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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lostmike, Nov 6, 2018.
Excellent! I love the wildlife. Those seals seem to own the joint.
A glimmer of hope, just what I needed! Still going strong, getting ready to fly the bike to Panama and crack on up through central. She's got a few battle scars now haha. Hows the riding up there at the moment?
They certainly did.
The weather in Los Angeles has been perfect for riding except for the occasional sprinkle of rain. Unseasonably mils at the moment, but I doubt it will last!
Have a good time through C.A.!
Mike (Photos not arranged in any way sorry)
Can’t believe it’s been a month, as usual we are a bit behind on our report. Columbia was bloody awesome and I don’t think I’ll be doing it justice with this update but here goes. Our first day was a pretty quiet ride into Pasto, I had no idea how big the city was because we just wanted an easy transit point after our border crossing, but it was a complete cluster. The traffic was a bit of a nightmare when we got in, mainly because of a big dance festival that was happening. Seems if there is anything going on we will end up riding into the middle of it! A few unorthodox lane changes and one way street violations later we made it to our hotel. Exploring, admin and planning took up the next day, the “Hotel Fernando Plaza” was a great base for this and a pretty good price
Admin completed we hit the road for Popayan, great riding with a big variety of terrain and road conditions, Things got to a standstill about 50ks out when we hit about 20kms of stopped traffic. Turned out there was a huge landslide that had taken out a large section of road and a few houses. We learned later over 20 people died so that was pretty sad. When we rode through they were still digging. I didn’t realise they were still looking for survivors. Took us a while to negotiate our way through that shamozzle but eventually we found our air bnb and went and found food and beers.
We had a great few days in Popayan cruising round and enjoying the local beverages and cuisine. The second night we got back to find that my sub tank repair had let go, and dumped 7 litres of fuel through the indoor parking garage of the air bnb. Well it was when I opened the door and the apartment smelt like a pit lane. The clean-up rivalled the Valdeez disaster. Cali was the next stop on the list. We were going there because I had heard good things about the Asturias motorbike shop and wanted to get my valve checks done there, as well as a full service before we hit Central America. Meg had booked us a hilarious room in a crazy cat ladies apartment. She sat in the sitting room in the dark all day and her main occupation appeared to be smoking as many cigarettes as possible. The cats and cat hair also added a nice ambience. Needless to say we didn’t spend too much time there, in between sorting out the bike stuff and exploring the city. We bumped into another biker here, Vasilisa who is making her way slowly north. The crew at Asturias were pretty cool and we had a few beers with them as well at one of the local biker pubs.
While walking around we also randomly meet a local bike builder named Oscar who turns the local bikes into kickass scramblers his artwork and concept drawings reminded me a lot of the chip foose stuff who was one of his inspirations. Another highlight was the aviation and model train museum even got to jump in the Huey they had sitting there. We spent a little bit too long in Cali because it was getting a bit old by the time we left, but couldn’t do much about it as the bike took a little bit longer than what we planned. I spent a lot of time running around trying to find a pair of Motoz Tractinators, the importer for Columbia assured me we could get them, but the shop only had RallZ which were too soft for us. Then he stopped communicating altogether which was pretty disappointing. I tried to get hold of Motoz Australia who also couldn’t be bothered getting back to me. I thought that was pretty average for an aussie company. Anyway, not the end of the world. By the time we left Cali I was pretty happy about seeing it in the rear-view mirror. It was a bit of a drama leaving actually, the patch job on the tank that they did at Asturias let go as soon as I filled it so I had to quickly drain into an array of containers to avoid another spill. The guy at the pump was stoked, reckoned he wasn’t going to need gas for his scooter for a while.
We hit Salento next which turned out to be a packed with fellow travellers enjoying the sights. We had a walk around which didn’t take long and settled down for a few beers. On the way, back to our accommodation we spot a pretty dingy dark little bar and stop in for a look. Turned out to be an old discotheque with a great collection of vinyl. We get down to some serious drinking and the local ladies decided to teach Meg some Salsa or Tango or something. I was too busy drinking whisky with the owner and his mate to participate. Plus I don’t need any lessons. Haha. The whisky just kept appearing and my token no thanks was given as much respect as it deserved. I was pretty worse for wear by the end of the night, but not as bad as the guy who had been buying the bottles, he ended up being carried home by a couple of lads.
The next day was pretty rough and I wasn’t a pretty sight. I’m not even sure I made it out of the room. I came right the next day and we headed to Medellin. To start of the day we tried a fairly rough sort of track that looked like it looped back the main drag but we couldn’t get through so had to backtrack. Was a nice diversion though. The ride to Medellin was going pretty well till I fucked up pretty badly overtaking a long truck and trailer unit. He had slowed down in front of us as we got into a little town so I flicked around him, doing about 50-60kmh. The issue was that in front of the truck was a line of yellow lane dividers that would have stopped a tank. They were also cunningly disguised to blend in with the roadway. The bloody things where half a foot high so it’s not really an excuse, I still should have seen them sooner. Turns out the angle on them also made a great ramp. I couldn’t get through and hit one square on, I thought I had got away with it, but just couldn’t collect it. We ended up sideways and transitioned into a pretty spectacular high side.
The gear did its job again, the Stadler jackets and pants we’ve got have been awesome in this regard, absolutely rock solid. I think the neck braces we wear are bloody fantastic as well, and the AGV helmets hold the highest safety rating on the market. I got a hell of a fright and was really worried about Meg. It’s the worst feeling in the world knowing you’ve ***** up and are responsible for your wife’s pain. Meg was an absolute trooper though and after a quick check over and all clear by the ambos, got back on the bike which was pretty worse for wear. Pannier took most of the damage but the handlebars were also bent beyond repair. The bike was rideable and we carried on, as there wasn't really much else to do.
I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and we were limping our way towards Medellin making our way past a line of stopped cars when Meg spotted an Aussie sticker on the back of a nicely set up Land cruiser. We stopped to say hello and they turned out be old family friends of Megs parents from Alice Springs. It was a nice moment which made us feel a bit better. We got to Medellin just on dark and the traffic was absolutely insane. Took us 3 hours to do 15ks and we even passed a 15 car/scooter pile up with a few injured people lying around. Ambos where on scene so I didn’t stop to help. I was buggered and so was Meg. The hostel ended up being in one of the roughest parts of city, El Centro where the Police fear to tread after dark and basically you are on lockdown in your accommodation until the morning. There where gangs of people hanging round corners and intersections. It looked like a cross between the zombie apocalypse and a mad max scene. We have both travelled through some pretty rough places both on this trip and past ones but I’ve never felt as unsafe as I did here. I completely abandoned all road rules and went straight through every form of traffic control we encountered. We made it with no hassles though.
We had a pretty serious chat over a couple of beers about carrying on. I was ready to throw in the towel and fly the bike back to Aus. Main reason was the last stack we had in Peru was just one of those off-road moments, this one was completely my fault by misreading the road and not spotting the hazard, and I felt absolutely crap about it. Lucky Megs cooler head prevailed and we talked it through. Our friend Desi had a contact in Medellin named Juan David. He turned out to be an absolute dead set legend. He came the next morning on his scooter, escorted us to the local big bike shop, helped organise the repair, got us back to our accommodation and then picked us up in his car the next day and took us all over the place, we even hiked up a huge rock in Guatape and went for a private boat ride on the lake complete with beers and music. The lake was created for a big hydro project and they flooeded a town to make it. Pablo Escobar used to hang out there and we had a good look at his burnt-out lakeside mansion. We headed back to town and met his family where we were instantly adopted. The next day all went to the biggest bike show in South America called the Feria 2 Ruedas. It was massive with all the big brands represented and a lot of smaller ones. I had a look at the new KTM 790 and its definitely on my wish list. There where bands, stunts, two stroke bike racing, a freestyle mx display and everything else in between. I found a new pair of Sidi Adventure boots to replace my foul smelling, ruined and leaking Formas. They were getting so feral that they weren’t allowed inside hotel rooms haha.
(Below photo was taken an hour after our crash when we stopped for lunch, shows just how tough Meg is)
Was an awesome way to spend the day and a real Colombia highlight. The fun didn’t stop there though and he spent the next day with us walking around the city. He didn’t speak much English and our Spanish is terrible but it didn’t matter at all. We couldn’t thank him and his family enough, and his kindness and hospitality went a really long way to getting us back on our feet. I picked up the bike, and the guys had done a great job in straightening it out, they even found a new pair of pro taper bars (which turned out to be too high with my risers so I took the risers of the next day) It was time for new tyres and I ended up finding a TKC70 for the back and Metzler Tourance for the front. The only bad point was their gas tank repair failed on the first fill as well which was a pain in the neck. While all this was happening, we had been in contact with Veronica from Cargorider to arrange getting the bike to Panama. On the day of departure true to form Juan turned up on his BMW and rode with us to airport, stopping on the way to buy us breakfast. A few hours and some blood sweat and tears later we were well on the way to being ready for the bike to fly. Unfortunately, we had to sprint to the international terminal to catch our flight before we had finished crating the bike. Juan stepped in yet again and remained with the bike to make sure she got away all right. Thanks again mate we cant thank you enough. Our last few hours in Columbia where spent in the terminal having a few beers and reflecting on the last few months. It was sad to leave South America but we were both excited about the next chapter.
I’ve been trying to think of a way to summarise it but can’t really. It’s been an incredible journey full of great times and amazing people. So many highlights. We make a great team and haven’t had any dramas at all even on the most brutal riding days. Meg might want to add something about It as well so Ill hand it over to her. Thanks for reading!
Wow! I could find happiness there. Breathtaking. Where is this?
That’s the view from what the locals call “the big ***king* rock in Guatape, Northern Columbia. The lake is huge, and lots of people who live in Medellin have little getaway lake houses there. The most famous being Escobar’s. Definitely a lovely part of the world.
In Nic now? Gonna visit El Salvador? I know of a nice place there on the Pacific coast at Playa El Cuco.
Ah thanks for the info, we really wanted to, but chose a weeks diving in Honduras instead. The Alaska/Tukatoyotuk weather deadline is getting closer and closer!
Looking good! Hit me up when you get close to L.A. !