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Old 10-17-2013, 12:44 PM   #76
UltiJayne OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChazW View Post
I'm just getting back into riding and bought a dual sport bike a year ago. With kids in college and a spouse that is too fearful for an adventure like this, I guess I'll need to wait a few years, until the stars align for a long trip.
Thanks Chaz!

We've met a few riders who do the trip on their bike, and their other halves just fly down and meet them at the "good bits" (little do they know that the whole adventure is the "good bit"). Maybe try suggesting that to your wife.
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Old 10-18-2013, 03:58 PM   #77
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Mancora

Phil and Jayne, it's coming up on a year since we saw you in La Ventana. Turns out K and I are headed to Mancora Peru at the end of November. Depending on how long you spend in Ecuador, maybe we will see you there?

Keep living the dream

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Old 10-19-2013, 08:05 PM   #78
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Just beginning following your journey! I'm only two weeks into mine heading south. I hadn't thought about spending time in Kuna villages but might try to make that happen after reading about your experience. safe travels!
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:44 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam805 View Post
Phil and Jayne, it's coming up on a year since we saw you in La Ventana. Turns out K and I are headed to Mancora Peru at the end of November. Depending on how long you spend in Ecuador, maybe we will see you there?

Keep living the dream

Cam
Hey Cam!
Crazy that it's been a year!! It would be fantastic to meet up, timing might be a bit tough, as we're trying to hit Machu Picchu by mid November.
I'll be in touch.

Phil
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:51 PM   #80
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Cutting the cord: A tale about finding a boat from Panama to Colombia

Crossing the Darien Gap isn't easy. There's no road, (I double checked) so you can't ride, thus the options are to fly or to sail. Flying costs about 700$ per bike, plus whatever it costs for you. There are many sailboats that take bikes, but they cost over 1000$. Each. To travel about 200 nautical miles. So I suppose I should rephrase: crossing the Darien gap for an affordable price, with a motorcycle, isn't easy. Not easy and time consuming, but possible. Jayne and I have more time than money, and we managed to find a way. So this is the tale of how Jayne, Phil, Cricket and Jugs found a boat to cross the Darien Gap...


13 August 2013: Jayne receives a reply from Richard to her post on a Couchsurfing "boat hitchhiking" forum. Richard is the Captain on a boat that has deck space, is leaving from Panama and going to Cartagena, Colombia for a 'salvage job'. If they will make landfall before doing the job, we are welcome aboard! Many details, including when the boat will sail and what it will cost, to be determined. But we have a potential affordable boat!


August 21, 2013: Jayne and I return from our stint as boat pets in the San Blas, and ride back to Panama. Our temporary import permits and insurance expire tomorrow so need to be renewed. A great explanation on how to do this is here, so I won't bother parroting. Note: You MUST get the insurance first. Your fake (or real valid-around-the-world) insurance won't suffice, the aduana will only accept Panamanian insurance. Of course everything takes Latin-America type time. For us it took 5 hours over two days, because paperwork takes time, the offices close at 4pm, and there is Panama traffic to navigate between them. Ugh.

Dear Panama, we would like to stay inside you for longer, pretty please.

August 22, 2013: Hit and miss attempts to connect with Captain Richard of our potential boat. The tentative plan had been to meet up at a bar to discuss details and get to know each other. We didn't connect. Jayne and I did connect with Steve and Karen again however, and that was a beautiful slice staying with them for a couple days.

Balcony of bliss starring Steve and Karen.

August 24, 2013: Jayne and I decide to head to Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, where the boat is located. There we can hang out somewhere new, get to know the marina and potentially meet other folks headed to Colombia in case this boat falls through. Unable to contact Captain Richard, who has changed flights and hence wasn't answering his phone because, well, he still wasn't in the country. This means the boat isn't leaving right away, but we learn the boat owner Captain Marc is aboard, so perhaps we'll meet him. We still don't know the boat's name though.


This evening our plan was to camp, but after some drinks were invited aboard the 'Ingwe Spirit' owned by Bev and Handre, a fantastic couple from South Africa. Aboard their catamaran a great fiesta developed, and we would later gladly accept the offer to stay the night aboard. The Ingwe Spirit had been struck by lightning and was in Shelter Bay for full electronics repairs. They had been in the marina for repairs prior, and had only just left when they were struck by lightning springing them right back in again.

Bev and I had to, it's vodka. It goes bad once it's been opened.


Start the day off right with Ceasars, with Jayne, Bev n' Handre.


Nano, aka "ipod" hangs loose with Handre.


Gaston right where he likes to be, the meat in a Handre n' Jayne Sandwich.

August 26, 2013: The party with Bev and Handre elapsed itself over two nights, now including new marina friends Nano and Gaston. Argentinian and Mexican respectively, they too were heading south planning to buy motos in Venezuela after delivering a couple sailboats to Bocas del Toro. Meeting new friends was fantastic and was a blast to have a solid marina fiesta...
But we came here to take a boat to Colombia. Remembering this, Jayne found out the name of the boat from Richard: the "Crazy Horse".

A first glimpse of the "Crazy Horse"

Boat name in hand Jayne then wandered over to meet the owner, Captain Marc. She negotiated hard for the price of 350$ each for passage, basically helping cover fuel costs, and found out that if all goes to plan we load up the bikes and set sail tomorrow! My hangover decreased as the heavy rains dwindled in the afternoon, and I too met Captain Marc and his crew Diane of the Crazy Horse. The boat is large and has plenty of deck space for the bikes. Perfect!
The full plan, now already slightly modified since the morning: pick up Captain Richard and his lady friend Crystal in the morning from Panama, load the bikes in the afternoon and set sail the next morning. Marc wanted his friend Richard along as Marc hadn't sailed his own boat yet, and Richard had been his delivery Captain to sail the boat from Florida down to Panama.

Bev and Handre kindly put us up for another night and we watched movies into our slumber.


August 27, 2013: Cooked breakfast and made Sailboat cinnamon buns! Delivered some to the Crazy Horse in anticipation of our pending departure. In the evening had our final dinner with Bev and Handre, joined by their neighbor Joaquin from Germany. Much wine and good times were had... Then Marc returned from the city... without Captain Richard or his lady friend Crystal. Richard and Crystal had decided to take advantage of Panama and head off surfing for a few days. With them not in a rush to set sail, neither was Marc. His new plan was to fly down to Colombia to sort out details with his prospective client. Captain Marc said he may still sail down, but now not until at least the 3rd of September. And if this job falls through likely not even then. Ugh.
This boat ride was almost too good to be true: a symbiotic ride with someone who had to go anyways, who had space, for a great price.Too good to be true indeed. And now we have just lost our boat.

Lost our boat... Were the cinnamon buns too dry?

August 28, 2013: Bit of a bummer waking up today with no plan. We'd also been extending our stay on the Ingwe Spirit daily as plans pushed back bit by bit. Now with no impending departure, and workers doing repairs all over the place on Ingwe Spirit, it was time to give them back their space and find a new home. And a new boat ride.

New home for a night aboard Kiki, after a night of boozing with Gaston and Nano.


Back in Nicaragua we had met Max. A seasoned captain in the Panama-Cartagena route, Max had given us tons of great advice. One nugget went a little like this:
"...I'm sure you've had many folks tell you about this country and that city and how dangerous they are and that you should never go there. I'm sure you've found them to be wrong. Well if you listen to any of this advice ever, listen to this: Unless you ABSOLUTELY have to: Do not go to Colon. Gangs will rob you in broad daylight and not get half a block away before someone robs THEM. They fight over who gets to rob you. It is that bad."


Well... now we needed a new boat ride. And boats that go to Colombia leave from Colon. So to Colon we went. And Colon IS that bad. At least very close. The buildings are all falling apart, yet appear fully occupied. Poverty is very visible everywhere. Constantly have the feeling that my bright yellow jacket is not attracting the kind of attention I want.
We heard "Molle (mo-yey) 3 or Molle 5" were the place to check. Asked for directions a couple times that day, and while the people were friendly, their directions always ended with "be very careful".

Molle 3, where the captains hang out. or don't.


Jugs and Cricket waiting their turns to be stolen or otherwise pilfered.

At Molle 3 we were given little assistance, and told to go check "Colon 2000": the cruise terminal. At "Colon 2000", we were escorted right back to Molle 3 by a travel agent employee named 'Raul'. He found us a couple captains, but only one who was willing to help... and that captain apologized that his boat was full. He'd be back in a week if we were still around. Maybe then. We left Colon with no options, but another friendly warning to "be careful" in the city.
That evening Captain Marc from Crazy Horse offered to take us to Portobelo to meet his friend Fritz of Fritz the Cat infamy. Perhaps he would be able to help us out. Fritz has a sailboat that ran backpackers, and also was rumored to now have a ferry! Upon meeting, Fritz shared a couple tales, including the story of acquiring and sailing his new ferry from Canada down to Panama, where it currently resides! Sadly, it's not running yet and won't be for six weeks or more with many details to sort out. He did still have his other catamaran "Jacqueline" running, leaving Thursday, that would be an option should we not find anything else in time. In time for what? Yes, unlike our normal unplanned itinerary, I have to be in Cartagena when real-sized Kelly arrives on September 8th.

Captain Marc and his daughter-in-Law, awaiting Fritz at Captain Jack's in Portobelo.


August 30, 2013: Still holding out hope that the Crazy Horse would potentially set sail on or around September 3rd when Marc returned from Colombia, but trying to keep our options open, Jayne and I returned for a second attempt in Colon. The guard at the dock gate wouldn't let Jayne in: no women allowed. Apparently sailors aren't to be trusted. Me touting my succulent beard, the guard let me in, though he doubted my luck. The problem isn't that the captains don't want to take us (though some don't) it's that they aren't allowed to take us, and face problems with the coast guard if they get caught with passengers aboard their cargo ships. My offer to work as ship nurse got a laugh, but not a ride. The one captain I had met the day before was still in port loading up, and assured me he'd be in touch when he returned next week if he had space.
As we dejectedly walked to the bikes to leave, youth at the end of the street caught my eye. They were piling scrap wood and old tires across the road, blockading off the very same road we needed to ride down to escape the city! Quickly on the bikes, I saw kids were still throwing more tires over a fence to their waiting friends, but that we still had a gap. "Lets get the hell out of here, NOW!". We zipped through the gap in the tires and scraps, and escaped Colon unscathed to ride on another day. (Pulling out my camera seemed a foolish idea at the time, though I of course now have my regrets)


September 1, 2013: Still residing in Shelter Bay Marina, though now have moved house to "5th Child" where we will help line handle across to Panama Canal in a few days. Marc got in touch yesterday from Colombia to let us know that the job had fallen through and "Crazy Horse" would not be sailing to Colombia after all. Our last hope for that ride now officially squashed. We are going to stay aboard and travel with "5th Child" to cross the canal anyways, because that's awesome, then work on our plan "B" on our return.
September 4th, 2013: We've sailed the canal, returned to shelter bay and slept on yet another boat. This time the "Sabatayn" that was in fact not even in the water. "On the hard" as they call it. It would be our last "boat-surf" here, as we were leaving Shelter Bay for good in search of our passage to Colombia.

Tough sailing for the trouble riddled Sabatayn, also unable to cut the cord of Shelter Bay. Beautiful boat though!


Goodbyes said to all of our new friends here, we rode into Colon again for one last ditch effort. We were met with police checks and yet again tires and scrap wood piled across the road, except this time they were on fire!

Colon is a very sad place, complete with tire-fire road blockades in the distance.


Again no luck finding any boats going our way at Molle 3, the guard assuring me he would call if any came in. He told us to go to Molle 16, where all the BIG cargo ships come in and try there. That was a quick failure, as security wouldn't even let us down the road towards the port.
Then we tried again at the travel agent at colon 2000. Maybe there was a cruise ship that we could board? They have tons of room, and a short trip might be cheap? The lady at the desk had zero interest in helping, but Raul was there again. He phoned a friend who worked at Molle 16 who might be able to help us meet some captains there later in the day. "He'll call me". He didn't.
So Colon is a bust. And an absolute hole. A sketchy, crime laden hole that you should never go to. But if you find yourself in our position, you probably won't take that advice either...

Our note on the pin board at Shelter Bay. Eye-catching multicolored ink didn't help.


Next plan: off to Portobelo where many backpacker boats leave from. Fritz's boat Jacqueline is leaving tomorrow (Thursday), and at this point, with real-sized Kelly arriving on the 8th, my hands are tied. I have to go. I phone Fritz to see if I can negotiate a discount. He's friendly to the idea, and offers 20% off... but the boat is full soooooo we'll have to wait for the next run: in two weeks. Well shucks. There goes our only backup plan. Ugh.


We meet another captain in town and a local who gives me the run down of the backpacker boats. Basically, it is (in my words) a cartel. Nobody undercuts each other, and everyone waits for one boat to fill up and set sail before taking their turn, and everybody (of the few who take bikes) charges about 500$ for you and 550$ for the bike. It's understandable, as if they undercut each other no one would make any money, but no competition sucks for the consumer. Then they start speaking of Fritz...
The large ferry now ominously floating in the harbour, and it's owner, are not popular with the backpacker boats. They feel the ferry threatens their livelihood. From the motorcyclist perspective, it will also likely bring down prices. Sadly it's not running yet. And the backpacker boat leaving in the morning doesn't take bikes. "Too much hassle" she says, "sorry". Options are really running thin. We talk to the port captain, hoping for information on some smaller Colombian cargo boats . After waiting 20 minutes for his friend to arrive who can help us out, we find that it is just another backpacker boat charging 1050$ apiece. Frustration fest, and I'm now notably stressed that there is simply no way to get to Cartagena in time anymore, not even for the full 1000$+. And on top of that we don't have a place lined up to stay the night yet.

Cricket, Jugs and the ruins of Portobelo


It's amazing, every time we get down, how things just have a way of working themselves out. It has been this way the whole trip, and even in life before that...
Because then, at that moment, I get a text message from Julia, of Diva fame, checking in to see how we've made out. They are in the harbour in Portobelo! We meet for dinner, then after some rum and backgammon, spend the night once again on Diva. I phoned real-size Kelly to inform her I won't be in Colombia in time. She's not too bothered and decides she'll just change her flight and extend her stopover in New York for an extra week.

Great to catch up with Julia and Captain Phil again!




Secure parking comes with an insecure ramp of assorted scraps, but admittedly a lot of fun to ride over!


September 5, 2013: We load up and ride to Miramar, a great ride on a sunny day. We've heard other Colombian cargo boats often leave from there. A quite small town, Jayne and I spent solid 4 hours sitting and waiting for a captain to return just to ask if he could take us. But that time was incredibly productive. In that time we met other kind folks and captains from other boats at the dock. A couple gents from Panama City buy us a couple beers and tell us of a boat on the Pacific side they've heard of. We also touch base with myriad of other people and now have the following options:
-On Monday the 9th there may be a boat that leaves on the Pacific side. quoted price is 250$, but I'm skeptical. (We never heard anything more about this option)
-On Wednesday the 11th, one cargo boat is heading out from here at Miramar and would take us to Turbo for 300$ each. The trip would take a week or so with multiple stops. Jayne is pretty set against Turbo as the road out from there is reportedly dirt, not her cup of tea.
-Tomorrow! A man will take us and the bikes for 1500$ direct to Turbo with a stop at Zapzurro for customs. The boat: his lancha (i.e. 15 foot boat). My desperation to get to Colombia has me considering it, but Jayne is quite rightly opposed.
-Ludwig from the Stahlratte replies to our email (again, we've inquired about several of his sailings). He has no room for US but he could take our bikes leaving Monday the 9th, for 500$ apiece. With this option we figure we could likely hitch a ride on a sailboat for just us. It's only the bikes that complicates things for the Panama-Colombia crossing.

The dock where all the magic happens


Then, standing on the dock looking again at the little lancha devising how it might even be possible to fit both bikes and gear, Jayne gets a text message from Marc of the Crazy Horse.
"How are you? Have you found a boat yet?".
Marc was back in Panama. If we find a couple extra passengers to help with fuel costs, he would be willing to make the trip, to help me get down in time to meet real-sized Kelly.
Meanwhile our friend Greg, who we stayed with in San Antonio, has caught up to us here in Panama and been messaging us back and forth all day that he is also on the hunt for a ride. Extra passenger number one found!
So in one day, from nothing to a solid plan A, with a plan B, C and D in the wings! We head back to stay on Diva for another night, a party night with joined by Tony and Ann we had met in San Blas.

Need your sailing weather report or a drink poured? None more accurate or enthusiastic than from Tony!


September 6, 2013: Like everyone else with boat problems, we find ourselves back in Shelter Bay again. Have dinner with some friends from round one on the "Arctic Front". I would spend the night sleeping here (my 5th boat-surf), but not before Miguel goes diving for the 4 bottles of wine that had fallen overboard! It was only right that we reward his efforts by drinking them.

Miguel suits up to retrieve the 4 bottles of escapee wine!


The "Arctic Front" and it's sister boat "Kiki" have also been unable to break the Shelter Bay bungee cord, with a myriad of delayed parts and compounding problems. Also joining us for dinner was our friend Nike, of White Spot Pirates. She was having bungee cord problems of her own as well. So many times we have told each other " we're leaving in two days, FOR SURE". We all lied to each other a lot I guess.
Greg arrived into Shelter Bay, ready to join us on the Crazy Horse, and joined us for dinner too. A great night, with my mood much improved now that things seem to have fallen into place.

Welcome back! Not having cut the bungee led to great times with great people! Plus welcome Greg! (in yellow)


Sadly our friends Nano and Gaston, who had also been looking for a ride south, had just left once and for all the day before. Unfortunate since we could now offer them a ride, and they could have helped fill the extra spaces we had. So close.


September 7, 2013: Rode into Panama city as a favour to pick up Marc's bag he had forgotten at his hotel. Least I could do now that he was actually taking us! Also stopped in at a hostel to advertise the extra spaces on board. In the end this was futile. Riding with all my gear off the bike was fantastic. Jugs has some good power when naked. Fun reminder of what she can do.


September 8, 2013: Moved myself and my gear onto the Crazy Horse and helped with some minor tweaks and fixes to take some slack out of the steering and run some wiring. I've learned that boats, like bikes, always have something that could use your attention. It's been good times hanging out with Marc on board. He noted that he now has an appointment in Cartagena on Sunday the 15th, the day real-sized Kelly arrives. So he too needs to hit the seas and get there, leaving me with the confidence that we really might go this time. That said...


September 9, 2013: Leaving day... or so it was to be. Marc found out that it's actually cheaper to stay docked in the Marina until Wednesday since the price drops the longer you stay. Given that it's nearly 100$ a day(!) dockage, it was understandable to go for the discount. While that also gave us more time to scout for more passengers, it did nix my backup plan of the Stahlratte.
I pulled Marc aside: "If we don't leave today, you have to guarantee me we are actually leaving, or I lose my backup plan. All my eggs are in your basket". Marc assured me we would leave Wednesday. Phew. Though had we known that we were leaving on Wednesday a touch earlier, we could have informed a couple other bikers to have them join us. Opportunity lost. We wouldn't find anyone else, and all paid 50$ more (400$) to help cover Diesel. More than fair, everyone wins.
Health note: Some bites I got on my right arm during the canal crossing seem to have become infected, along with some athletes foot, so trying to put some nursing skills to work.

Everything rots in Panama. Not pictured: how obscenely itchy this is.


September 11, 2013: This date will be one I remember forever. The day we finally set sail from Shelter Bay! I'll miss the 5pm happy hour though. I think I might have been on the verge of alcoholism. With NOTHING to do but socialize over the few weeks we ended up staying here, I would notice that it was after 5pm and find myself jogging to the bar. Every day. I'll also miss all the people who made happy hour, and every hour, so amazing during our stay.
Jayne and Diane went to Colon to provision the boat and give all the paperwork to the agent. Meanwhile Greg, Marc and I loaded the bikes onto Crazy Horse. Riding down the dock to the boat, I couldn't shake the image of one unfortunate video I had seen awhile back. All bikes made it without incident however, with much space given to the paniers.
About 10-15 minutes to load each bike, all quite smooth using the boom as a hoist. Bikes aboard, the ladies returned with the provisions. I ran around to say goodbye to all our friends. All Aboard! The agent returned right on cue with our paperwork and passports.
"You can't leave today. Your zarpe (boating paperwork) is expired. We can get you a new one for first thing tomorrow."
Are you kidding me!!??
You really just can't ever leave this place!!!

Bike condoms on and ready for the high seas.

We used our now spare time to wrap our bikes in plastic sheeting, then play some cards to kill the hours.
Then the agent was back. "I was able to get the zarpe renewed today with a little tip to the officer" he claimed.
I flipped through the paperwork. Our temporary bike import documents had no stamps, no signatures, nothing indicating they had been canceled. The agent told me that they didn't need to do anything with the permits. Ugh. WRONG! Forget it. At this point we we had clearance to go, and the only problem will be if we ever want to bring the bikes (or possibly ourselves) back into Panama.
It was late afternoon, and now there was debate at weather we should just wait anyways. I was in "go-go gadget go-mode!", so I pushed to leave. Marc agreed, so once again got everyone aboard, untied the lines... and away we sailed. A post all about the voyage coming soon!





Motorcycle Minute: I've noticed my fuel mileage has sharply decreased in the past few weeks. Jugs always takes a little more than Cricket, but recently it's to the tune of 3-4 litres more over 350kms. I had hoped to have a week in Cartagena to do a solid maintenance overhaul before Kelly arrived, but we'll just have to do it on the fly as per usual.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:48 PM   #81
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[QUOTE=UltiJayne;22165574]


An exhibit outside the national museum. They've found a lot of these perfectly formed rock spheres in Costa Rica. Not really sure who made them or why.
These are concretions.They form under water.We have some in NZ too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concretion

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Old 10-31-2013, 08:04 AM   #82
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Crossing the Darien Gap

Crossing the Darien gap was a pleasure. Sure getting to this point was a touch stressful at times, but the actual voyage was a delight. Getting the bikes OFF the boat, however, was another story.
All up there were five of us on board. Captain Marc, First mate Dida, Greg, Jayne and Phil. Plus the three bikes of course.


Captain Marc practicing in the dingy before tackling the big boat.



Dida filets us some fresh caught fish!



Greg takes the dried flying fish like a champ


Jayne tames that Crazy Horse, if only for two hours at a time


Phil pretends to man the wheel, while really just posing for a timed photograph.


Leaving Colon, Panama. Avoiding ships heading for the Canal.

The captain mandated 2 hour shifts, which was great, giving you 8 hours off between "watches". Basically, keep the boat straight, don't hit things, yell if there's a problem. The first 24 hours was fantastic smooth seas and while there were distant thunderstorms, no rain. The thunderstorms were quite incredible to watch overnight, my second shift going from lightning lighting the night, to the sun lighting the day as it rose up over the bow.
Eventually we even got the autopilot working right, making watch quite easy. The only strife was when someone wouldn't wake up in time to replace you on your night watch. I slept through my alarm when due to replace Jayne, and had the favor returned with Greg oversleeping the start of his shift a couple times. Still all in all very pleasant "sailing". With little wind, we motored the full distance.
Successful sailing:





The first day wasn't without scandal and excitement, when Captain Marc yelled down that he had found two stowaways hiding on the back of the boat.
Stowaways:





That they got a free ride was a little tough to swallow.




Beautiful scenes while taking a pee in the head (aka toilet)



A bit sea sick early on, fortunately Jayne made a quick recovery


Jayne reminds us how crazy our horse is.



My room. aka the kitchen aka the living room.


Trolling for our catch of the day.


Sunsets happen everyday, but I still love a good one.

Finally arriving in Cartagena!


Confiscated homemade submarines!



Dropped anchor next to the Stahlratte. Hoped to see Tanya and Ernesto but they were already on land.

Much troubles finding a way to unload the motos. No dock with a deep enough draft (Crazy horse sits over 9 feet under water) will take us. Turns out that bringing bikes around the gap on a sailboat is technically illegal, so the dock owners want no part in it! Eventually a couple locals and they're skinny dingy came by to offer their services.

Local bike-unloading-company, at your service.

It looked a little tippy, heck our dingy was wider than that one. But the men claimed to have unloaded many bikes in the past. I'd seen video's posted by others using dingy's to unload their bikes, so maybe. "No, no no no no no no no no" Jayne was not having any of it. "Absolutely not". She didn't like how skinny it was, nor trusted their assertions that they had even done it before. If the bikes go overboard, that's the end. There must be another option.


Unfortunately, our final dock hope soon called back to say we would not be able to unload there either, and suddenly these boys looked to be our only option after all. Fortunately, here were a couple other moto's on another sailboat nearby, so later that day we watched them go first.
Watching the test bike, our new friend Tom and his Suzuki DR650:






All going smoothly, and Jayne away in town, Greg and I decided that this was our only option, and went crawling back to the gents who had been so adamantly told to go away. Marc called Jayne to inform her that this was the only recourse, and we unloaded this bikes without Jayne's presence.

Last loaded, first off. Greg's bike trial run. I didn't argue.



Next up: Cricket. Quick, before Jayne sees.



It always feels a little different riding Jayne's bike.



Easy... easy does it!


Marc holds tight while Jugs goes slowly overboard.



Jesus on a motorbike: Riding across the water.



Then the final heave to get Jugs on land, only one minor stumble along the way.






Good haul for the local boys at 50 000 COP (25$) a bike.


Great deal for us too, as we actually had our bikes on land now and could finish importing them. Down to the DIAN office to meet our agent for some paperwork signing. We had been told that, officially, we rode our bikes through the darien gap, bringing them in over land. Without using a recognized air/freight shipping method, over land is the only legal means.
Caused us no problems, other than overpaying a bit for the agent at 40$ a bike. We hadn't negotiated beforehand, again our fault, but we also only ever had to show up when signatures were required. For the record, you can do all the imports for free if you do it all yourself. AFTER you have your temporary import papers, head over to buy your insurance for 15$/month. Don't listen to anyone who tells you you can get insurance without the import papers.
During all this commotion of trying to find a way to unload the bikes, real-sized Kelly arrived for round two as part of the Ultimate ride!

Kelly is here, and ready to save you should you fall overboard.



Working on falling overboard.


Now complete with real-sized Kelly, our import papers and insurance, we would say goodbye to the crazy horse and it's crazy crew.
Captain Marc doesn't think he'll do another run with bikes, but if he ever does, I highly recommend a ride on the Crazy horse.
Now to explore South America!


(Real-time update: Crazy Horse IS doing another run. Contact us for contact details)
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:29 PM   #83
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Mud Volcano and More: In and around Cartagena, Colombia

Scenery changes, people come and go, things break or wear out, the language switches from time to time... but there has been one constant this trip: my front tire. A Kenda K761, has lasted me through the good times, the bad, and over 42000kms. But a new continent deserves a fresh start, a fresh tire, so I finally installed the Avon Gripster I've been hauling with me since we left my buddy Cam's place back in California.

First noted benefit of the new tire: Jugs and cricket now match trip odometer readings again!

I suppose that should go in the Motorcycle Minute section... More later.

Some things from Cartagena and area:
Met up with our amigos Tanya and Ernesto of Guatemala fame.

Reunited, I just can't fight it.



Old town Cartagena reunion.



Tanya and Ernesto finally meet real sized Kelly.



Alcohol enhanced photo





A major task in Cartagena was dealing with bike paperwork. For those of you looking for information on how to do that: Go HERE for the DIAN (customs) office to import the bike, then go HERE to buy insurance for 15$ for a month. Just don't put your feet on their chairs or the insurance folk get upset. Kelly can tell you all about it some day. Also, when service is slow or wrong, don't ask who you need to go yell at. Our American motorcycle compatriot did that, and it surprisingly didn't help things along for him, but did slow down everything for everyone else.
The old walled city is very pretty. Which makes it a touch touristy. Which makes it very safe. Too safe, if you ask me.

Though I suppose there was the risk of Kelly falling through this hole in the wall.


Kelly and I were stopped and searched by police three times during our night walk around the wall. I suppose gringos in Colombia awake after bedtime leads police to only one conclusion: cocaine. We were innocent of such suggestions of course, but not without the local pushers trying. In hindsight, I did get the drug pushers hopes up and I could have more carefully chosen my words when I said "It's so hot here I dream of snow". Maybe the police overheard such things.

Overall, the walled old city is pretty, but a touch expensive and touristy. Now able to ride our bikes, we tried another local attraction: the mud volcano.

Mud Volcano? My friend Jen had recently visited Cartagena and recommended we head to the "mud Volcano". A volcano? Of MUD?!! That must be the most amazing sight in the land!

It wasn't.


A large anthill with stairs to the top surrounded by tourist vendor stands... not exactly an exciting proposition. I was already planning my "what the heck?" email to Jen. But we'd come this far and it was only 5000pesos (2.50$) to jump in, so why not.

why not indeed...

Wait a minute... this is amazing!

The Muted splash of Mud

The mud is warm, and very buoyant, it was like being suspended in outer-space, except with air, warmth, and mud. Ok, so nothing like outer-space, but the sensation was other worldly.
Then the teenage boys jumped in and started to rub us down. While Tanya floated on her back, Kelly noticed the boy was rubbing her back under the mud in such a way as to make her boobs jiggle, then staring at said jiggling boobs. They are teenage boys after all.

The harder he stares, the more they jiggle.




He stared hard, but my boobs just wouldn't wiggle once.


I received a much shorter massage than the girls did, for some reason. The boys did shove me down to completely submerge me below the surface however, a feat impossible to accomplish on my own due to the buoyancy of the mud.

Bearded man born from the womb of the volcano



As we exit the mud volcano, we note the genius of their set up. Children have flocked in to carry our clothes, saving them from our muddy appendages. One of these children has been taking photos for us with my camera the whole time. We are then led down to the lake, where women strip us naked, wash us and scrub our muddy swim suits.

Real-sized Kelly is too far muddy to carry anything without ruining it.


Note our carefully carried clothes in the background.



Into the lake to get washed like a child

The clothing carriers, the photographer, the mom's scrubbing you: It's all for a tip of course. And lets not for get those boys who made your tits jiggle. There were many hands out. In the end all were worthy of their tips, as it was a surprisingly fun morning. Speaking of tips, thank you Jen for this one, as this mud volcano was a blast!
A short ride back to Cartagena, where we moved into our first air-conditioned hostel of the trip. Cartagena is HOT. Too hot to bear in the midday sun, and still hot under the midnight moon.
The air-conditioning at the hostel was great, but their resident parrot sounded like a dying goat early every morning.

If a pet bird has already been immortalized in a wall painting, does that mean you can mortalize said bird?


We managed to get in touch with Roger and Sasha from the Ednabel.

Serious discussion over beer

We had met them while sailing in the San Blas, Roger having organized the little island BBQ party. We went for drinks on their boat and some dinner. Great little meet up. Roger even let us in on his custom modification of the boats water tank. It doesn't hold water: it holds 120 liters of Gin!! The water-maker machine on-board makes the extra tank somewhat obsolete, and think of the weight and space savings on the glass bottles!

Roger demonstrating the magical Gin tank modified-gasoline-priming-pump.

A great stop with good catching up with friends and getting the bikes sorted. Cartagena though, with dying-goat mimicing parrots, and the suffocating heat, had us feeling it was time to move on. With my new front tire leading the way, next stop Monteria!


Motorcycle minute:
After the tire change, next up was an oil change. I now understand why they put little reminder stickers on your windshield at Mr. Lube, as jugs was now at over 7000km since my last oil change. A little angry at myself for overlooking this. Great folks at the lube shop, they didn't mind much when I made a bit of a mess.

My skid plate has been bent into the way after meeting a couple logs, so it fills with oil a bit when draining. Sorry guys.

So now Jugs needed a wash. Though really she was due anyways. Even tho Jugs was wrapped in a plastic sheet, the terrors of sea spray are not to be under estimated. Jayne took Cricket for the same much needed TLC.


Soapy Jugs at a carwash. Just what I needed.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:28 PM   #84
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Great ride report ...........................Looks like a great ride and a time of your lives.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:27 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by telejojo View Post
Great ride report ...........................Looks like a great ride and a time of your lives.
Thanks Telejojo! It has been, and continues to be just awesome. And the beer price is dropping or at least holding steady
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:33 AM   #86
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awesome update!

i'm gonna go start digging me a mud volcano right now.....
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:15 PM   #87
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Eek The Girlfriend Interview: Monteria, Colombia

We were sweltering in Cartagena. The hottest I've felt on this trip. We had to get out of that city. I looked a the map in the Couchsurfing app on my phone and sent a couple of couch requests to towns that looked a reasonable day's ride South. Alex in Monteria responded and invited us to come stay at his apartment.


We love Couchsurfing, the opportunity it provides to meet local people and explore their area from a local point of view. However, it also means that sometimes, indebted to our hosts, we are held hostage by our manners, and find ourselves in a situation we cannot politely extract ourselves from. To make this situation worse, often our host doesn't even realize that this is happening. This is the story of one such experience.


The Friday afternoon we made it into Monteria, Alex met us on his motorbike and led us to his apartment, which is on a main street across from a couple of bars. He told us he had made some juice! Unfortunately, his last couchsurfers had drunk it all. Nevertheless, as promised in his emails, he was still going to cook us his speciality for dinner. This was great because we were hungry!


Alex welcomed us into his home, apologising for the lack of furniture. His girlfriend took it all in their recent break-up. We made good use of the plastic table and chairs he did have. Alex promised he would take us to his family's finca (farm) outside of the city and he told us about his love of cycling, and a bit about Colombia and Colombian customs. He said that in Monteria the people were warmer and touched each other more than in other areas, which was big reason why he lived there and not in Bogota, Cali or Medellin. (This assertion turned out to be false, in our experience Colombians all over Colombia were great, and none of them particularly touchy feely.)



When Kelly and I expressed an interest in learning to salsa he declared himself a great dancer and said he would teach us. He then proceeded to show me how to salsa with his body glued against mine, "here in Monteria this is how we dance". He explained that women in other Colombian cities don't dance body to body and he feels insulted.


Phil suggested that Alex could show him how to dance and they could have a "sword fight". When Alex didn't understand the joke, Kelly and I demonstrated:

A re-enactment of Kelly and I swordfighting

Alex laughed but was slightly horrified.


Alex had already expressed admiration for the fact that I was riding my own motorbike. When he told us that the plant he was nurturing on the window sill was called "Nymeria" I recognised it as the name of Arya's direwolf in "Game of Thrones". It happens that I have been reading the series by George R. R. Martin. Alex was seriously impressed. It seemed as if he was now starting to analyse everything I said as to whether I would make a good girlfriend for him. This was the start of what I like to call "the girlfriend interview".


Alex went out for a little while, but before he left he reminded us that he would be cooking us his specialty for dinner. When he came back he was accompanied by his friend Carlos, who is also a teacher. In preparation for his specialty, Alex pulled five packages of 2 minute noodles of various flavours out of his bag. Kelly and I exchanged looks, but smiled politely as he told us that we still needed to go out and buy the "secret ingredient" - ketchup! Phil tells us that we did not mask the look of horror on our faces.


We were starving by this point and it seemed doubtful that Alex's specialty he had been promising for days was going to live up to expectations.


Dinner that night was five flavours of 2 minute noodles, mixed together and boiled for a very long time. To this was added tinned tuna, and lots of ketchup.


When, at 10pm, Alex finally decided to start "cooking" he asked me to keep him company in the kitchen. His first question? "What do you find attractive in a man?" The interview continued throughout. He told me he liked independent, light skinned girls, who weren't after his money and who would also still cook and clean for him, because that's what women do when they love a man. In an effort to make him stop I told him I told him I was a terrible girlfriend, very selfish and terrible in every way. I then tried to change the subject. It didn't work.


When I offered to help Alex said I could make some juice - I was looking around for the lemon squeezer when he handed me a packet of juice crystals, saying they were his favourite. I made the juice by adding the powder to a bottle of water and shaking...

Alex's special dinner

I could only hope that this was not a sign of typical Colombian cuisine. It reminded me of being in Cambodia, where they loved to add meat and veg to 2 minute noodles.


Phil got talking to Alex's friend Carlos, who expressed an interest in ultimate frisbee, and suggested that Phil go to his school on Monday and teach the kids about it. Despite it being fairly late Friday evening, Carlos was soon on the phone to the academic coordinator to arrange it.


They then decided that it would be safer to move our motorbikes to a parking lot across the road, where there was a security guard over night, only one catch, we had to move them by 8am the next morning. So much for sleeping in... Sigh.


That night we discovered the joys of sleeping on air mattresses, with the local bars competing at who could blast their music the loudest. I declined Alex's offer to put my air mattress in his bedroom, and was soon regretting it as at least his room had a fan and a door that might have muffled the chaos outside.





The next day Alex went off on a long bicycle ride, so we set about seeing what Monteria had to offer. Monteria is a small city in Northern Colombia. Other than a nice park beside the river, it doesn't have anything in the way of attractions. Many people suggested we visit the shopping center when asked what we should do there.


Phil and Kelly set off for the supermarket, while I took full advantage of Alex's washing machine. We had a lot of dirty clothing after our time in Shelter Bay and the ocean crossing. The machine was a godsend, despite being "semi-automatic". You had to take a hose from the tap to fill the washing side, then turn the knob to drain it after it was finished washing. Then transfer the wet clothes to the spin side, spin, return them to the other side, and repeat to rinse.

We did so much laundry that it was hanging on every available surface

I also took Cricket across the road to the "Pit Stop" car wash, where all the salt and such from the boat was thoroughly scrubbed off (along with a couple of stickers unfortunately). She was positively shining, and all for just $5. When I picked her up, all of the men working in the place stopped working and came outside to see the gringa with the giant motorcycle. I felt like I was famous!


That afternoon we decided to cook Alex something that we like to eat in Canada. I assisted chef Kelly with a delicious, veggie packed stirfry. We saved some for Alex, but when he came home he explained that he didn't eat rice, and he didn't seem thrilled with the veggies either. He seemed to power through our meal the same way we powered through his, washing down the vegetables with gulps of juice. While he was eating he continued on the theme of relationships and told us what a great lover he was, and how he has a very high sperm count, which is part of the reason he got tricked into fathering a daughter.


Afterwards he took us to a place for ice cream by the river. He said we could go to the expensive ice cream place or to his favourite which was cheaper.


As we wandered through the streets, he told us how this ice cream place was the first place he took girls on a date, to make sure they were his kind of girl. My heart dropped, another girlfriend test!


When walking through town Phil and Kelly would usually walk together, leaving me alone talking with Alex. He alternated telling me what a great guy he was with asking about my religious beliefs, previous relationships (and why they failed) and my desires. By this time I was no longer answering his questions good naturedly, when he tired of my obviously curt and disinterested replies, he'd find a way to try make me feel guilty for not liking something he liked, even if I'd not tried it before. For example he had taken some other couchsurfers to eat some chicken that he liked, and was upset when they didn't like it. He was going to take us and of course we would like it...


It turned out that the ice cream place was a snow cone stall with about 30 flavours of very sweet syrups to choose from. We tasted almost all of them before making our selection for our snow cones.

The place to take a girl on your first date.

As we were walking home I asked if we would be spending the next day visiting Alex's family farm that he had told us about. He told me no, because he was going to sleep in, then play xbox 360 for the rest of the day. He then showed us the hot dog stall that he takes girls to if they pass the first date.


Later that night he took off and came back with his ex-girlfriend. Seemed odd that he would still be hanging out with her after she took all his furniture, but there she was.


That evening, Kelly and I basically begged Phil to reneg on his promise to go to the school on Monday so we could leave Monteria the next morning. We had seen all the town had to offer, and were not sleeping at all well. Every conversation I had with Alex was designed to either make me feel sorry for him (how he didn't get along with his brother, or how a woman tricked him into getting her pregnant etc), or to analyse my worthiness.


I had had enough and I didn't want to be there any longer.


Unfortunately for us, Phil is a man of his word. He would not be swayed. He wanted to stay another two nights so he could go to the school.


That evening Alex told me he would be in his room with his ex-girlfriend, but when I was ready to go to bed I should just turn the light off and he would open the door so I could come in and sleep there too. Needless to say, I did not.


The only bathroom in the apartment was in Alex's bedroom, and given the noises emerging from it, Kelly and Phil didn't want to interrupt. The kitchen sink served as a replacement. (Don't worry, it was well cleaned afterwards.)


Phil played tetris with the air mattresses in the other small room and managed to make space for me, Kelly and himself. At least that room had a fan. We had to debate between the noise of the fan and being too hot however.


The next morning Phil went to an internet cafe. I was pretty grumpy about still being in Monteria, but determined to make the best of being somewhere we did not want to be, Kelly and I explored the riverside park some more. We ate real ice cream, and saw lots of wildlife as we watched the people stroll by. The two of us gringas were quite an attraction, with me being so tall, and Kelly's curly red hair. People stared.



A friend in the trees in the park beside the river


Iguana feast


There were a lot of these guys in the park

Some time later Phil came to meet us and we went to a small restaurant for lunch. It was our first encounter with the typical "bandeja" or set lunch. Soup, rice, beans, plantain and some kind of meat all for one low price.

When we first met our new friends Erick and Jose

We got to talking with two guys at the table beside us, Erick and Jose. Kelly told them of our desire to learn to dance salsa, and before we knew it Erick had bought us a round of beers and taken off down the street to see if the local salsa bar was open. It was, so we went to "Mojitos" where Erick and Jose did their best to teach us the basics. They also taught us that the cheapest way to drink in a bar is to buy a bottle or half bottle of rum, and a bottle of mix.

Our corner table. We were the only people there on a Sunday afternoon!


Dancing at Mojitos


Meeting Colombian Rum


Phil adds to the music with his own special flair


Phil and Kelly have a go


That's not salsa.

After Mojitos the guys took us to another bar that had a few more people at it. Kelly and I noted that NO ONE was dancing glued together, not even the experienced couples from Monteria. Alex would have felt very insulted had he been dancing there.

With our new friends Erick and Jose


Dancing in bar #2


Walking home from the Salsa bar

Spending those few hours with Erick and Jose was by far the highlight of our three day stay in Monteria. Alex seemed put out when he found out we'd made other friends. But then, as with so many things, he'd promised to take us dancing and instead decided to play Xbox.

Phil with some of the Monteria school kids

The next day Phil went to the school early in the morning, and then we packed up and rode to the school where Alex teaches because he wanted Phil to do a talk there too. But when we got there at 9:30am he thought it was too late, so we said goodbye and headed off towards Medellin.


I'm fairly certain that Alex didn't realise how uncomfortable he had made me feel, or that his behaviour was inappropriate. Perhaps I should have been more explicit, but then he was very kind in agreeing to host us, and I didn't want to make him feel awkward.


Monteria was a lesson on making the best of a bad situation. I have never been so relieved to be leaving a place. I was grumpy and tired and my relationship with Phil was showing the strain.


We had a heated disagreement over the intercom as we were riding away from Monteria. Phil told me I should have just left if I didn't like it there. I reminded him I couldn't because I had his stuff on my bike while Kelly is travelling with us. He told me in the future if I wasn't happy I should just leave, we'd make it work. I agreed that that's what I should have done, and what I would do in the future.

Special Thanks to Kelly for all her help with this post!!!
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:57 PM   #88
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I am really enjoying your ride report and try to stay up on your posts.

You are right, you should leave if you feel uncomfortable around someone, and your brother/travel companion should stick by you.

You obviously have good discernment, and you don't owe anybody anything.Some couchsurfing hosts may have selfish intentions or are obvious weirdos, so just move on.

Keep up the interesting and detailed posts.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:57 AM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAS GUY View Post

You are right, you should leave if you feel uncomfortable around someone, and your brother/travel companion should stick by you.
Hey Gas Guy,
Glad you're enjoying the read!
I did stick by Jayne's desire to leave, and encouraged her to do so. We have discussed in the past that sometimes we will have different things that we want to do/routes we want to take, and we should feel no stress in going separate ways to do so. We even had a hammock-tent sent down to us for this exact reason so we would both have shelter in such an instance.

I was committed to doing a school talk and teaching Ultimate frisbee to the kids. As you might imagine, given that we named this the "Ultimate" ride, the plan from the get go was to play as much ulti as possible along the way. I was not going to reneg on commitments revolving around the basis of this ride very easily. Jayne expressed a desire to leave, in the end she chose not to (this time around).

The school talk that we were staying for was great and I ended up getting to talk to, and run around with a couple hundred kids. I glad to get the opportunity to teach my favorite sport to so many kids in one stop.

Phil
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:17 AM   #90
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Crashing to Cusco

Hindsight hurts. But sometimes it would really be nice to have some hindsight beforehand.
A couple days ago (November 18th, 2013), I crashed my bike with Kelly riding on the back on our way to Cusco. We both walked away, but everyone is feeling the lingering effects.
So this is the story all about how, my bike got flip-turned upside-down.
And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there
I'll tell you how they fixed my shoulder, but didn't touch my hair.
(credit Derek Bains/ Will Smith)

Seriously, just push the beard out of the way or something.


The days leading up had been fun, including flying in a little plane to see the Nazca lines. But the fun was not without irritations, holes in my air mattress, spilling hydrogen peroxide in one of my boxes, and a lingering tummy ache to top it off. We pushed through, knowing that once we made it to Cusco we had about a week to relax without needing to ride any further. I spiked a fever in our hotel in Chalhuanca, and didn't sleep great. We debated staying an extra night, but in the morning after some tylenol and a sleep in, I felt good enough to go. I really didn't want to hold up the group, especially knowing that I'd have days to relax in Cusco. Oh Hindsight...


Our departure was delayed when a coolant leak was discovered on Cricket, but that easily fixed, we hit the road. 15 minutes out of town, Kelly and I took that literally.
It was sunny and hot out. The road had some nice curves and was a fun ride. I took the gradual right bend at about 90km/h. At the exit of the corner there was a "vado", a shallow concrete spillway crossing the road, with water flowing across. As we rode through, my rear tire lost traction and slid out, we wobbled violently at speed for a few seconds down the highway, then crashed. I thought I had hit it pretty straight on, but should have slowed more. I was riding too quickly for the conditions. Hindsight hurts.


Our friend Tom was riding ahead and didn't see the crash. Jayne and other friend Jeremy were maybe 30 seconds behind the carnage. They arrived and helped pick up the pieces. I had landed quite hard on my left shoulder. Winded, slow to get up, I told Jayne "I think I might have broken my collar bone". Kelly got up quickly, nothing broken, but shaken up. Unfortunately, we had thought the mountains would be chilly riding, so she layered on a sweatshirt. This had quickly proven too warm, so she had opened her riding Jacket to cool off. The resulting abrasions to her stomach and side might have otherwise been minimized. We could have stopped to take off a layer. Hindsight sucks.
Some amazing passerby's in a pickup stopped to take us to the nearby clinic to have our wounds cleaned. They dropped us there then returned to the crash site to load 'Jugs' into the box of their truck and drove the bike to Cusco for me. Incredible people. I don't have enough kind words for them.
Jayne really went to bat for us in the hospital and made sure we got what we needed. Patched up, Kelly and I took a bus to Cusco. However the Carnage wasn't over.
Tom had returned when we didn't catch up, initially thinking a problem with Crickets leaking coolant. He met Jeremy waiting at the crash site, the rest of us at the hospital. After Jeremy came in to pick up Jayne and returned to load my remaining gear, Tom rode off ahead to meet our couch surf and to help with my bike in Cusco. A few hours down the road a truck had spilled some large rocks all over the asphalt, making a minefield. Tom hit a mine, and took a spill himself. Fortunately he was uninjured, though his bike took some dings and scrapes. Not bad enough, the rock he hit flew across the road and struck an oncoming bus. The bus driver stopped and was trying to get money out of Tom for the damages. "Who's going to pay for my bus?!" the driver said. "Who's going to pay for my bike?!" Tom replied. He didn't give in to the extortion, and finished the ride to Cusco, now in the dark. Jayne and Jeremy heard of the crash and had had enough, stopping at a hotel and avoiding anymore carnage on the day.






What's worse than a water leak? A hydrogen peroxide leak (my contact solution), oxidizing my spare nuts n' bolts and some tools. The day we left Nazca, not a great start.


Taking a nap and resting my unhappy belly during a long construction break a couple hours after leaving Nazca.



The next morning, a slow start to the day gets slower. Fortunately a quick hose-clamp tighten for an easy fix to the leaking coolant.



Quite a ways from the corner, jugs finally came to rest


Winded, but walking away


One of the many deep gouges Jugs left in the road.


Kelly getting patched up, wishing her Jacket had been zipped up.


T-shirt not representative of feelings of wearer.


I can't thank Jayne, Jeremy and Tom enough for picking up the pieces for me.


Wear your gear!


Kelly and I took the bus to Cusco. Speed bumps were agonizing.



Love those photos where they're taking a photo of you right back.


Like Rob Ford, my clavicle did crack


Rib joined crack binge. May have invited friends.


Come for your friends, stay for the wifi


Peru length gown. This is the XL I think. Ready for Surgery.


The small hospital we were first taken to was without an xray machine. The doctor there felt I hadn't broken anything, but should double check once in Cusco. Total cost for our hospital visit there was around 10$. After a long bus ride, Kelly and I arrived in Cusco to our couchsurf with Wilman, who I must thank greatly for his patience.
The next day Jayne and Jeremy arrived, we looked over the bikes, and sorted our things. My shoulder and chest were sore, but not bad after some pain medication I had taken. All gear sorted and Jugs pushed uphill to a parking lot, Kelly and I finally set off to the clinic after noon, just to be sure nothing was broken.


I had xrays at 3pm. My surgery was set for 7pm. Talk about service!


The hours that followed were spent on the phone to Jayne and the insurance company, including brief discussion of flying home to Canada. Since I have no provincial coverage there anymore, the decision was made to have the surgery here in Peru. Jayne and the boys came by for a pre-surgery party, then surgery was had.


No turning back now, strapped down with leather belts.


Wait are those bolt cutters?


Pretty happy to be asleep at this time.


The guiding hand.



Things were less jovial after surgery. The pain I felt when I first woke up is something I wish on no one else anywhere ever.
The realities of the changes to our trip also began to set in. Our travel buddies will carry on without us, of course, but Jayne is caught between a rock and a hard place. The window to hit Ushuaia is Dec-March, but Jayne had been hoping for on January. And visiting friends in Chile for Christmas.
Kelly had been wanting to go to Machu Picchu this whole trip, but now with dressings to change a multi-day Jungle trek doesn't sound enjoyable. There is a palpable feeling of apathy about the very expensive ruins.
So many small moments could have been the difference. I should have stayed in bed. I should have stayed an extra day. I should have just caught up with everyone later. I should have stopped to have Kelly take off her sweater. We shouldn't have had any of us riding at night (Tom).
Above all, I should have slowed down for that water.
Hindsight hurts.


But we were also very lucky. We were wearing our gear. The bike didn't land on either of us. None of the other bikes were close enough to get taken out. Strangers stopped to help immediately. A broken clavicle and rib aren't that bad in the grand scheme of things. I have a great group of friends who jumped in to help. The local and extended motorcycle community have all offered whatever support they can. I have a great sister who hassles the staff to get what I need, changes our dressings and otherwise nurses the nurseman.

Nurse Jayne doing dressing changes on Kelly and I since the hospital staff aren't.


Looks like we'll be in a holding pattern for 2-4 weeks. We'll see what comes next.

Repaired and ready for what comes next.


This blog post is well out of order, but figured it was better to be timely. The bright side is we'll have a lot of time on our hands while the clavicle heals to write and share all the fun stories we have built up before this less-fun one.
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