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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaRider, Oct 20, 2018.
Thanks, I'm enjoying your RR.
ADVriders — Post 21
Tierra del Fuego — Hard to Believe
30 November 2018
Hard to believe, but today marks my first full month on the road.
Yesterday my path took me high into the mountains on twisting roads packed with slow-moving trucks, frequent road repairs causing delays, and sneaky potholes and bumps. Herds of cattle grazed in the verdant fields, tall trees lined the way, offering shade at times. And buzzing about were those pesky motorcyclists, darting around me and other vehicles with impunity and abandon, even on blind curves.
A hot day, I took a few breaks to cool down, chatting with the locals. At a truck stop young men gathered around Salsa, asking questions. I had them pose for a group photo.
Around one bend I stopped at a beautiful religious shrine, perched next to a cascading waterfall.
Going up my ears popped, and the same later, when descending. Up inside the clouds a light fog and drizzle cooled things down, almost to the point of breaking out some warmer gear, but not quite.
Today, instead of visiting Medellin, I’m going to keep rolling south. I’m facing a long ride, and can’t see and experience everything.
And as I said before, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been on the road for a full month!
Tierra del Fuego — TAIL OF THE DRAGON’S TWIN SISTER
2 December 2018
In Tennessee there’s a road called “The Tail of the Dragon”, with over 300 twists and curves in just a few miles. In Colombia there’s Routa 25 (the Pan American Highway), with enough twists and curves it might as well be called the Dragon’s Twin.
Boulders line its sides or block the road, having tumbled there from steep cliffs above. Once traffic was blocked by an overturned truck, lying on its side. Not too surprising to me, considering how aggressive they drive.
Years ago a fellow rider said he always checked-out the wear an tear of tires on other’s bikes, to see what kind of riders they were. Wear just down the middle? A freeway rider. Worn on the sides? They liked curvy roads.
Salsa started this longest dance with new shoes (tires). Already, after just 3,000+ miles, they’re worn well up on the sides!
After all, we’ve been dancing hard . . . On the Dragon’s Twin Sister!
Tierra del Fuego — THERE’S NO “BAH HUMBUG” IN PASTO
3 December 2018
According to Luis, the night clerk at Hotel San Blas, Pasto is a very religious city. The hotel was one block from the Church of San Felipe, and the Church of Santiago was just three blocks away. Every hour on the half hour a bell sounds, echoing across the valley with authority.
I had dinner in the park facing the Church of Santiago. Vendors beneath covered stalls offered grilled kabobs, corn, arepas, patacons, empanadas, dulce de papas, dulce de Breda, dulce de chialacuna, and other delicacies.
On display, too, was an impressive arrangement of Christmas icons: elves, reindeer pulling sleds, children frolicking in the snow, and so on. Families strolled about the park, munching on the food and posing before the Feliz Navidad sign.
It was a peaceful and friendly gathering of the people of Pasto. Although still weeks away, the Christmas spirit was alive and well. No “Bah Humbug” sentiment here!
Tierra del Fuego — NEW AND ANCIENT ART
Inside Hotel San Blass, in Pasto, Colombia, you’ll find some exciting pieces of art. Displayed on the walls or in niches are modern paintings and ancient pieces of pottery.
Here are a few that caught my eye:
Tierra del Fuego — CHECK, CHECK, and CHECK
4 December 2018.
Miles ridden? Nine. Accomplishments? Huge!
Check #1: LAS LAJAS. Located in Colombia, near Ipiales, it’s an incredible church built over a wild river far below, with cascading falls spilling over the mountains from far above. It was a long walk down from the parking lot (and one walk back up), but well worth the effort.
See some photos below.
Check #2: The BORDER CROSSING into Ecuador. A 2 1/2 hour affair. Hundreds of Venezuelans queued-up to get into Ecuador, with me joining them. Tensions ran high, at times.
Finally it was my turn; only to learn that I had never “officially” left Colombia. Back I went, over a bridge, to get the essential exit stamp; only to face another long line.
“How old are you” one agent asked? I told him (68), and he directed me to a line with only one person. Minutes later I had officially exited from Colombia. Sometimes it pays to be old!
Back across the bridge to the front of the line, and the essential “entering Ecuador” stamp.
Getting Salsa approved was another matter, though. I was incorrectly directed to two separate desks, until finally I was led to the proper one. A few minutes later and we were on our way to Tolcan, Ecuador.
Check #3: THE MUNICIPAL CEMETERY of Tolcan. When it comes to honoring the departed, Tolcan is right up there with the world’s best. Beautiful topiaries cover the grounds in fantastical and whimsical shapes: imaginary creatures, abstract forms and symbolic depictions. Giant arches that seem to both protect and welcome you into the next section. It was remarkably beautiful!
See some photos below.
Even though we barely covered any miles, we accomplished a lot.
Check, check, and check!
Is there an English translation?
CONSECRATION OF THE HOME TO OUR LADY OF LAS LAJAS
(To pray it once a month)
Most Holy Lady of Las Lajas who has been constituted as
Help Christians and bless and protect the houses where they are
exposed and your sacred image is honored: We choose you today forever
lady and owner of this house and we ask you to show yourself in it
your powerful help, preserving it (it) from diseases, fire, from
lightning, floods, earthquakes, thieves, discord
and the dangers of war. Bless and protect the people who live here
and grant them peace, a great faith, true love for God and neighbor, patience
in sorrows, hope in eternal life, congratulations in work, employment
and study, and the grace to avoid bad examples, vice, sin,
eternal damnation and all other misfortunes and accidents
Oh Lady without sin conceived
pray for us that
we turn to you
And some photos of the cemetery in Tolcan:
Posts numbers 46 and 51 have no pictures that I can see.
Tierra del Fuego — SALSA IS IN MOTO HELL
6 December 2018
Today I checked Salsa into Moto Hell. A devilishly good-looking redhead, named Michele, helped me do it. After all, she was the only one there who spoke English.
Hours earlier Salsa’s battery died, a mere block from where I planned to stay: Casa Helbling. Out came the Halo Bolt battery charger to get her started. Then after checking into the Casa Helbling, off we went to Moto Hell, for the charging issue (and others) to be addressed.
Tomorrow is a holiday here in Quito — celebrating the day of liberation from Spanish rule — and work won’t recommence until Monday. Looks like I’ll be stuck here for a few more days.
Already though, in Casa Helbling, I’ve met a Canadian rider who is also heading to Ushuaia by motorcycle, and two German gals doing the same, by bus. And at Moto Hell I met a young fellow from North Carolina, also riding solo by motorcycle, clear to Tierra del Fuego. And all of us seem to be on the same time table!
It won’t surprise me to meet other travelers as well, all moving like lemmings toward the Land of Fire, hypnotized by the romance, the excitement, the adventure of exploring South America!
And in case you’re wondering, I’m the “Grandpa” of them all!
Salsa is in Moto Hell. Together we’re having a helluvan interesting/challenging time?
Thanks. Try now.
Tierra del Fuego — OLD TOWN QUITO
7 December 2018
El Panecillo is an imposing hill overlooking the old section of Quito. Before the Spaniards arrived, it was there that the Incas built a temple to the sun.
Now, standing nearly 100 feet tall and nearly 2 miles above sea level, is the winged Virgin de El Panecillo. A small fee lets you climb inside, and view both the old town and much of modern Quito.
Below, in the old town, stands the 17th Century chapel: La Iglesia de El Sagrario. It’s beautiful and large church, with tall stained glass windows on both sides, and immense stone pillars giving it support. Inside, the sense of reverence is overwhelming.
Some more photos of La Iglesia de El Sagrario, in old town Quito, ECUADOR:
Tierra del Fuego — THE TUNNEL
8 December 2018
Throughout this ride there have been moments when I felt “tested”, as if to see how I would cope. Some examples:
Facing the long delay getting Salsa out of the port in Cartagena, Colombia, due to difficulties getting the required SOAT (insurance);
Arriving at the port 10 minutes after they had closed for the day, and being told to return in the morning to try again;
Getting lost, a frequent experience when navigating through the cities with poorly-marked streets;
Enduring rain and darkness, with still miles to go before finding shelter;
And so on.
Most of the time I can chalk-up such “tests” as just part of the travel adventure, smile to myself, and get through them. And typically afterwards, something nice or good will happen, as if to reward me for passing the “test”.
Then I faced THE TUNNEL!
In the afternoon one day Salsa’s battery died. Another rider recommended the Moto Hell shop for repairs. So after jump-starting her with my Halo Bolt battery charger, off we rode to find the shop. It was on a side street near a round-about, and rush hour traffic was thick.
I spotted it too late on my first round, and moved over into what I thought was the proper lane to exit and get to the shop.
We were forced into a long and congested tunnel instead. Nearly a mile long, we faced a dark, noisy, fume-filled, stop-n-go traffic ride to the other side. I’m guessing it took us nearly half an hour to get through, with no chance to turn around until well past the exit on the other side.
Another “test” I told myself. Just stay calm. It’s all part of the travel adventure.
Then the noise, the darkness, the fumes, the stop-n-go delays, and the real fear (and danger) that Salsa’s engine might stall and I would have to park her, unload the Halo Bolt charger, and get her re-started right in the midst of the congestion and frustration of drivers eager to get home, got to me.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I shouted!
Somehow we got to the other side without incident. Then, breaking the “rules of the road”, I made a quick U-turn at the first opportunity, returned back through THE TUNNEL, and made it to the Moto Hell shop safely.
Salsa has been in Moto Hell since Thursday afternoon. Since it’s an extended holiday weekend here, no work will be done until Monday. If special parts must be ordered from the States, that will mean anther delay. All part of the travel adventure, I can philosophize to myself. Just stay calm, smile, and make the most of being stuck in Quito for a bit longer than planned.
I can deal with such “tests”; but sure hope I won’t have to face another TUNNEL for the rest of this ride.
Once was enough!
Like your writing style, crisp and entertaining.
Best of luck on the rest of the ride...BTW, quite a few of your photos not posting.
No big deal as your story telling style makes up for no visual candy.
Thanks, and sorry about the photos not posting. The site only seems to allow 4 at a time, so I’m starting to limit them to just that. Still on a learning curve, I guess?
Tierra del Fuego — GUAYASAMIN MUSEUM
8 December 2018
Guayasamin was a renowned artist world-wide, and a collector, from Ecuador. Before his death he gathered his family, and they all agreed to donate his house, collections, and artwork to the country of Ecuador.
A visit to this museum is well worth your time. There you’ll find Pre-Colombian artifacts, Colonial art, and modern art; most displayed throughout his house.
Tierra del Fuego — ONE FOOT NORTH, AND ONE FOOT SOUTH
8 December 2018
Today I stood with one foot in the Northern, and one foot in the Southern Hemispheres, straddling the equator.
I flushed two toilets, a mere foot apart, and watched as one swirled clockwise, and the other counter-clockwise. Amazing!
This landmark — Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the earth) — is a few miles north of Quito. To get there I took a city bus (25 cents) to La Ofelia: an immense, sprawling market of fruits and other goods, the stalls covered in colorful tarps. Just next to it was the bus terminal.
From there I caught another bus (40 cents) which took me the final distance to the Mitad del Mundo site.
This compound offers a display of native huts, stores selling goods from around the country, restaurants and cafes, and a bright yellow line depicting the equator.
Quite exciting, too!
In celebration, I treated myself to a nice cuppa cappuccino.
Then back I rode, again on a city bus (50 cents), into downtown Quito. And on the bus with me was Pin, an interesting man from the Netherlands; but that’s another story.
In all, it was a wonderful day: seeing the fascinating GUAYASAMIN Museum, straddling both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, meeting Pin, and above all: flushing those two toilets!
My reward, if you will, after suffering the horrors of . . . The TUNNEL!