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Old 01-13-2012, 09:49 AM   #76
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:45 AM   #77
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It's been a while since I have updated the report. Since leaving Medellín the scenery and roads have been incredible but the Internet availability has been spotty. Here is a brief update, unfortunately sin fotos for now. Will update later to add them.

Friday, 13 enero
Yesterday I switched camps and moved away from the airport into the Hotel Estelar in Bogotá's Unicentro neighborhood, so named because it's near the Unicentro shopping plaza, a rather upscale place.

Had a quick breakfast before heading out.


The courtyard of the Hotel Estelar.


Even the empanadas are happy in Colombia.

At about 9 AM I met up with Mike Thompsen from Motolombia at Autogermana, the BMW dealership in Bogotá. He was picking up a new F800GS for his rental fleet, and we would be riding to Medellín together. The dealership is one of the nicest I have seen, selling both cars and bikes, and has a full line of BMW accessories. By 10:30, we were on the road.


Autogermana, S.A.


The bikes on display at Autogermana.

The road from Bogotá to Medellín had been closed in some places a couple of days before due to landslides, but was now open. The traffic was heavy, and there was still a lot of construction repairing landslides and making the carretera wider on many stretches.

It was slow going. We stopped in Doratal for a light lunch and then later in Honda for something more substantial.


Stop in Doratal.


A bridge in Honda.


Following Moto Mike to Medellín.

About ten hours later, we arrived in Medellín at 8:30 PM. We checked into the Hotel Diez in El Poblado, and met up with some of the other riders on the tour for dinner.


The view from the hotel in El Poblado.

Saturday, 14 enero
On Saturday morning, I took the bike down to Ruta 40 BMW in El Poblado for an oil change and some adjustments. I had planned to install the TKC80 tires that I had brought down, but the Heidenaus still have some life in them, at least enough for the tour.


Ruta 40 BMW in Medellín.


The GS in the shop for some routine routine maintenance.


Photos of customers on their bikes all over the world.

The shop was busy with local riders and some other trans, some locals and other trans-continental riders getting their bikes serviced. Mike Thompsen came with me, and while we were waiting, we shuttled some of the his bikes between the hotel and the shop for service.

At the shop I met Mark (Radioman on ADVRider) and James, another rider from England who was staying with Mark in Medellín. Mark has been on the road for seven months, and I have been following his report as he was on pretty much the same path as I was and at roughly the same time. Mark's ride report has a huge audience, and while crossing three of the many borders in Central America, I was asked, "Are you Radioman?" I contacted Mark to let him know he's famous, and we planned to meet in person in Medellín. Great guy! He helped us out with the bike shuttles, and I enjoyed talking to him about his travels. Mark's F800GS was also at Ruta 40 for service. James from England was on his way down to TDF on his R1200GSA, and he was getting his rear shock rebuilt.


This thing was quite popular.


James from England in the thing.


All done and ready to go. Free wash declined by customer.

During the day I explored Medellín with Dave from our group. We got had some lunch at El Tesoro in El Poblado, and then took at taxi to the Pueblito Paisa, a historic point in town where some of the origins if the city lie. Medellín is a beautiful city, nestled in a valley in the Andes Mountains.


The view of Medellín from El Tesoro.


El Pueblito Paisa entrada.


Great view of the city from the pueblito.


The famous metro cable.

That evening, after our group rider's meeting for the New World Ride Tour, we all got together for dinner in El Poblado along with some of the other riders in the group. We also met up with Mark and James at The Shamrock, the only authentic fake Irish pub in Medellín. Owner ASlbert was going on the ride with us.


Mark, James, and me along with one of the bartenders at The Shamrock, the only Colombiana who speaks English with a southern accent.


Me and Dave enjoy a Club Colombia before the ride.


Some of our crew, along with some other bikers from around the globe.


The Shamrock has quite a collection of currency from around the world.

Sunday, 15 enero
After a quick breakfast and coffee we got packed the bikes up and got on the road.


I read the online edition everyday. It's better with the newspaper in your hands.

Mark stopped by to see The New World Riders off.




If you see this placa, follow it. The rider knows where ALL the good roads are.


Cameramen Andreas and Ben check over their equipment at our first gas stop.

Our first destination was El Peńol, a very high rock formation just outside Guatape. The road were winding with beautiful scenery. When we got to El Peńol, I went ahead alone into Guatape. I spotted a large group of more than 100 motors, mostly BMWs, parked at the La Posad restaurant. I pulled in and parked, and before I even had my helmet off, a crowd of about 25 bikers had gathered around me. They saw my USA license plates and wanted to take pictures with me and the bike. The Colombian bikers had lots of questions for me and I spent the next hour chatting with them. They had stopped for lunch during their weekly Sunday ride, and they invited me to ride with them, but of course I already had plans.


Posing for one of many photos with Colombian bikers.


The last of the Colombian bikers getting ready to leave.


Horse rides in Guatape.


Colombianas love motos with foreign placas.

I met up with the group later and we rode into Dorotal.

Roads were nothing but twisties, high mountain passes, and incredible scenery.


What a view from this rest stop.


Our group.

We encountered a military checkpoint and the friendly soldiers gave us a tour of their tank, inside and out.






Wow! This thing is loaded!


The Campo Verde Hotel.


Interesting trees near the hotel pool.


If you know anything about paisas, this is very funny.

After checking into the Campo Verde hotel, we rode to Pablo Escobar's old finca, which is now a tourist attraction. Most of his house has fallen apart, but it contains an interesting presentation of his life.


The old criminal's finca is now a tourist attraction.




The remains of Escobar's car collection.


A pond on his finca.


Wanted poster and information on the triumph of teh state over one of the world's most notorious criminals.


The remains of his house.


"And the country survived."


Monday, 16 enero

Looks like it's going to be a glorious day for a ride!


We woke up early to attempt to get an earlier start than yesterday.




Getting the bikes ready at the hotel.


Moto Mike packing up the big Aprilia.


Motosports journalist Ken Freund and documentary filmmaker Ben Slavin checking out some equipment before departure.


Sacha was riding a KLR outfitted with lots of accessories from Mastech, the Medellín company that is the Touratech of Colombia. I must say their products look superior and cost far less than Touratech.

The first stop was a moto repair shop. Dave had to get a front brake adjusted, and some of the other riders needed minor repairs as well.




The shop had a nice parts and accessories area.

I didn't need any repairs, so I opted for a quick cup of coffee across the street.


Had a little extra time so I applied the bandera de Colombia to the bike. It's official now!


I have about 10K miles on a set of Heidenaus, and am a little concerned about remaining tread. Colombian bikers like to ride the tires to the bitter end.


Our destination today is Villa de Leyva, an old colonial town where all the buildings are white. It is known for having the largest public square in South America. Our route took us over a high mountain dirt road pass. The road started out as dirt and gravel, but became muddy as we ascended into the high jungle. Many curves were one lane, which made it challenging as we had to move to the side to allow trucks and buses to pass. For a time we followed an old chiva traveling on the muddy road.

Our ride started out on tarmac but that quickly changed.









Typical old bridge along the route. That's Albert on his KTM 990, super motarding it over the dirt and mud and every other form of slippery pavement. He never dropped the bike once, and it wasn't because he was going slow.


Along the route.



Getting muddy.


But the views are great.


Moto-Truck-Chiva traffic jam in the mud.




We stopped for lunch in a small town.


Got a bit dusty.


Lunch break!




Sacha got his frame welded in this town for about $10 while we waited.

I had a pannier bend out on me due to all the bumps. Nothing that couldn't be bent out. Maybe I'll replace them with Mastech panniers when they finally are toast.


After lunch we encountered that chiva again.


And a military checkpoint.





This riding style would be quite useful in some of Chicago's neighborhoods.


Some of my many new friends in Colombia.

Obviously they were a friendly bunch. They are looking for trucks carrying products used in cocaine production. You can't carry that on bikes in the quantities used by the cartels.

Here are some sights from the carretera into Villa de Leyva:





We arrived before it got dark.


And relaxed with some café con leche and jugos naturales.


Here is the plaza.


It looked nice at night.
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Parcero screwed with this post 01-24-2012 at 07:25 PM Reason: Add photos.
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:36 AM   #78
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Sound like fun. I can hardly wait to see the photos.
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:29 AM   #79
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. Great to meet you and the tour guys.

Just a few photos from departure day.



Almost ready to ride.



Rolling out.









Will be following along. Thanks for the specifics on places that you stayed. That will help us :)

Ride safe. Will be following along.

Mark
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:43 AM   #80
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:15 PM   #81
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Mark, thanks for the pics. You are doing a better job of updating my RR than I am! I have so many great pictures to post but I need a real computer and Internet connection to post them. Maybe mańana.
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:27 PM   #82
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Looking forward to seeing your latest photos Mike!
Colombia is a great place to ride (just be careful with oncoming traffic using your lane.. as always) its people and food are just great!
Thanks for taking us along for the ride
Cheers,
Alberto.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:54 AM   #83
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I'll buy the beer when you get to Costa Rica

Good luck. I'll follow your reports. I live in Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica and can meet you on the border coming down from Nicaragua. I'll buy the beer. By the way, it is hot in Costa Rica and the days are absolutely spectacular this time of the year.
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:17 AM   #84
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Thanks, but I'll have to catch you on the way back. I'm in Colombia now, and will be heading back home in May or June.
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Originally Posted by Yappei View Post
Good luck. I'll follow your reports. I live in Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica and can meet you on the border coming down from Nicaragua. I'll buy the beer. By the way, it is hot in Costa Rica and the days are absolutely spectacular this time of the year.



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Old 01-22-2012, 06:44 AM   #85
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Totally agree! The hospitality of the Colombianos has been great. I have seen more than a few oncoming vehicles in my lane, but nothing compared to Honduras. That country was the worst in that respect.


QUOTE=betitolara;17796112]Looking forward to seeing your latest photos Mike!
Colombia is a great place to ride (just be careful with oncoming traffic using your lane.. as always) its people and food are just great!
Thanks for taking us along for the ride
Cheers,
Alberto.
[/QUOTE]




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Old 01-23-2012, 11:50 AM   #86
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He was on the last bike in the last picture posted by Mark.

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Originally Posted by Throttlemeister View Post
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:44 PM   #87
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Starting to backfill prior posts with pictures. Man, this is a tedious process, but I want to keep everything in some sort of order. had lunch at Macondo's Colombian restaurant today, just to relieve some of the withdrawal.
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:59 PM   #88
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Great photos and a good read Keep it up the good work.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:38 PM   #89
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Thanks! Just posted a bit more. Lots more to go!

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Originally Posted by Throttlemeister View Post
Great photos and a good read Keep it up the good work.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:07 PM   #90
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We left Villa de Leyva early for the ride to Honda.




Brought along some Grupo Galé. It sounds better in Colombia.

The first stop is a side trip to a little waterfall.






It was a short, but steep, hike down.


But with great views along the way.




In front of the upper falls.


The group at the falls.

We left for Honda, and wewre now in a valley with roads that were fairly flat and straight.

So flat and straight, that Mike was pulled over for speeding.


But all of my papers were in order.


Here's the guy that took the 50,000 peso bribe (about $26 US.



An R1200GS fitted with Touratch Zega panniers is definitely "un poco ancha," or "a little wide."


Waiting for the rest of our group.

Before Honda, we stopped in Zipaquira to visit the famous Catedral de Sal, a working salt mine. There is a cathedral carved out of salt within the mine, with the stations of the cross also carved in salt, but abstractly. The cathedral boasts the tallest underground cross in the world.




One of the stations.


And another.


And another.

And the cathedal with the world's tallest underground cross.




The cathedral was on a scale as grand as anything I have seen in Europe, but my photos just don't do it justice.



Carvings in the salt rock.

We left the cathedral for Honda. On a flat and straight section of road just outside of Honda, a dog came running out onto the road and Dave hit it. He crashed, and sustained relatively minor injuries, and the bike was ridable.




Tending to Dave's injuries.

We ran into some flat dirt roads and rain.

I needed a drive through car wash.

We got into the Hotel de Las Trapas in Honda just before dark. It was a nice old hotel with an indoor atrium.


After dinner, I went with dave to the local clinic to translate for him as he got his injuries looked at. He had a scraped knee and elbow, and the elbow scrape had gone through the skin into muscle. The nurse at the clinic inquired about Dave's medical history, and began cleaning the wounds. The doctor inspected her work, and suggested stitching up the elbow. Three stitches, $35, and a hour later we were home.


Getting checked out.


Dave and his nurse.


Even the wheelchairs have knobbies in Colombia!

The next morning I had an opportunity to photograph some more of the hotel grounds.






A nice view from the pool deck.

When Dave got up his elbow had swollen up and we decided to go back to the clinic again. The clinic suggested and x-ray, and for that we had to go to the hospital, which was close by. We got in rather quickly, and I again translated for Dave until a doctor showed up who spoke a little bit of English. We left Dave at the hospital with Luis, the support truck driver, and Andreas, the second cameraman, to ride in the support truck for the day, and we left for the coffee region.
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