20 November 2011

2-wheeled treason and the Colombian vortex

Location:  Salento, Colombia
Days on my motorcycle: 2
kilometers: 400
engine size: 199cc
miles per gallon: between 65 and 100, depending on terrain

after cycling to Medellin, then San Antonio de Prado, I threw in the towel for now and got a motor.  I love motorcycles and I want the freedom to explore a greater area.  I also want more time to spend in given locations, as many of my favorite experiences traveling have taken place off the bike. Climbing long mountain passes on a loaded bicycle gives me a certain satisfaction, but then again, so does zooming up them with the wind in my face and the sun warming my carhartts.

A parting shot of the crystal waters of Turbo

Cycling to Medellin involves running the FARC gauntlet.  The army has some cool trucks to keep us safe though.

everybody else rolls around in these cute Diahatsus


Hello, and welcome to the Andes.  Lungs, prepare to burn.

Yep, this is the main highway.  Landslideville.

Oh jesus, I need a beer!

pleasant riding.  my first time in a cool climate since mexico.  ahhhhhhh

and these are the foothills.  just wait for peru!

me an' Tatanka

typical breakfast

Medellin 53, High accident zone.

full suspension bike crossing

tire shop: montallantas

the kids always love my mexican wrestler

i can totally see how guerilla can exist here.  not exactly the midwest...


after a final climb, medellin came into view with its endless red brick sprawl.

luckily, i made the brutal climb to san antonio de prado with the help of cesar's motorcycle and burly left arm

yum, sancocho!  yucca, plantain, cilantro, peppers, and hunks of meat, with a side of avocado.

we're going to keep the halloween pictures G rated.  sorry.

nathan made enough to buy himself a beer with this clever outfit.  i thought the curtain ties were a nice touch.

at Hooter's Medellin, they wear tights because Colombian women are not tough enough to brave the cold in those famous short shorts.  American women +1.

the facial expressions of all pictured sum up the night pretty well.

Troy on his KLR650, sweeping through a turn near San Antonio.

We attended an enduro race, but the best part by far was the mud bogging. 

vintage yamaha calibmatic

Colombian women +1


no riders made it through, and some spent significant time clawing their way out.

riding up there took us straight back to the pacific northwest, only with smaller logs.

windy roads in the foothills of the andes...

Troy, the carpenter and his KLR

Maria says she's stealing this chopper and coming with us.  Yes please!

Old Chryslers still lurk on the farms here...

When Juan buys everyone rum, the night seems to go downhill.

exhibit A

Apparently my SPD boots were a snug fit for Martha's pedals, and I had to have an exciting dismount.  Maria pried them loose for me again.

Touring the backroads around San Antonio!

Maria tries on some of the Canadians fashionable riding accessories.

Dodge power wagon Chiva!  Amazing.

fantastic hot pink yamaha DT 175

Nathan winds up the mountain on a one way rollercoaster

the bike i almost bought.  a 1978 yamaha XT500.  so hotttt

south america!

we adopted a stray but it steals everything.

Ted can't resist a peak into the box

probably the foulest graffiti i have ever seen.

meet Ted.  Straight from the streets of Driggs, Idaho.  He'll be rolling south on a KTM 640

Bandeja Paisa...  sausage, beans, prok belly, egg, rice, shredded beef, fried banana, tortilla, and juice for about 7000 pesos.

contemplating the idea of touring on a vespa battle scooter

Beltran came up to Medellin for some raging.

Beltran!  My friend from Apartado.

Jaime, whose mind was about as focused as this picture after a healthy dose of whiskey and aguardiente (fire water)

yeah, that's about right.

nom nom nom.  did anyone actually get any in their mouth?

Jaime got inspired, and put the moves on a cute British backpacker.

Make it a double...

But then he went down for the count...

ok, this one is staged

Aguardiente, which translates to Ardent Water, is made from sugar cane and annis.  Kinda like ouzo.  You buy it by the liter here.

The pack of ''lone wolves''

big bikes with canadian plates draw cops.

finding some mud on the way to visit a friend

Nathan, Beltran, and Troy. good times.

piñol at lago de guatepe.  climbing the stairs reminded me that i haven't done much riding of late.

lots of coves to explore.

4 trips to the DMV, AKA Transito, but now I have a bike in my name.

sorry RUNT, no public service today

2nd story moto parking involves riding up and down these concreted stairwells.

where are you going to park that harley?

Nathan gets a pocketwatch tattoo as a reminder that we have more time than life.  go slow.

oh dear.

medellin has a black shiny building on a mountain called a library.  really, it is a horrible waste of space and materials, but an interesting visit.

you can't help but wonder what is inside, which is basically nothing.

but getting there involves taking the gondola over the poor neighborhood, very strange to not be riding through.  you miss all the stares and smells and sounds that make it interesting.

neat to look at.  waste of space inside.

at the hostel, the suzukis and kawasakis park inside, and the BMWs sit out in the rain.  haha.

Ted brought down some new panniers for Manuel, who is smiling like a kid on Christmas.

at the welder shop, there's a bike bell on the gate

lots of old american trucks around.

welding up a cargo rack for my new ride.

thanks Walter!

we worked together to bend cut and weld some tubing to make a solid rack for the Suzuki DR200

Cesar relaced the rear wheel for me.

Tatanka stays at Manuel's house, and I continue on his motorcycle.

Hanging up the bike for a while.

All loaded up for the ride south.  See ma, look at those pads and helmet!

A good omen, I hope!

Pangs of guilt as I see the other cycletourists soldiering onwards.

 a last goodbye to Cesar, Manuela, and Martha of San Antonio de Prado

Nathan eyeballs the route down through Bolivia.  We've covered about 3 inches so far.

Evening stroll through the markets of Manizales.

Manizales, Colombia

Have you ever had someone cover your banana split with sour cheese curds?

first banana split of my life that i couldn't finish.

this looks way more appetizing.  in case you didn't know what the inside of a pig looks like...
 hang on tight.  the pace is about to quicken.  watch as i rally all the way to the southern tip of south america by the end of 2011!


Dr. Poblano said...

woohoo!! ecuadorrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

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