2 Months on a Bike in Colombia - 2019 and 2020

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Champe, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    This is the scenery around Guatape. The actual rock is in the middle, just past the first ridge.
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    The rock is a really big tourist attraction and it attracts a lot of side businesses. One is horseback riding. These guys are set up as close to the rock as possible.
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    This is from the parking lot to the rock. You already have a good view of the lake.
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    Part way up the rock... the whole way is about 1500 stairs. They are solid poured concrete. Actually two staircases...one up and one down.
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    This is the main view from the top.
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  2. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Easterly view. yes, there is vegetation growing on the rock.

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    Good view, but i do not see any dirt roads.
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  3. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Postcard shot
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    Here is a crowd trying to all get the same shot at the top of the rock
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    There is a nice deck at the top, where you can sit and get refreshments. A small tower takes you even higher.
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  4. Tomaso

    Tomaso Been here awhile

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    1500 steps. No wonder they all look to be in their twenties.
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  5. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Not recommended if you have health issues. There is no elevator. And with the close proximity of a lot of strangers, masks are worn. Does not help breathing any. Ana declined to actually climb the stairs due to an achilles tendon injury.

    If you have the dinero , then why not take a helicopter ride ? There are at least two heli businesses in my photos, near the rock. They can give you some really good views of the lake and rock. No landing on the rock though. Post 521, last photo, has the closest landing pad, halfway up the access road. A round white circle marks the spot. There is a chopper on it now. I saw several flying at once.
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  6. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    I did spot what I thought was a dirt road from on top of the rock. So we took a ride on it. This is looking back at the rock.
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    An apartment building in a small town along the route.
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    Street artists at work in Guatape
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    Interesting lake boat/restaurant. Used primarily for functions.
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    The rock from the main road. This is the side with the stairway, but it is in the shadow right now, so I did not have much hope that this photo would turn out.
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  7. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Another view of the rock from the main road. The G on the rock is the start of Guatape. This much was done a long time ago and never finished.
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    This is a signature photo of Guatape from a gas station heading back. DSCN2266.JPG


    A better one without the signature
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  8. Tomaso

    Tomaso Been here awhile

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    Wonder why they stopped at "G" and part of "U"?

    There's a story behind that.

    The rock is located between the contentious villages of Guatapé and El Peñol. The rest of the story should be self explanatory, but in case some of us want more narrative -

    One day a few townsfolk from Guatapé decided its name would look pretty good on The Rock, and thereby resolve the dispute with the neighboring village of EL Peñol over ownership rights. So they took a big bucket of white paint and some suspension ropes and went to work, with the intention of staking their rightful claim to this magnificent, one of a kind landmark. They got as far as the front of the "U" before the people of El Peñol noticed and mobbed The Rock and nipped Guatapé's claim in the bud.

    Since The Rock is famously known as La Piedra Del Peñol, or El Peñol Stone, they may have a point, even though it's about 3 miles closer to Guatapé than it is to El Peñol.

    In the long run, what some view as cheap and trashy graffiti will eventually fade away, and with it, one hopes, bitterness and bad feelings.
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  9. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Thanks for that El Pinol / Guatape story. There are a lot of El Penol signs around so that was confusing. No problem finding the rock though. I like how Ana directed me up the back (service) way at first. We passed a flagman but got turned back by security, and then went to the main parking lot. Ha Ha Nice try.

    Later I shocked her a little by going the same way, but forking off to the left, into the countryside. No security guards. Go as far as you want. What I thought would turn to dirt never did, Concrete and imbedded stone all the way, for miles. Only one track, but no traffic, so have fun. Nice water views every so often. Where there is no view you can play with the road.
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  10. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    We made it back to La Perla with a slightly spicy ride on asphalt. I was warned about lane splitting near a police checkpoint. By Ana, not the police. Jorge and company were probably surprised to see us in one piece again. He wanted a photo with him on the bike.

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    That evening I paid my bill and let them know I was leaving the next morning. So with a little pressure on, things got more serious. Ana told me she was selling the business. Or looking for a partner. I told you guys the terms earlier. Feel free to jump in. Jorge does not want to do it.

    But I guess they think I might be interested. Or maybe one of you. So I got more sales pitch the next morning, when I actually wanted to leave. Got a full tour of every room in the place and the vacant lot next door. And they wanted me to see something down the road. Look familiar ?
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  11. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    This is the paragliding take-off area that morning. Lots of people ready to go. Too much fog though. It is in the process of lifting, but not quite yet.
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    We were actually here to see the restaurant, which Ana would like to emulate. Of course it would cost a lot. These guys are expanding.
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  12. tonymarchman

    tonymarchman Been here awhile

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    I like the way Anna thinks. A cafe near the jump site would enjoy continous patrons. Of course it would mean working every weekend, long hours at least until you found the right staff you could trust it to. Life with Anna looks to be full of wonder memories!
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  13. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Ana's place is about 6 km West on the edge of a different valley. That one faces the opposite direction. So quite possibly will have a strong downdraft. What Ana has is a nice view, but nothing like the jump site.

    The jump site has no hotel though. And that delivers steady income. Enhancing the restaurant is not a bad idea. But I would try to find a way to fill the existing tables before adding new ones. The hotel is only getting 30,000 pesos a night... $9 for a room. As cheap as a bed in a dorm room at a hostel. Only 2 or 3 rented on a good night. The rooms are definitely much better than the average roadside hotel, but not deluxe. But more than 10 vacant on a regular basis ? There is capacity to triple the income.

    And of course we would have motorcycle rentals. Pickup and dropoff at the Medellin airport. Stay at the "La Perla Resort" high in the mountains, to "aclimate". Then explore the region by bike. There are numerous dirt roads and small villages in this area. Close by, Medellin provides an alternate Colombia experience. And longer interesting road trips of every difficulty branch out in every direction.

    Pipedream or nightmare ?
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  14. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

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    Could go either way. If you could boost the business using existing infrastructure by adding moto rentals and extensive inter web advertising, that could give time to evaluate the business partnership and determine if it is viable over the long haul. If results are positive additional investment might be warranted.
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  15. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

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    One often turns into the other, or into something really successful. Never know until you try. Jeff is a role model for that. Edit: one thing I did notice about Colombia is that motorcycles are very pricey. Even used ones. Like three to four times what we would pay for a similar bike in the states. This is based on doing some window shopping in Medellin and nothing more, but I was kind of blown away at how expensive big bikes were.
  16. Tomaso

    Tomaso Been here awhile

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    I'm wondering what sort of risks you're willing to take. It's one thing to risk money, time and labor on a project that has the potential to pay off. The x factor seems to be taking the risk involved in an interpersonal affair. Matters of the heart can be exhilarating or deeply painful, long-lasting or short-lived. Can you take a step back and say all parties involved are honest in their feelings for each other, as well as what they want from each other? If Jorge wants to bow out, that leaves you and Ana. Can you both give what the other one wants, and be happy doing it? I'm playing devil's advocate, mind you. The heart always finds its own way of doing things, whatever the price, whatever the risk.
  17. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Finally made my departure around noon. Heading for Manizales, the big city near Mt Ruiz. One more road trip before Bogota, my last dental checkup, and flight home. I have no real connection to Manizales, so any place in the area will be fine. I want to see the big volcano/glacier, but anything within 30 miles will be ok. With any luck, the sky will be clear and I can check out the long dirt road that runs along the East side of the park and close to the summit.

    But first we have to get there. I pick out a direct route that goes through lot of small towns, and may involve dirt. Going around the long way may be faster, since that would follow more major roads, but I am here to see some sights and dirt is ok with me.

    Going South, I make it to El Carmen de Viboral on pavement. Been there before, but this time I lose my way by leaving town on dirt. This is my second worst mistake of the trip. The road deteriorates gradually until it ends after more than an hour.


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    Another nice house in the country
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  18. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Burro or burrito ?
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    I wouldn't go too close to the edge here
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    Argh .. end of the road. Across the valley are two big waterfalls. This is a very nice spot. Way too hard to get here though. I was really hoping that I would not have to go back the same way since it was quite rugged at times. Long steep hills with loose rock are not the Duke's favorite element.
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  19. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    This is what the end of the road looked like. There is still a trail going up to the left. I thought it was possible, but the trend was not in my favor.

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    So I walked up a little way and this was the trail. A trials bike would be nice here.
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    Sample of the dirt road going back. This is one of the wetter spots. Still within the capability of good street tires. Some of these dirt roads would be a couple of degrees harder in heavy rain. But here I am in rainy season with some good luck.
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    Some turkey in the road
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    Nice looking herd getting milked in the field. There are no barns. Everyone milks outside. Usually they bring the milk home by tractor. sometimes by horse. It is often a muddy trek.
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  20. Tomaso

    Tomaso Been here awhile

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    Do you ever wonder, when passing unfenced cattle on the side of the road, that some bull might take umbrage at your presence or mistake you for a rival? Don't know why that thought terrifies me a bit. Probably they're more mellow than I imagine.

    Awesome photos. They've got me thinking about living in some farmhouse on the side of a mountain surrounded by green pasture and incredible beauty.