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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PDX Alamo, Nov 20, 2014.
Glad to hear you finally got it out of jail!
Welcome to living like a rockstar, you are famous now it grows even more the farther you tour off the PanAm.
Sent from the fingers of Throttlemeister.
Landed in Medellin ,what a ride that was.Wow Colombia you were worth the wait. More tomorrow
So after leaving Sincelejo it was pretty much slow boring riding with the exception of dodging truck going the opposite way in your lane. When I hit Guarumo and starting riding along the river it started looking up a bit. All along the way they had hoses pointing up spraying water high into the air and people washing big rigs. I wasn't sure what that was about but I would like to know. It was odd and there were over a hundred of these makeshift fountains. Then it started to climb up and up and up. These were very tight curvy mountain roads that I was sharing with 18 wheelers and it was frustrating for a while trying to get past them. I checked my GPS several times thinking this can not be a major thoroughfare. Then traffic was jammed up and a stand still with no way to pass them on the shoulder. I then saw a cab driving in the other lane and figured I would follow him to the front which was a mile or so. Then at the front the women there said something but I cant understand so I wait about 10 minutes when another moto comes and she waves him through. Huh, I ask I can go and she looks at me blankly...I'll take that as a yes.
Off I go and they are repaving the road but no traffic, I have the whole road to myself, after a mile plus I see the other end of traffic backed up. Anyhow I get to ride this amazing road all to myself , like it was a closed course for about an hour with maybe a handful of trucks. It was and unbelievable road and those who have ridden it can imagine having it to yourself. Curve after curve then up into the clouds for a while. I think it was around 8700 feet up and the DR was coughing a bit, but that is to be expected. I would have taken more picture but there is no where to stop and the shoulder is also a lane so only a few but man o man what a ride. Then it went down and I was scraping my boots but mindful of the truck coming in the other lane, its expected. I have ridden roads with good parts but this went on for 2 hours plus, permanent smile and all the wait was worth it. At the end of the road it opened up into 4 lanes and it was all out top speed until I hit Medellin proper at rush hour. Holy Crap, that was scary, splitting lanes wall to wall traffic. There was a bus of people all waiving flags for Atletico Nacional so I was draped with flags while stuck next to the bus. Think god for GPS as this was nutso and I was so stoked to finally get out off this road. When I arrives at the Black Sheep (Parking for bikes) Hostel I was spent from hours of adrenaline, not that I am complaining.
The Football game must have been a big one because the entertainment area was packed with the everyone out to watch the game. You would have though it was the SuperBowl or something.
So I walked around Medellin to day and took the cable cars up over the city. One metro train ticket for 83 cents will keep you entertained for a while as you can use it to ride both cable cars and all over as long as you don't exit. Then I hit a park of sculptures resembling American people. All and all a very cool city but I will leave tomorrow as I am a week behind schedule now. One last thing that ride up and over to Medellin was an unbelievable experience and one I will never have again I think getting to ride that all to myself. I was thinking the "Snake" and all the curvy roads cant compare to this as it was curves for hours.
Left Medellin around 9 and headed toward Salento. Once out of the city there was of course more great riding. On the way I ran into a KLR with Montana plates I pulled up next to him and gave him the thumbs up then pulled over a little bit up the road. It was motobiko who also has a report on here "The Big 3". He was heading to Cali and I suggested he follow me to Salento as there was a really cool hike there. Sounded good to him so we landed in Salento and stayed at the Plantation House which was nice, cheap, and had Moto parking. Great little town and I was happy to be out of the big city for once. We went out with a group from the Plantation House to the Beta Bar and played some Tejo. Its similar to horseshoes but you throw steel pucks that when they land on the paper squares they explode. It took a while but we got some explosions but then toward the end others cheated and did some close range shots for the explosion.
The next day we set out on the 7 mile hike in Los Nevados National Park that reached at points 9,000 feet. I was huffing and puffing but Motobiko was having no issues at all. I highly recommend the hike and worth the side trip here. Along the way they have a place with a ton of hummingbirds that I had never seen before. Hard to get good pics with an Iphone but the SLR folk got some great photos.
After getting back to the place I got sick and was out for the count the rest of the evening. I am feeling a bit better today but missed out on the coffee tour this morning that everyone else went on. I am hoping I can ride with no problems to Cali.
Man, that looks awesome! Wish I had went there.
Hope you start feeling better! Look at it this way: hopefully you're getting the sickness over with at the start of your trip.
I have a feeling it won't be a one time thing. I've moved up to a baby food type consistency so that's a plus.
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Well nothing much to report really, the drive to Cali was easy and the roads were mainly two lane USA style interstates so we were able to make good time. We did get a downpour for about 30 minutes and my GPS was registering the raindrops as screen taps sending my GPS phone into Mayhem. I did see a sign about the speed is radar enforced and not to much later as I was passing a truck on the shoulder at ludicrous speed I saw the speed trap setup and locked it up. Close call there as several cars were stopped already. Honestly the speed limits seem to mean nothing here as everyone drives double the speed limit all the time.
The only excitement for the day was when motobiko's 5liter water jug he was carrying hit a traffic cone causing the jug to rip off and the cone to shoot high into the air. The military checkpoint we were passing didn't seem to notice so we kept going.
Landed in Cali and stayed at the Yo Viajero hostel which is top notch. I booked a double bed room and much to our dismay when showed the room learned it was a double bed not two beds. Motobiko got a dorm bed and I paid $43 US for the room. Still sick I slept another 12 hours but finally broke the fever so sunny skies ahead.
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On our way to Pasto the first half is pretty so so with mostly a divided highway but then it turns into unreal , blow your mind riding, and jaw dropping scenery. I was told later it is the most beautiful stretch of road in all of Colombia, which I have no reason to doubt that claim. The only problem is there is really no place to stop and take pictures and of course the iPhone pics don't do it justice. MotoBiko and I have both driven the Million dollar highway in Colorado which is impressive in it's own right but this road blew it away!
I had found a hostel just outside of Pasto but couldn't find it with my GPS so I figured I would locate it when I got close. Well traffic was backed for miles so I rode the opposing lane thinking it was construction but as I got closer I saw Police with riot shields and other bikers also in line. I looked at the police Officer and it was clear this was the end of the line for a bit. Turns out some people were blocking the road because they were upset about a toll booth that had been installed. I sat back and waited for 30 minutes or so then realized I had stopped in traffic at the exact street to turn down for the hostel. That street was also blocked so I continued to wait when a guy walks by and says he has hostel if we are looking for a place to stay. I tell him I am trying to find Hostel Kundur and he says "Yes I am the owner, follow me and I will take you down another street. How lucky is that, if not for the blocked road I would have missed this place. I highly recommend it if your heading through the area. Amazing grounds with a pool and lots of bike parking. It would be great for a few days of down time also. We paid $25 each for a split room with private bath. Its in Chachagui Colombia and a bit tricky to find. You think you are going down the wrong street but your not.
Chachagui to Ibara Ecuador
We planned on going to the Cathedral on the bridge Las Lajas thinking we would see a sign for it but never did. Anyhow we headed out early in the rain, luckily the protest was not in effect and we were able to roll out of town with no issues. After getting through Pasto we pulled over for some breakfast. That is when a busload of people surrounded us fascinated with the bikes asking lots of questions. Then it was pictures of the bike , pictures with us, then they asked if they could sit on the bike. About 7 people have a photo on Mono Gris proudly on their wall someplace ; I am sure over the fireplace. It was a great bunch of folks and a great way to start the day.
More great riding then bamm we were at the Ecuador border. Colombia was easy as pie, hand them you vehicle sheet then stamp out your passport, 5 minutes and done. I had heard the Ecuador border was easy also , that is unless the lady in front of you isn't importing dozens of toy planes, barbie play sets, and several other boxes of junk then wants to argue about the value of said junk on the taxes she has to pay. An hour and half later when she is done, it only took 10 minutes to get our bikes into the country. All we needed was a COLOR copy of the title, dl, passport, and the Ecuador stamp page of our passport. There is a color copy place there as well.
Irritated and hungry we were ready to go then the rain came in buckets so we waited then after 20 minutes suited up and headed off into the rain. I wasn't dressed for the cold as we started to climb and was still wearing vented gloves. We were eventually sent on a massive detour to Ibara which brought us up to 10,200 feet at one point and my hands were frozen. We eventually headed down into a dessert like setting on the back side of Ibara. After several failed attempts at locating a hotel with parking we found the Hotel Royal Ruiz with parking , $50 for a room with two double beds and fast wifi. Tomorrow we regroup and figure out a plan of attack on Ecuador, looks like from the weather it is the rainy season for sure.
God, that's a beautiful place! I still remember that stretch of road.
You're a celebrity! Get used to it!
So in the morning we decided to check out the area around Octavalo and headed down some random cobblestone roads. We drove past lots of folks in villages in their traditional dress and I really felt like I was off the beaten path. I have no pics as I have a thing about taking pictures of people just living. It would be like someone taking pictures of me in traditional American middle class dress as I walk down the street. Anyhow we were able to see the volcano near Lago de San Pablo, the lake was less than inspiring but the ride was cool.
We then headed up to Lago Grande de Mojanda which was at around 12,000 feet plus. The DR650 was having a rough go of it but most of that was me not knowing how to play the throttle at altitude. As I was coming around the corner I was reading a sign then bamm a giant mud hole ate the front wheel. In normal circumstances I think I could have throttled it out but the altitude was killing my bike. I went down hard and quick and the left pannier ripped off causing a major crack, sheered off both mirrors, but otherwise the bike was ok.
I held the bike up until Motobiko arrived to help me drag the bike out as forward was not an option. We surveyed the damage and luckily the aluminum braces I installed were bent but allowed us to put the case back on after we bent them back and I stomped the plastic back in to place. The clouds rolled in and it started to hail. After everything was back together and we saw the lake and headed back down.
I have T-Mobile which has free international data and text ( if you go south switch to T-Mob, very helpful) so when I get back down I check my phone and I have several text messages from people telling me the US Embassy and the State department are looking for me. WTF! Long story short when I crashed I must have smashed my Spot tracker Gen 3 causing it to mash one of the emergency buttons I have that says "I am injured send help". My good friends were sent a text by Spot and they got on it right away, I have to give props to the Embassy in Quito they were on it in like 40 minutes, who can say that about anything the US government does. The old Spot had hard plastic covers over the emergency buttons to keep things like that from happening but the new one has flimsy thin covers that routinely pop open. Had I not had phone service it would have wasted lots of rescue workers time and been a mess.
After that fiasco Motobiko raced ahead and I got lost . I then took a long way back to Quito in the rain and I hit Quito traffic at rush hour. What an unpleasant experience that was. I couldn't find a hotel with parking then ended up in a dump, these are South American standards and it was a dump. The caveat was I had to get up at 3 am to move my bike so people could move their cars...whatever just wrap this day up already.
The next morning the US Embassy wanted me to find a police officer or Fire fighter to prove to them I was alive but I don't know enough Spanish to explain that so I had my buddies mom type up the explanation that I was indeed alive and found some cops and showed it to them. With that affair behind me Motobiko agreed to meet up with me at Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental and have them give us some ideas on places to ride. This is a must stop, these guys are great and top notch dudes , he mapped out the rest of our trip for us even. I had them give my bike some Purple Drink full Synthetic and get some new mirrors. I was going to have them find me a metal place to make plates for the outside of the pannier but just I ordered a new Pelican case since my girlfriend was flying in Sunday ( Someone stole the Pelican off my porch when it was delivered along with other items so it looks like I will need to fix it after all).
We finally get out of Quito and 2 hours later and 20 miles south we land in Machachi and score a nice hotel with parking , the only hotel I think in town. We grab some grub and hit the hay after a walk around town and stops at the pastry shop.
Up earlyish we start the Quito loop and man on man what a ride that is, awesome! We finally make it to Lago Quilotoa which is similar to Crater Lake in Oregon.
We had planned on doing Volcan Chimboraze but we were running low on time so just booked it to Riobamba after a wrong turn into the mountains. The ride was awesome but riding at night, in the fog, and on a tight twisty mountain road is just stupid especially when you do it twice. We find the Hostel Oasis with parking for the bikes, great place with cool rooms that looks like a medieval castle. It's a steal at $13 each for our own shared room with a bathroom. We check out the Vegas style christmas lights and sign off early as we have a long day tomorrow.
Roll out of Riobamaba early on our way to the Amazon Jungle at Macas. We climb and climb to the ridge line and find beautiful Lago Atillo at the top. Wow , wasn't expecting that, thanks Freedom Ecuador for mapping our route. The ridding they sent us on was some of the best I have ever done, if you want a vacation you wont forget skip Vegas and hit them up for a real trip.
Maybe a 1/4 mile after the lake we top the ridge and its is immediately jungle. More great roads all the way down to the Amazon. We didn't stop in Macas but stopped at some Amazon monument with a statue of a guy holding a severed head, now thats a statue.
The riding is in the flatlands and is lame for the most part but the ride down more than made up for it. We grab some food at Mendez and say adios. Motobiko is heading to Peru and I am headed to Guayaquil to meet my lady who is coming in Sunday.
I head off to Cuenca and the road is unreal and to boot a landslide had closed the road , except for DR650's who climb that dirt like its nothing. The road was all mine and it was incredible.
I make it to Cuenca and play the find a hotel with parking game and after an hour or so I quit and park it in a public lot for $5 and stay at Hotel Cuenca for $39, the place was very nice, the room massive, and the breakfast top notch. Found a craft brew pub in the city that made a mighty fine amber.
In the morning I check out the city, grab a couple of pics, and then head out.
The ride from here to Naranjal was spectacular , especially riding through El Cajas National park. Saw a couple of critters at 13,700 feet. I guess they are Llamas unless some one knows better than I . On a side note I can without a doubt say so far the riding I have done is the absolute best I have ever done in my life. Every day tops the next, I don't know how I will go back to regular riding around Oregon when I get back. It was an experience driving into those clouds as you can't see more than 6 feet in front of you for a while. Then you pop out into jungle.
That's a lot of pics , I'll be off the bike for about 10 days. I'll spend Christmas someplace on the road I suppose as my lady heads back the 23rd. Thinking I'll be in Loja Ecuador most likely if anyone is around that way. Happy holidays everyone
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Those critters look like Alpaca's...
Awesome pics, one of these days I'd like to get down there...
Lookin good dude. Are you taking all your photos with the iPhone?
Good to hear you escaped injury form your get off and are realizing the wise decision of skipping CA for more time in SA. You are correct that riding in the states will never be the same for you again....hope you can live with that.
I can't recall the name but there is a joint in Loja that does have pretty good Mexican food if you are getting tired of chicken and rice yet. Stay safe
Yup taking all pics with iPhone 6 and using an app called pro HDR. It takes great pics but you need a tripod or keep it still otherwise they will be blurry. Yes I am tired of chicken and rice and heading to Loja Christmas Eve
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Dont those pelicans have a lifetime replacement warranty?
otherwise drill the ends of the cracks to keep them from growing and use the epoxy ,make a backup plate to spread the load over a large surface,this also helps with the ali panniers where they have been bolted too close together.
Warranty voided if you alter the case in any way so that's out but I thought the same thing.
I looked around for a metal shop today but didn't find one. My aluminum bars should keep it together until I find the backer plate but drilling the cracks is a good idea.
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Here is my route so far which I mapped using the Pocket Earth pro app, it's the routing application I've been waiting for. You can create routes, drag them to change, then export as GPX files. Finally someone has done it, routing is online only but still a huge improvement over Google maps and crappy ass base camp. The maps are offline just the routing requires Internet but you can save your routes for later use. Iphone and iPad only , thanks to Sturgis Chick for the app recommendation
Buen Viaje Amigo!
Merry Christmas Travis! Haven't heard from you in a bit; hope all is well.
Here is a teaser pic, trying to get some real Internet in Peru is a challenge
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