El Burro - hibernating In Uruguay

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TeeTwo, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    My first bowl of ajiaco has just blown my socks off. I am liking it here.

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    Reality has finally elbowed out fantasy. Pinched flesh when I woke up this morning; confirmed it wasn't a dream. Though with the chill in the unheated hostel room confirmation was redundant.

    The journey has commenced though El Burro is awaiting air shipment from Miami. She should be here next week (I didn't like 'la burra', so my '15 Honda CB500X RR3 will have to live with gender confliction...it is 2019 after all). Sans mirrors at the freight forwarder in Miami.

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    CargoRider, Bogota under the oversight of Veronica Mosquera (a name known to some on this site) are taking care of the shipping, soup to nuts.

    I am not new to this adventure riding lark; the Dalton, TOTW, Dempster, Denali, Trans-lab, CO passes etc. are in the log on a '05 R12GS. Decided to downsize for this adventure, a trip which is pushing the envelop on my comfort zone, not to mention those back home.

    Years of lurking, note taking and adulation of ADVrider rockstars (they know who they are) got me into this game in the first place. Thank you. Lessor mortals spurred me into this latest spin of the wheels. My plans are STILL being refined by those traveling now; BattDoc and SalsaRider….thank you all.

    It is time to shake the n00b moniker and share, perhaps it will be the finger on the scale to motivate another person to take the leap and venture to South America.

    Beware the ramblings of a late adopter of the modern age gap year, but it would be great to have some of the ADV community along for the ride.

    Cheers. T2
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  2. Burro driver

    Burro driver dba John

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    How long do you plan on being in SA?
    #2
  3. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Burro driver....the trip will be in three parts.

    Colombia, Ecuador and the northern section of Peru will take me to early March. Family commitments require a return home, planned to be from Lima.

    Touring the southern half of Peru, northern Chile, Bolivia, northern Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay should commence late April, 8-10 weeks. Catching the dry season in the region. The bike will be parked in Uruguay to wait for better weather in Patagonia and southern Chile to arrive.

    The final push to TDF will start in October, another 8-10 week stint.

    So in total about 6 months in SA across 2019. That is the plan anyway, we all know about plans though.

    T2
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  4. Burro driver

    Burro driver dba John

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    Sounds well thought out. How long have you been planning all this?
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  5. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Well, as much as I like Bogota I am ready to leave. It won't happen for another week or more.

    My planning occurred over several years on a look-see (lurking ADV'er etc) note interesting stuff basis, followed by a more intense 2-3 months prior to departure. I thought I did a decent job ...but then an unexpected problem has come up with US Customs & Border Patrol (unrelated to the shutdown I might add).

    In order to ship by air, at least from Miami, a clean title (and I provided full vehicle provenance, copies of i) the Honda CoO assigned to me, ii) my old CT title + driver license to match addresses & iii) my current, original and clean title) plus the signed bill of sale is inadequate to export by air. US CBP want copies of the actual method of payment. A image of a cashed personal check, a copy of a bank check, copy of wire transfer, cash withdrawal receipt etc.

    Unfortunately, the freight forwarder in Miami submitted the export documentation without the proof of payment and did not contact me about the deficiency until the export application was rejected (72 hours after submission, a mandatory wait imposed by US CBP after submitting export docs). Fortunately, my wife found the necessary proof of payment so it can be submitted Tuesday (Monday being a Federal holiday). Evidently another 72 hour wait will be imposed on the submission of the new docs. At best it seems the moto could fly on Friday all being well. Oh well.

    When the exercise to get the bike here is concluded (or not :dirtdog) I will post a complete write up, good and bad.

    In the meantime if anyone is planning to ship a bike by air out of the US be prepared to show proof of payment. If you saved up over time in a shoebox planning to pay for the bike by cash, take the money out, put it in the bank and withdraw it immediately before payment to the seller. Keep the receipt, you may need it. Ditto any other method of payment.

    Of course you can ride across the border to Canada and airship from there and US CBP couldn't give a s$$t because they don't consider/know it has been 'exported', ditto Mexico. Gotta love government rules. Anyway, trying to stay calm, I am British. :imaposer

    T2
    #5
  6. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Outstanding! That's one heck of an attack plan for the adventure, I'm looking forward to following along. Sucks about the bike being held 'hostage' while you're still waiting in Columbia, though glad the issue was resolved in a timely manner so you're not stuck down there for an extended stay wondering WTF.

    Safe travels and keep the knobby side down @TeeTwo!
    #6
  7. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Glad to have you along liv2day.

    My thinking for this thread is to keep posts primarily to information (inc. pics) that might be of value to other ADV'ers en route, planning or just contemplating a trip down here, rather than a detailed travelogue . A few touchy feelies will be thrown in here, sourced from the blog I have up and running for family and friends.

    To that end … Bogota.

    Bogota airport - immigration and customs clearance was a breeze. Airport to La Candalaria (city center) $20 - prepaid white cab, the kiosk is immediately to the left after exiting the customs area. Cheaper, smaller but still prepaid taxis are available from the same kiosk. I was advised to avoid using anything other than prepaid cabs to avoid the 'millionaire' ride. Paid by card.

    Fatima Hostels and Suites, Carrera #4. Booked via Booking.com, got a discount rate on private room/shared bath ~ $19/night. Clean, nice common areas, beer available :beer, breakfast included (though modest). Close to a lot of restaurants and multiple secure parking lots within 50 yards for (when the moto does in fact arrive). Convenience stores, drug stores, ATM's all within 400 yard walk.

    Security - La Candalaria gets mixed reviews online. I have never felt unsafe, even at night, though I don't wander around after ~10pm. The only problem I had was in the daytime from a down and out who was..wait for it ...yep, an American! Lots of Policia and private security in the whole downtown area.

    There was a bomb in Bogota on Thursday, killed more than 10 people at a graduation ceremony for the Bogota Police. It was the first major bomb incident in Bogota for 9 years and has had an obvious effect on the population who have become accustomed to a more peaceful country. There was a major rally in Plaza de Bolivar today in support of the authorities and rejecting violence. Massive police and army presence - peaceful and the locals were sharing hugs and flowers with the military and police. I spoke with a couple of Policia in my broken Spanish and took the picture below.

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    Motorcycle bits - I wanted to pick up some chain lube and puncture repair glue in prep for the ride. Going to the Honda and other dealerships proved fruitless. Bogota is buzzing with motos, it was obvious that many parts/accessory places must exist. It turns out that they are all grouped together, dozens of them, more like a rally back in the US. If you can't find the sundry item you might require here then I would be surprised.

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    Being a motorcyclist shopping area naturally it is not in the most savory part of town …:super

    Other nitbits - bought a Claro SIM ($0.75!) in the hostel which needs to be recharged (as they say here). That can be done most any store or on the street. I used the drugstore next door to the hostel ~$13, 30 days, unlimited calls & text; 1.5GB internet. Cheap and it works well.

    Spanish lessons, private, 10 hours at Whee Institute ~$200. Good value in my opinion given the time available to me. Arranged within 48 hours online from Bogota. https://www.wheeinstitute.com/. It was a pleasant 40 minute walk each way from the hostel.

    All for now. Cheers. T2
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  8. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Woof, that sounds awful :( :(. Assume you were in town when this took place? It's great that the people rallied and expressed support for the policia and military, I can't imagine enduring something like that. I hope that incident doesn't cause the locals to be wary around foreigners.

    That moto shopping area looks pretty cool, nothing like finding one-stop shopping in the middle of a foreign city...lol. Even if it's not the most savory part of town :lol3

    Hope your bike arrives soon and you get to start exploring :thumb
    #8
  9. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    I have felt a genuine warmth from the people I have interacted with from Bogota, the guides especially have expressed their appreciation for foreign visitors coming to their capital city. Ditto a pigeon Spanish conversation with a local family on the Tren Touristico to Zipaquira (home of the Cathedral de Sal). They know the image that Colombia has on the world stage and despite the historical and continuing challenges are proud of the steps their country has made and are positive for the future. It will be the young people that take this country forward, they are full of hope and enthusiasm. I wish them well, they deserve it. (IMHO they also need other countries to stay the f*&k out of the way; manipulating and corrupting the politicians).

    Tren Touristico, a recommended excursion - go Saturday, not Sunday mush less crowded. Live band plays on the rather slow and bumpy ride, but it was a slice of Colombia that was different to the streets of Bogota.

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    Cathederal de Sal - an interesting tour, even if not a religious type like me.

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    ..but I enjoyed the stop in Cajica. Had a good lunch at the Panderia across from the train station. It was a nice break from the city.

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    Cheers. T2
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  10. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Put four miles on today, just four...but without El Burro back in my hands it would have been anther zero. Three weeks after dropping off the bike in Miami we sailed through customs, SOAT in hand and onto the streets of Bogota. Of course, there was the first rain in the 18 days I have been here, not just sprinkles a darned thunderstorm and torrential rain...….but who cares, right?

    Spent the day with 8 Irish riders who had bikes vectored from London via Air Canada, they got to unpack in the warehouse in the dry, Avianca, nope - take it into the parking lot to uncrate. The luck of the Irish is NOT a myth...:dirtdog.

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    Let's roll.
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  11. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    180+ miles of variety yesterday. Starting with the truck clogged and diesel exhaust filled highway to get out of Bogota, 92F in the valley, to 48F at 13,000ft in the mountains west of Manizales, where I spent the night.

    Manizales is an interesting town, but quaint it is not.

    Visited the old town of Amero on the way, the town that was wiped off the map Nov. 1985 after the eruption of Nevada del Ruiz melted the ice on the sides of the volcano and sent a wall of debris 20+ miles down the valley, it claimed the lives of thousands. An eerie place with remains of buildings on empty streets. Off to ride around the guilty volcano today.


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    Just caught the sun shining on the glass that lit up the Dept. of Justice Building..... a beacon of light in a once very troubled country?

    Cheers T2
    #11
  12. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

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    in! been to bogota for work a couple times, and cali. but haven't gotten to explore the rest of the country. great (and beautiful!) people.
    #12
  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Outstanding, so glad to see you're on the bike and adventuring beyond Bogota. Did the Irish folks join you for the ride up into the mountains, or was it a solo rip?

    Cool pics, looking forward to the next update :thumb
    #13
  14. 08StangGT_CS

    08StangGT_CS Adventurer

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    Ok I’m in!!!
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  15. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Hi L2D - solo trip, the Irish folks head up to Medellin.

    Took the road from Manizales to Murillo on Wednesday, it runs around the base of the volcano Nevada del Ruiz. The first 25 miles are paved and curvy, the last 25 unpaved miles proved to be a test of man and machine. Potholes, rock filled potholes etc. and four water crossings, a first for me. OK they were junior size crossings, the widest about 10 ft and 24 inches deep, but a first for me. Nothing fell off the bike, myself included. Topped out at 13,587ft. only 60 miles but I was buggered at the end of it.

    Passed the lahar field that swamped the town of Armero.

    Stayed in Murillo for the night in Casa Paraiso, run by Gonzalo who started the business 18 months ago, having got fed up with life in Bogota. Great host and the place can be found on Booking.com. No wifi, which is good for conversation.

    Travelled about 180 miles today to stay at Steel Horse in Filandia, with Yvette and Paul. Great people, great place - motorcyclists themselves so they know what it takes to host overlander travelers. Yvette cooks up a storm too. Don't miss it if you are in the area.

    Note to self, never put aqua con gas in a Camelback. Bought it by mistake, couldn't be bothered to go buy still replacements, so used it. Of course the Camelbak bloated like a dead deer carcass - had to stop and vent the thing three times, before it quit! Felt like a brick on my back. :doh

    More pics to follow.

    Cheers T2

    Attached Files:

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  16. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    P1050897.JPG P1050891.JPG P1050913 (1).JPG Murillo and Gonzalo at Casa Paraiso, making a great breakfast. He introduced me to panella, that stuff gives you wings and eventually diabetes!

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    Coffee and wax palms in Salento tomorrow.

    Cheers. T2
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  17. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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  18. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Great pics, that waterfall is stunning! Sounds like you’ve had a couple of sweet places to stay and eat, always great to find local folk who cater to riders too :thumb :nod

    Keep the knobby side down, looking forward to the next update.
    #18
  19. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    So here is my (obligatory) wax palm picture to add to the hundreds that have gone before and will doubtless be bested in the future. The Cocura Valley is worth visiting in person if the chance presents, a nice ride into Salento and out with decently paved roads.

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    Had lunch in Salento at a postre (dessert) place. Their coffee was rubbish, a bit of a surprise in the heart of coffee country, though it was explained to me that in the past the best beans were exported, consequently Colombians got used to rubbish coffee that is cheap. This restaurant delivered on that promise. However, the dessert, Oblea Especial, was excellent. Chock full of cream, cheese, strawberries, jam and caramel sauce sandwiched between plate sized wafers.

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    Fortunately, I packed a big tube of anti-fat bastard cream, which was applied liberally to my belly on returning to Steel Horse. So all is well.

    Of course Salento does have good coffee shops and I found one. It was coffee out of the top draw I'm tellin' ya.

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    Salento was a nice enough place too. That was the afternoon taken care of but the best part of the day was actually the morning when Yvette and Paul, the owners of Steel Horse, suggested breakfast in town followed by shopping the local stores to pick up the components for dinner. All the stuff is locally grown or raised, delivered daily and milk is still delivered in steel churns. No polystyrene trays or dimensionally perfect veggies here, just natures best.

    Well, I will not describe breakfast as it would cause me some embarrassment. Suffice to say that it was the farmers special and given the manual labor demands on them they aim to get 2,000 - 2,500 calories from breakfast and the same from lunch. Yes, that's right and then I had the Oblea for lunch. I did no manual labor; that cream is a miracle in a tube, really it is.

    Paul and Yvette are great hosts (I was lucky as I was the only guest so could hog their attention) and their Finca is in a great location...don't miss it. Here is a pic of their place and pics of the town of Filandia and the shopping trip follow in the next post.

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    Cheers. T2
    #19
  20. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    ...and Filandia and the shopping trip.

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    Currently in Palmira, Valle de Cauca. Swapped wax palms and coffee for sugar cane. That is the next episode coming up....

    Cheers T2
    #20