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Gringo in Paradox - Travels in Colombia

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

  1. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    I learned that colombians don't want their country mispelled. I get that, can't blame them. Anyhow, my neighbor came back from Costa Rica a few weeks ago and had a blast there. He didn't ride because his buddy had to back out of a moto trip they had planned. They were going to rent top dirt bikes and get after it. He's going back there next month for his birthday
    Cal, falcofred and Champe like this.
  2. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Spelling the name correctly is all about respect. If you respect their culture you will likely get respect back. Insult them and you will likely suffer some consequences. Insult the wrong guy in the wrong place and you might not be seen again.

    This concept was driven home to me in Jamaica. A common greeting there is to say the word “respect”. And never ignore a passerby. Say hello or something else that is friendly. Set a positive vibe as soon as possible.

    The “Colombia” spelling comes from an early explorer named Colombo. Same guy some say discovered America. He was Italian and his name has no u in it, unless modified to English.
    Cal likes this.
  3. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    Good stuff Charles, keeping the masses stuck at home up to date on Colombia! Thank you for the work you put into the RR!
    Champe likes this.
  4. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Tom is alive and well in Colombia. His KTM is still running well (sorry KTM haters) and he is about to complete his 3 day loop. He sent me a few photos. One is of a family of four on a 180cc bike giving him waves and thumbs up signs. They are all on a dirt road there.

    He also mentions that Sunday is National Bicycle Day in Colombia. In Bogota they close a lot of streets for the occasion. Happens every week. The cyclists are very serious, well equipped, and many like the challenge of the mountains. I wonder if Colombia is well represented at the Tour de France.
  5. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Ok... I looked it up. Of the 30 countries participating, Colombia has the 6th most riders at 10. The top 5 countries (in number of participants) are all European. France is number one with 39.

    So my conclusion is that Colombia does very well. They sure do practice hard.
  6. steved57

    steved57 Long timer Supporter

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    Hey Champe
    Just read the entire ride report over the last two evenings. The report is very well written, informative and with great pic's so thanks for the time and effort you have apparently put in to this as I've enjoyed it thoroughly and looking forward to more
    Champe likes this.
  7. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Thank you for your well written positive review. Makes the effort worth while. I do often wonder if anyone appreciates the sacrifice in time that could be spent enjoying more experiences while traveling instead of sitting at a keyboard. I have personally benefitted from other rider’s experiences though so this can be considered pay back. Thanks again.
  8. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

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    Something for you and your RR: One thing I learned from my own RR is that it's pleasing to go back and look at the photos and re-read the adventures. The memories remain more vivid than just looking at old pictures. A RR ends up being a modern version of a travel journal.
    Tomaso, steved57 and Champe like this.
  9. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Latest travel news.... as of March 12 there is no more PCR test requiremnet to enter Colombia. This is a big deal for those of us who consider the $200 expense each way to be a needless burden. Basically doubles the cost of the plane ticket. This requirement was not in place at the end of 2020 when I was there last either.

    My next trip is still a couple of months away so I am hoping that restrictions will ease some more.
    Cal likes this.
  10. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Ready for part three ?

    I am. Sold my house in New Hampshire last week. I have 30 days to move out. Sold my 1978 GMC motorhome too, so there is no backup.

    Bought a 24 foot car trailer and am working like a dog fitting my stuff into that. I had a big barn along with a 3 family farmhouse so lots of stuff is being sold, given away or going to the dump. I have been planning this for a long time and making moves in the right direction, but now it is totally real and there is no turning back.

    I can not part with my last three bikes yet so there has to be room saved for them. All of them could be good travel mounts for Mexico or Baja so the trailer will get tie downs and be stored with a friend who has a motorcycle shop.

    Colombia is calling me again. And now I can stay a lot longer. The limit for a tourist visa is 180 days per calendar year. One month is already used so that gives me 5 more. I will have to decide if I want to go on to Ecuador and points South or return to the US. If it is the US, then a run to Mexico will be likely.

    I recently read ...watched.... a report that included an interview with Captain Ludwig of the Stahlratte sailboat. His home is Cartagena right now and he is worried about a big increase in crime in his area, that has occurred over the past year. I have not been to Cartagena yet, and it is largely because of its touristy / hustle reputation. It is still on my bucket list though, so we shall see about that. Ludwig is wanting to move his family to Spain, and I respect his opinions, so I will be looking at Cartagena with some apprehension.
  11. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

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    Congrats on the big life changes. Exciting and scary at the same time, like life should be.
  12. 531blackbanshee

    531blackbanshee Adventurer

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    skiatook ok.
    can't wait to see where the wind blows you.
    keep us posted,

    leon
  13. pro69ss

    pro69ss Been here awhile Supporter

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    This thread keeps getting better and better! Thanks again for bringing us along and please don’t forget about us as I probably have 20yrs before retiring so that still a lot of forum reading to go !
  14. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    You know we are in!

    I don't like tourist spots, but you should go, just know there are a lot of tourists, and it is HOT. I may have only enjoyed it due to the company I was in, so bring that hot chick you have been talking about, but it is a beautiful city.
    Cal likes this.
  15. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    When are you going, are you aware of the protests going on which reportedly have police using live rounds and live grenades on the people? Do you still plan on traveling around, it may be very tough to be in Colombia at the moment.
  16. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    I just heard about the protests today. A friend sent me a copy of a Wall Street Jounal article. Not good.

    My plan is to vacate my house on the 15th....that is the deal with the new owner. Then I will stay with a friend for a couple of weeks while I book a flight to Bogota. There have been demonstrations in Bogota over the last couple of years already, but they never affected me. The city center, where there are political offices, seems to be the usual focus. But thanks for the warning. I will have to keep an eye on developments there before I book the flight.

    Plan B is to go to Baja, then the mainland. I was planning to do Mexico after Colombia, but maybe the reverse will be better.
    WileyRTW likes this.
  17. Salsa

    Salsa Long timer

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    If those 3 bikes are suitable, you should stash them in frequently visited places you go to.

    Or rent them to riders who want to go to Colombia.

    Don
  18. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Good idea with the bike in Colombia, with Colombian plates. My 3 New Hampshire bikes are the ones suitable for Baja but they will never go to Colombia. There is a time limit for them to be there and it costs a fortune to ship back and forth. Storing bikes in remote locations is also problematic. The Colombia deal is working well, partly because I use it fairly often. I have a nice Buell in Germany too, but it has been unused for 15 years. It was stored for free but I think my claim on it may have expired.
    Cal likes this.
  19. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Jeff Cremer’s book

    9062AE97-11AD-4CDB-8EF4-707FDF6F766D.jpeg


    Being really busy with my house sale and moving I was a little slack with reviewing this book. If you have been following this thread you know I met Jeff in Medellin and he spent an afternoon hosting me. The book was published a short time after I got back to New Hampshire and now I have a copy. This will not be a thorough review but I can already say that it is a great piece of work. The photography is outstanding, like you would expect, since Jeff is a former National Geographic photographer. The descriptions are detailed and to the point while also being entertaining and readable. I was a little surprised by the size... it is about 8 by 12 inches and 167 pages. Cost is on the high side for the print version...$29. The Kindle version is only $6, so I highly recommend that. Of course I expect to see Jeff again and will get him to autograph my edition.

    Here is the table of contents. Review later.

    C10A9596-D2DC-404A-B5B7-4E0BB8CAD750.jpeg
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  20. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Jeff Cremer’s guidebook

    This book gets an A for content. Definitely worth the money. The price has come down some .. now at about $21 for the print version.

    In the first few pages he talks about the geography and I learned something new. The Andes mountains are higher in some of the other South American countries but they are still higher than in Colorado. Jeff says the highest mountain in Colorado would not make the top ten in Colombia. And Mt Blanc in the Alps would only be #8.
    Tomaso likes this.