02-08-2013, 10:54 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Okie near Muskogee
Feb 18, 2012
After the very late night and into the early morning hours of partying it didn't make for much of an early start to the day. I went through a lot of my gear and seeing how Camilo was traveling so light I thought I would offer him some of mine. I set him up with my Monarch ultalite 2-leg camp chair that I was going to sell him for a very good price (somehow that money never materalized yet and email hasn't been returned, guess I will be making another trip to Mindo) along with giving him a nice warm weather shirt I'd bought from Ruta 40 BMW in Medellin for him to hangup in his new hostel for decoration. I was happy to supply him with a hostel house copy of Loney Planet "SA on Shoestring" English version, as I hated traveling with that big heavy book, that's what the internet is for and I damn sure don't follow what a book says
We went out for a typical Colombian breakfast that was more of a brunch as we where nearer the noon hour by this time. It was some good food for the belly after the rough night:
Along with some fresh jugos (juice) it hit the spot. Before long it was time to head to the parkadero to say our last goodbyes as we parted ways, it had been real nice traveling for a few days with Camilo and I was utterly spoiled by him speaking the language that made it easy, all I had to do was navigate but I was ready to get back solo and make my way quickly back up to Cali to have a reunion with Adam. We planned to meet in Cali on the 18th IIRC and it was a long way to Cali from the border with a half day left of daylight.
I took off aiming for Popayan and after giving Larry, my American ex-pat friend in town a call and finding out he had a spot for me to crash I was set. He knew I was in for a long day of riding and said he'd wait up for me to bring me in once I got to town as he already had some guests in town and would be entertaining them that evening. IIRC he gave me fair warning about traveling in the area after dark and told me to dam sure not stop in a place called El Bordo, check, I'm on my way hammerdown Northbound.
Seeing how I had lots of miles to make up to Popayan I got after it on the big PanAm, this bit on the PanAm is actually a really nice ride and good way to make time passing all the slow trucks with all the elevation changes. I dropped a waypoint on Feb 18th at 14:48 CST and I was on the North side of Pasto by 16:18 CST according to the garmin. I can't remember if the section of the PanAm above or below Pasto is more senice, it is hard to capture the enormity of the country, it's amazing how cut up this country is with mountains and the greens associated with it, a site I never grow tired of. I only stopped for very few pictures quickly along the way heading North. This country is beautiful, the PanAm road cut is in there somewhere.
North of Pasto the area becomes less green in a mountainous section but in a tradeoff you get to ride through a bunch of tunnels, well at least two that I got shots of on the move
At least they've got some lights in these ones:
I was pushing hard working my way up to Popayan and didn't stop for much of anything other than to take a piss and as the night fell upon me I took no more photos of the ride on up to Larry's place. From the Garmin I can tell that I made it to the Tunel de Penalisa by 16:55 CST and an hour later I was in small town of La Graciana where I dropped another point.
By 6:30 pm I was in a small community of El Estrecho where I can to a point of control and was breifly stopped by some surprised looking military finding me out in the evening so far from the normal stops. I tried to question them about safety in the area and from what I found out all was good for the area. I wasn't the only rider out late that eveing as I remembered another rider on a travel bike heading South and neither he or I could give more than a friendly wave as we both needed to be somewhere else sooner rather than later. Would have been nice to stop and BS but now was not the time
As I near the dangerous place I'd been warned by Larry about, the town called El Bordo, a kinda of meeting place for people in the hills who do bad things come to this town to unwind and have their fun. I was a little apprehensive about riding through this place in the evening hours and was watching my six closely as I neared the place. I dropped a waypoint in El Bordo at 19:07 CST on a Saturday night in full effect. There where people everywhere and I thought all of them where out to get me. From the looks of the place it appeared like most other goodsized Colombian towns and from the looks of it I think I wanted to stop and have a beer with them but my scheduled meetup with Larry told me otherwise, even bad people got to have funBut as Larry told me, this is one of those towns with a reputation and I didn't really need to test it so I head on through only to be stopped by another point of control as I heading on the outskirts of town. These guys where friendly and again where surprised by seeing a traveler this late at night, my questions of the security of the area where as far as I could tell answered without any immediate sense of alarm so I was relieved. Afte this town and due to the late night and more curvy roads heading the rest of the way into Popayan was very tough and slow riding just following trucks for safety as nothing was predicatable on these roads though the hills. I stopped at one of those all night roadside truckers places for a break and contemplated stopping there for the night but instead decided to push on toward Popayan and Larry's looking forward to a nice hot shower that would be well worth it.
I kept at it and finally made it to the outskirts of Popayan where I stopped in a parking lot that I believe was a whore house or somekind of club, kinda strange looks I was getting some instructions from Larry on the phone, the only reason I chose that area was there was some military stopped just a couple yards away. I got some direction and Larry rode out to meet me as I finished the days big ride up to Popayan and to the end comfort of Larry's casa, Thanks a million man
IIRC His family and his guests where at a popular parrilla in town where I pulled up to a refreshing cold beer and good company
Afterwards Larry lead me home after a long half day in the saddle:
What a first day back to riding in Colombia, it felt good once it was over
I slept well that night in utility room as Larry's business partner and his wife where already using the spare bedroom. I slept extremely well here after a very nice long hot shower:
Tomorrow the easy push into Cali and the meetup with Adam once again.
March 1st was coming fast...