' chain so they don't disappear.


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    Mangos


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    Guy making toffee of some sort. At first I thought he was making hats


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    These kids had a little game going. Bet on which little hut one of the Guinea Pigs would go into first and win. I'd bet they made pretty good money.


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    Selling pop and beer. Dozens of people would go down to the store and buy a dozen beer, stick them in a bucket or a little ice chest with some big blocks of ice and wander around selling cold beer.


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    This guy was a real character.
    My camera battery ran out or there would have been more.


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  2. GoinPostal

    GoinPostal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Sonoma, CA

    Thanks Geezer, I like "Hats" too :evil
  3. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,226
    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    really enjoying your ride report and get a smile every time I open it. As you can see my trips are by F800GS Geeser.

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  4. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Geez(s)ers of the world, unite! :D

    Thanks lakota - glad you are enjoying it


  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Left through Cali with Kedgi, Tony and Franki



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    Long day to Pasto. Beautiful country with some massive valleys and rugged mountains. This is the main highway so encountered fairly regular groups of traffic that always took a bit of time to get around.


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    Don't see many road varmints but still the odd one


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    Stopped at pretty good sized road-side restaurant for lunch. A guy pulled up on a little moto delivering some big bags of something for the restaurant and had full rain gear on. It was like 29C. Strange. But, we will discover why later.

    They had a great view from the restaurant


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    and even had a zip line to the other side of this little ravine.


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    Starts getting more arid (Less jungle) as we approach Quito


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    Start encountering a number of old people begging on the side of the highway. Then lots of groups of kids pulling ropes trying to stop traffic for money. Then the kids started using long bamboo poles, on on each side. Never a problem driving through – as soon as they saw you weren’t slowing down, the rope dropped or poles raised like a gate. Really difficult stopping for any of these as it takes so long to dig some change out and a stopped motorcycle in the road is asking to get run into.

    Then was behind a bus and a group of kids absolutely nail it with numerous buckets of water. I’m presuming windows were open as it was pretty warm and those buses have no air conditioning. More and more groups – some dressed in costume, most just having a good time using hoses, buckets and any other container they could find throwing water at anything that moved. I started to encourage them as getting soaked in the heat was very refreshing. One kid had particularly good aim and got me right in the old kisser with a bucketful – felt like I was punched in the kisser. Wasn't so refreshing though as we gained altitude and the temperatures dropped into the high teens (That'd be C - mid 60s in F) .

    Went through a few toll booths and when we got to the last one before Pasto, I noticed it had particularly high walls (still fit under my bags) and had a couple of higher concrete walls. I’m riding through this thing trying to figure how to get a picture for all you FFs when BAM! - I’m rolling off the right side of the bike. Bike is propped up on the right side wall. There was a whole flock of little bikes behind me that I had just passed coming up the hill now bunched up waiting to get through. I quickly pick up the bike, hop on and restart and hear this honking behind me. Look back and here is a guy carrying my left side bag up to me. Crap! Hit the wall and popped it right off. Got out of the way and had to bend a couple of flanges back and replace the lock mechanism. I have an extra as it is designed to breakaway like that. At least I figured out how to get a pic – looking back. That grey part sticking out is what I tried to knock off. It won.


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    Arrive in Pasto and pick a hotel nearby from the GPS list and go check it out. Little room with single beds and they have parking and internet. Sounds good. Have a look at the parking and they want us to drive up a 3” ramp through a door and squeeze all the bikes into a little room. We don’t think the handlebars will fit through the door so move on up the street.

    As we are waiting at a stoplight a lady with a couple other people in her car pulls up next to me and asks what we are looking for – tell her hotel and she tells us to pull over. Asks me if I want to talk in Spanish or English and I choose English so, she gets her husband on the phone. Tell him we want a cheap hotel with parking. He says ok, stay right there, he will guide us there. She decides instead to lead us to the hotel.

    When we arrive, she is telling us what the deal is but seems a bit anxious and wants to leave – I wanted to thank her and get her picture but she is gone. Dario shows up and we get chatting. Dario is a businessman and rides a GSA.


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    Turns out his wife was taking an aunt to the hospital with a broken arm, sees a bunch of fellow riders wandering around looking lost and decides that Auntie can wait for a few more minutes while she sorts the gringos out. Hey Auntie, it’s not hurting that much is it? Just chill for awhile, OK? These idiots need to get sorted out – it’ll be just a few more minutes.

    This is an example of the people here. They are so incredibly friendly, want to help so much and make sure your stay here is pleasant that they leave a busted up relative in the car while they help complete strangers find a place to stay. I am just blown away. :clap

    As we were coming into town, this whole water thing was taken to a whole new level and hoards of people were dowsing anything that moves from the tops of buildings, standing in the road and out of vehicles. Ergo all moto riders are in full rain gear.

    Apparently an annual tradition in Pasto – Diá de Agua (water day) is the start of their week long Carnival. Of course there was no lack of booze involved in the celebrations and eventually the city shuts down the city water supply to encourage the revelers to go home. Once the system is drained, no water. Good thing most of the buildings are made of concrete.


    Met up with the three German kids from the Casa Blanca hostel in Cali. One of them had left his passport and cash at Casa Blanca so we brought it over for him. Nice kids touring around South America.


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  6. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Four of us left Pasto for the boarder today - the hotel we had the previous night


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    Pasto was a pretty good sized town but you still see these carts wending their way down the streets


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    Saw this thing parked next to a gas station. Looks like a giant tanker with a nozzle on the back. Don't know if it was just on standby for crowd control or they got involved in the Water Day festivities the day before . . . wouldn't that be a hoot to watch, bunch of guys heaving water balloons off a building and this monster comes lumbering around the corner blasting away? :rofl


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    Stopped at the famous Santuario de las Lajas, a Cathedral built over a gorge in a spectacular setting.


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    The story goes that in the 18<sup>th</sup> Century somebody saw the image of the Virgin Mary in the rock and the spot became a pilgrimage for many. Between 1916 and 1944 the Church was built.

    We can certainly attest to the place being a popular Pilgrimage – we were there on a Saturday and there were tons of people making their way to the church.


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    The church was packed with quite a procession going in and out


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    The long pathway down (which of course was the pathway back up . . . "It's Wheezin Geezer Time" sung to the tune of the Howdy Doody theme song) was packed with vendors selling just about anything you could think of


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    This guy was selling Llama rides


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    The river gorge which the Cathedral spans


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    They have even built a nice park and picnic area at the bottom



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    The building is quite the structure with a massive foundation to the bottom of the gorge


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    This guy was carrying a large bag of something to one of the vendors on the other side of the river


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    This Priest/Friar/Monk with a funky haircut - looks like a crown


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    See a lot of groups like these guys. Usually have a dummy (more on that tradition later) with one dressed up as a "lady" collecting donations. I think these were a bunch of local cops


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    This little guy was quite enthralled with the bikes - so he gets a test ride


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    Got to the boarder at about noon. Check out of Colombia was straight forward – 15 minute wait in line for passport stamp then over to Aduana and that guy takes the papers for the bike and says “Thanks”. Done. In front of the Colombia Migración


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    Meet a couple of Colombians starting a South America trip and a couple of guys from the US doing the whole Americas trip. Ken and Ben – father and son riding GSAs. Ben has a motorcycle rental business in Colorado.

    Cross the bridge to Ecuador, park and stand in line for over an hour and a half to get the passport stamped. There were busloads of people waiting to get in. Apparently a lot of Colombians travel to Ecuador for New Years celebrations. What a gong show. The line started around the end of the parking lot to the left and they would let you in to the Migración office under the blue and white sign one by one.



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    Run into our young German friends again - Lawrence is 6' 6" - handy for changing light bulbs


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    While we are waiting a whole bunch more bikes show up – I think there was 25 or 30 bikes waiting. All the new arrivals were from Colombia – real friendly guys as we try to tell them about our trips in our rotten Spanish.


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    Aduana was pretty straight forward. Get a photocopy of the entrance stamp, they fill out some paperwork and done. All together it was 3 ½ hours – the longest crossing yet.

    Decided to take the first hotel we find so we aren’t riding in the dark. Stop in the nearby town of Tulcan and find an ok place for $12 each. They use the US $ in Ecuador. Easier to understand but I was starting to think in terms of thousands of pesos in Colombia - 12 is not a number you hear in Colombia.


    Ken and Ben joined us. A lousy pic of them - Ben on the left


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    Went to a Chinese Restaurant for dinner – had a kind of Chop Suey except they mixed French fries in it instead of noodles. Weird. Don’t usually put pics up of marginal food but this was so strange, here it is.


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    Tasted ok but what doesn't after a few beers? :freaky

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  7. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Uneventful ride to Quito. and quite cool in the morning. Beautiful country and then became fairly arid &#8211; terrain much less lush but still spectacular until closer to Quito. Sorry, not a lot of pictures as there weren&#8217;t many places for a group to pull off.



    [​IMG]


    Lost the other boys around Cayambe as they were going to the Equitorial Monument for New Years while I was heading to Casa Helbling in Quito to wait for Mrs RexBuck to arrive.

    Quito a big city &#8211; glad I arrived on a Sunday &#8211; at one point there were two roads turning left &#8211; I chose the wrong one and wound up in a 2 km tunnel . . . not a lot of traffic on the other side of the tunnel so was able to do a 4 lane uey.

    Casa Helbling seems to be a great place. Certainly a bit better class than Casa Blanca. Big room, lots of decks and common rooms. Food, booze. Good parking for the bike. They will look after our luggage and the bike while we cavort around Ecuador.

    It is interesting to note the immediate differences between Colombia and Ecuador. So far, the people appear much more native &#8211; facial features and body type dramatically different than Colombia with what appears to be more Spanish genetic influence. Seeing a return of traditional dress and customs. Noticeable lack of little motorcycles and scooters. Won&#8217;t miss those little pests in traffic.

    Ate crappy Chinese food from the place next door to the Hostel as it was all I found since I&#8217;d apparently gone looking for food in the wrong direction. :doh

    Mrs RexBuck arriving Jan 1, then we are heading out to Galapagos and then touring around Ecuador. I almost had this ride report caught up now back to a couple of weeks behind which probably won&#8217;t get a lot better while Mrs RB is here. Be patient and we&#8217;ll eventually get caught up again.
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  8. GoinPostal

    GoinPostal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Sonoma, CA
    Been waiting for ya..........Hope you had a nice visit with the Mrs.
  9. ADV Fool

    ADV Fool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Plumas Lake, CA
    Welcome Back!!!!!
  10. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks guys - it's nice to be missed.

    Mrs still here till the end of the month but I'll have some updates on our exploits (well, not all of them) to date and the tour to some other parts of Ecuador that starts tomorrow. Looking forward to getting back on the bike.
  11. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    North of T.Ho., Ontario
    I figured Mrs. RexBuck would slow things down:evil:evil

    Glad you are doing okay.

    Will need a fix soon, so get busy.:lol3
  12. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,808
    Location:
    Spokane Washington
    That Chinese place is still there? I ate there only once :huh

    Casa Helbling is a great place to reacquaint yourself with the Mrs :evil and after that you've got the Galapagos to enjoy :clap
  13. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Out Standing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    137
    Location:
    Tallahassee. FL. USA
    I check in on you almost every day. I'll be damned if I can figure out how to subscribe :confused
    Nice to have the little women drop in now and again.

    I followed your route in a VW bus back in 1975. I shipped from Aguadulce to Buenaventura (port of Cali) in the hold of a ship transporting panela.
  14. Sleddog

    Sleddog Currently Benched

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    664
    Location:
    SE South Dakota
    Go to the top of the page, just above where it has the pages listed. Click on Thread Tools. A box will drop down & then click on "subscribe to this thread" you'll have options to how often you want to be sent updates.

    Sleddog
  15. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Yah, having her here is great but it sure messes with my routine. It's tough but I'm coping. :wink:

    I promise, if we don't travel today, will do another now, otherwise will be in 3 or 4 days
  16. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    One of those places you eat at only once . . .

    Using Casa Helbling as our base while in Ecuador. It is a great place. Probably even learn a little German through osmosis.

  17. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Wow - what an adventure that would have been. I'm sure I've seen your old VW bus still slowly chugging along down here.

  18. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Out Standing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    137
    Location:
    Tallahassee. FL. USA
    I sold it in Asuncion, Paraguay.
  19. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    North of T.Ho., Ontario
    Okay you have redeemed yourself with this fill in post.

    Looking forward to your posts when you get back to "normal' :lol3.

    Cheers
  20. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    I had a day to kill and get half-assed orgianized before Mrs RB arrived on the first. Thought I would wander over to Freedom Bike Rentals about 2 blocks from Casa Helbling. They have a great website with loads of information about travelling in Ecuador. Met Sylvain in the store and he offered to order a new rear tire for me when they send their next order in. He and Court who I'd had some email correspondence with are great people.

    [​IMG]


    Then went over to the “Gringo Mall” to see if I can get an Ecuador chip for my POS phone and maybe track down some of the apparently mandatory bike insurance.

    Here's the “Food Court” on the top floor . . . any questions why it is called the “Gringo Mall”?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next to the store to get my cell phone chip was this abomination. My God, what were they thinking? Like a Siren, the draw was almost insurmountable but, I persevered . . . kinda.


    [​IMG]


    Got my chip for about $7 - damn phone still doesn't work right. Didn't find the insurance.


    On the way to the Mall, walked past this huge yard full of tow trucks and driver training cars, trucks and buses, a bunch of simulator vans and a little mini-road system. The Ecuador Auto Club’s driver training program. Impressive. This was a small part of the huge yard.



    [​IMG]


    Also saw a number of these bike racks. Apparently the City sponsors a really cheap bike rental program. Kind of goofy looking bikes but, cheap transportation


    [​IMG]



    Since Colombia, have been noticing people with dummys of all shapes and sizes. At first they were being used by groups to stop people for donations. Then started to notice them sitting in front of stores then see them on the front of cars.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Even Casa Helbling had one


    [​IMG]


    Some people apparently make them and sell them and the masks on the side of the road.



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    The tradition is that the dummy contains all the bad luck of the past year and on New Years they are burned or, even better, blown up – destroying all the bad luck and letting you start with a clean slate for the new year.


    Went to find dinner at a restaurant a few blocks from Casa Helbling an area nicknamed Gringolandia – amazing how the Gringo theme seems to permeate in this town. Lots of bars, restaurants and hostels.



    [​IMG]


    Some of locals getting primed for New Years party.


    [​IMG]


    The restaraunt is mama Clorindas which serves authentic Ecuadorian food. Had the Llapingachos with 2 meats - sausage and pork, which are hidden under the fried egg. Excellent! :clap:clap



    [​IMG]


    Desert was Pristiños - a pastry kind of like Horse Blankets you get at the County Fair with a really good sauce to dip in.



    [​IMG]


    The New Years fireworks/firecrackers started at about 10 o'çlock and went steady for at least 3 hours. When I mean steady, think of a string of those little firecrackers we used to get as kids then multiply that by a few dozen, constant and much louder. I’m sure some of them would be a decent fraction of a stick of dynamite. Look outside and the town is enveloped in a cloud of burned black powder.

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