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Old 02-24-2008, 07:07 AM   #16
calrider OP
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So, finally, here’s the machine…



Notice the modifications on the back foot pegs. We had them lowered so that it would be a bit more comfortable riding on the back.

Edison over at Edismotos in Villeta tuned the bike and modified the foot pegs for us. It turns out that Edison has quite the sense of style and it pained him to no end to lower the footpegs and make the motorbike “ugly”.
Here’s Edison grinding the footpeg hangers:


Then it was time to load and go. Since we were riding 2-up on a 200cc and the luggage rack on the back said “Max. 6kg”, we packed as light as we could. Even so, there was probably 15kg on the rack. Notice, I took off the fake radiator shrouds so I could hang our makeshift tank bags.

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Old 02-24-2008, 10:41 AM   #17
kootenay kid
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Ah the woman are beautiful there and the bike doesnt look to bad either Cant wait for more. It must have been hard returning to Calgary.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:55 AM   #18
Jamie Z
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Hey wow!

I passed through a little corner of Colombia last year. Would love to go back. Can't wait to see more pics.

Is that your own version of a touring seat?

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Old 02-24-2008, 11:01 AM   #19
dirtydeeds
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Colombia is such an amazing country to ride around. I ended up with a 7 month visa. I used about 5 months of it. I loved every minute. And I had only planned on being there 5 days...stoopid me.


Colombianas:

Everybody is so nice, actually.

And the area around San Gil is amazing.

I am sure you are already planning another trip back there, yes?
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kootenay kid
Ah the woman are beautiful there and the bike doesnt look to bad either Cant wait for more. It must have been hard returning to Calgary.
Yes they are, and yes it was very hard returning… We’ll have to finally get together and do a ride sometime this summer when I’m back in Cranbrook
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Originally Posted by Jamie Z
Is that your own version of a touring seat?
It did make the seat a bit more comfortable and gave us a place to store our thermarests. The design evolved over the course of the trip.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtydeeds
Colombia is such an amazing country to ride around.
It really is a great place. I totally understand the “overstay” syndrome. People are amazingly friendly. Unfortunately Columbia got a bad rap and it still suffers under a negative stereotype even though it’s much safer now.
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:04 PM   #21
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This is us ready to go.

I brought along a couple of Fieldsheer mesh jackets for all the hot-weather riding. They became our favourite piece of gear. The safety vests with your license plate number plastered across them are mandatory in Colombia. Apparently during the height of the drug cartels, they often used young guys on motorcycles to carry out assassinations. This was one way of more easily identifying the perpetrators.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:25 PM   #22
irishdec
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Thumb Keep it comming

Dont stop those pics,enjoying yer trip,keep safe.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:02 PM   #23
DaytonaMike
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Colombia is such a beautiful country. My wife is from there and we have spent 3 weeks at a time twice in the last few years never on a bike though. Bogota traffic is too crazy. The people are incredibly friendly and I have never felt unsafe while there. The military presence is hard to get use to but they are doing an important job. Enjoy it and please keep the pics and story coming.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:56 AM   #24
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The ride out of Villeta led over a couple of mountain ranges to the valley of the Rio Magdalena. We were to look forward to more of these signs along the road than I could have imagined! (Slow! Dangerous Curve) Woohooo!

But sometimes they really were dangerous with chunks of road missing, leaving behind a hole straight to the valley below.

Before long we were high above the Rio Magdalena, riding down endless twisties into the valley below.

The river is Colombia’s major river and served as a major transportation artery. But now, it seems, most of the country’s stuff gets transported by truck. More on that later…

Finally, we’re way down at 250m asl next to the Magdalena. It’s a huge river and I can’t believe that they used to nurse paddlewheelers up through the rapids and canyons. We crossed the river into the town of Honda. Amiga’s father had warned us that Honda was “como un orno” (like an oven). At 37C (99F) in the shade, I wasn’t about to argue the point. Here’s one of the aforementioned trucks coming across the bridge.

These guys are governed to a max of 80km/h and they chug along the highways in a slow-motion race to deliver the goods. “Winning” the race often entails passing another truck that’s only doing 79km/h uphill on a double solid line on a corner. Of course, with a 1km/hr difference in speed, this can take some time. One would think that any busses or trucks coming down the hill would cause enough carnage to catch even a CNN producer’s eye, but somehow a space miraculously opens up as everyone squeezes to the edges and it all somehow works out. Cars are afforded somewhat less respect… The trucks might shift a bit to open up a crack for the car to thread through, but you’d need to be a New York cabbie to have a chance. Yet the locals somehow fly through by the grace of angels. Now… motorbikes… well, apparently motorbikes take up no room in the space-time continuum in Colombia. You’re just expected to find your own way through the solid mass of oncoming freight. This can mean hitting the gravel, riding into someone’s front yard or navigating the ditch. Before the trip, we suffered through repeated dire warnings about the “mulas” (trucks) and how they have no respect for motorbikes. That seemed to be everyone’s major concern. Not guerillas, not paramilitaries, not criminal gangs. Just the traffic. As turned out, we needn’t have worried. Except for a couple of bad sections in the mountains, it was all cool. Never even had a close call. (Of course, if the bike had enough horsepower to release my stupidity, that might have been a different story…)
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:01 AM   #25
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After crossing the river, we took a hard right and headed north along the Rio Magdalena. As it flows north, the mountain ranges pull apart, releasing the Magdalena into the vast plains and bayous of the north. An occasional outcrop adds variety to the scenery.


Amiga really enjoys stopping at the towns along the way to check out the central plazas. Before long we were in the town of Dorada doing a drive-by shooting as we careened around the central plaza snapping photos. Stopping for a break, we were greeted by this friendly face in the tree above us:


This was quickly followed by a couple glasses of fresh-made juice to try to combat the heat.

They make great juices here… mmmm juice…

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Old 03-03-2008, 12:32 PM   #26
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Sitting there is much hotter than riding, so we soon headed out and continued north. This part of Colombia is cattle country with huge ranches and not much in the way of towns. These white birds keep the cattle company.


As the sun began setting it was time to find a place to crash. Amiga spied a field with a pond and some nice trees to watch the sunset through. We stopped at a little restaurant in front of the field and she soon had permission to camp in the pasture. While she negotiated with the locals, I took care of a different sort of business.


The folks were concerned about snakes and offered us a couple other spots to set up, but that pasture just looked too sweet. The sunset from our tent:

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Old 03-04-2008, 11:59 AM   #27
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The kids seemed to completely forget about the snakes as we started setting up camp. They were fascinated by the tent and helped us out as we stumbled around in the dark.


Then it was off to dinner.


Once again the kids were fascinated by my blank looks and lack of comprehension.


This is grandpa and a local that was eating at the restaurant.

When we asked what grandpa's name was, he said, "Aposto" (Apostle)…fitting, since the place was called "San Pedro de la Paz" (Saint Peter of Peace). Of course, he was pulling our leg. The guy on the right was a cowboy on one of the nearby ranches. I had what passes as a conversation with him. I smiled a lot, nodded and said "si". He thought I was a great guy. I'll have to remember that technique when I get home.

The next morning we finally saw how pretty our campsite actually was.






Long before we were ready to drag our butts out of bed, the kids were buzzing around the tent:


It wasn't long before they were practically pulling down the tent around our ears.


In no time the tent was stuffed and we were shuffling off to breakfast:


There was just one thing in the way... The night before, a calf with a broken leg had been dropped off behind the restaurant. It was to be slaughtered. In the morning they brought the calf down to the pasture near our tent and did the deed. I couldn't tear my eyes away and it turned out to be a surprisingly calm event. The guy just tied up the calf's legs and cut the carotid artery. The calf jumped a bit when the artery was cut and then calmly died as the blood flowed out into the field. In no time, the calf looked like this…


And we were off to breakfast. (we decided not to have the steak and eggs…)

At breakfast, the kids each drew a picture in Amiga's notebook so that we would not forget them.


Promises to mail them photos and then we were on our way for a "crack of noon" start.

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Old 03-04-2008, 12:09 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaytonaMike
Colombia is such a beautiful country. My wife is from there and we have spent 3 weeks at a time twice in the last few years never on a bike though. Bogota traffic is too crazy. ...
Hey DaytonaMike, I'm flattered that you chose my report for your first post!.
Yes, traffic can be a bit crazy, but it seems that once you get a feel for the "unwritten rules", it's a lot less confusing. Things like "pedestrians do not have right of way", "motorbikes split lanes and go to the front", "speed limits are ignored" and so on.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:15 PM   #29
Northstar Beemer
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Great story -

and your Amiga looks lovely and seems to have a great attitude. 200CC, two up and in the mountains.

That's an adventure right there!

Keep it coming!
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:32 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Northstar Beemer
and your Amiga looks lovely and seems to have a great attitude. 200CC, two up and in the mountains.

That's an adventure right there!

Keep it coming!
Thanks Northstar! Yup, her attitude is outstanding, as I'm about to appreciate over the next days. A better travelling companion I've never had!
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