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Old 04-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #196
theturtleshead
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Location: Medellin Colombia ain,t nowhere better
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Medellin

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=643580
See you here
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #197
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Hey it was nice to meet you. That Canon del Pato place looks pretty amazing. Maybe we will head that way. Safe travels and feel free to write me if you have any northernly questions. -Alex

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Old 04-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #198
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yeah man. if the rainy season lifts, the corderilla blanca will be epic... tallest concentration of peaks over 18,000 ft (33 of them) after the hymalayas. the city of hauraz, peru is the HQ to explore all that stuff. check out laguna 69 and also the big glacier to the south of hauraz... apparently you can ride up to about 17,000 ft.

regarding the cañon del pato, you can only reach it from the south... after all the tunnels on the north side of the cañon, the bridge is out and being rebuilt. so you have to come in from the south and ride back out to see if. the tunnels are crazy.

safe travels.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:16 PM   #199
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thanks for the route details! that ride was awesome. never would have found it without you. talk to you soon
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:02 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by johnsonal View Post
Hey it was nice to meet you. That Canon del Pato place looks pretty amazing. Maybe we will head that way. Safe travels and feel free to write me if you have any northernly questions. -Alex

This made me do a double-take to see which thread I was reading this morning. I'm following both of your RRs on Advrider and here they intersect. Good luck to all three of you!
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:00 PM   #201
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cali to salento to medellín, colombia

tuesday, april 23, 2013

sorry for the radio silence. a combination of bad wifi, no time, and generalized blogging laziness have conspired to create this lull in my reporting.

cali, colombia

i was planning on only one night in cali, but found a hostel in town that did in-house salsa lessons. the viajero hostel was good. it's a well-designed colonial home that has been converted into a hostel. they were just finishing up the pool as i was leaving.


cali, avenue 5 by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i met some good people at the hostel, and we went out as a group to a salsa club last friday night. i was a bit nervous to start out, but soon realized that my salsa lessons had been retained in a corner of my brain somewhere. after 30 minutes of dancing, i felt like i was back on top of my game, fearless, and commanding the dance floor with my limited, but well-honed repertoire.

saturday, i spent nursing yet another dancing injury, perhaps from being stiletto'd on the dance floor the previous night. i was concerned about another bone break because of some heavy bruising near my left pinky toe. but after a day of taking it easy, it's almost back to normal. i'm not sure what the deal is with the bones in my feet, but they don't like dancing as much as i do.

i spent a total of three nights in cali (two at the viajero hostel) and was off to coffee paradise sunday morning.


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


cali to salento by porkandcorn, on Flickr

salento, colombia

salento is in the heart of the coffee growing mountainous region of central colombia. it's a small, charming little pueblo kept pretty busy by a steady influx of mostly colombian tourist. after being drenched by the predictable afternoon thunderstorm as i arrived, i finally found a small hotel that had a place for the tiger.

i walked around for a bit and then just sat down at a coffee shop to enjoy some of the local spoils. i made a small, furry friend at the coffee shop - she just jumped up on my lap and went to sleep while i got extremely buzzed on powerful café.


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i checked my email and had receive a note from some fellow oregoneon ADV riders who i met in baños, ecuador. they were heading south, and we shared info from our travels and passed along riding tips. they ended up doing the cañon del pato in peru a week later, and loved it. here's their ride report on ADVrider.com: Venturing South.


dudes by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i was sitting on a bench near the main square later, taking in the flavor of locals walking about. being sunday afternoon, most of the tourist had fled back to their respective cities, and it was just me and the salenteros. and who walked up to the bench? juan valdez? no - tamara, julian, and tom, whom i had met at the hostel in cali. so off we were for dinner and and early night.


salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the next morning, i went to the central square at 7:30am to catch one of the many jeeps ferrying tourists out to the valley de cocora - a beautiful mountainous area about a 20 minute ride out of town. tom, julian, and tamara showed up and we shared a jeep. we also dragged along luke, a lawyer from san francisco. at the foot of the valley, a 7 mile hike begins that loops through the jungle, over rivers, up a steep mountain face, and then into one of colombias most beautiful valleys, cocora. the ride on the back of the jeep up to the trailhead was fantastic if you are strong enough to hold on.


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


back of the jeep ride, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


the jeep, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

we plundered through the jungle for about two hours and climbed some serious elevation. there were epic river crossings, rickety bridges, and masses of deep, lush jungle terrain. we stopped at a hummingbird eco-reserve on the way up to the top.


jungle, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


gringo crossing, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


bridge crossing, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


hummingbird, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


cloud forest, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the valley is populated with 100 foot-tall wax palms that grow among the natural grasses, feeding milk cows, and fertile slopes. we took the long way through the jungle, and it was a good trek. the wax palms are actually accessible in only a 10-minute hike from the trailhead, but we took the long way around. it was good to get some hearty exercise, and we were lucky enough to see the valley before the afternoon storms rolled in.


wax palms, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


mystery man, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


valley of wax palms, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


me and wax palms, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

after a shower and a nap, we all met back up, with some new viajeros, and spent the afternoon and evening playing pool and drinking local rum. the pool hall was a fascinating little hang out, full of local old men playing snooker, billiards, and cards. i don't know what they did to be able to just sit around and play games all day long, but they've got something figured out that the rest of the developed world hasn't yet.


pool halls, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


matan, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


pool shark, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


huh?, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


adan and leah, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

much later, and after much rum, we all headed to another house of gaming, where the preferred sport is exploding things. this club specialized in a game were you tossed a pure lead puck (dangerous, poisonous) into a clay pit full of dynamite chips (dangerous, lethal). in a fashion similar to horse shoes, the winner hit the target. but this is much better because the targets explode - a delight to boys and girls of all ages. after 30 minutes of no explosions, we just smashed some glycerine chips between the pucks to get our fix, and left content.


clay target, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


lead puck, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


glycerine chips, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tossing, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tossed, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


the proprietor, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

salento, colombia to medellín, colombia

the next morning after a good breakfast i started the five-hour ride to medellín, colombia's second largest city. the mountain road was beautiful and twisty and carried me past endless coffee farms, misty valleys, and scenic overlooks. i arrived in the outskirts of medellín just in time for the obligatory afternoon downpour, and spent the last hour of my ride getting completely soaked and fighting through some chaotic medellín traffic. i arrived safely at my medellín hostel, the black sheep. it is located in one of the better neighborhood for dining, dancing and people-watching - el poblado. i have to go get cleaned up, as a group of people from the hostel are going out to a salsa club in a couple hours. wish my foot bones well...


salento to medellin by porkandcorn, on Flickr


autopista del cafe, manizales, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


coffee plants, manizales, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


valley, manizales, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 08-22-2013 at 01:39 PM
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:02 AM   #202
Tomaso
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Shamrock Bar and Grill

I see you got a reply from Al (theturtleshead), proprietor of Medellin's famous Shamrock Bar and Grill. Are you going to drop by? It's definitely on my list of top urban places for an advr to visit since reading all about it on John Downs' "South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure".

Cannot wait for my turn!

Thoroughly enjoying your posts; keep it comin'!
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:42 PM   #203
theturtleshead
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indeed

Carefull now Tommy! Grumbly old Scottish fuckers may not be to everybody's taste!
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:41 PM   #204
porkandcorn OP
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medellín, colombia

wednesday, april 24, 2013

i've fallen in love with medellín. the mystery remains, but the fear is diminished. in the early 90's, when i was only in high school, this was the most dangerous city in the world. it is still dangerous today, but not so differently than many other big cities where we all have traveled. but it's alive, and vibrant, and unpredictable, and exciting. in some ways, i feel like i am helping the city to regain it's pride and it's dignity. a tourist would have been unimaginable here 20 years ago. and yet, here i am today, exploring the city like i have all the others.


monument, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


metro bridge, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

last night, a small group of people from the hostel took the metro about 6 stops north into central medellín to find a small salsa club. arriving at a small park, all eyes were on us. it's obvious from this attention that tourists are not incredibly common in this city. walking a couple of blocks, we found the spot. inside, a young, but extremely talented salsa band made infectious music while sweaty salsaleros fought for dancing space. i danced only once with a swiss traveler, and then was content to sit again the ancient, bare brick wall in the club, listen to the band, and think about where i was - medellín, colombia experiencing something to which no price can be attached.


salsa band, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


salsa band 2, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


salsa band 3, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i took a guided walking tour today and visited places where most people would feel very uncomfortable. the 25 year-old engineering student guide, working in his spare time for tips, showed us the sides of the city that made him proud and not so proud. we walked shoulder to shoulder with the real people of the city. on the bad side, we sat in parks with toothless and glue-sniffing transvestite drug-addicts, stood on the spots where presidential candidates were assassinated, and visited parks where pablo escobar set off bombs that killed sons and daughters of the city. on the good side, we saw war-torn slums transformed in to beautiful public spaces, school and libraries where there were once drug labs, and streets were legal commerce has overtaken criminal commerce. medellín is a fascinating and complex place, as is colombia overall.


tourist, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


downtown, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


church 1, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

after 4 hours, i was in need of a siesta. unfortunately, my right foot is hurting again, and my left achilles tendon is bothering me since the mountain hike in salento. the neck issues have worsened again, and i'm loosing sensation in my right hand thumb, index, and middle fingers - this means there is pressure on the nerve in my neck at the C3-C5 levels. i'm not happy about any of this, but in time, and after getting back to a normal exercise and eating routine in portland, i'm confident i'll be back to normal quickly. in the meantime, i seem to be in a bit of pain. luckily, and sadly, i think i only have one more days ride to reach cartegena. after this, i'll be coordinating the shipment of my bike, and then hopefully relaxing on the beaches of the caribbean for a week or so before my return.

lot's of mixed emotions in these final days, as is to be expected. the end of the adventure is becoming very real now. i spoke with my shipping coordinator, and we are planning to begin the logistics on the 2nd or 3rd of may in cartegena, colombia. i should arrive in cartegena on monday.

i've made peace with the end of this adventure. i was fighting it for a while - back and forth between thinking too much about the end and wanting to be home, and on the other side not yet ready to return to my life in oregon. now, i have settled into an acceptance, and am just trying to make the most of the days that remain.


old dudes, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

explaining to a friend some related thoughts, i said: i may be content now, i may not be tomorrow. i'm ok with that, and that's where the real progress has been made in my thinking. i've been up and down so many times in this adventure, that there is no longer capacity (or energy) for the drama that feeds the ego for good or bad. consequently, i can see through the fog. i hope to take that home with me.

wednesday, april 24, 2013

thursday morning, i hopped on the medellín metro system with some friends from the hostel. there are two major cable car/gondola lines in the city, both of which were built in the poorest neighborhoods in an effort to connect those people to the city. giving them transportation to and from the very sleep slopes where they have settled in the slums and shanty towns is the same as giving them opportunity.


tourists, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tourists, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

medellín is enormous. these photos capture just a small fraction of the red brick building that fill the entire valley for miles and miles. gliding quietly over these neighborhoods, rocking slightly back and forth, you can see down into these people's lives. it's clearly a very challenging existence, and the poverty is striking. the crime in these neighborhoods can be very intense, and the violence moreso. there are some neighborhoods where people born and raised in medellín cannot enter, as they are considered outsiders and would risk everything doing so.


metro cable station, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


cable view, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


south cable line, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


cable view 2, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


slums, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 04-26-2013 at 03:47 PM
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:30 PM   #205
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pablo escobar tour, medellín, colombia

friday, april 26, 2013

this morning, i took the "paisa road" pablo escobar tour. i was excited, having just finished the audiobook about medellín's most infamous son. we were picked up at the hostel by a little white van.


escobar's ID, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


escobar tour bus, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

they first took us to the main medellín cartel (escobar's organization) headquarters. this building, now vacant, was the nerve center for a 100 billion dollar drug trafficking empire that spanned all the continents. it was built across the street from an expensive country club where he was denied membership. this building was at one point bombed by the cali, colombia cartel - escobar's arch rivals. many people died and a 12 foot deep crater was blasted into the street where we stood taking photos.


cartel HQ, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


satellite at downtown HQ, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tour guide, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

next we saw the poblado neighborhood office building, also now vacant, where escobar managed all of his hundreds of properties all over the world, organized the laundering of all the dirty money, and other nefarious ventures. this building was also bombed by the cali cartel, sending shrapnel into adjacent buildings that still remains. i didn't realize it until today, but it's right across the street from the salsa club i spent 3 hours dancing at last night.


poblado cartel office building, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


dallas trafficking HQ, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

we visited a shrine to the virgin mary where his hitmen would go to pray for a successful kill, or visit after the kill to thank god for the guidance of their bullets. given religion was violently forced upon all of latin america by the spanish, it's no surprise that it still retains this violent character today.


vergin mary shine, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

after a few more stops of prominent structures and locations, we eventually found our way to the house were he was found and killed after a 15-month search by two governments, and thousands of people. he was lowered to the sidewalk of this house from the roof, where he fell in a bloody heap after receiving two shots to the body and a final kill-shot to the right ear. the people who live in this house didn't know about it's history until after the deal closed… surprise!!


house escobar was killed, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


house esobar was killed 2, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


house escobar was killed 3, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

finally, we visited the cemetery where he was buried before a crowd of over 2000 people, some who loved him and some who hated him. at the end of his life, he was mostly hated. he had killed thousands of innocent people, on who's bodies he built his empire that led him to be in the top 10 of forbes richest people in the world list. he terrorized medellín, bogota and the rest of colombia for years and left a violent legacy that remains today. his trafficking network didn't die with him, it was simply passed on to the cali cartel and to this day remains more active than ever.


cemetary, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


pablo escobar gravestone, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


pablo escobar grave, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


narco-tourist, medellín, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 05-10-2013 at 07:31 PM
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:11 PM   #206
pdedse
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Very cool...a pleasure to read your comments and take in the gorgeous photos of your travels. Yesterday and today were beautiful Portland spring days. But there will be more of those...finish strong!
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:52 AM   #207
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A lazy day in the sun

Hey P&C, I finally had some time to sit down here is sunny Spokane and catchup on you ride report. Nicely done
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:50 PM   #208
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Great Story!

Finally caught up. I know you use the occuclip for your phone then lost it-which editing software do you use?
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:54 PM   #209
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Finally caught up. I know you use the occuclip for your phone then lost it-which editing software do you use?
i just use apple's native iphoto edit tools.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:11 PM   #210
25jack
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Been Stalking your story

Great read...you have helped me very much in my own preparation. Will be doing a trip South this late summer/fall with an unknown destination. I like Baja so much that could not resist doing it again. We paraglide on the sand dunes on the beaches there and it is to much fun. Ship that gear home from La Paz or pick it up later.

How did the open source GPS maps workout for you?

What was the best place you saw? Fav country? How was Uruguay?

While it is fresh...What would you do differently?

I admire and understand your doing this trip solo.

Cheers.
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