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Old 05-28-2010, 11:23 AM   #331
Adv Grifter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashmaster
I would go for aggressive knobbies considering what you want to do in mud in Brazil.
I agree. Knobbies are the best choice for Mud. I'd buy whatever you can find that does the job. Finding a true knobby in 17" size could be tough. A 50/50 tire really won't do it in serious mud.

A D606, TKC or T63, MT-21 are better .... but a true knobby is best but not as versatile as the above listed tires. Good news is all these come in 17" rear. Not many
true knobby's come in 17" so this group may be your best hope. All true knobby's come in 21" (90/90-21) so for sure you can get a good knobby up front.

Metzeler make a few good Motocross knobbies (MC-4 is good) Pirelli make MANY knobbies ... and most are GREAT! I like the MT-16. Excellent tire and a favorite in World Enduro and Euro Motocross. Many are not available in your 17" size, but nearly everyone makes a 21" front.

Don't count out the Asian tires. They may be cheaper and more available in 17" size. Many are very good. Kenda, IRC, Cheng Shin, Maxxis, Duro, Shinko. All make some decent tires. Keep in mind on pavement ALL knobby's will wear quickly, especially the rear. Keep speed down.

Given how rare and hard to find tires are in areas of S. America, I would not be tossing any tires early! Little risk here. You've got spare tubes and 2 or 3 spare tires on board. Where's the risk? A flat? I don't think so. I'm not saying run it bald but you can certainly go beyond wear bars most noobs follow.

Don't toss them, at least offer them up to another (desperate?) traveler ...or sell very cheap ... or leave at an Overlander friendly bike shop? (good karma!)

The MT-21 tires are popular but IMHO, having used them in the Mojave and Baja since 1990, I think they suck off road. Better than nothing of course but not Pirelli's best tire. The MT-16, or any competition Pirelli are much better. But if that is all available, go for it. They wear pretty good.

I love the Tourance as a road tire. Off road you will suffer. Trust me. Maybe you can ship your Tourance's South? Waiting for you where (and when) you need it? I've shipped things all over on Buses in S. America. Never lost a shipment.

Perhaps sell or trade the Tourance for a good knobby? Carrying 3 tires seems a bit much, but that is up to you. I carried two and it was a royal pain in the Ass! Front knobbies will even wear pretty good on pavement. Just be careful on wet pavement ... they are not the same as a TKC ... but won't clog with mud so easy.

Let me know what tires are available to you and when you are ready, maybe some of us can recommend one for you on your DR.

Good luck, safe riding! (loved your video! Great riding style Jay!)

Links for tires:
http://www.americanmototire.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=200_239_241&products_id=2637

Adv Grifter screwed with this post 05-28-2010 at 11:49 AM
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:01 PM   #332
Jammin OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningWild
Loved the video, Jay. I usually get restless and rarely finish watching videos, but yours was great. Bet that horn is paying off every day from the looks of it.

RunningWild
Thanks, yeah, it's pretty long at 8 mins but I wanted to show all the different bits that go into a regular ride down here. Thanks for sticking through to the end

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rider
i'd say with any tire, pressure management is the key to life/performance
For sure. I ran a set of Kenda K270 (50/50) for 9000 miles and it still had about a 1000 miles left - about 2000 miles off-road, rest highway. All about tire pressure management On pavement, I run 33/38 psi and off road, down to 20/25 depending on how loose the surface is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter
I agree. Knobbies are the best choice for Mud. I'd buy whatever you can find that does the job. Finding a true knobby in 17" size could be tough. A 50/50 tire really won't do it in serious mud.

A D606, TKC or T63, MT-21 are better .... but a true knobby is best but not as versatile as the above listed tires. Good news is all these come in 17" rear. Not many
true knobby's come in 17" so this group may be your best hope. All true knobby's come in 21" (90/90-21) so for sure you can get a good knobby up front.

Metzeler make a few good Motocross knobbies (MC-4 is good) Pirelli make MANY knobbies ... and most are GREAT! I like the MT-16. Excellent tire and a favorite in World Enduro and Euro Motocross. Many are not available in your 17" size, but nearly everyone makes a 21" front.

Don't count out the Asian tires. They may be cheaper and more available in 17" size. Many are very good. Kenda, IRC, Cheng Shin, Maxxis, Duro, Shinko. All make some decent tires. Keep in mind on pavement ALL knobby's will wear quickly, especially the rear. Keep speed down.

Given how rare and hard to find tires are in areas of S. America, I would not be tossing any tires early! Little risk here. You've got spare tubes and 2 or 3 spare tires on board. Where's the risk? A flat? I don't think so. I'm not saying run it bald but you can certainly go beyond wear bars most noobs follow.

Don't toss them, at least offer them up to another (desperate?) traveler ...or sell very cheap ... or leave at an Overlander friendly bike shop? (good karma!)

The MT-21 tires are popular but IMHO, having used them in the Mojave and Baja since 1990, I think they suck off road. Better than nothing of course but not Pirelli's best tire. The MT-16, or any competition Pirelli are much better. But if that is all available, go for it. They wear pretty good.

I love the Tourance as a road tire. Off road you will suffer. Trust me. Maybe you can ship your Tourance's South? Waiting for you where (and when) you need it? I've shipped things all over on Buses in S. America. Never lost a shipment.

Perhaps sell or trade the Tourance for a good knobby? Carrying 3 tires seems a bit much, but that is up to you. I carried two and it was a royal pain in the Ass! Front knobbies will even wear pretty good on pavement. Just be careful on wet pavement ... they are not the same as a TKC ... but won't clog with mud so easy.

Let me know what tires are available to you and when you are ready, maybe some of us can recommend one for you on your DR.

Good luck, safe riding! (loved your video! Great riding style Jay!)

Links for tires:
http://www.americanmototire.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=200_239_241&products_id=2637
Yeah, want to go more aggressive than 50/50 but probably still need it to survive some pavement. But sounds like the mud is going to be serious stuff and probably still wet in the dry season. 1000 kms of it. So, I'll probably go with the most aggressive knobby I can find.

Good to know there's availability for 21" fronts. Yeah, want the front to hook up nicely, more important than the rear.

Thanks for the info on the tire models.
You know I keep the speeds down. Limiting my max to 80-85 kmph and not doing jack rabbit starts but railing through corners at 30 mph

Getting rid of a tire early, I hear you and dont really like to waste money, but good idea about leaving it for other travelers, who might be looking for a used tire to get them by.

Good idea about shipping tires ahead on buses. How do I go about that? Through an agent of some kind of just head to the long distance bus station?

Looks like I wont be in Cali for a few days more, so will post up what kind of tires I can find.
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I've connected with a Colombian rider, Andreas Paton who's ridden around the world on an Africa Twin and is planning to ride the Transamazonica in August on a DR650. Good timing, so we've decided to meet in Porto Velho and head up to Santarem together. Heading to his finca (ranch) in Calarca to wait out the presidential elections this weekend; liquor sales have been banned but should be peaceful.
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:13 AM   #333
Adv Grifter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin
Good idea about shipping tires ahead on buses. How do I go about that? Through an agent of some kind of just head to the long distance bus station?
I would just go to the biggest bus station and use the most reputable company. See if they do international cargo. Some do, some don't.

The only question would be customs duty and such.
Might not be an issue from one S. American country to the next. I insured everything and sent it as "Used Clothing". No duty ever. (actually it was 100 year old weavings and boy did they stink!) They hold it at the other end (at a bus station) for pick up or can sometimes deliver to Address of your choice.

Worth looking into ... ask about hassles/delays at the border. One or two tires should not be an issue if the company you choose can do international cargo. Most times the cargo goes from one bus company to another at the border. (borders?) Some companies may do multi-country, non stop shipments. Not sure.

Good luck! What is your plan until August?
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:59 AM   #334
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter
I would just go to the biggest bus station and use the most reputable company. See if they do international cargo. Some do, some don't.

Good luck! What is your plan until August?
Thanks for the info, I'll look into it.

June and July for Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, crossing into Brazil end of July.
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Old 05-29-2010, 07:20 PM   #335
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still subscribing!! i enjoy your ride idol!!!
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:23 AM   #336
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Jay, I've been running an MT 21 on the front and a d 606 on the rear of my DR 650. I really like the combo. It hooks up good , dirt , gravel , or pavement and get relatively good wear.
Be sure and heat cycle the rear 606 two or three times before doing any extended high speed runs. It will keep from throwing the lugs!
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:50 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by Ponix
still subscribing!! i enjoy your ride idol!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdon
Jay, I've been running an MT 21 on the front and a d 606 on the rear of my DR 650. I really like the combo. It hooks up good , dirt , gravel , or pavement and get relatively good wear.
Be sure and heat cycle the rear 606 two or three times before doing any extended high speed runs. It will keep from throwing the lugs!
Thanks for the info bigdon. Will see what I can find.
___________

Been in Cali past two days, nice city, staying with a guy from TouringColombia.com

I got in touch through HorizonsUnlimited with riders in La Paz and Santa Cruz, Bolivia and they say knobby tires in my size are available there easily and for good price, like MT21, etc. So, not going to bother with buying some here in Cali. I'll continue carrying the Tourances until the Kendas are finished, maybe around Lima or even La Paz.

Heading to Popayan today.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:31 AM   #338
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Ecuador Peru routes

Jammin,

SEE YOUR MESSAGES

I'd answered your question about the best road between Ecuador and Peru, if you need further information, maps etc, for Peru mainly, let me know or visit my thread here on ADV.

Good to have you here and I will follow your RR.

http://www.deperu.com/datos_utiles/cajamarca.php
http://www.deperu.com/datos_utiles/amazonas.php

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=543883

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=543883&page=2
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:39 PM   #339
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Thanks for the info Gaston. I'll see how much it's been raining.

Last night in Colombia, staying with local bikers in Pasto. Nice to be up in the altitudes, 9300 ft. Time to zip in the liners.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:55 PM   #340
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nice ride, love the bike
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:03 PM   #341
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Colombia, Part 1: Cartagena

May 14 - 19, 2010

After being scared by everybody about how dangerous Colombia was, even though I knew better from other riders, I found a beautiful country filled with numerous warm and beautiful people. The people of Colombia welcomed me with open arms and I understood why so many previous travelers have raved about this recovering nation.

The danger from the guerrillas hasn't been eliminated but it has been greatly reduced and pushed to remote regions. Things changed for the better in the last decade and credit is given to outgoing President Uribe who made Colombia safe again for its citizens and foreigners to travel freely without the fear of kidnappings.

Along with stability has come a boom in the economy and a growing motorcycle culture. I contacted a local rider, Fernando Morales, through HorizonsUnlimited in Cartagena and since then was passed on from one riding friend to another in each city as I made my way south. The hospitality of all the riders I've met has made my experience of Colombia all the more rich.

My visa was only valid for 3 weeks, due to bureaucratic egos at the embassy in Costa Rica, so I didn't have time to see the eastern part of the country, such as Bogota, etc. My route went south from charming colonial Cartagena to motorcycle center Medellin, then up to the coffee producing region of Armenia. From there, down to bustling Cali, then up to white-washed colonial Popayan and lastly, high altitude Pasto.



The marina, through which I arrived by sailboat on the Stahlratte with modern day Cartagena's skyline of Bocagrande.


The view from Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas of Bocagrande. This fort was built in the 16th and 17th century to help protect Cartagena from invasions by sea or land. The city was ransacked multiple since its inception in 1533 by pirates and other governments, leading to Spain pouring in millions to protect their entrance to the Americas. Cartagena de Indias was the main port from which all the plunderings of colonies further south passed through on their way to Spain.


The fort is built on San Lazaro hill and has numerous tunnels that were used for food and weapons storage, along with escape paths. I explored a few of the tunnels with fellow traveler Sargento and most of them lead into darkness and water, preventing further exploration. The tunnels were constructed in a manner so that footsteps of approaching enemies could be heard.


Canons to repel land attacks. The fort is the grandest the Spaniards built in their colonies and was never penetrated.


View of downtown Cartagena from the fort with old town on the left.


At the northern end of old town, Las Bóvedas, which used to be used for housing ammunition. Meeting up with Fernando Morales, whom I contacted through HorizonsUnlimited and a Mexican motorcycle traveler, Don Sargento, who's been on the road for 3 years and is heading back home.


Walking through the charming streets of colonial old town within the wall that was built around the city to protect it.


Cartagena's old town is well known for its handsome balconies that are...


...shrouded in bougainvillea that drip down to the streets, giving off a pleasing scent.


Cartagena is hot, so a visit to the free, air-conditioned Museo de Oro, or Gold Museum is well worth it.


The gold artifacts are from the Zenú people who date from the pre-Columbian era. Besides intricate gold workings, the Zenú are also known for their extensive system of channels that drained off floodwater and left a fertile land for cultivation. The weave, a representation of the networked channels, central to their life, was important in all aspects of Zenú culture as they viewed their universe to be a weave, a fabric on which all things existed. The idea is remarkably similar to our current scientific view of the Universe put forward by Albert Einstein as he describes it as a fabric of spacetime, a gravitational grid that gives the Universe its structure.


A golden cat.


One can imagine why the first Spanish explorers became interested in colonizing this new continent.


Along with the gold artifacts are numerous ceramics, some dating to 2000 BC.


A stylish headdress.


A gold breastplate.


Motorcycles generally aren't allowed in the walled city, but no one seemed to stop us. Parked at Plaza Bolívar. All Suzukis: V-Strom, DR650 and Sargento's Intruder 800.


The colorful streets make for a pleasant stroll.


Riding through old town. Sargento's spent three years traveling the Andes and he gave me contact info for all the friends he's made on his trip, whom he said would be glad to help another traveler. His trip website: http://www.rutasargento.com


Two plus-sized ladies. sanDRina with Fernando Botero's La Gorda Gertrudiz in Plaza de Santo Domingo. Botero is an abstract Colombian artist known for his proportionally exaggerated figures.


Being treated to a thick seafood soup with lots of shrimp, scallops and various other mariscos (seafood).


Helping Sargento load his motorcycle onto a sailboat for his passage north to Panama and onwards to Mexico.


This boat was taking three motorcycles. On the starboard side is Roman, a Pole from New Jersey and his BMW GS, which was a beast to winch on board.


Heading back to spend more time wandering the walled city. The Government Palace, the seat of the governor of the department of Bolívar.


Streets of old town at dusk.


Watching the sunset from the wall that surrounds old town.


View of old town from the wall as night approaches.


Dancing in Plaza Bolívar, under the statue of El Libertador, Simón Bolívar who is credited with kicking the Spanish out of South America and bringing independence to present day Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela in the early 19th century. His hardy fighting spirit and vision for a unified Gran Colombia (encompassing Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador) has given him the nickname of George Washington of South America.


Dancing in Plaza Bolívar by Cartagena's African descendants. The city was one of the first to welcome freed African slaves as Bolívar proclaimed to abolish slavery in South America. Just like this, there are central plazas dedicated to Simón Bolívar in cities all through the countries he liberated as well as main avenues named after him, similar to Martin Luther King Jr's name being used throughout the US and Gandhi throughout India. Bolívar went one step further and got a country named after him, Bolivia.


Lush gardens of Plaza Bolívar at night.


Water fountain in Plaza Bolívar. The hotness of the day is quenched by the coolness of the evenings in Cartagena.


A cathedral in old town.


Outdoor evening dining under the restored Iglesia de Santo Domingo.


Cafes with street side dining in old town Cartagena.


Wood framed windows of Porton de Santo Domingo, a restaurant.


I took a tour of Children International's operations in Cartagena. They are a charity managing child sponsorships and for $22 a month, your sponsored child in an impoverished area will be guaranteed a better life through access to education, medical care and general well-being. I sponsor a girl, Lillian in Zambia and hope to visit her next year when I pass through.


In the library at one of the centers with a local volunteer and two sponsored children. About 80% of your money gets to your child and the charity has been highly successful. They have centers all through Central and South America, India and Zambia. One thing I like about this charity is the high number of graduated sponsored children who come back to work in their communities to help lift more children out of poverty. Poverty is an issue that can be solved in today's society that just needs more minds working on it.


Getting a tour of the medical center by Mauricio, where along with regular doctor visits, families are taught about good nutrition, as malnutrition is one of the major health concerns in poor communities. This in turn not only helps the sponsored child, but also their family and surrounding community.


The centers have a small staff and then rely on a network of local volunteers to communicate and coordinate activities with the sponsored families. All the volunteer ladies were very friendly and welcoming. The charity encourages visits by sponsors and is very transparent about all its operations. If you would like to help out, please visit: http://www.firstgiving.com/jammin


At Fernando's house where Sargento and I stayed in the guest house in the back. I spent five days in Cartagena and could have easily stayed for longer.
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Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos

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Old 06-06-2010, 09:47 PM   #342
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Colombia, Part 2: Medellin

May 19 - 23, 2010

From Cartagena, I headed south to Medellin, about 700 kms (440 miles) away. I broke up the trip, spending a night in Caucasia, about halfway there. In Medellin, I met up with friends of Fernando Morales and Sargento who are also on http://TouringColombia.com, Jaime Andres and Dario Fernando. I planned to buy tires in Medellin as the choices and prices would be best, being the motorcycle capital of Colombia. Jaime was a great host and took me on day trips during the weekend to sights around the city.


On Route 25, heading south to Medellin. Most of the highways in Colombia are tolled, but it's free for motorcycles. There's a special lane on the far right for two-wheelers. Wish all countries would follow this example.


My route through Colombia. Click on it to go to the interactive version in Google Maps.


The route was generally flat until past Caucasia, but the scenery was still pleasing.


The roads were well-signed all through Colombia.


Good quality roads and shaded routes made for pleasant riding.


Dinner in Caucasia for COP 4,000 (Colombian Peso, COP 2000 = USD $1). Rice with chicken and potato in sauce with a slice of avocado and yuca and a radish/onion salad. I stayed in Hotel Genesis for COP 18,000 plus another 1,000 for secure parking.


Heading south to Valdivia...


...from where the road starts climbing up and over a ridge.


Hitching a ride uphill.


Lots of slow trucks on the ascent leading to unwise overtaking maneuvers. I know, I'm guilty too.


Eucalyptus trees on the top of the ridge before descending down to Medellin.


Nice views from the road. Elevation was about 2,100 meters (7,000 ft) and Medellin is down in a valley at 1,500 meters (5,000 ft).


Meeting up with Jaime Andres (pronounced "hy-mee") at a gas station in the north of city. Jaime is a friend of Fernando in Cartagena through the national Colombian motorcycle forum of http://TouringColombia.com. Jaime's riding a bright green Kawasaki Versys.


Thursday nights all over Colombia is bike night and Jaime took me to the local hangout to meet all the other bikers in town.


After meeting up with everyone, we took a ride around the city. First stop was this lookout with a fantastic view of the city at night. Medellin is in the narrow north-south Aburrá valley. It's the second largest city in Colombia, under the capital Bogota, with a population of 2.4 million.


The Medellin TouringColombia crew at the lookout.


Heading back down the fun twisties. Having huge mountains nearby provides lots of fun riding.


Next stop was Pueblito Paisa, a representation of small towns typical of the region. People from Medellin and surrounding areas are referred to as Paisas.


Around 10 at night we pull into the traditional biker restaurant for some grub.


They have a very active crew and get together for rides and other events quite frequently. Reminded me of bike nights at Strats in Chicago with http://ChicagolandSportBikes.com.


A welcoming change from all the rice and chicken; ribs and wings with fries.


The next day, Jaime took me around to shop for tires. Getting some fresh sugarcane juice.


My bike was at Jaime's girlfriend, Ana Marie's Suzuki shop for a complimentary service and we were scooting about the city on Jaime's fetching blue/white Vespa. Also note the Bajaj shop there. Bajaj is an Indian motorcycle company and is the most successful motorcycle company in Colombia in the sub-250cc category. It made me proud to see so many bikes from the homeland doing so well abroad. The 180cc and 200cc Pulsar have their own following and are well respected. The Bajaj's are assembled in Colombia by Auteco, thus skipping the high import tariffs and making them affordable to the masses.


Had to get a picture with the cute Vespa. Note the spare wheel in the back. And the vest I'm wearing with the license plate of the two-wheeler is required in Colombia for safety reasons. One reason is for quick theft identity as the helmet also has to have the license plate number on it and the other safety reason is that the reflectivity of the vest provides additional visibility for truckers, who've run into numerous riders. However, this is not required for foreign riders and I wasn't given any trouble by the police when I was on my bike.


Picking up sanDRina from Ana Marie's Suzuki service shop. She said all passing travelers get a free servicing. Since nothing really needed servicing, I had them just lubricate my clutch cable and properly set the tire pressures. Lubricated clutch cable was much needed; so much clutching in city driving.


Leaving the Suzuki shop. Suzuki is by far the most popular and well represented big name Japanese brand, probably partly due to the fact that they have a factory in Colombia near Pereira and assemble a lot of the bikes there, making them cheaper than the imported competition.


Picking up some new tires for the road ahead. I got a set of Metzeler Tourances (non-radial) for $107, a really good deal. My Kenda's still have some live left in them, so I'll carry these and mount them when needed.


Strapping the tires to the bike. The bike shop alley had lots of tire and spare part shops, but I couldn't find a spare 525 Master Link for my chain. I have one spare, but was looking to see if another one was available. I picked up some heavy duty PVC rain pants for $10 since my rain liners require removing my pants to put them in; not convenient for afternoon rain showers.


I stayed with Dario Fernando in his new motorcycle spa business. He recently moved from Pasto to seek better opportunities in the big city and having so many motorcycles here, a bike wash seems like a good idea (car and bike washes are all the rage in Colombia). He's riding a 180cc Bajaj Pulsar and has toured all over Colombia on it, that too with his girl friend on the back. He's getting ready here to give sanDRina a good wash, the first since I bought her in 2008, haha.


Colombian currency, the Peso. COP 2000 = USD $1. It's easy to become a millionaire here but hard for those still learning Spanish since having to say big numbers is harder than small numbers, but I learned fast.


Hanging out in El Poblado, the central area with all the fine dining and bars and clubs.


Getting some fresh crepes from this eatery...


...filled with beef and cream cheese. Very tasty and filling. Cost about COP 8,000.


Walking around and people watching.


Having shots of Aguardiente (meaning burning water), the most popular liquor in Colombia. It's an anise-flavored liquor derived from sugarcane, similar to Absinthe in taste, but was only 58 proof alcohol and not that strong. Even after a couple shots, I wasn't feeling any effects. It came with some raw mango that went well with it.


My hosts in Medellin. L-R: John David's girlfriend, John David (Dario's brother), Jaime Andres, Ana Marie, Dario Fernando and me.


Being presented with a Colombian friendship bracelet from Jaime.


Taking off for a day ride with my newly washed sanDRina. She was sparkling thanks to the treatment at Clean Xtreme Moto Spa.


Following Jaime and Ana Marie through the fun traffic of Medellin. I had no problems lane-splitting and haven't scraped a car yet. It helps that the panniers aren't wider than my handle bars, just.


Meeting up with the crew at an Esso gas station, where the route for the day was discussed.


Taking the Fernando Gómez Martínez Tunnel (the longest in South America) at 7.4 kms (4.6 miles) through the mountains heading to Santa Fe de Antioquia. The ventilation wasn't that good in the tunnel and the air was heavy with exhaust.


Lunch break.


Having the typical meal of the region: Bandeja Paisa, a heart attack on a platter: rice with steak, chorizo (different from Mexican chorizo), pork blood sausage, chicharrón (crispy pork rind with some meat on it), a fried egg, a potato, fried plantain, a small salad of tomatoes and onions, bean soup and an arepa (typical Colombian corn bread, thicker than a tortilla) along with some fresh lemonade. What a meal to have while riding. And can you believe, this was the half portion! Cost about COP 16,000 ($8).


Waiting it out for a bit before hitting the road. I can't believe I ate all that.


At the main attraction of the day, Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West, so named as it lies in the west of Antioquia department).


The handsome Puente de Occidente, constructed in 1895 connecting the towns of Olaya and Sante Fe de Antioquia across the muddy Cauca River. It was designed by José María Villa and when it was finished, it was the longest suspension bridge in South America with a span of 291 meters.


The riding crew from Medellin's TouringColombia chapter.


Riding across the Puente de Occidente. The wooden boards clatter as you ride across and the sound echoes in the valley. Initially, it was only meant for pedestrian traffic but later one-way vehicular traffic was allowed.


The towers of the Puente de Occidente covered in galvanized sheets to protect the underlying wood structure.


Riding 30 kms (18 miles) further along tight twisty roads to Olaya, a small remote town that was once a FARC stronghold. The church was riddled with bullet holes.


Relaxing in the square in Olaya. Good riding crew and nice to be on a group ride.


Having a few drinks and snacks in the central plaza of Sante Fe de Antioquia, the capital of the region before Medellin got the honors. It was founded in 1541 to facilitate gold mining and the cathedral was completed in 1799.


That evening was the birthday party of Cesar, one of the riders in the chapter and he invited all his TouringColombia friends for a celebration. Sparklers in the cake.


After dinner and a comedy show, the dancing began.


It got a bit wild.


And since none of the other guys were dancing, all the girls were dancing with me :) The party went on till about 3 in the morning and we had to be up for another day ride.


Day ride on Sunday to Guatapé with Radman on the Suzuki Bandit 600.


Good roads heading to Guatapé.


A small part of the flooded landscape that is part of the reservoir of the Peñol-Guatapé hydroelectric project.


El Peñón de Guatapé, a large monolithic granite rock, rising 200 m (656 ft) above the ground.


Panorama of the Embalse de Guatapé, the reservoir that was formed in 1970s. Click here to see the high resolution version.


The four bikes of the day at El Peñón de Guatapé: Suzuki V-Strom (very popular all over Colombia, costing about $12,000 here), Kawasaki Versys, Suzuki DR650 and Suzuki Bandit 600.


Typical food on display: fried fish, chicharrón and sausage.


There are 649 steps leading to the top that were built into crack of the otherwise smooth and unbroken granite rock. Taking a break half way up.


A dizzying look at the remaining steps leading to the top. It took about 20 minutes and was a bit dicey as it was raining and the steps were slippery and that too I was in my motocross boots.


But the 360 degree panoramic view from the top was worth it. Click here to see the high resolution version. Rain clouds were moving in but the view was surreal. Islands dotted the landscape as far as the eye could see. The flooding for the reservoir began about 40 years ago and it looks a bit ill-conceived. Jaime said swimming is not advised since lots of trees and plants are just below the water surface.


The climb back down the narrow, slippery steps. At least there were separate staircases for uphill and downhill traffic.


View from about half way down. The bikes are in the lower left.


Lunch of fried fish, Corvina with rice, fries, patacone (plantain), a salad and a gorda arepa. I didn't really like this kind of arepa as the center was uncooked and tasted of raw corn, but it was offered with most every meal. There are many different kinds of arepa and I liked most of them, especially the ones that were re-fried with an egg and some meat.


Last night in Medellin at Dario's Moto Spa. I had a wonderful time in Medellin and truly felt welcomed with the warm spirit of the Paisas.


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Old 06-06-2010, 11:57 PM   #343
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:17 PM   #344
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:07 PM   #345
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