Xplore2Gether - California to Ushuaia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JimsBeemer, Mar 6, 2019.

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  1. jowul

    jowul Been here awhile

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    Nothing two or three garbage bags cannot solve. When I had hard panniers on my K75 S I always used those "special" liners. Great following your RR. I grew up in Colombia and a part of my family still lives in Bogotá. I look forward to reading about your experiences and impressions.
  2. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We made it to Colombia!

    We met up with Chris and Sharon Struna for the ride form Panama City to Carti, which is where you meet the Stahratte on the Panama side. Once you turn off of Hwy 1 (the Panamerican) and head towards the coast, it becomes jungle and mountainous. The road is paved - but twisty and steep. But beautiful - as long as it isn't raining, which it wasn't. The captain of the Stahlratte, Ludwig, told me that the he started out transporting backpackers between Panama and Colombia about 15 years ago, and in those days the road to Carti was dirt and nearly impassible except by 4wd. A few years in, someone contacted him about motorcycle transport, and he replied "if you can get to the dock, I'll take you". The guy made it, through mud and hills and river crossings, and with his success word leaked out and others followed, and today motorcyclist and their rides account for almost 100% of his passengers. I cannot imagine that road without bridges and asphalt - it must have been quite a journey.

    Side note: A week or so before we were to set sail, Captain Ludwig sent us all an email saying that due to issues with corrupt officials in Cartagena, our itinerary was changing. We would be landing in the city of Turbo instead of Cartagena. He offered refunds to anyone who wanted to cancel as a result (none did) and also gave us a pretty detailed history and explanation as to why. Overall I think we were all happy to have someone else dealing with customs and immigration for a change. Since then I've been in contact with Ludwig; he has been in Cartagena to try and "fix things up", and tells me he believes that his next group will be able to use Cartegena. That's good - because Turbo was not a highlight of the trip (more on that to come).

    On the ride to Carti with Chris and Sharon, we were passed by "the Canadian Mikes" on their Suzuki DR's (we've crossed paths with them off an on since Guatemala) just before the Kuna checkpoint. Though we arrived an hour early, we found we were the last ones to arrive at the dock, just behind the Mikes. Once we got there, we found the Stahratte anchored off-shore, and the Captain and crew on-shore welcoming us and preparing the bikes. We were directed us to remove all luggage and panniers, and the crew with some Kuna helpers loaded all of our belongings into a small boat that then delivered the goods to the Stahlratte.

    Route.jpg
    Our route from Panama City to the Stahlratte. I had the gps below deck once we set sail, which is why the perfectly straight line to our first anchorage in the San Blas islands.

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    On route to through the Jungle to Carti.

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    Pulling out from the Kuna checkpoint (where we had to pay to pass). Chris and Sharon in the lead on their Suzuki's.

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    Captain Ludwig and his helpers rigging up our bikes to be hoisted onto the Stahlratte (anchored off-shore in background). He has done this so many times and has seen every possible type of bike - best to just stay out of his way and let him do it! In immediate foreground is Peter from Switzerland - another rider who came with the Stahratte from Mexico-Cuba-Jamaica to Carti. Our Panama to Colombia trip was Ludwig's first voyage of the season, he had been doing Mexico-Cuba trips prior to this.

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    Ready to go! The Stalhratte still anchored off-shore in the background. Note the blue rope on my bike - rigging for the upcoming hoisting operation.
  3. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    The Stahlratte pulled up alongside the cement dock, and in quick succession, all the bikes (10, one was a Ural side-car rig) were loaded. The Stahlratte then moved back and anchored off-shore, and we all got into a small boat and motored out to meet it and climb onboard. After a going below deck to find our berth and securing our belongings, we went up for a briefing by the Captain, and give him our passports. Our passports were taken by an agent by boat for processing, and we then headed off for our first anchorage, which was a short ride under motor (not sail) east where we anchored between some small islands for the night (end day 1). We stayed there the whole next day (day 2), enjoying some snorkeling around the nearby coral reefs, and got underway after dinner. The next morning (day 3) we stopped at a border port where the Captain took off in a boat to take care of checking us (but not our bikes) into Colombia, and after dinner we set out for our final port (Turbo), where we arrived early then next morning (Day 4).

    And yeah! Advrider now allows 10 pictures per post!
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    My R1200GSA going on board.

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    Carol's F700GS making the trip. We removed all panniers and luggage first.

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    Lunch on the upper deck.

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    Captain Ludwig Hoffman (left) directing the loading. He has done this more than just a few times!

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    Our berth, below deck.

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    Stahratte underway, heading through the San Blas Islands. This was the first day - we anchored not long after this.

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    Day 2 we were anchored all day between several small isalnds, and the Kuna indians came out to sell stuff. Captain Ludwig purchased a bunch of lobsters and fish, which the Kuna's cleaned and then we had a feast that night.

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    There was some good snorkeling where we anchored - this is a spotted eagle ray.

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    Carol and I - snorkel selfie.

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    I had to try it - swinging by rope off the bow to drop into the ocean below. Just don't forget to let go!
  4. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    I made a short video of our Stahlratte experience.
  5. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    Brings back memories!
    The sound of the “rat” is still running in my mind.
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  6. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    The Stahlratte was a wonderful experience overall. However, as I hinted at earlier, the port we disembarked at, Turbo, was a low-light. Ludwig told us that he had a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A was to try and get permission to unload or motorcycles on the Coast Guard dock. We arrived in the harbor early in the morning, around 7:00AM, and docked at the Coast Guard dock, and Ludwig got off with some Cuban rum and I'm guessing some money to try and grease the skids.

    After a few hours (Rum taken) the answer was "No" - we could not unload the bikes there. So we had to go to Plan B. Plan B was to go back into the harbor, anchor, and get a local cattle boat to pull up beside us. Once it was tied to the Stahlratte, we loaded the motorcycles into the cattle boat (you can imagine what it smelled like) and then we all boarded and rode it across the bay and in through a little canal. The ride down the canal, with the jungle pressing in, reminded me of the movie "The African Queen".

    We landed at a corral (of course), and rode the bikes off the cattle ship. To this point, it was actually an intriguing and interesting aventure. The bad part was the ride from the corral to Turbo customs, where we had to check our bikes into Colombia.

    Ludwig hired a guide for us, who was on a little scooter, and he proceeded to lead us through the streets of Turbo, which were muddy beyond imagination (for city streets), congested (with scooters zipping every direction) and just not fun. I dropped my GS once at the corral before we even got to the mud (put the wrong foot down), but once we got to the mud several others went down, including Carol several times. She dropped it once next to a car and her windshield hit the car door - that cost us $50 to make right. Another of our team was on a R1200GSA with stock Michelin Anakee 3 tires and he dropped his bike several times. We were going by residential areas, and people were living in this mud - it reminded me of the cartoon "Dilbert" and his fictional "Elbonians" - if you know the comic, you'll get that. I can't imagine living with that.

    Anyway - we eventually made it to customs, and that was a highlight. They were so organized and helpful! Wow - after Central America, it was quite a change. They worked into their lunch hour to get us all processed, and even brought us cold water. Then some more mud-ridding to get out of town, and finally onto tarmac. We rode to the town of Arboletes with Chris and Sharon Struna, and the next day, ironically, wonderfully, and thanks to Sharon's research, we visited and swam in a mud volcano. Next post.

    P1310981.JPG A couple on a Ural was part of the Stahlratte passenger list (10 bikes, 11 people on this trip). Loading the Ural from the Stahlratte to the cattle ship was quite .... interesting. Made loading the bikes look easy.

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    Carols bike being loaded into the cattle ship.

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    Crew of the Stahlratte. Ludwig takes on temporary volunteers who want to learn to sail and see some of the world.

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    Here comes Plan B.

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    All loaded and ready for the ride to the corral.

    P1320125.JPG The Ural needed a little assistance getting out of the cattle ship.

    P1320137_stitch.jpg Everyone unloaded, ready to leave the corral and head to ... muddy Turbo. I dropped my bike shortly after this.

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    Some of the better streets in Turbo - it got worse.

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    This is the outskirts of town - once we were in town, there was a lot more water covering the streets and just mud-holes, and so many 125CC bikes and scooters zipping around it was hard to navigate. The Continental TCK70's did great given the conditions - I only got real "slippery" once. But TKC80's would have been welcome in this situation, and Carol would have fared better with knobbies, I'm sure.

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    Finally - customs office and some pavement. Completed importing our bikes and said goodbye to the Stahlratte alumni - but have run into several of them since! Small world.
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  7. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Yes, that sound! Also reminded me of “The African Queen”. 4 cylinders, ~300hp, you can practically count the reps. I have a recording of it . Got a tour of the engine room one day, was fun.
  8. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    <Edit: After posting this I realized that I'd already posted the two photos included here, of Turbo's muddy streets. But it deserves emphasis, so I'm leaving this one up - plus Peter who took the photos deserves the shout-out!>

    We are in Bogota now, and I am going to try and catch up with the trip report. I managed to get a few photos of the roads in Turbo where the Stahlratte dropped us of, from one of the other passengers! Glad to be able to document that. We are still carrying around a good bit of "Turbo" in the form of caked on mud on our bikes!

    Turbo Streets 1.jpg
    Picturesque Turbo. Peter Reise, from Switzerland, is the rider who took these photos. His bike (same year/model as mine!) is the one in the pictures.

    Turbo Streets 2.jpg

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    Peter in his natural habitat - anyplace with a beer after a long day's ride :-) We rode with Chris and Sharon Struna from Turbo to Arboletes, and when we got into Arboletes we found Peter here in the town square. We all had diner together, and as we sat at our street-side table, two other Stahlratte passengers walked up - Mike and Mike from Canada. I'm sure we'll all run into each other again over the coming months!

    Thanks Peter for the photos of the Turbo streets! Peter has been traveling on his motorcycle for several years, and he has a blog page at https://www.reisepeter.ch/
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  9. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Been here awhile

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    excellent!!!
  10. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We rode with Chris and Sharon for two days, and shared a cabana with them in Arboletes. Sharon had read that near Arboletes there was this mud volcano, the best one in Colombia. Mud didn't sound very appealing to us after Turbo, and even less so when she explained that the thing to do is to go "swimming" in the mud. Ohhhhkaaay. Hmm. Well - we are here, so we said we'd do it. Wow - another thing that I didn't even know should have been on the bucket list! It is hard to describe - you have no way to anticipate the sensation the first time you get in. In fact, one of the fun things is to watch peoples faces as they get in for the first time - to a person it is an expression of "wow!!" mixed with "what??"", always expressed as a smile. You cannot sink - you float about chest high. So in the pictures - no one is "standing up" - the bottom of the mud pit is who-knows-how-deep below us. But the density of the mud is high, and Archimedes principle says you will stop sinking when the weight of the displaced fluid (mud in this case) equals your own weight, and that happens about chest high. If you lay on your back, you are supported so uniformly - it is like the ultimate foam mattress - but even more relaxing than an mattress I've ever laid on. I literally started to doze off. Thanks Sharon - it was a wonderful experience and we wouldn't have dreamed of it were it not for you! DSC02617.JPG
    The mud volcano. A small pond filled with mud, forced up from below. It "drains" to the ocean. There are showers to wash off afterwards, but we took the option to walk down to the ocean and wash off in the surf, for the total "natural" experience.

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    Burbling mud - it is an active geothermal site. The temperature of the mud was "warm" - not hot, and varied a bit if you "swam" (funny to watch) around the pool.

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    Carol, reacting to the sensation. See that expression? Was repeated on a lot of faces.

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    My turn. That expression again.

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    Left to Right: Chris, Sharon, Carol and myself. This is a fun picture - because of who took it. This is the morning after we had dinner with Peter Reise (from Switzerland, previous post) and we knew he was leaving town - but on his way out he had decided to stop and see this mud volcano for himself. At some point we looked up and there he was, waving at us. He took this and the following picture of us all in the mud, and then forwarded to us by WhatsApp - thanks again Peter!

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    Peter took this picture as well - in the background you see the Struna's and us doing some mud volcano synchronized lounging, making a "+" with our floating bodies. None of those people are standing - you simply stop sinking about chest high.

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    All cleaned up afterwards. Highly recommend the experience!
  11. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    From Arboletes, we headed towards Cartagena. We rode with the Strunas as far as Tolu, where we spent the night, intending to head north on Rt 90, the next day, which by the map is the most direct route to Cartagena. But we had learned from other riders a few days ahead of us that there was a lot of road construction on Rt 90 that cost them long delays (hours). So we decided to take Rt 25 (see map). It is not as direct but we thought we'd miss the construction - wrong! For quite a ways we really were happy with the decision - and the road was beautiful - it goes up into the mountains. But eventually, we hit road construction as well - and I don't think we saved any time taking this route. If any riders are reading this in real-time, be aware. Add two hours to what you think it will take. And I don't think it matters if you take 90 or 25 - the travel time will be similar. It took us 6 hours to get from Tolu to our location in old town Cartagena. The Strunas took a similar route - but Google Maps directed them to head first north on 90 and then take a "shortcut"from 90 over to 25, which Chris reported to me later involved six river crossings and a mostly dirt road! Be aware.

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    Roadside rest stop on the way to Tolu (Sharon in the foreground)

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    Carol and I stopped at one of the many sections of road construction on Rt 25, waiting our turn.

    Attached Files:

  12. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We stayed at an Air BnB in old town Cartagena for five nights, and enjoyed some R&R and touring the sites. One of the things that was really fascinating was our tour of the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas and learning the history behind the failed attempt by the British to take over Cartagena from Spain in the Battle of Cartagena de Indias in 1741 - it was the largest naval campaign in history up until D-day! And vastly outnumbered, the Spaniards prevailed due to superior tactics, with great cost of life on both sides. Why didn't my history classes include this interesting stuff? Probably they did, and I wasn't interested back then :-) Interesting historical side note: The man in charge of the British fleet was Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon. Also - a contingent of men from the American colonies came to support the British invasion (this predates the war for independence), and included among them was Lawrence Washington, the brother of George Washington. After the battle, Lawrence returned home, where he later named the family estate "Mt Vernon", in honor of Edward Vernon.

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    Carol in front of the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas (panorama shot)

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    View of Cartagena from the Castillo

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    View of Old Town (zoomed) from the Castillo

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    The selfie. At the Castillo.

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    In the plaza outside the Castillo there is a statue of Don Blas de Lezo, who was one of the masterminds behind the defeat of the British. Talk about badass - this guy had one arm, one leg and one eye, due to various injuries from previous battles. Today he is recognized in Spain and Columbia as a hero, and as greatest military strategist. He sunk his own ships as part of his strategy - using them as obstacles to block entrance to the port, since using them in direct combat in such overwhelming odds was futile. He died shortly after victory, from disease, which is ironic, because disease (a major cause of death on both sides) was in fact a key part of his strategy; he slowed the British forces down until the rainy season came, knowing that they would then suffer greatly from disease (which they did).

    Here were the odds:
    Manpower: British ~30,000 personnel , Spaniards ~3,500
    Ships: British ~250 ships, including 29 "ships of the line" and 71 "sloops of war". Spaniards ~6 ships of the line.
    The Spaniards under Blas succesfully defended Cartagena, securing Spanish control of the Caribbean shipping routes for decades to follow.

    Attached Files:

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  13. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Here are some old-town Cartagena pictures.
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    Plaza de los Coches, where we started a guided walking tour (which was free except for tip) of old town, and thankfully our tour guide decided we would wait out the thunderstorm.
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    On our walking tour - That is me about to turn the corner.

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    Carol was fascinated by the doors - she took a lot of pictures of doors! Many of these old colonial buildings have a big door with a little door in the big door, as shown here. No idea - maybe for horses to enter?
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    Old town at night - it was a great place to just walk around and take in the sights. And some good restaurants!
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    Look who we found! We were pretty sure Chris and Sharon were in Cartagena, so we reached out to them and arranged to meet for dinner one night.
  14. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    From Cartegena we continued along the coast to Santa Marta. On our way there, we had two interesting interactions. First we came across a couple (Diego and Maria, from Santa Marta) on the side of the road, on a motorcycle and clearly having problems. I stopped and he showed me that he had several loose spokes in his rear wheel, and it was not safe to ride. He was going to have Maria walk back to a little village we passed on the way, and he was going to try to ride it back on the shoulder, hoping that with the reduced weight and low speed he would make it. I offered to help and removed my dry bags, and we took his panniers off and strapped them on my bike, then with Maria and the panniers on board, I rode back to the village. We connected with them on WhatsApp, and I confirmed that he did make it to town and got help. It was nice to help someone else for a change!

    Then later that afternoon, in Barranquilla, we were thinking about stopping for lunch and we passed a couple on a loaded down cruiser, clearly long distance travellers, and we waved. They were talking wth another cyclist on one of the ubiquitous 125CC bikes (more like a scooter). At the next stop, the woman on the scooter pulled up to us with the other couple in tow, and asked a bit about us and if we wanted to get lunch. We did - so I said yes. Turns out that the couple, Gabi and Vero, are from Argentina. They got married last October, quit their jobs and left to explore their continent. And the woman on the scooter was part of a local motorcycle club, and a group of her friends joined us for lunch. Afterwards, the club members escorted us out of town - it was quite a procession! Several times they rode out and blocked traffic so we could proceed.

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    Diego and Maria

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    At lunch with Gabi and Vero (back left) and members of the local motorcycle group. The woman who brought us all together is Jasmine, second in on the right.
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    Gabi and Vero. I never did figure out the make of their cruiser - was not a US (HD) or Japanes make. Wish I had taken a picture!

    DSC02776.JPG This was taken at a gas stop along the way - just had to point out the following; see all that mud on our bikes? We are still carrying around souvenirs from Turbo :-)
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  15. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Jan 4, 2014
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    In Santa Marta, we burned up some more of my Marriott hotel points and stayed a few days at a beach resort - the Santa Marta Marriott Playa Dormida - it is brand new facility and had only been open for a week. We got upgraded to a suite (sweet!) and we were the first people to stay in the room. We pretty much hung out at the resort (caught up on some fiances, etc) but we took one day to ride up into the mountains, to a little town called Minca. It was a beautiful ride - and we walked down through the forest to a creek. The water was cold, but we were hot, so we got in, I wish I had taken a video of the ride from Minca up to the trailhead to the creek - it was a pretty bad road. Carol rode pillion on that part, and decided she'd rather walk going back! Our Guatemalan off-road instructor Jose Pinto would have been proud of me I think. The exercise where he taught me to ride the length of a 4x4 came into use here (and several other times along the way); there was a section with two paved concrete strips about 18" wide, spaced for cars, with deep ruts on both sides. And using the throttle to unload the front end when surmounting an obstacle - very valuable. Just knowing that "I've done this before" is a big help. Of course there were lots of little 125cc bikes bouncing through like it was nothing :-)

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    Me on the patio of our suite - next to our hot tub. Yeah - each suite had its own hot tub!

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    View from the patio of our room.


    Minca - we parked here, and then Carol rode pillion on the dirt road into the jungle to the trailhead for the walk to the creek.

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    More Minca
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    This is a view of Minca from the restaurant where we ate lunch before going to the creek.

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    Hiking through the Jungle! There was another, more popular destination on this road a ways up from here, where there is a water fall. But we opted to do this hike, and we were the only people on the trail. However, we did disturb another couple when we got to the creek, who clearly thought they'd be the only ones there. Ahem.

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    The creek. The pools here were not very large - the largest one was sort of "occupied" by the aforementioned couple who thought they were alone. We found a few pools downstream big enough to get wet in.

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    And she's in - now I guess I have to do it too!

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    And I did - in and out, quickly. It was pretty cold and it was warm but not real hot outside. It was "refreshing".

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    Back to where we left Carol's bike, getting ready to go, but of course Carol has made some friends. Her Spanish is not as good as mine, yet she talks to a lot more people :-) Glad she's along - I have met many more people because of her.

    Attached Files:

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  16. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    From Santa Marta we turned away from the coast (bye bye Caribbean!) and headed south on route 45/45A. We figured we would pretty much just be riding until we got to San Gil - but along the way we stopped at what I thought was just a hotel in the countryside (from what I saw on Booking.com) - but it turned out to be much more. The Hotel Campestre El Portal, just north of Bucaramanga, is a park with a hotel, cabins and camping. There were acres of wild and maintained park lands, and a lot of interesting waterways, pools and animals. We spent just one night, but we got in early enough to spend several hours walking around and enjoying the facility - great place to stop if you want to avoid staying in the less-than picturesque (at least from what we saw) city of Bucaramanga. From there it was an ride the next day into San Gil. Date stamp: We left Santa Marta on June 17, 2019.

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    Our route south to San Gil

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    From Santa Marta to about San Alberto, it is a very nice ride on 45, through flat lands with lots of water and mountains in the distance.

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    Stopped for lunch, Carol made a friend. He was the same age as our oldest two grandchildren, and he was very interested in seeing pictures of them. And also very interested in my motorcycle.

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    Carol waiting patiently for me to take some pictures. It is very frustrating, because there will be an incredible view - but the concept of a "vista point" is non existent - as is the concept of "road shoulder" for the most part. So finding a safe place to pull over for a picture can be difficult.

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    But this is what I stopped to photograph - just beautiful scenery.

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  17. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Here are some pictures from the Hotel Campestre El Portal (see link inserted) I mentioned in the last post. Highly recommend. Just north of Bucaramanga on 45, after the route starts to get "mountainous".
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    This is the hotel building - you can see our bikes parked on the grass out front.
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    Spa, bar and restaurant are located in these buildings.

    DSC02865.JPG We didn't swim in the pool - but there is nothing "wrong" with it - it is supposed to look this way. It is a "natural pool", fed by the stream via some man-made waterways. We have seen this same type of pool a few times. But one in San Gil had been converted to a "conventional pool" due to health concerns, so yeah, there's that. But people were swimming in it when we go there.

    DSC02855.JPG View of some of the grounds. Note theh creek - there is water flowing everywhere, including a network of aqueducts.
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    We watched this guy for probably 20 minutes. He was very interesting - he was eating the palm berrys (I don't know if that is the right name!)
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    RedDogAlberta likes this.
  18. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    353
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    The last bit of 45A into San Gil is a gorgeous twisty mountain road - except for the truck traffic! Crazy trucks and buses. We have become fairly aggressive passers - you have to or you wont get anywhere. But some of the stunts we have seen buses pull makes me wonder if I'd ever ride one. Passing on blind curves is the main offense. But - the scenery was awesome.

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    There was a nice pull-out where we parked to take this picture. While I was doing that, Carol took a little siesta (next photo)
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    Carol resting - she says that if she lays down for even two minutes, it rejeuvenates her in a way that just sitting and resting does not. But passerby's are usually concerned "What is wrong with that person laying on the ground by that motorcycle?!" But hey - it works for her.

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    Friendly couple, Julio and Claudia, who were stopped at the same pull-out, also enjoying the scenery. After assuring them Carol was ok, we had a nice conversation.
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    Made it - our first stop in San Gil. We only stayed here one night, and then moved to an Air BnB apartment.
  19. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    353
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Here is a nice little fact about Colombia (and Honduras) - motorcycles do not pay to ride on the toll roads! I made this short video to show the typical motorcycle by-pass at the toll booths. This was on route 45 near Curamani.

    powderzone likes this.
  20. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    353
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    San Gil - what a blast! It is billed at an "xtreme sport" mecca, and it noticeably cultures that moniker, and caters to that crowd. So what do two 60'ish year olds do in response to that environment? We dive in, of course! Actually - that was not a given. But this is yet another situation where my wife, Carol, never ceases to surprise me. We certainly did not push any limits from a broader perspective, but from the "Carol" perspective, we blew the limits out of the water.
    Which is to say: We went paragliding! We also went white water rafting - which normally would be of major note, but pales in comparison to "paragliding". We also toured a local park, enjoyed some good food, and stayed in a great Air BnB, but over it all is the fact that we went paragliding, and we both loved it. Scuba diving, zip-line, and now paragliding - not to forget riding her own motorcycle to the end of the Americas. Wow. She is one impressive woman.

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    Ok - I thought I'd loose her her at checking. They asked for, among other things, your "tipo de sangre" (blood type)!!! What kind of activity is this?! The fact that I did not know mine did not seem to matter.

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    There were about eight of us in group - and they naturally chose Carol to go first! Here she is about to harness up.

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    And she's off!

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    And she's loving it!

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    I went near the end of the group - they were waiting for the afternoon winds to pick up before the big fat American went up! Seriously - I was the heaviest person in the group, not something I'm used to saying! They made you weigh in on a scale, and you could read everyone's weight in Kg on the clipboard. It was Carol, myself and a bunch of tiny Latinos! In any case, I loved it. It was what I imagine being a bird would be like. So quiet and peaceful.

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    There were quite a few para-gliders in the air.

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    At the end - with our pilots.
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    morfic, NSFW and RedDogAlberta like this.