Colombia - my favorite country!
It’s 4:05 a.m. on January 5th. I’m wide-awake and I feel rested. We’re in one of those sex by the hour motels; very nice, just one bed. I found Frank down in the garage sleeping on his mattress, very thoughtful of him. We are 200 mi. SW of Bogotá. Our tires are still holding up - wow. Took a great picture of Frank going toward a mountain in the middle of the road (it seemed). Really miss my Kath... about 6 thousand miles to go, can only do 200 or 300 a day. I think Frank & I both are weaker than when we started (road weary).
Mr. Romero did show up at the cargo company (Girog) and finalized our bike shipment - $250 cash each; we now are broke. We’ll have to find an ATM. Hotel took VISA, $142,000 pesos = $71 U.S. Our taxi driver (Ernesto) is most anxious to help us. He came to our hotel 45 minutes early to pick us up to take us to our bikes. Couple hours of paperwork, on the road at noon, traffic was unbelievable. We went around an ‘open’ manhole in the street. What a trip stopper that could have been! We saw a total of 3 open manholes. Traffic was bumper to bumper for about 60 miles. We passed 100’s of vehicles on the right and left to make progress, & so as not to have to sit in the 104-degree temp. We stopped at a pig roast on the highway, was scrumptious. My knee is finally better this a.m. - still a little feverish, but better. Think we have about 350 miles to Ecuador, won’t make that today. So many of these roadside restaurants have no menus, just their meal of the day.
It was beautiful, when we finally got out of Bogotá, lush green mountains and valleys, great roads, well marked, nice shoulder for passing when jammed up. We see great numbers of ‘girls’ on bikes & motorcycles now - didn’t see that in Central America. Traveling is much better now. Don’t care much for Central America.
1/7/02 To get back on the Pan American, we had to cross over a mountain. What a chore, 80 miles of rock, blocked roads, shear drop offs, harrowing trip...rarely out of 1st & 2nd gear - stunningly beautiful though. We are only about 50 miles from Ecuador, seems like we are doing pretty well. Staying at Hotel Impero de Los Incas, still in Colombia.
Truck driver stopped to offer us a "gaseous cola" (coke)
Colombia is my favorite country, Pasto is my favorite city, enchanting, ...how beautiful. We stopped to have café con leche and sweet cake (not very sweet), 70 miles from Ecuador border (on top of a mountain overlooking Pasto). Saw a guy yesterday (a painter), on a moto with his paint buckets and 8-foot ladder. When we traveled on that terrible rock road, we encountered kids with a rope across the road to stop us for pesos, but more threatening was a roadblock with a big bamboo log across. Frank talked with the leader a moment and they opened a little for him to pass, but stopped me and demanded pesos. I glared at him and gunned my MC thru the opening.
Frank in the distance...Columbian backroads
Then, almost as maddening, we met 25 or 30 groups of kids with water barrels ready to douse us as we passed pails of water & garden hoses. It was chilly riding in these mountains, and that made it miserable. Some kids had white and other colored powder to throw on us. It was a most uncomfortable experience. Sometimes we would pass under an over-hanging cliff and get doused from above. Turns out, we learned later, that we happened to passing through on the last day of a religious holiday, and we were the recipients of their baptismal.
Had to get used to going down 2-lane highways with oncoming traffic and commonly, someone pulls into your lane to pass...you just move over.
Saw a sedan pulled over on hwy, hazard lights blinking, 6 men standing taking a leak. Don’t remember seeing any of that in America.
Really slept well last night, think it must have rained several inches.
Next a.m., couldn’t help but feel like celebrities. People were all over our bikes, and us, taking pictures of each child on the seat (with sunglasses). It is noon and we are at the Ecuadorian border; Frank went inside to do his thing! He was out in a few minutes.
Now to Ecuador... arrived 12:00 noon, out to lunch till 2:00 p.m. This typical arrogant asshole is like we experienced in Central America. He comes to see our bikes (to inspect). We try to show him the serial # that he asked for; he will not be shown anything. He stops to talk with a young girl, laughs, visits, while we wait. After several minutes, he ok’s the document without looking at our bikes further. During our wait for him, I ventured uptown, Frank stayed with the bikes, and was taken with the kids (teenagers), on lunch break, walking arm in arm everywhere. I brought back a large container of fresh blackberries for us, ...50 cents. They were so scrumptious!
Posted by Dale Thornton at January 07, 2002 12:00 AM GMT