Virginia to Ushuaia on Dirt Bikes

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by chip8150, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,062
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    Awesome! I guess you're setting sail on Monday? Have a terrific time! Can't wait to hear about it.

    What's going on in Panama in the meantime?
    #81
  2. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,062
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    I've yet to go to the Galapagos, wouldn't mind checking it out. I've seen a lot of pics. I have ridden the mountains, though. If i were given a choice right now, one or the other, I would pick the mountains. Spectacular is an understatement. These guys and Marybeth are in for a treat!
    #82
    CrStep likes this.
  3. Romero

    Romero Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2016
    Oddometer:
    269
    Location:
    Morelia
    Nice job! My wife and I got temporary passports good for a year at the US Embassy in Rome when we were convinced that the Hotel in Umbria kept them on check in.....rode the train to Rome and with a few hours replacement passports!....Then I found the old ones in my sport coat a few days later....:doh
    She still gives me a hard time for that one!!
    #83
  4. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    As we get closer to leaving one continent, and heading towards another, we have a small bit of logistics to take care of. Yesterday morning we loaded up the bikes before 7am to head to Colon for our final bit of paperwork, getting the Temporary Import Permit cancelled. After the previous day's spectacular wait time for getting inspection paperwork completed, we were just a bit nervous about how this next step was going to go. After wiggling through some of the morning rush hour traffic, we found our way to the toll road heading north. Several toll booths were unmanned, and with no instructions, we'd pull up close to the gate that didn't open, and eventually a car would pull up behind us and the gate would open, so we gun it down the open road again. There was one manned toll booth in the middle of the stretch between the cities where we were charged a whopping $2.30 per bike to go through, I paid for both bikes, and after stuffing my wallet back in my jacket pocket, started heading through the raised gate, Chip didn't take off as soon and apparently was attacked by the gate before he got completely through. By the sounds that came through the helmet intercom, it might have caught him by surprise. I did what every good friend would do, check my mirror to see he was still upright, laugh, and click back over to listening to music. Arriving in Colon we were greeted by some traffic, and the dreaded dueling GPS scenario, each had its own idea as to what route we should take, and both were wrong. Luckily we were able to stop alongside the road in a wide spot to study the map and pick a more feasible route. Even more lucky, the Police that waved us into that wide spot alongside the road, for possibly running a red light that was flashing or maybe excessive application of throttle with a somewhat louder exhaust, were not too interested in writing us a ticket at the time. We eventually made it to the Aduana office, expecting to see long lines, and were pleasantly surprised to see a couple people milling about, and a cart selling breakfast. We walked into the office we were supposed to enter, on the second try, and were told to come back in 15 minutes. Perfect, breakfast time, a couple of egg, ham and cheese sandwiches, and coffee. The sandwich was great, the coffee was just a touch on the sweet side, as in there was more sugar than coffee in it. I particularly was not a fan of the sweet brew, but the swarm of bees surrounding us was. There would be several crawling around my hand, and you had to be careful not to crush any of them accidentally, because they do like to inflict injury before they die if they can. Since I like bees, and dislike sugary coffee, I did the kind act of pouring out my coffee for my flying friends.

    After our breakfast was finished, we made sure our papers were in order and headed into the Aduana office to see how things were going to go. The office was decorated with all types of Christmas items, trees, lights and such. A couple of the workers were wearing felt antlers which gave me hope the things could go good for us, and the air conditioner was working beautifully so that's always a bonus. We handed our papers through the window to the smiling worker who quickly stacked them in order, entered stuff into the computer, printed out a sheet and stapled it on the top of each of our 3 stacks. After things were stapled, stamped, and signed, she kept one stack, and handed each of us the remaining two and said bye with a smile. We looked at each other and then her, it didn't seem right that something so government could go so quick, but we were again told that we were free to go. We met Steffan as we were leaving, he was doing the same paperwork before the holiday weekend to meet the same boat as us. He was working with a shipping agent who gave us the advice that if we get pulled over, not to give the police the paperwork we had just completed, since it says that our bikes have been checked out of the country. Luckily we'd already been pulled over before doing the paperwork. It did give me a possibly false sense of freedom knowing that bike was technically not in the country anymore, meaning that any ticket or infraction might not have to be paid before leaving the country, as long as none of our travel documents were held as ransom. Not that we are habitual law breakers, but Id hate to have to spend a day trying to pay a ticket, instead of getting on a pre arranged sail boat to leave the country.

    Speaking of leaving countries, Chip now has a new temporary passport with enough space to complete the trip. I could tell, and he even said it, that a huge weight had been lifted off him with a new passport in hand. We now have a couple days to kill before setting sail. Monday morning we need to be two hours away from Panama City in Puerto Linda to meet the rest of the passengers for the boat, and to load the motorcycles. Having not thoroughly enjoyed our last hotel, we decided to search for something different. That turned out to be a hostel closer to the downtown area. Funny thing is, we have an even smaller room than before, but with plenty of large common areas and a pool. Its bright, has a power outlet that doesn't turn off when you leave, and an air conditioner that will cool things to arctic temps. Our usual practice is to turn the AC on high and cool things off while we go eat. This was a bit much because when we came back I took my computer out to the common area to write this blog, and it was quickly covered with condensation. So instead, we spent the evening talking with a couple guys by the pool of the hostel, Ken from Virginia, who is retired, and has been living the life of a nomad for ten years, and Andy, an ex Army Ranger who works in solar consulting and is living abroad. We passed a bit of time sharing travel stories as the sun set, Chip gaining information on how to live the nomadic life. It was very interesting to hear how "other Ken" has been doing it, but "this Ken" really enjoys being married while living and working on the farm and taking occasional vacations. Days spent sitting by the pool in the sweltering heat of Central America may sound great to some, but sometimes, Id rather be working in my shop, or on the farm. Today I'll settle for updating this blog, and maybe getting some laundry done, Ive got a couple shirts that some may consider just a bit on the "gamey" side.

    Today is a government holiday in Panama, so luckily all our important paperwork we need for Monday's departure is completed already. We will be going to tour the Panama Canal tomorrow, it would be silly not to, and Id really like to see it closer than just crossing over it on a bridge. My wife has always dreamed of seeing the canal, so I can foresee a return trip to Panama someday in our future. Next time we'll fly, just to avoid having to cross all the land borders in Central America again, try as may, they just don't add much enjoyment to the journey. But there is a great sense of relief and excitement riding away from a border, with a new country to explore ahead of you, and a motorcycle underneath you. The best is yet to come.

    But for now, pictures.
    [​IMG]
    Bridge over the Panama Canal

    [​IMG]
    View from the bridge, looking out into the Caribbean

    [​IMG]
    Our room at the hostel, not bad for $12 a bed in Panama City.
    #84
  5. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Mountains of Colorado
    CN - Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal

    So as Ken indicated in the last post we are killing time until Monday - currently here in Panama City at the Princess Carolina Hostel and tomorrow we will move over to the Caribbean coast to the town Portobela. Hostels are interesting places to meet fellow travelers. We met Ken, who is on 10 years a nomad who moves between RV life in the states in summer months and Panama in the winter months. We also have met Andy, an ex Army Ranger originally from Texas who has been living on and off in London and Panama. The last two days have been fun with these two - hanging around, shooting the breeze and sharing travel stories. Today we got to spend some time with another interesting person - Milos, an 86 year old gentleman from the Czech Republic who has been traveling the world for nearly 20 years. As far as I can tell (he doesn't speak English and I don't speak Czech) he has visited over 100 countries in his travels. To me he is the bravest and most amazing of the bunch. He decided some time ago he was going to live the rest of his life his way - not rotting away somewhere letting life pass him by. He is physically limited due to his age but makes due pretty darn good on his own. I think he plans to live this life until he drops dead - living the dream up to that very last second.

    Today the three of us took a taxi together to visit the Miraflores locks at the Panama Canal. Milos probably would have struggled a bit to do the trip on his own so I'm glad Ken and I were able to assist and bring him along with us. The taxi ride is only about 20 minutes from our downtown location. We arrived just in time to got to see one of the medium size ships go through the lock system and into the lake and toured the museum at the visitors center. The place was a zoo with tourists - which is normally not my scene, but I enjoyed seeing the locks again from a different perspective. Six years ago I took a locks tour during a business trip to Panama where we actually were on a ferry boat behind the ship going through the locks. This time I got to see the engineering behind the process from the shore so very different but just as interesting.

    Today we will try to find some ginger and/or dramamine for the boat, cash up at an ATM (no shortage of banks in Panama City) and lounge around the pool - just killing time. In the morning we will ride to Portobela and hopefully find a hostel near Captain Jacks restaurant and bar - kind of a Panama institution on Caribbean coast.

    Lastly, as Ken mentioned in the previous post I was able to secure a temporary emergency passport to get me through the rest of the trip. And yes, this is a huge weight off my shoulders. I did not want to have to sit and wait somewhere for 2-3 weeks to get a new passport produced in the states - which is the standard option you have at an embassy. The emergency passport is a judgement call and I am happy that the person making the decision in Panama ruled in my favor and turned it around for me in less than 24 hours. Good to go!!!

    [​IMG]
    Chip and Milos.

    [​IMG]
    Ken and Milos

    [​IMG]
    Miraflores Locks.



    [​IMG]
    Ship approaching the locks.

    [​IMG]
    Ship entering the locks.
    #85
    fasttortoise, chudzikb and ONandOFF like this.
  6. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    7,764
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Keep using the old passport (assuming they didn't cancel it) until it is utterly full with no room for a single extra stamp. That's not something many people have done and would be quite a souvenir.
    #86
    Kyler likes this.
  7. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    19,101
    Location:
    North Carrollton, MS - Traveling on the Moto
    They punched holes in my old one when they returned so it it could no longer be used.
    #87
  8. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Mountains of Colorado
    Yup, they cancelled and punched my old one out. 85 stamps and 4 visas - just a few stamps shy of completely full.
    #88
  9. ObiJohn

    ObiJohn Screaming Banshee

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    937
    Location:
    Seattle suburbia
    A great read... just wondering why you chose the DR350s over the BMWs that seemed to serve you well on the last trip. Have you come across anything the Beemers couldn't handle?
    #89
  10. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    My BMW couldn't handle being ditched in South America. Would love to sell them to someone who wants to ride them back to the states. I won't spend $2500 to ship a $1000 bike back home.
    #90
    AT Blizzard, ONandOFF and Kyler like this.
  11. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,062
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    Great call IMO.
    #91
  12. rokon140

    rokon140 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    106
    Location:
    macon
    Updates please.
    #92
  13. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Quick poolside update, We spent the last 6 days on a sailboat island hoping in the San Blass. Offloaded the bikes in Caretgena Columbia this morning. Won't be able to clear the bikes until Monday morning. I gave some guy ten bucks to wash my bike and watch it for me over the weekend. Definateley took some serious saltwater dousings in heavy seas, amazing, the speed of rust. Both bikes started, Chips needed some coaxing, but finally woke up. We're in a hotel by the harbour, enjoying the pool and solid ground. My wife lands in Quito on Friday, 1100 miles away. I will be there. I'll have a complete(somewhat) update tomorrow of the last several days at sea.
    #93
  14. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,062
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    Whoa Ken, you'll be hustling. No extended exploration of Colombia this time through. Ecuador will be great, you know that. Wish Rosie and I were there to show you around and introduce you to family. Looking forward to the reports. Que Dios los acompaƱe!
    #94
  15. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Back on the map



    Wow, its been a while hasn't it. I actually kind of like not having to write blog entries and just enjoying the trip. But since it too hot out in the sun to do much today, and its nice and shady by the pool with a breeze blowing through, I guess I'll try to catch everyone up on what's been happening. The pool in question is in Colombia, and how we got here, is why we were "off the map" for almost a week.

    Last Saturday we left our hostel in Panama City and headed north towards Puerto Lindo , a small village on the Caribbean coast. We found a hostel for the night in Portobello, just a few miles from where we were supposed to meet our boat on Monday morning. When we arrived at the hostel, we met Rob, another rider from Colorado, who was making the trip on his own. The evening was spent swapping travel stories, and talking about where were headed once we crossed the Darien Gap. Rob had some amazing stories and videos of his time in Honduras during the riots. He wasn't there willingly, and was trying to get out of the country as fast as possible. Many roads were blocked off by burning tires, rocks, anything that was available. One particular video shows him riding his motorcycle through burning tires to make his escape out of the city, pretty hairy stuff at the time, but good to be able to look back at it and laugh now. Rob was taking a different boat around the Darien Gap and we hope to meet back up and ride with him in South America for a while if things work out. Last I heard from him, his boat had been cancelled due to not having enough passengers. Possibly due to the fact that that particular captain is on his fourth boat, one of which we passed on our second day of sailing, grounded on a shallow reef, leaning towards its side where it has been for a couple years now. Not exactly what most people would call a good form of advertisement.

    We met our Captain Charli the next morning and proceeded to load our bikes on a smaller boat, to ferry them out to the Wild Card one at a time. It was again one of those times that made me glad for the smaller dirtbike vs the large BMW. Once we pulled alongside the Wild Card, a 60 foot motor sailer, ropes were lowered down and tied around the bike. Then it was winched up over the side of the boat, using a hand crank winch, and lowered gently down onto the deck. After a second trip back to the dock and repeating the process, both bikes were on board and lashed securely on the front of the main deck. The rest of our gear was loaded and stowed and our travel bags stashed on our assigned bunks below deck. We then went back to shore to await the arrival of the rest of the passengers. After everyone was given the instructions from the captain, they were ferried out to the boat, and we soon set off into the great blue sea. Once we left the shelter of the bay we found out that the sea was not exactly great. The waves were very large, and coming from many directions at once. Seasonal winds had picked up and were pushing up the water with amazing force. Passengers were rolling around the deck, hanging on to whatever they could at times. There were even the occasional screams when a set of waves would give the boat an extra heave and tilt. I was very happy with my decision to take a good dose of Dramamine before getting on the boat, even though I was questioning my decision of getting on the boat in the first place. After a couple hours of pushing through the heavy seas, we reached the more sheltered waters of the San Blas Islands, a chain of many small islands inhabited by only a few indigenous villages. We anchored up for the night while many of the passengers slept on bean bag chairs on the front deck after dinner was served. It was a tight fit for 18 people, but we made do because the sleeping rooms below deck were a bit on the warm side of comfortable. Halfway through the night I made my way down to my bunk and found that the heat was somewhat tolerable with the help of a fan mounted by my bed. The next morning we awoke to coffee and breakfast, followed by some passengers taking the small motor raft to shore to check out a local village. Chip and I took a swim in the ocean as we watched rain clouds head towards us. It worked out perfectly, as we climbed back on the boat, the rain hit and rinsed all the saltwater off of us. Later that morning when everyone was back on the boat we pulled up the anchor and headed to a nearby island with a beach to spend the rest of the afternoon. After snorkeling around the reef, a game of volleyball turned into several, which led to me realizing the next morning that I might have aged just a bit from my prime. The next couple days were more of the same, move to a different island under beautiful blue skies, surrounded by clear blue water, swim, snorkel, volleyball, hang out on the beach, lay in hammocks, take naps, eat, sleep on the boat. To make a long story short, we got to know a great bunch of travelers, all of which are younger than us. The captain and crew were awesome, great food, and a great boat.

    After the island fun, we set out for our 36 hour journey to Colombia. Back out into the open ocean where we were once again greeted by the waves (and more Dramamine). The last part of the crossing had waves throwing massive amounts of water and spray over the front of the boat, soaking the motorcycles in salt water. I'm sure there may be some long term electrical consequences to that, but hopefully nothing too major as we travel. Once we pulled into the harbor in Cartegena, we sprayed off the bikes with fresh water to rinse away the salt, followed up by a good spraying of wd40. After one last night on the boat in the calm waters of the harbor we woke up to the city skyline just in front of us. A bit of a jolt back into civilization for most of us. All of the other passengers were offloaded first and hauled into the docks. Next was my bike, reversing the loading process of winching the bike into a smaller boat, I climbed down into the boat and sat on my bike to stabilize it for the ride in. Its a weird feelings sitting on a motorcycle, on a boat, as the waves are pitching everything back and forth. After unloading my bile on the dock, they went back and picked up Chip and the rest of our gear and brought them in.

    Sitting on the docks under the blazing sun, surrounded by motorcycles, piles of gear, in another country, no local currency, no place to stay, and the bikes cant be legally driven until paperwork is finished on Monday. Were back into travel mode now. I watch the bikes as Chip goes off in search of a hotel and an ATM. Success with the hotel was easier than the ATM. There are tons of ATMs here in the city, finding one is not the problem. The challenge is finding one that works. Its almost like a game of whack a mole, one will work for a bit, then stop, while another one begins to work, then none work, then a guy comes walking buy pushing a cart selling fruit, then half the ATMs work, a car horn blows, they all stop, eventually you're in the right place at the right time and you get to withdraw cash. There could be some exaggeration in that previous bit, but its not as far off as you'd like to think it is. After checking into the hotel, and moving all our luggage up to the rooms, we dropped the bikes back at the marina and paid a guy to wash and watch them. Not sure how good the wash was, but every time we've gone by, the guy is there smiling and waving at us. Last night after a cooling dip in the pool, we went into the old city to meet up with the rest of our boating companions and the captain for barbeque and touring of the town. Colombian towns are known for being alive with music and people, and the city has a heartbeat that seems to move through everyone there. Its kinda cool to be a part of as a visitor, but peace and quiet has its benefits as well.

    This morning we had breakfast at the hotel, which only has 9 rooms, before we set out walking to find the places we need to go tomorrow to get the bikes checked into the country, and insured. Both steps are critical for us being able to travel without fear of having the bikes impounded. This is going to be a big week. We have to import the bikes into Colombia, cross the border into Ecuador, all while travelling 1,100 miles, starting Monday morning, and my goal is to be done by Friday evening so I can meet my wife at the airport in Quito. Time to saddle up and get things in gear, won't be much time for Christmas shopping this week.

    [​IMG]
    Chip heading out to the boat

    [​IMG]
    Up up and away

    [​IMG]
    Hanging out in the Caribbean


    [​IMG]
    Island Paradise

    [​IMG]
    Heading for shore
    #95
  16. PaisaMed

    PaisaMed Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Toronto, CAN & Medellin, COL
    When you guys pass through Medellin, pm me before and I can show you around for an hour if you have that to spare. Coffee?
    #96
    ONandOFF likes this.
  17. advrockrider

    advrockrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    835
    Location:
    Norcal
    Awesome report. At the border crossings does one of you stay with the bikes or do you pay someone to keep an eye on them? It sounds like you both went at the same time?
    #97
  18. tatt2mike

    tatt2mike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Oddometer:
    199
    I have a equipment related question. What tires are you guys using and how are they performing? Wear, handling, etc..
    #98
  19. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Border crossings we try to make sure bike is watched if necessary. Some do, some don't. When you get a border helper they usually have someone watch it for you.

    Tires are TKC-80 front, Mitas E-07 rear, workingn great and wearing great as well. We installed them in TX, I'll get some pictures to show wear later on.
    #99
    dwj - Donnie and tatt2mike like this.
  20. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Mountains of Colorado
    Monday - And then things got sketchy...

    The day started pretty much as planned - we completed the import paperwork and inspection process at DIAN (Address of National Tax and Customs) and purchased the required liability insurance for riding through Colombia. We were even served coffee at DIAN while waiting for the agent to arrive for the day. The whole thing took 2.5 hours and after a quick breakfast and loading of the bikes we were on the road by 11:30am.

    To back up a bit, we went back into old town on Sunday night after watching the sunset with our Wild Card friends at the old Spanish fort that surrounds much of the Harbour. The wall stretches around forever - pretty cool history in that Cartagena was once one of the most protected cities in the world. Google it - a pretty good read if you are a history buff. Old town projects it's colonial roots and has tons of character. Lots going on in the streets in the form of food vendors, musicians, street performers, etc. You can even buy beer through a "Magic Window" - which is someone's house that they sell ice cold beer in plastic cups out of. Right next to the Magic Window is another neighborhood homeowner who had a beverage cart moving up Mojitos, Cuba Libras, Pina Coladas and about 6 or 8 other classic cocktails. The laws are somewhat confusing on drinking in the streets - in plastic cups seems to be ok. But if taken into the public park area, the police often come by and make drinkers take their beverages back across the street. Bottles and cans from bars and stores are definitely not ok in the streets - so confusing. Anyway, it was our second straight night in Old town with our new friends from the Wild Card - really a great bunch of people that I will miss as we have all pretty much spent a week straight together. The whole sailing experience was a blast and thanks to Charli and crew for making it perfect!

    Traffic was heavy and temps were in the 90's as we pushed our way out of the city. We finally broke free and were on some rural 2-lane roads motoring through the countryside - making good time now out of the city. Unfortunately after only about 80k or so of smooth sailing we came upon a long line of vehicles stopped along the right hand lane and no one coming from the other direction. Something had stopped traffic for quite some time - we passed hundreds of vehicles to make our way to the front. Ken and I were both saying to each other on the coms that this had the feel of the protest we encountered in Mexico. Sure enough we arrive to the front to find the road blocked by logs and dozens of villagers standing around with big sticks and clubs. There were also quite a few police around as well. Ken took off his helmet and tried to play the gringo card - it did end up workin for us in Mexico. But not this time as the villagers were shaking their heads no - we could not pass. A guy who was also waiting and appeared to be negotiating with the villagers approached us and gave us the story (he spoke English). The village had not had water in days and they were protesting the government by blocking the road. He advised we park or bikes off to the side and wait it out like everyone else - and that things could become violent at at any time. He stated he was with the government and was negotiating a solution while public works was trying to restore the water supply. He also said that the police would most likely not intervene if things got violent. So we pulled off to the side and tried to find some shade as the temp was in the mid 90's.

    About 10-15 minutes later the villagers started shouting agua, agua and a few started running to the houses to get water. The police then started removing the logs and debris so everyone started making a mad dash to their respective vehicles and trucks started revving their engines. As we were getting on our bikes ( not 6 feet from the barricade) villagers with sticks started beating the police and stones were being thrown from the sides - shit just went super crazy in a matter of seconds. Police pulled their guns and started firing shots into the air and that scattered the villagers. By that time we were on our bikes and everyone was starting to go for it from both sides - cars, trucks, motorcycles going across the partially removed barricade. Ken was in front of me and we were in the left shoulder where the police had removed most of the logs and we went for it like everyone else. Unfortunately Ken clipped a motorcycle helmet that was among several that were on the ground in the shoulder and it kicked in front of my rear tire bringing me to a stop and breaking the helmet in two pieces in the process. It took several precious seconds for me to kick it out with my boot and before I could get going again the owner of the helmet (one of the protesters) saw I had broken the helmet and grabbed on to my rear rack. With the chaos of the moment and just fearing for my safety I tried to gun it out but just couldn't get any momentum - dragging him behind at slow speed for about 10 or 15 feet. He was yelling in Spanish and soon I had a small mob beating me with sticks and throwing rocks at me. Luckily the blows were to my back (thank you BMW back armor) so I barely felt the hits. But soon other villagers were in front of me and I had to stop and was quickly thrown to the ground with the motorcycle pinning my left leg under the bike. I thought I was doomed at that point. Everything had just happened in a matter of seconds and Ken was 50 yards ahead. Luckily a policeman appeared from nowhere and started shouting at the mob to let me go. He helped me from under the bike and to get it upright. I jumped back on but the guy with the busted helmet again grabbed on to my rear rack yelling to the policeman that I had broken his helmet. The policeman kept telling him to let me go but he continued to hold on. As the policeman put his hand to his gun holster I started shouting cuanto cuesta, cuanto cuesta (how much) - not wanting things to get any more out of hand - if that wa even possible. Broken helmet guy calmed down a bit and said 50 mil pesos (50,000 pesos or about $14US). I nodded to the policeman that it's ok, I will pay and handed him a 50 mil note. Broken helmet guy shook my hand and I was on my way with adrenaline up to my eyeballs. After catching up with Ken he said had heard some of the scuffle through the com before it went out - probably when I hit the ground, but he couldn't get back with all the traffic that had broken loose. He tried to enlist another police officer near him to go help me but the cop wanted no part of it. I'm thankful for the cop that did appear when I was on the ground - otherwise I have no idea how things would have turned out. Pretty scary shit - but all is good except for a sore knee where the bike landed on me. I guess it's all a part of the adventure .

    We found a hotel in the small town of Planeta Rica where we are once again the only gringos in town (Cartagena had many tourists from all over the world). The street food was plentiful and delicious. Tomorrow we head for Medellin and continue our 5 day blast through Colombia to Ecuador.

    [​IMG]
    Cartagena Skyline from the anchored Wild Card.

    [​IMG]
    Cartagena Harbor.

    [​IMG]
    A portion of the Wild Card gang.

    [​IMG]
    Street food!

    [​IMG]
    Just before things went pear shaped at the protest.