November 13, 2009 GMT
Columbia to Costa Rica

My entry in to Columbia was easy but took over an hour as a group of students studying English were there to practice. I had a great time with them and had them help me with my Spanish.
Students and Teacher

The views were just spectacular as I road into Columbia. I forgot where I stopped but it was somewhere before Cali as I wanted to go into the city when I had time to find the Hostel Casa Blaca. It was evident that the general economic conditions were quite good compared to much of South America. There was also an obvious military presence along the road. Was not sure if that should make one feel comfortable because they are there or uncomfortable because why are they there.

The view was good but you don't want to miss a turn.

I had a GPS coordinates for Casa Blaca Hostel in Cali but it only got me close and after going in circles for half an hour I parked the bike and started walking. Only then did I figure out how the address worked. It was Ave. 6Bis, Calle 26, made a difference if Ave. was first or second and there were three Ave. 6 s, (6, 6bis, 6a).
Was a great place to stay, there were two other riders there, one from Britain and one from Australia. Mike the owner had been riding around the world when he met Diane in Columbia. She went with him to North America then they returned to Cali and opened the Hostel. He also does tours on motos or quads and will rent motos.

The second day in Cali I was told there would be a group getting together for a ride so off I went. There was seven Motos and we rode 110 miles up a valley to the village of La Union. Where we had a perfect lunch in a small seafood place. From there we rode up to an old colonial church.

Lunch on the ride

motos in front of church

view from the church which was on a hill

Dan riding a Harley Road King and heading south, I recomended he stay out of Bolivia as the road are caca.

Toll booth on road after I left Cali, must of been 20 of these as I crossed Columbia, but motos get to go around most of them.

Guard at toll booth. The military would have a check point or station every so often. When they go to be every two K it made me think that the are must be seeing some problems.

Pastures do not need to be flat because they are never cut, but pastured year round.


Found the coffee but Jaun Valdes was not there

As I headed to went to Medellin about 100 K out I decide I can make it all the way. Then the road starts twisting up over a mountain range. There was considerable trafic and the truck would run at 10 mph as it was a steep winding road. By the time I made it to Medellin it was getting dark and I had no idea where I was going. Tried to find a couple of hostels that I had address to but no luck, ended up heading to Historic Center plaza. This has worked to find a hotel many times. I found a hotel but it was not a good part of town. The parking garage was a block away and as I headed to hotel the attended indicated watch out and be careful. After getting to the hotel and eating I walked to plaza, full of ladies of the evening and drug dealers so I scooted back to hotel.

It was hot and I could see the pool from the road so I spent 65,000 pasos and got a room here for the night. (2000 to $1) was worth it.

The ride from Medellin to Cartagena was very interesting from an agricultural prospective. The high lands (2000 to 2600M) were dominated by dairy farms. Most were in the 20 to 50 cow range and shipped milk in cans. These were very nice looking farms with several milk processing plants along the way.

Farm in the hills.

When the road dropped to lower elevation the farms turned to beef cattle. Most were Brahma cross but there were some others. There was a section of very wet ground where they had water buffalo.

Old town in Cartagena not the best part of town but the Hostel was cheep.

This is a view is from an old fort (very big fort) looking back to the old part of the city.

This is a Cerrio, made in China, He bought it in Argentina and has rode it for 17500 K. It is totally worn out, the frame has broken for the third time, brake adjustment was striped, many parts were not working or fell off. But for $1200 he went a long way over some very rough roads. He worked on it all one day then left the next morning hoping to get to Bogota but was soon back as brake was hanging up. Plan now to scrape it out and hopes to get $350 (can not sell it as it has Argentine title).

To get to Panama you go by boat or plane as there is no road through. I checked on flights and I could fly moto for $1000 on the 19th or $1800 earlyer. The sail boats charge $370 for the moto and same for person for a five day cruse. Being cheap I went with the boat, was a bit concerned as I do not do well on water. Bought the seasick pills and off we went. Moto, nine backpackers, and myself on a 60ft. sail boat.
We loaded at six in the morning (loaded moto night before) and were off. The seasick pill really put you to sleep so much of the first day and half are a blur but then things got a better.

We spent two days in the San Blas Islands, swimming snorkeling and just doing very little.

Loading moto on to sail boat, in the dark.

Dolphins playing

Moto tied to boat under tarp

What can I say, was OK

Golden Eagle

The Kuna cooked us dinner one night of crab and fish.

To get the bike from sail boat to shore we had to lower into this smaller boat then lift it over the side to beach.

This is the Kuna hut that I stayed in for four days in Porta Lindo. When I got the bike off the boat and to hostel I was told that It was best to take the bus to Colon to get paperwork for moto because it was not brought in a port of entry and could be problems if they asked for paper work at check point. They were closed on Sat. so had to wait till Monday to get paper.

Once I had the paper I rode most the way through Panama in one day. Many of the citys were modern and like any you would see in US. including McDonalds and KFC.

Simmental cattle for sale in Panama

Old fort south of Colon Panama

This is my morning view
This is what it looks like in the afternoon, it is the rainy season here and I am told that I can count on rain most afternoons.
Del Monte pineapple farm in Panama.

I am now in San Juan, Costa Rica. Had the bike serviced, changed oil, plugs, and put on new brake pads. Still need a front tire but I have made arrangements to get one in El Salvador.
Staying at a really nice place with a pool 15 feet from my door so I am going to stop now.

Still planning on making it home for Christmas

Posted by Robert Thode at November 13, 2009 09:24 PM GMT

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