GoMotor Goes South

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GoMotor, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    In Popayon I discovered I had lost my Debit card on Friday night. I think I left it in an ATM automatic teller machine. The bank wont be open again until Monday, so we headed to San Augustine to see the ancient rock figures there. Google it.

    There were 50 miles of the worst rocky, rutted bumpy roads imaginable. It took about 5 hours to cover the 50 miles. Traffic in the town of San Augustine is terrible. We found a delightful little hostel on a dirt road on the edge of town. I cost us $9 each with a hot water shower with an electric heater built into the shower head. The problem problem is that the wires to the heater are not connected.

    Today, Sunday, we will explode the Archeological sights in the area and tomorrow return to Popayon to attempt to recover my card at the bank.
  2. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    20200105_110618.jpg 20200105_110639.jpg 20200105_110658.jpg 20200105_110658.jpg
  3. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    The town of San Agustine is fairly large and very busy with cars, buses and small motos all fighting for the same space on the streets. We worked out way thru all the chaos and went to the Archeological Park of San Agustine. It is fairly large with about 18 km of well maintained trails. That is more than I care to walk at one time, so we walked through two sites and took some photos. Then we went to the museum which has exhibits on 6,000 years of human habitation in the area. When locals saw our US tagged bikes in the parking lot, they were eager to talk with us and ask questions about the bikes and our ride. All were friendly and many spoke English better than I do Spanish.

    We left after noon and headed 118 km to Mocoa. That is about 72 miles and it took us over 4 hours with very light traffic. The road was delightful with curves connecting directly to other curves. Our average speed was about 20 mph.
  4. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    On Monday the sixth we rode to Pasto. The road from Mocoa to Pasto is called The Devil's Trampoline because of the steep drop offs at the very edge of the road. The road in places can be a narrow two track with a vertical rock wall on one side and a hundred feet straight drop on the other. It is made up of what I call fruit size rocks. Watermelons, pineapples, grapefruit, oranges and lemons not loose, but berried halfway with sharp edges sticking up. This fruit surface can have bone jarring humps and dips. The maximum workable speed is mostly 12 to 15 mph.

    There are many places where landslides from the steep sides have covered half the road or taken half the road down into the valley. The above is not to say that it was a bad ride. The views are never ending across huge deep valleys with a few white clouds drifting through. 20200106_114629.jpg 20200105_153509.jpg 20200106_121059.jpg
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  5. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    From Pasto we rode back up to Popayan to see if the bank had found my debit card in their cash machine. It was a shot in the dark and it did not pay off. We are stuck with my credit card for places that accept credit cards (some gas stations, a few hostels and a few restaurants) and Gary's ATM card for local currency (efectivo).

    The ride to Popayan was very slow, about 15 to 20 mph due to heavily loaded trucks moving slowly up steep mountain roads and continuous sharp curves end to end making it hard to see a clear space for passing and a landslide covering the road, but the mountain views were super fine.

    Today after doing some maintenance and shopping we road back toward Pasto and Equador making much better time by ridding like the locals and using the yellow center line as a passing lane. Before dark we stopped at one of the full service gas stations on the highway with a restaurant and a motel. The motel with two beds and WiFi cost us a total of $7.50 for the night, but you don't get a key. When you leave the room the door locks behind you and you have top find an attendant to let you back in. You also don't get hot water, a bathroom door, a shower curtain or a toilet seat.

    We had stake with rice, beans and soup. The soup, rice and beans were OK, but my steak was too tough to chew, so I sipped it.
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  6. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA Supporter

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    Just started following - wish I had earlier, I could have offered some advice based on our contemporary experiences through many of the same places, especially in CA - wow, you had picked up some stories there! We (my wife and I - trip report on this site) are a few months ahead of you, currently in Patagonia (Argentina). I am enjoying reading your experiences of places I have recent memories of.

    I’m joining the ride late, and you’ve been on the road for a while now and are pretty seasoned travelers at this point, but I will offer up a few things that I’ve found useful. I’m still learning things I wished I’d known before we left!

    Early on in this thread, someone asked if you were using Maps.me and iOverlander - the later is particularly useful for border crossing info, and lodging info especially in remote areas where google may not show all options. If you are not using it, suggest you check it out.

    At the border crossings in SA, be sure to take the time to thoroughly check your TIP to make sure it is correct before you drive away, paying special attention to the exit date (fecha) to make sure it matches your expectations. There are reports of people being given less days than they thought - just because you can get 90 days does not mean they gave you 90 days. If you overstay your TIP in some of the countries you may just pay a fine, or .. you could have your motorcycle impounded and never see it again. This is real. Just happened to HUB member Tybalt in Argentina (edited to correct site - HUB not advrider) , and I’ve read at least one other case this year. In the later case the rider was with a group, and everyone got 90 days but they only gave him 60, and he had no idea until he got to the border to exit, where they confiscated his bike. He got a lawyer, did everything he could to get it back, no luck - gone. It is not a common issue, but always check to be sure.

    Another bit of advice (all of this is stuff I’ve learned along the way from others so I’m just paying it back!); I love this forum (I’m an advrider supporting member), and I like and use HUB, but In terms of getting real time route advice, info and help, nothing I’ve found compares to the Panamerican Riders Facebook group. If you are not a member, I strongly suggest it. Over the past year (we left Jan 16 2019) I have posted many queries about routes, places to get moto service, etc., on all of the above, and by a wide margin, I’ve received more and quicker feedback from that FB group than I have from advrider or HUB forum posts. FWIW.

    Really enjoying your report - looking forward to your posts from Ecuador!

    Jim
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  7. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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  8. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    Yesterday morning we rode from our $7 hotel to the Las Lahas church in a deep valley in the Ipiales area of Colombia. From reading previous ride reports I had seen many photos of the church. My Google maps took us to a dead end in a small town past the church area. When we returned to the Las Lajas area the crowds were terrible as was parking. We decided to view the church from an official view point hagh above the valley where the church sits and continued on to the Ecuador border. The crossing was really very easy on both sides taking a total of about two hours for both sides together.

    We headed into Tulcan to find a hotel. We made the mistake of assuming there would be hotels on the main road into town and it got dark while we searched in vain. Finally with the help of Google we found a nice six floor hotel with secure parking, WiFi and "hot" water for $25 total including breakfast. We had to run the hot water for about ten minutes before it got hot, but when it did it was good and hot.

    This morning we walked a kilometer or so through the busy town to the Tulcan Cemetery which is famous for it's ornately trimmed and carved cedar tree/shrubs. Photos are above this post. A lot of work goes into maintaining this place and we spent about two hours walking around and admiring the effort put into this delightful place.

    On the walk back to the hotel I put a little too much effort into climbing a steep street and broke a component in my prosthetic leg. It would take who knows how long to get such a part from my prosthetic providers, so I went to a local welder and had it welded up.
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  9. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    At the hotel in Quito yesterday I discovered that one of the four way adjustable joints (left, right, front, back) had cracked halfway up on two sides. This is not good and I think it would take weeks to get a replacement from the U.S. The welder had said it is not aluminum and he could not weld it. So, he built a compression ring to go around it and keep the cracks from expanding. Yesterday I noticed the adjustment of that joint was way off and I could not walk without a wobble. So, I readjusted the four set screws in the joint (left, right, front,back) and got some Loctite to keep them in place. It is not much different than adjusting the chain on a motorcycle.

    Today, we plan to visit "Old Town Quito" and hopefully the Equator Tourist site.
  10. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    if I may suggest consider adding iOverlander app to your cellular. Good source from other travelers like yourself that post many places (hotels, hostels, restaurants, place of service, spot of robbery, corrupted cop location, etc) and can help you with that especially if you get into a spot. But the cellular would need to have signal for the map to load as it rely on online map to load.

    Just found your thread yesterday and caught up with thread today. Good to know you are finally heading south. Didn't know you had prosthetic leg and I have a friend with one who rides. I will send him this link. Safe traveling!
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  11. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    I forgot to mention that while ridding the Devil's Trampoline in Columbia I heard Gary on the communicators yelling "snow, snow, there's snow up ahead. It turned out to be fine sleet piled on the side of the road and seemed really strange so close to the equator.

    This morning we backtracked a bit to one of the several equator tourist sites. I know there is nothing special about crossing the equator. It is just a line on the map that is about 24,000 miles long and crossed by thousands of people daily, but it was there and we were there so we went. I did observe a note that the forces that might affect water in a sink drain are so small as to not be noticeable.

    The Google Maps on my phone had not been working properly since we entered Ecuador. I could get the colored line following the roads between two points hundreds of miles apart, but the little moving arrow that shows where you are on the route would not move and thus was useless. The front desk man at our hotel suggested that I needed a new sim card. I got a $6 sim card and now the map program works perfectly. Gary says it might bee that the new card is faster, but I wonder why the old card worked thru Central America and Colombia, but not Ecuador.

    In the morning we have some maintenance and checking to do before heading south through Ecuador.

    Our hotel in Quito, Alston Inn Hotel has good WiFi, good hot water, very secure enclosed parking and 24 hour front desk service for a total of $30. 20200112_105756.jpg 20200112_111342.jpg
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  12. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    We left Quito and headed south for the Quilotoa crater lake area. We turned west off the main E35 highway toward the town of Sigchos which I had red many good things about. I have to say that the 40 miles or so to Sigchos was perhaps the most pleasant 40 miles I have ever ridden. The little two lane asphalt road was in perfect condition with almost no straight sections. The mountain slopes were covered with a patchwork of green fields and pastures. None of them were square or aligned, but just a hodgepodge of semi rectangular misaligned shapes. The few small towns along the way were all clean with no trash any place. In case it is not obvious, I really liked that ride and recommend it to all. The ride south from there to Quilotoa was just as amazing. We stayed in "Hostal - The Backpackers" in Chugchilan north of the crater. From the outside the little hostel doesn't look like much, but it is in good condition, clean and well kept. The woman who owns it has a seamstress shop on the first floor sewing pants, shirts etc. We ate supper and breakfast in her dining room. When I asked for more orange juice she said "yes it's tomato juice from my tomato tree" I explained that tomato juice is red not orange. She showed us a photo of the tomato tree and handed me a reddish yellow fruit that the juice was made from. It was very good.

    From there it was a short ride down to the Quilotoa volcanic crater lake. I thought my KLR was losing power until Gary checked the elevation at 12,000 feet. The high wind made it hard to stand.

    From Qu 20200114_094955.jpg 20200114_155022.jpg 20200114_155022.jpg ilotoa we rode to Chimborazo Mountain which is said to be farther from the center of the earth than Mt Everest, due to the ocean's bulge at the equator not higher above sea level.
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  13. ddecker

    ddecker n00b

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    Nice pics, thanks for sharing.
  14. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    After Chimborazo we spent the night in Riobamba and then headed south for Cuenca through the curviest run of mountains I have yet seen. We had two problems. One was that Gary's phone map showed a different route than mine and we became separated. The brilliant solution was that he called a friend who was able to look at the track points posted by my inReach tracker and tell him where I went so we could get back together. The second was that a small section of the road we needed to follow was closed for maintenance and only open from 6 to 8 in the morning. So, we backed tracked to the first town with a hostel and got a couple of rooms for the night.

    Then it was on to Cuenca at 6 in the morning. Our plan was to visit some history museums, but we only found a couple of small ones with not too much of interest. So, we headed south for Loja. That didn't work out too well because we made a wrong turn the took us 30 miles off course. Which, of course, required another 30 miles back to the route. In the curvy mountains we average about 30 miles per hour, so that cost us two hours. But, it worked out OK because we found the neatest little hostel in the tiny town of Ona. Hotel Quinta Galindo is up a tiny little narrow dirt side road. It has hot water, Wi-Fi, secure parking and a kitchen with utensils for guest use.

    Tomorrow it is on south toward Peru.
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  15. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    You guys are really moving south
  16. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    South of Loja we mistakenly spent the night in the tiny town of Valladolid. The only place to stay was sort of like a garage with rooms attached to it. Later on a tiny terrible dirt road in the rain we got caught in a mud slide coming down the mountain and starting to cover the road. Gary with his long legs rode my bike across the far side of the road before the mud got too deep while I waded through about 14 inches of flowing mud. We were the last ones to make it through from the north. Latter we met up with Sven from Germany on his motorcycle. He was held up several hours until some heavy machinery was sent to clear the road.

    The three of us crossed into El Peru on that same dirt road today at the town of San Ignacio and the road changed to hardtop.
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  17. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    Sven rode with us a couple of days and has kept in touch with Gary. He is a good guy and has passed on helpful information to us.

    The Andes roads in Peru are well built, well signed and CURVY. Our average daily speed on these curvy roads is about 30 MPH.

    From Nuevo Tingo on 8B we rode up to the Gondola Lift to Kuelap, but they told us we we had to go back down to get tickets and come back to ride the gondola and it would be closed when we got back. So, we decided to just ride up the dirt mountain road to Kuelap, but the told us it was a two hour ride and the sight would be closed when we got there. So we went back and spent the night in Nuevo Tinga and rode up the dirt mountain road to Kuelap the next morning.

    Kuelap is an amazing place. The people living there fortified the top of the mountain with huge rock walls at least 50 feet high. There were only three entrances through these walls. They were very narrow and required climbing about 50 feet of steps. An enemy would find it hard to climb the steps with the defenders dropping big rocks on them. I wonder who the people were afraid would attack them.

    After The 2 km hike uphill to the fortress and lots of stairs inside, I hired a horse to ride back to the parking area. Then we rode a small un marked back dirt road down the mountain to Nuevo Tingo for the night.

    The next day we rode through Leimebomba and I went through the museum containing mummys of the ancient people who had lived there while Gary checked his spokes. Then it was on to Celendin, Cajamarka and Trujillo on the coast.

    We are staying an extra day in Trujilllo so I can get some materials and some machine work done on my leg to improve the work already done back in Quito, Ecuador. 20200121_090708.jpg 20200122_140724 (1).jpg 20200122_140724 (1).jpg 20200123_101707.jpg
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  18. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    Now I have a question for some who are more experienced in traveling thru South America. I very often can make a purchase of say two 10 Sole ice cream cones (about $3 each) and the smallest bill I have is 50 Sole (about $15) and I am told the shop keeper can not make the 30 Sole (about $9) in change. He either has to go next door for change or can not make the sale. This happens to me very often. Have others experienced the same? Is cash on hand kept low to reduce theft? Any comments?
  19. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Just finished reading all 7 pages and look forward to seeing how the rest of your journey unfolds! Pretty damn cool you hightailed it through Central America to catch a ferry and then start riding from Colombia.

    Knobby side down gents :thumb
  20. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

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    I haven’t traveled South America yet but I have lived in Mexico for many years and it is the same there. The small shops never have change and even many of the large stores don’t have change.
    You asked for comment........
    For most of the small shops it is not an issue because most of the people they serve scrape up small coins to make the purchase. And in the big stores they don’t keep a lot of change to help keep the tellers honest and for a less of a temptation for robbers.
    Most of the shops have the change but they won’t use it unless they know you very well again because of the temptation of robbery.
    As well you should never show much money because it becomes a temptation for delinquents.
    In Mexico I always use use big bills at gas stations and toll roads. They move a lot of cash and always have change. Then I keep the change or smaller bills for smaller businesses where it is likely they won’t have change.
    Stores also tend to have more change in the middle of the day and less in the evening and night.
    As Americans it is very frustrating, but we adapt, and finding how to have and manage change becomes part of the adventure.
    Enjoy you ride.
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