01-01-2013, 06:59 AM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Interior BC, Canada
Dec 28 Pasto
Left through Cali with Kedgi, Tony and Franki
Long day to Pasto. Beautiful country with some massive valleys and rugged mountains. This is the main highway so encountered fairly regular groups of traffic that always took a bit of time to get around.
Don't see many road varmints but still the odd one
Stopped at pretty good sized road-side restaurant for lunch. A guy pulled up on a little moto delivering some big bags of something for the restaurant and had full rain gear on. It was like 29C. Strange. But, we will discover why later.
They had a great view from the restaurant
and even had a zip line to the other side of this little ravine.
Starts getting more arid (Less jungle) as we approach Quito
Start encountering a number of old people begging on the side of the highway. Then lots of groups of kids pulling ropes trying to stop traffic for money. Then the kids started using long bamboo poles, on on each side. Never a problem driving through – as soon as they saw you weren’t slowing down, the rope dropped or poles raised like a gate. Really difficult stopping for any of these as it takes so long to dig some change out and a stopped motorcycle in the road is asking to get run into.
Then was behind a bus and a group of kids absolutely nail it with numerous buckets of water. I’m presuming windows were open as it was pretty warm and those buses have no air conditioning. More and more groups – some dressed in costume, most just having a good time using hoses, buckets and any other container they could find throwing water at anything that moved. I started to encourage them as getting soaked in the heat was very refreshing. One kid had particularly good aim and got me right in the old kisser with a bucketful – felt like I was punched in the kisser. Wasn't so refreshing though as we gained altitude and the temperatures dropped into the high teens (That'd be C - mid 60s in F) .
Went through a few toll booths and when we got to the last one before Pasto, I noticed it had particularly high walls (still fit under my bags) and had a couple of higher concrete walls. I’m riding through this thing trying to figure how to get a picture for all you FFs when BAM! - I’m rolling off the right side of the bike. Bike is propped up on the right side wall. There was a whole flock of little bikes behind me that I had just passed coming up the hill now bunched up waiting to get through. I quickly pick up the bike, hop on and restart and hear this honking behind me. Look back and here is a guy carrying my left side bag up to me. Crap! Hit the wall and popped it right off. Got out of the way and had to bend a couple of flanges back and replace the lock mechanism. I have an extra as it is designed to breakaway like that. At least I figured out how to get a pic – looking back. That grey part sticking out is what I tried to knock off. It won.
Arrive in Pasto and pick a hotel nearby from the GPS list and go check it out. Little room with single beds and they have parking and internet. Sounds good. Have a look at the parking and they want us to drive up a 3” ramp through a door and squeeze all the bikes into a little room. We don’t think the handlebars will fit through the door so move on up the street.
As we are waiting at a stoplight a lady with a couple other people in her car pulls up next to me and asks what we are looking for – tell her hotel and she tells us to pull over. Asks me if I want to talk in Spanish or English and I choose English so, she gets her husband on the phone. Tell him we want a cheap hotel with parking. He says ok, stay right there, he will guide us there. She decides instead to lead us to the hotel.
When we arrive, she is telling us what the deal is but seems a bit anxious and wants to leave – I wanted to thank her and get her picture but she is gone. Dario shows up and we get chatting. Dario is a businessman and rides a GSA.
Turns out his wife was taking an aunt to the hospital with a broken arm, sees a bunch of fellow riders wandering around looking lost and decides that Auntie can wait for a few more minutes while she sorts the gringos out. Hey Auntie, it’s not hurting that much is it? Just chill for awhile, OK? These idiots need to get sorted out – it’ll be just a few more minutes.
This is an example of the people here. They are so incredibly friendly, want to help so much and make sure your stay here is pleasant that they leave a busted up relative in the car while they help complete strangers find a place to stay. I am just blown away.
As we were coming into town, this whole water thing was taken to a whole new level and hoards of people were dowsing anything that moves from the tops of buildings, standing in the road and out of vehicles. Ergo all moto riders are in full rain gear.
Apparently an annual tradition in Pasto – Diá de Agua (water day) is the start of their week long Carnival. Of course there was no lack of booze involved in the celebrations and eventually the city shuts down the city water supply to encourage the revelers to go home. Once the system is drained, no water. Good thing most of the buildings are made of concrete.
Met up with the three German kids from the Casa Blanca hostel in Cali. One of them had left his passport and cash at Casa Blanca so we brought it over for him. Nice kids touring around South America.