Gringo in Paradox - Travels in Colombia

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

  1. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    I know there are some non inmates reading. You may be stuck with the black background and white lettering which is the default, for me anyway. As a member, which does not cost anything, you can change the script to the normal black on white.
  2. Balanda

    Balanda Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the photo of the Coco Bomgo, Champe. I didn’t take one of the front during my stay.
  3. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Back in Bogota

    New record run for me. 16 hours from Santa Marta to Bogota.

    Was on the road 11.5 hours yesterday, with no rain. I did have a breakdown with the bike. About 5 hours into the ride I had no back brake. I figured I had let my foot rest on the pedal and caused it to overheat. But at a major traffic backup I was threading my way through and got stuck between vehicles with no way forward. I happened to look down and saw oil dripping off the skid plate. Pulled over and checked it out. There was oil all over the back of the bike and my luggage. The swingarm and rear caliper were covered.

    It was a leaking countershaft seal. A lot of oil was already lost. I tried riding it gently, coasting down hills, but I had to stop when the oil light came on. A passing local rider stopped to help out and offered to push me....for a price. He had a great technique. He folded my passenger pegs out and pushed on one of them with his foot. We went for about 6 miles like that, to an area with numerous little bike shops and supply places. They spoke no English but they figured out the issue really fast, and got right on it. One guy was sent out on foot with the old part and was back in 5 to 10 minutes. The repair took about an hour, and I was off again.

    Gassed up 3 times and spent a half hour having a nice soup in the mid afternoon. So I figure 10 hours of actual riding that day. Started at 6:30 and quit at dark...about 6PM. I usually just grab the next hotel when I am at the end of a long ride in the dark, so I ended up with a nice one this time. Expensive too, at 50,000 pesos....$15.

    Today I was going to go to Suesca, a small town near Zipaquira. But Google wanted to route me through Bogota, so I just did that and stopped at my old hostel...82 Hostel. This time I rode from 7 to 2. I lost a half hour having lunch and another half hour stopped for rain in the city of Bogota.

    So total riding time was about 16 hours. Much of the route is very fast riding...120 km/h. One stretch was smooth enough for another go at a top speed run. The new record on the Duke is now 152 km/h. It can still go faster, but I was catching up with traffic.
  4. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

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    Wow, close call with the oil!
  5. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Rest day in Bogota

    Got the bike washed again. The back half had an oil covering. Looks good now. I tried dragging the back brake a lot to burn off the oil. It worked to a large extent. Started with no brake at all. Now probably have about 75% of a normal back brake. The pads are low too so new pads will fix it right. I don’t miss the back brake much on pavement. But on dirt it is essential.

    Spent a good part of the day walking. Got a good girl photo for you perverts. Modeling class.
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    Not sure what this has to do with smoking. This is the tailor shop where I got a vest fixed a while back.
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    Sanitation workers.
    When I first saw them in Bogota it was pre covid and it was weird seeing them all wear masks. Now the general population is about 80% with wearing masks and the sanitation guys are down to 20% compliance.
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  6. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    so these ktm 390s require a lot of maintenance how many kms do you have I am wondering if the Problems were induced by your sprocket changing buddies on the street , as you have experienced a lot of problems Made in India may be a problem using inferior parts But you get what you paid for
    Balanda and Champe like this.
  7. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    today 500 km Santa Marta Bucaramanga 500 km started at 7am finished at 2pm I dont dare to ride in the dark
    I just did 1600 from Buca to Punta Gallenas and back in 7 days
    600 off road in the upper Guajira Magnificent
    ApexJeff, GringoRider and Champe like this.
  8. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Of course KTM has to cut some corners to produce the Duke for the price they do. I do not necessarily agree with all their choices.

    They spent extra on premium tires and I think that was a good move.

    The countershaft seal that came out was black. The new one that went in was brown. I would be a lot happier if I saw a green SKF seal. It would cost double but would be well worth it.

    The clutch cable failure I think was premature...probably caused by cheap production. The fan was largely my fault for letting dirt get into the housing. The fender extension ought to be standard though.

    You do have to pay for what you get. You do not necessarily always get what you pay for.

    For instance, the levers on the Duke are adjustable and quite well made. Cost about $15. My 690 levers are over $50 and do not look or function any better.
    GringoRider likes this.
  9. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    The Duke is at 13,500 km now.
    Needs a new front tire…no cord showing yet
    If I keep it I will get another chain. I was lucky to find a set of sprockets and chain at all and accepted a non o ring chain. The whole set was 195,000 pesos…$53.42 US. I have paid more than that for just a rear sprocket in the US. I expect a decent Japanese o ring chain will run at least $100. What I got was definitly a chinese chain. Good for an emergency, which it was. The original chain was an o or x ring type but was making pulsating and other loud and nasty sounds. Also needed more and more frequent adjustment. The rear sproclet only had minor wear but the front was already slightly hooked. The pull test showed slightly more than half a tooth of sprocket. Anyway, I have been oiling this China chain a lot and it is doing ok. Has some wear already though. needed adjustment today. The smart move would be to put a good o ring chain on now, in Bogota, while the sprockets are still good.
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  10. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Heroes Monument is gone

    Early this trip I posted a photo of the destruction to the Bolivar / Heroes monument. The bases were covered with painted slogans and glued on posters. The Simon Bolivar bronze statue was removed by the city for safekeeping. Now they have put up a fence around the area and removed what was left. The monument used to be behind the fence in this photo. The bikes are lined up in traffic ready to go. The light has changed to red and yellow, meaning….put it in gear.
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    All the plywood that replaced the glass store fronts in the area has been changed back to glass. Most of the graffiti remains. Some is hard to read ..like the big letters in this one.
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    I try to emphasise the better meals I have had here, but not all make the grade. Yesterday I tried a fried steak that was near impossible to eat. Very tough. Good thing my teeth are good. Here is an empanada shop that is cheap but not on my recommended list.
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  11. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Let’s say you need to get on the subway but you have no money ? Here is a solution I saw someone use.

    The left two two lanes are exclusively for the Metro buses. The right two are for regular traffic. You are supposed to use the overhead bridge to cross them and get to the station. In this photo you can see the open doors of the station used to load the buses. One guy just crossed all the lanes on foot and jumped up into the station using the open loading/unloading doors.
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  12. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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  13. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Punta Gallinas 51C93CC7-C999-4104-A974-9A083B1A6557.jpeg
  14. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Hell of a ride. Congratulations.

    But that is the saddest excuse for a lighthouse that I have ever seen. There is a photo online with a steel skeleton tower and a light on it. Is there no more navigational aid there ?
  15. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Yes only a small steel structure there was probably nothing there before the battery operated light. No light house
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  16. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Pitaya

    Also known as …dragon fruit. Two years ago this was the feature fruit of the day at the Viajero hostel in Santa Marta, and I wrote about it then. Now I have learned a lot more about it.

    Mangos azucar…sugar mangoes have been my favorite fruit for a while but I am not finding them any more. May be a seasonal thing. And I did not know enough about pitaya to start buying them at the market. But now I plan to stay at this hostel for a couple of weeks and am starting to cook. I saw these pitaya at the market and took a chance.

    just bought one to start. Looked it up on line to see how to pick and eat them.

    Turns out there are three major varieties. One is red and round. Another is red and slightly oblong. These red ones are the ones most commonly exported. A third type is yellow and a little smaller. All have white translucent interiors with black seeds.

    I got yellow ones.
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    You just cut them in half and scoop out the inside. I put some pieces on an apple pancake. You eat the seeds but they are barely noticeable, Iike strawberry seeds.. Yum.
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    They are sweet and flavorful. But don’t try this at home. The word is that if they are being exported they are picked early. The skin coninues to redden but the fruit inside does not ripen off the vine. So the exported ones have no flavor or sweetness because they are not actually ripe. They just look ripe. For local consumption they are picked fully ripe. So when you buy them here you look for over ripeness…going soft and starting to rot. They are a bit of a luxury here…kind of expensive….but man, are they good.
    fasttortoise likes this.
  17. GenXrider

    GenXrider Been here awhile

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    Put a Pitaya in the fridge for a few hours and eat it when it's cold, yummy!

    If you need a good clear-out, eat 2-3 of them in one go. LOL!
    GeoAggie likes this.
  18. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Grampy Supporter

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    Bad pun
  19. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Guanabana…..also known as Soursop

    I learned a little about this fruit while sailing the caribbean. We ate some but did not really know how to go about it. Today I ran across a street vendor selling straight unprocessed guanabana juice. The fruit grows on trees and looks a bit like a green pineapple. But it has a soft juicy inside.
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    The juice is like a thick sweet milk. There are grape size gellatinous pods floating around. Each one has a hard half inch long black seed in it. You spit out the seed….at least I do. This vendor sells 2, 3, 4 and 5000 peso cups. This is a 2000 peso cup with the spoon holding up a pod.
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  20. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Well, I am thinking of selling the Duke. I have an offer from a dealer that I may take. The deal allows me to ride it for another couple of weeks, so it is conveniently timed with my departure from Colombia on Nov. 3.

    Knowing I will not be riding it much longer makes the heart grow fonder. This bike is still one of my all time favorites. It is an absolute scalpel on pavement. Fast and accurate. Think the line and you are on it. And although I like dirt, probably 80% of my riding here has been on pavement. No bike covers all the bases, but this one is so good at what it does, it is easy to forgive it’s not being a dirt bike.

    My next trip will be quite soon, since I have no home anymore. And it will soon be winter in New England. I think I hear Mexico calling.

    Maybe I will take my 2013 KTM 690 Enduro R. I bought it used about a year ago but have not ridden it a lot. My feeling is that it would be a good choice for Baja, and maybe for mainland Mexico too. It is possible that I might trade up to another one of those for my next run to South America.
    fasttortoise, Scribe, BryanQ and 4 others like this.