OK, so we're riding Colombia 2 up on a China Bike.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by calrider, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    Glad to see the trip continuing.:clap Thank you for taking the time to share your experience! :bow
    This is one of those ride reports that just keeps getting better and better....
    I guess it is true, good things come to those who wait! :lol3
  2. CrazyCarl

    CrazyCarl The Eternal NooB

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    The perpetual trip report machine! :clap

    :lurk
    CC
  3. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

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    You guy's are killin' me.... all right it's been a while... I'm the first to admit it. Geesh. These things take a lot of time. Now I understand the countless hours it took for you to put together your DVD Carl!

    Onward...
  4. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

    Joined:
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    By the time evening snuck up on us, we were rolling into the hot springs above Santa Rosa de Cabal. A charming 1920's Swiss-style chalet hotel squeezed into a narrow valley with hot and cold waterfalls tumbling down the mountainsides. Inside it reminded me of a classic National Park lodge:
    [​IMG]

    Time for the daily check-in with Mom and Dad:
    [​IMG]

    We had an amazing dinner at the restaurant. Definitely living in grand style. We chose a room overlooking the pools and woke up the next morning to this view:
    [​IMG]
    If it looks a bit Dali-esque, you can blame my panorama stitcher. The waterfall at the left is cold. There there's the hot pool. The waterfall just to the left of the building is hot. Then the one just to the right is hot again and the one just to the right of that is cold again. (the last two are for lodge guests only.)

    Sheer bliss!
    [​IMG]
    Drinks served in the hot tub.

    Hanging out under the hot waterfall:
    [​IMG]

    We spent the morning soaking around the hotsprings and then decided to go to another part of the hotsprings about 4km down the road. This was the warm creek coming down from the hotspring pools:
    [​IMG]

    Our first glimpse of the waterfall behind the hotsprings:
    [​IMG]

    And the pools themselves:
    [​IMG]
    More modern than the older site, but with a little less character. And more people.

    We hadn't planned to stay that long in the springs and, as usual, we got a very late start on the day's travelling. (3:30pm to be exact)

    We still had a long way to go. Through Manizales and all the way up to Nevado del Ruiz. It was going to be a late, dark, bumpy ride. But the day at the springs was worth it! (we just didn't know how bumpy... stay tuned)
  5. CROM

    CROM Canuck del sur

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    Great pics, I have always wanted to ride in Colombia.....more so after seeing your shots.
    Looks like you got lucky....my buddy and I bought 2 Chinese bikes in Peru last year, as we could not find anything to rent ( Wanxing 225's!)...the part started falling off 30 km outside of Lima, ending up with my motor blowing, and seizing up as I was passing a car on the hwy at the end of the 2nd day...had to ride her into the ditch locked up! For the laughs, was the best $1000 I ever spent

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
  6. JackL

    JackL T plus 16 months

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    Hey, I've been wondering what you two have been up to since we met at the Horizon's event this summer.

    Looks like a great time back down south.

    See ya next time.

    Jack & Jessica
  7. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

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    now that is funny.:rofl
    ADV saluting your bike... perfect.
    Cheap chinese bike, $1000. Laughs, priceless.
    Things were falling off ours too. But I had the toolkit along that I put together for my XR250 and I definitely needed it to keep tightening things. It was only bodywork (well, and where the muffler was hung off the bodywork). But, thankfully, the motor was fine. And Amiga's brother is still riding the thing. Ironic thing is that one of Amiga's relatives used to be a Loctite rep.
  8. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

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    Hey guys! Wow, nice to hear from you. I took some time to read your Thailand report. Very nice! Take care...
  9. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

    Joined:
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    We headed back a ways the way we came and then turned right up to Manizales. It is a beautifully situated city below the Nevado del Ruiz, an active volcano. Here's a shot from Wikipedia:
    [​IMG]
    I've indicated where we were going that evening (Hot Springs) and then were we camped on the volcano the next night after we climbed up the side of it. (read on...)

    Since it was already getting dark and we were late, we unfortunatley didn't have time to visit Manizales.

    This is all we saw of it:
    [​IMG]

    And a few minutes later as it was getting darker...
    [​IMG]
    Sorry for the quality. Taken by Amiga from the back of the bike as we were zooming by.

    After Manizales the road got steeper and we were treated to many switchbacks in the dark as we ascended to the turnoff for Nevado del Ruiz. We turned right at what we thought looked like the right place. Couldn't really tell in the dark. Then the road got narrow and really started climbing. Still paved though. Eventually we passed by an alpine lake with a worn out sign beside it. It was the name of a lake that we knew we were supposed to pass by... at least we were on the right track.

    Somewhere past the lake, there was supposed to be a road that descended back down to the hotsprings. We turned right on what looked to be a likely candidate and started heading down. Rocky gravel. Kept going down and down and started looking less and less like the right road. Then the fog crept in and it started drizzling. About +4 celcius. Wasn't looking too good. The road had turned into a narrow double-track with slick, angled slabs of bedrock ready to slide us off the edge into inky blackness. Just when I was about ready to call it quits and find a place to pitch the tent in the darkness, we saw a dim glow through the fog. A few minutes later we were at the entrance to the lodge next to the Termales del Ruiz. It was a big old concrete building with a bit of creepiness reaching out to us in the parking lot. Enhanced by the glow of fog around the lights.

    We went in and the lodge was completely empty, except for the slightly stir-crazy folks who ran the place. They had the music turned up loud and were mopping floors and cleaning walls to the beat. We checked in and decided to take a dip in the hot springs to warm up. (We were numb by this point)

    They had both outdoor pools and these strange little indoor tubs that you could make as hot as you want. I'm contemplating the heat:
    [​IMG]

    They gave us used water bottles full of hot water to heat up the beds. We added the down sleeping bag to the mix and were comfy for the night.

    The next morning dawned sunny and we were finally able to see where we were. The pool:
    [​IMG]

    The view back down to Manizales:
    [​IMG]

    Breakfast looking out towards the pool:
    [​IMG]

    Looking back to the lodge and pool from a small hike up to the falls:
    [​IMG]
    Didn't look quite so creepy in the light of day.

    The ladies taking care of the place were a riot:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a snap of our route from the Santa Rosa hot springs up to the Ruiz hot springs.:
    [​IMG]

    And a detail of the last part we did in the dark:
    [​IMG]

    And then we were ready to go (late start as usual!):
    [​IMG]

    We'd heard that motorbikes weren't permitted in the park and that you couldn't go in without a guide unless you had a booking at an alpine hut in the park. The normal way to arrange it was to go through an agency in Manizales, rent a car and hire a guide to go. We figured we'd try to just crash the party and see what happened.

  10. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

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    :thumb Super RR . . . . . Keep on posting ! ! ! :clap
  11. holiday

    holiday DL650K7

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    I'm pleased when it is winter and cold in Canada (I am enjoying Florida, but wishing I was in Colombia).
    Then you are forced back into warmth of your home and your computer to continue the narrative.:1drink
  12. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

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    Thanks watercat. I wish I could do this for a living!

    Yep, it's been a while. I've had a great summer with friends doing trips in the Rockies. Check it out:
    http://adsmc.informe.com/forum/ride-reports-post-your-pic-s-here-f9/crowsnest-july-2009-t819.html
    and
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10399779#post10399779
  13. Montek

    Montek Eternal Noob

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    Wonderful RR! Great mix of riding, tribal visits, meeting people and troops. It is obvious to me that the large majority of columbians want us there to visit in any way shape or form. AND, they take care of the travelers making sure they are as safe as a traveler wants to be. opens ones eyes to the real south america's. They all great places to travel. Info here in the states is a lot of b.s.

    Great report and keep it coming

    Monte
  14. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    Hey don't sweat it. I wasn't giving you a hard time...well maybe just a little. :lol3
    This is one of the more enjoyable RR's on here. Hell, if you had already finished the report what would I have to look forward to? :D
    I'll have to check out the two links you posted.
    BTW...Happy New Year!

    Edit: The first link sends me to this "No input file specified."
    Second edit: the link you posted in "Calgarians that dualsport" thread worked...page37, post number545. It is the same link right?
    Here is that link...
    http://adsmc.informe.com/forum/ride-reports-post-your-pic-s-here-f9/crowsnest-july-2009-t819.html
  15. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

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    Fixed the ADSMC link. Thanks!!

    BTW, I just finished geotagging all 4500 photos of the trip. Thankfully most of them were mappable onto the GPS tracks that I'd recorded, although some of them had to be done manually. And I also still have about 15 hrs of video. I think I need to outsource this to India.
  16. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
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    Location:
    Calgary, Canada

    We headed out, back up the road we came down last night until we hit the intersection up to the Nevado del Ruiz. The road up continued up past the 4000m mark and we alternated between flashes of blue sky and banks of cloud. The little 200cc carbureted unit just kept hauling the both of us and our gear up the mountain with out complaining.
    We finally hit the park entrance:
    [​IMG]

    And reached the visitors' centre:
    [​IMG]
    Those crazy Dr. Seuss plants are called frailejones. They grow in the high altitudes of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. Their leaves have an incredible soft fuzziness.

    Our motorbike waited in the clouds as we tried to figure out a way to see the park:
    [​IMG]
    It was definitely "no motorbikes allowed". In the past, dirt bikers had used the treeless dirt of the mountainsides to play around in. They don't want that to happen again.

    It looked like we weren't going to find a way to get into the park when a Colombian with his Spanish friend pulled up in a Ford Escape complete with a mountain guide for a trip into the park:
    [​IMG]

    We got to talking to them an in no time they invited us to ride along with them for a trip into the park and a climb up the Nevado. But first I had to store the motorbike in the little shed by the park entrance. One of the park workers had the same motorbike:
    [​IMG]

    The guide was superb and as we made our way up to the end of the road, we'd get out and he'd explain various interesting plants and geology:
    [​IMG]

    Our little herd of tourists:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the Olleta Crater, a smaller cone off the side of the Nevado del Ruiz:
    [​IMG]

    When we reached the end of the road, we could see the glacier-capped peak:
    [​IMG]

    We began the trek up the side of the mountain. Part way up there was a Colombian flag:
    [​IMG]
    Amiga is a proud Colombian...

    I couldn't resist a bit of goofiness:
    [​IMG]

    The climb continued:
    [​IMG]

    When we reached the edge of the ice cap, we couldn't go any further without ropes, ice axes and crampons:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So we diverted to the right and hiked over to a calmer part of the glacier:
    [​IMG]
    That's the Olleta Crater down below us.

    Amiga enjoying the "high" of the mountain:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

  17. rawdog

    rawdog Been here awhile

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    Just read this report for the first time. Excellent! :clap
  18. SavannahCapt

    SavannahCapt Long timer

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    I just found this fantastic thread yesterday. Thank you for sharing your RR. The pictures and descriptions are inspiring.
  19. Flylooper

    Flylooper The Old Curmugeon

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    What a nice RR. Loved it.

    I've spent a ton of time in Mexico and Central America. Last summer I was in Patagonia (Argentina) catching monster trout on flies. I've never been south of the border on a bike but I've had plenty of adventure, for sure.

    Your gal is a real looker and I'm sure she has a personality to match. Latinas are the best. (I was married to one for 23 years).

    Felicidades! Que padre su aventura!


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  20. shovelmike

    shovelmike Adventurer

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    Great ride report, Calrider, I spent many hours reading the whole thread. That is certainly a great adventure. Thanks very much for posting it.