Into Northern Peru--end of trip.
When we began this journey, we had no firm plan or end date to the trip.
We just realized that at some point we would need to head back for one
reason or another. The time has come to raise the white flag and go
My wife is a business analyst/project manager and has been offered a
one-year contract. This offer fell out of the clear blue into her lap.
Given the current economic situation, we felt we could not turn this
down. Hence we are goinig home.
We are of two minds about this, but we need to finance further travels.
If only we could win the lottery. We have returned to Quito, Ecuador to
ship the bikes home. They are booked on a flight next week and we will
follow the day after (audible sigh).
It has been a great trip and we are already planning the next one. I
have no more current pictures to post, however. A couple of days ago I
made the classic tourist bonehead mistake of hanging the camera over the
back of a chair at a roadside cafe. When I went back for it two minutes
later, it was gone. Later that day I almost turned left in front of a
bus. Very close call. Perhaps the gods are signalling to us to pack it
I have been posting on a Kawasaki Super Sherpa site as well as on the HUBB. Here are some links to those posts if anyone is interested. Lots of pics as well. I meant to post these a long time ago, but, well, I can be lazy.
Joel and Taz
Into Peru--end of trip.
Ooops. I guess those links will not work. Hmmm. I will work on another way.
the same happens to me-soon (in two month)
can you recommmend a shipping/flight company and what are the costs (to vancouver I guess).
If anyone else have a good Idea how to get the bike back (Europe in my case) please post.
Cheers from Paracas, Peru
..vaccinated against yellow fever, infected by orange fever
CarliO. Shipping out of Quito so far has proved to be a reasonable experience. If it were not for Mothers Day in North America, we would be out of here. So many flowers are flown from Ecuador to North America (especially around holiday periods) that all the cargo flights are full of flowers---who knew? Blindsided by Mothers Day!
We have found a good shipping agent who seems to be on the ball. I do not have all the information in front of me, but will post all the information after we have shipped. Tomorrow we are off the agent to crate the bikes and finalize the paperwork. We have been quoted around $1400 to ship to Vancouver, BC, but will have final price after all is measured and weighed.
Here is some info and pictures of our trip.
Dec 14, 2009
My wife and I are on an extended tour of North and (if all goes according to plan--always be aware of Murphys Law) South America on two 2009 Super Sherpas. We left Vancouver, BC, the end of May 2009 and are currently in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. It took us six months to get here so we have been staying here for a few weeks to rest and prepare to continue south. We spent 2 1/2 months in Canada, 2 months in the USA, six weeks in Mexico and so far 4 weeks in Guatemala.
After 28,000 km, the bikes are still going strong. Had to buy rear tires here. 250 cc is the perfect size for our kind of touring. Formerly we did Mexico, USA and Canada on Ninja 250s (until I wrecked mine and we moved on to SS). Here are some links to photos of the trip. I will not bore you with all of them, just a few (IMHO) choice selections. Hope you enjoy.
Dec 17, 2009
We are in Coban, Guatemala, waiting out the rain. I thought I might post a couple of links to other trip reports we have made in the past. These are short reports from our travels on Ninja 250s.
Ninja250 Riders Club :: View topic - Mexico via Ninjas Ninja250 Riders Club :: View topic - What a long strange trip it's been
Dec 28, 2009
Greetings from the warm, sunny, breezy beach. Sorry---could not resist. Hope the snow shoveling is going well. After a few hard days of riding, we have arrived at San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. I am looking at the beach from this internet place with Bob Marley playing in the background. It is about 33 degrees C and I am sweating buckets. Too hot to ride with jackets on, only a sleevless shirt. I am a road rash accident waiting to happen. We left El Salvador two days ago, blasted across Honduras and are moving fast to Costa Rica. In the past we have backpacked for several months throughout all of these countries, so we know them well. We are now moving fast to get to Colombia.
We rode for a day with a couple of local riders from San Salvador. Great guys, both named Mario, and passionate about bikes. Mario 1 was on a Kawi 250 dirt bike. Mario 2 on a KLR 650. Here are a couple of pics and a short Youtube video that Mario 2 put together.
YouTube - SuchiCan.wmv
Jan 20, 2010
We have jumped the gap to Colombia. Arrived in Bogota mid-day and spent the afternoon dealing with customs to get the bikes released. By 6 PM we were on our way into the hustle and bustle of Bogota in the dark. Traffic was unbelievable and was an experience not to be repeated (10 million people in the city), but we lived to tell the tale. The next day was for some sight seeing and buying 3rd party insurance (mandatory in Colombia). We left the next day bright and early to beat the traffic (no such luck) and headed north away from the madness.
Colombia is wonderful. What a great place. There are still some troubles in some remote places where the guerillas still control some territory, but for the most part the worst is over and the people take pains to tell us that things are much better.
The Super Sherpas keep ticking over without a hitch. We get a warm reception everywhere we go. People are amazed we have ridden all the way from Canada. Having a British Columbia license plate causes some confusion requiring some explanation. Shortly after we left Bogota heading north, we encountered our first toll booth only to discover to our delight that motorcycles are exempt from paying tolls and there is a special lane on the right to bypass the booth. What a feeling of power and privilege as we ride by. There seems to be a toll booth about every 100 km or so. We are in the north of Colombia moving out of the mountains having ridden up to 3500 meters in the Colombian altiplano and are on our way to the hot and sweaty Caribbean coast.
Cargo area at Bogota airport.
Villa de Leyva http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4054/...2326eeac96.jpg
Villa de Leyva
Two from the great white north on the loose
Sharing the road
These old beauties are all over rural Colombia
Toll booth with motorcycle lane just to the right of the orange cone http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4056/...9333501a02.jpg
Colombian altiplano at 3500 meters looking toward some 5000 meter peaks http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4006/...026c6caf7f.jpg
Coffee stop at 3500 meters on the altiplano
Speaking of coffee, as they say...... El sabor es caliente como infierno, negro como el diablo y puro como un angel.
Potato harvest at 3500 meters
Mutiscua, one of the prettiest pueblos you will ever see, 2800 meters http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4010/...b5e425e9fb.jpg
More later. Saludos.
More pics of the journey.
Jan 29, 2010
Nos encanta Colombia. What a great surprise this country is. Spent a few days on the hot and sweaty north coast. Great beaches and Cartegena was worth a look, but it is good to back at altitude. The highlands are stunning, the roads are twisty, the country is green.
The people are lovely. There are a large number of small bikes (100cc to 200cc) about everywhere. Sometimes we are surrounded by a crowd of buzzing motos as the riders rubberneck to see who is riding these loaded down bikes. Cannot stop anywhere w/o getting into a conversation about motos. Several times a day we go through the "where are you from" routine, followed by disbelief that we actually rode all the way from Canada. Each day we just follow a road somewhere and go through the prettiest farmland and pueblos. The country is clean and it is obvious the people care for their country. Abject poverty is not "in your face" as it is in some other countries.
A couple we met on the side of the road, pulled over fixing a flat on their bike, told us that President Uribe is very popular and in 5 years has turned Colombia around. They were on their way to sign papers to buy a farm in the highlands east of Medellin. They told us that taxes have risen a lot in the last few years, but people are happy to pay because of the increased security and because social organization has dramatically improved. They felt they were getting so much benefit from the current situation. There is a heavy police and military presence everywhere as they try to clean up the rest of the leftist types and the drug runners. If North America could do something definitive to end the demand for drugs in our countries, I believe much more progress could be made here. Police checks are frequent, although we are rarely stopped. Just 5 years ago we would not have been able to travel in the area we are now due to violent activity.
A few years ago Colombia passed a law that all moto riders needed a vest with the plate number written on it and to have the plate number on the back of the helmet. Among foreign moto travelers there has been a question of whether or not we need the vest and helmet number. The law exempts foreigners, but apparently sometimes the police have stopped foreign bikers for not having the vest, so there has been some confusion about the issue.
We have been stopped 3 times. The first time as soon as the officer saw our plates he grinned, strode over and shook my hand and sent us on our way. The second time was at an army checkpoint on our way to a small pueblo near the Venezuela border. No one yet has asked us for documentation. They are bored standing along the road and just want to talk and look at the bikes.
The third time a couple of days ago was a hoot. We reached a small pueblo at the end of the paved road, planning to continue on an unpaved road onward to another small place. These 5 police officers (see picture) were bored and jumped at the chance to talk to us. After the usual where are you from, etc.... and the inevitable disbelief that we have ridden all the way from Canada, the talk turned to the road ahead. A long, animated discussion ensued among the 5 of them, complete with a great deal of arm waving and pointing. It became impossible to follow the discussion. Finally a non-consensus was reached. The road ahead was:
1. Unpaved, in good condition, in bad condition, almost impassable.
2. It would take us 1 1/2 to 4 hours.
3. The road did/did not go to the next town.
4. The road went north/south of the next town.
5. We really ought to have lunch before setting off because there was/was not/might not be anything along the road.
6. We were told we really ought to be travelling with GPS.
7. Ask in town about the road.
Into town we went for food. Over lunch we had quite a discussion with the owner of the restaurant. He explained in great detail, as he closely examined our map, about all the roads in the area (not that any of this made any sense to us). A local truck driver and some other men hanging about offered all their sage advice as well, including one unsavory looking character who repeatedly offered his services as a "guide", even though he had no visible means of transport. Another non-consensus was reached.
1. The road was unpaved, in good condition, in bad condition, nearly impassable.
2. It would take us 2 to 4 hours or more.
3. The road did/did not go directly to the next town.
So much for local knowledge. We were exhausted from trying to interpret all this kind advice in rapid fire Spanish. It was too late to attempt the road by then anyway, so we raised the white flag and retreated about an hour back up the paved road to find a room. In the end we proceeded by another route, so we still do not know if the alleged road exists or where it goes. Perhaps it is best we did not find out.....it may have led us into the Twilight Zone.
Those of us from the northern countries of North America have the wrong idea about Colombia. That actually holds true for all of Central and South America. Never once in all my travels have I felt threatened any more than I would in some parts of Vancouver or LA or NYC. We have, in fact, found people to be more friendly to us than we encounter in our own city.
OK. I shall climb down from my soapbox and show more pictures of Colombia.
forest fire outside Pamplona near the Venezuela border http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4010/...a6a90d09_b.jpg
gang at gas station (bomba) "Where are you from/going/etc." http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4055/...fa150767_b.jpg
always the kids hanging about
this guy was wheeling this new Honda 150 around town on this cart selling raffle tickets
New Zealand couple we met on the road on the north coast. KTM 990, traveling south to north from the bottom of SA to the top of Alaska by end of September.
frying plantains...it is a burpfest each time after eating these http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/...839e2bda_b.jpg
old town of Cartegena
Street vendor. In the thermos is "tinto", strong Colombian coffee sold in small plastic cups. About 25 cents for a blast of caffeine http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4015/...29d5637e_b.jpg
oops, no one hurt, just hurt pride http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4067/...77d3d888_b.jpg
this is the countryside we have been riding through the last few days....bit of a cloudy day
Lunch stop along the road. The girl in the white cap, third from left, has been taking English lessons and was thrilled to actually practice with people who were native speakers.
when I am too old to stay upright on two wheels, I will have one of these http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4005/...b1edcbfc_b.jpg
end of another rugged day
The couple on the left were the ones on their way to sign the papers for their new farm. Thier moto is behind. Note the appropriate biker gear she is wearing.
chiva bus, travelling in style
Feb 7, 2010
We are in San Agustin, Colombia. Weather wise, our luck has run out. We are waiting out the rain so we can go visit some of Colombia's premier archeological sites. The other problem is that all the roads from here back to the Panamerican highway are rough, unpaved tracks of at least 90 km up and over the Cordillera Central. The track will go up to at least 3000 meters. Apparently they are a real bitch in the wet and there is not much traffic. Hmmm......what to do. Currently I am in an internet place watching it rain harder and harder. The only other option is to return by paved road and around, about 400 km.
Up until now the weather has been fantastic. El Niño is strong this year and it has been unusually dry here and so the rain is welcome. Anyway here are some more photos of Colombia.
Just another pueblo in the highlands
Through the pueblo dodging stray dogs
These backroads are called trochas
From here we had to go down to the river bottom, along the road you can see, and then climb to the pueblo on top of the mountain in the middle of the picture.
And on and on. This stretch of road, 40 km, took 2 hours.
This is a prime example of how the pueblos are painted. This one is a bit brighter than most.
We stopped for lunch at a small pueblo. The fellow in the next picture (driving the jeep) had lived in the US for many years and spoke English. He was the owner of the little roadside restaurant. He came over and in English asked us what in the world we were doing there. No one comes this place. He and his friends took us for the afternoon for a jeep tour of the area up to his farm. I felt we were in a scene from Romancing the Stone as we raced along some horrendous back roads.
The jeep and friends
Views from the farm
The farm looks down on this rural school
This lovely woman takes care of the school. She fed us fresh juice, freshly made cheese, fresh bread all made by her and would not let us go until we were full.
The farm was busy with the blackberry harvest. After all that cheese, we now had to stuff ourselves with blackberries.
This sweetie is 11 years old, daughter of a friend of our host, who accompanied us. Smart, outgoing and lovely. In about 5 years she will be breaking hearts all over Colombia.
The pueblo of Aranzazu.
This was a house our host owned, so he let us stay there.
These two little girls lived next door. The older one is ready for school. The younger obviously does not know what to make of the ugly gringo behind the camera.
This is Parque Nacional Volcan Nevado del Ruiz, 5300 meters.
This is the entrance to the park at 4180 meters. The road goes on up to 4800 meters, but motorcycles are banned because of past problems of motos going offroad. Bummer, I wanted to ride to 4800 meters. This fellow was our guide to the volcano.
Private cars are allowed to go up. Everyone must go with a guide. A Colombian couple graciously let us accompany them and the guide to the top. The Colombian fellow is a doctor in a nearby city and so we rode in style to 4800 meters in the good doctor's brand new BMW 530i.
Switchbacks to the top
Parking lot at 4800 meters. We then hiked up to just right of the glacier at 5100 meters. Each year there is less snow and hotter temperatures. These glaciers will be gone in 20 years.
At the top. There really is not enough air to breath up here.
OK. The rain is now bloody serious. We live in Vancouver, BC, and are used to the rain. There is a river running down the street outside. We may be doomed. Stay tuned.
Feb 14, 2010
Here are a few pics of the final days in Colombia and the first days in Ecuador.
Travel this way, or
this way---you choose
or this way.
or like this, with at least 12 of your closest amigos.
The road from San Agustin to Popayan. It rained all day. 100 km of mud, rock and goo. This was the worst of it--road works at 3200 meters. It took us 5 hours to go the 100 km.
and, yes, I went down--nothing injured except my pride.
Last stop before the border. Santuario de las Lajas. Built in the bottom of the canyon. The canyon wall itself is the back wall behind the altar. It is said that a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared on the canyon wall, and so they built this amazing cathedral.
Final post of the trip.
Feb 28, 2010
Mitad del Mundo equator momument. The original survey placed the momument 245 meters off the mark, according to satelite positioning, but who is counting-----close enough.
This is my main man and mechanic, Diego Salvador. He used to work for KTM and rides a KLR 650.
Quito sidewalk coffee spot.
The Basilica, old town Quito.
Old town Quito from the Basilica bell tower.
Presidential Palace. The guy in the foreground fainted and keeled over 2 seconds before I took the picture.
Guarding the entrance to the palace.
Just inside the palace. Nice digs.
Police KLR 650.
Shots of the old town.
March 29, 2010
On the road again after a long rest in Quito and a trip to the Galapagos Islands. It has been rainy and very cloudy for the past 10 days. Lots of riding in the rain and mud. Volcano viewing has been severely hampered. We were unable even to see Volcan Cotopaxi because of the weather. Currently in the colonial city of Cuenca for a couple of days.
We did get lucky and see Volcan Chimborazo, highest in Ecuador at 6310 meters. We were able to ride up to 4800 meters to the lower refugio for some specacular views of the volcano.
Lower refugio at 4800 meters.
In this picture, the lower refugio is on the left shoulder of the volcano.
Chimborazo in the background.
Scenes from backroads travel.
Atilla Lakes at 3500 meters
Ingapirca, Temple of the Sun, the only significant Inca site in Ecuador.
Young love in the park.
This may be our next ride for long term touring. I could mow down the snarling, snapping dogs before they have a chance to get into the road.
April 20, into Peru.
Into northern Peru and into a sudden landscape change. All along the coast of Peru, in a narrow strip of land between the ocean and the mountains is an area of desert, very dry and hot. It rarely rains here.
Stop for Coke (cola, that is)
The beach at Huanchaco.
They have been using these reed boats for fishing for hundreds of years here. They surf the waves back to the beach on these.
A reconstruction of the Chan Chan ruins. This is a pre-Inca civilization. These are mud walls of a vast city. It rains so little here that much of the original city is intact.
On the road from Trujillo to Cajamarca.
This road on the map as marked as a major road, but deteriorated quickly. Ask a local about conditions and you get all kinds of answers. One person says 7 hours to Cajamarca, another says 3 hours.
That little town way in the distance is Cascas, about halfway from Trujillo to Cajamarca.
We have climbed high enough to be in the clouds. I have no idea how far the dropoff is to our left.
Right at the top is this short tunnel.
In total it took 9 1/2 hours to go 320 km. At 2:30 in the afternoon we were stopped by roadworks. They told us we would not be able to pass until 5 PM. Yikes!!! After 1/2 hour they managed to clear enough of a path so we could pass by.
Cajamarca Plaza de Armas.
This is the only Inca building left in Cajamarca. This is where Atahualpa, the last Inca king, was imprisoned by the Spanish while they held him for a ransom of gold. In the end they killed him anyway. Gotta love those Conquistadors.
These Chinese made mototaxis are everywhere.
This a Chinese made delivery wagon, 150 cc with an oil cooler.
Another long-distance biker we met along the road. He is from Alberta. We actually met him in Canada before we began this trip, had no idea he was in Peru. Riding a KLR 650.
Campesinos along the road.
I had to include this picture. Rest assured that no licensed electrician has ever installed one of these. I think the hotel owners 10 year old kid did this one. Note the circuit breaker on the wall. You just do not want to raise your arm too high to wash your pits, or you just might get a big surprise.
It was great meeting Joel and Taz, gret couple of riders !!!!!!!!!!!!
take care and hope you ride through El Salvador again soon !!
Saludos de El Salvador
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