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Old 01-24-2012, 03:36 PM   #91
Parcero OP
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Now that Dave is in good hands, we are ready to go.



Leaving Honda we start our highest ascend yet, going up towards the Los Nevados national park. We pass by a small mountain town Murillo where time stands still and horses and ponchos are everywhere.






Pretty high.


I found Juan Valdéz's grandson here.








Stopped again by roadwork.




On the way to Manizales.


Filmmaker Ben Slavin taking time out from filming.

We arrived at the fince after dark and Dave soaked his injuries.


The finca was a beautiful house, but it was too dark to see much of anything until morning.
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Parcero screwed with this post 01-24-2012 at 06:19 PM
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:33 PM   #92
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We woke up at the finca to find our accommodations even nicer than we imagined.


Over looking coffee plantations.


The terrace and pool deck.


There was a nice pool and hot tub for our enjoyment.








And the best part of the finca--Gladys! She cooked and cleaned up after us.

Today was a "rest day," and not needing a rest and certainly not wanting to waste an opportunity to ride more of Colombia, most riders took off on their own or in groups to explore or visit the Parque Nacional de Café. Unfortunately, Dave was laid up with a little bit of pain and dizziness following the accident.

Three of us elected to forego visiting the Parque Nacional de Cafe and instead left the finca early to get lost on some dirt roads. What a payoff! We headed down some dirt roads and at this intersection chose the least travelled of the two.



The road led us up the mountains through thick jungle on a road that at times turned to deep mud.




An old bridge along the way.




The road was getting muddier and narrower as we climbed.


Jay, Walt, and me stop to take a picture.

After about an hour and a half, we arrived in the little town of Maravilla. We stopped at one of the only tiendas in town and orded lunch, and while we waited, we entertained and were entertained by the local kids who just got out of school. Their school bus is an old Willys jeep of which there are many in Colombia.











When lunch was ready, some construction workers had taken the only table in the restaurant, so the owners invited us into their home to have lunch in their dinning room. What a treat! The food was excellent and during lunch they showed us pictures of the mudslides that closed off their town just two weeks ago. The town was cut off for 12 days until the reaidents could dig out the roads.



After lunch we descended the mountain and onto the main carretera leading back to the finca. We stopped in a small town for some coffee and peole watching.




And a boot shine for Jay and Walt.

We got back to the finca in time to watch a thunderstorm roll in over the valley. It reminded me of the passage from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's famous novel Cien Ańos de Soledad, "Monólogo de Isabel viendo llover en Macondo." Quite fitting.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:57 AM   #93
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Wow! I love the pics. Just curious--did you ever feel insecure or intimidated by the military and police checkpoints?
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:15 AM   #94
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Thanks!

I never felt insecure or intimidated in any way. Don't let the pictures fool you--it's not like there were police or military around every corner. They are usually positioned outside of cities, and they are very friendly and just doing their jobs. In most cases, they just waved us past and gave us a thumbs up. We chose to stop at the military checkpoints for pictures. Although I doubt they are very friendly if they meet a trucker carrying illegal weapons or materials used in cocaine production.

Colombians I know like the extra security that the checkpoints provide. It is just one of the many things that have made the country safer in recent years.

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Wow! I love the pics. Just curious--did you ever feel insecure or intimidated by the military and police checkpoints?
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:24 PM   #95
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The next day we left the finca early for a ride to a small coffee plantation in Filandia. But the first stop was a wooden lookout tower called the Mirador Colima Iluminada. From this towner, a huge portion of the Cocora Valley could be seen.




Ben Slavin making a professional image from one of the decks.

Each deck of the tower was named for a different coffee.


I'll bet this coffee smelled good!


A mariposa in tile from the top of the tower.


El día fue un poco nublado, y nos salimos.

Our next stop was the little village of Filandia, a popular tourist stop.






Ben in action as usual.


Tell me what I have to do to get arrested.

Filandia was a warm and friendly town. I spend about an hour taking to the locals, answering their questions, and having fun. I met a nice couple from Santa Elena named Luis and Luz. We exchanged contact information and they invited me to visit them at their finca when I return. I asked them if they knew of a place in town where I could buy a good detailed map of Colombia. They said there wasn"t such a place in town. About 15 minutes later, their friend returned with a very nice road atlas, and he offered to sell it to me for a bit less than he paid, since it was "used." He said he could get one when he returned home. So 15,000 pesos colombianos later and the deal was done. I thanked him and we were on our way to the Ocaso plantation.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:44 PM   #96
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We arrived at the Ocaso plantation after a short ride in the rain up the mountain. The plantation house was a typical white and red-trimmed house with a wrap around veranda.





The views from were stunning.


We got organized for a tour of the plantation and an explanation of the coffee making process.






Our tour started with an overview of the process.


We walked through lush vegetation to get to the coffee plants.




There were lots of banana tress here also.


Getting closer to the plants.


And here they are.


And the beans. These beans were not ripe. We were looking for ripe red ones.


These ripe beans are being de-husked.


The un-husked beans are sweet and wet and have to be dried out in the sun or in an oven.


These beans are being dried in the sun.


Very fresh coffee almost ready to be tasted.


The plantation caretaker's daughters and nieces looking at videos Ben made of them.


What a great family.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:58 PM   #97
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After visiting the plantation we headed down to Salento for lunch.






More ubiquitous Willy's jeeps.


We all went to a nice restaurant and almost everyone ordered bandeja paisa, a typical paisa dish. It was delicious!

On the way back to the finca, we stopped by an area of the valley where the highest palm trees in the world grow.


Some of these palms reach 70 meters in height.


Ben and Ken checking out the trees.

We left for the finca, and again road through a some pretty hard rain.






Ben's riding gear drying out at the dining room table.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:16 PM   #98
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We left early for La Pipinta. The first stop was a roadside stand selling fresh grapes and grape juice, and some other Colombian sweets.




Glad to see that the police can take some time to enjoy the wonderful views.


I took the opportunity to have a buńuelo with avena.

The next stop was another roadside stand selling pińas, bocadillos, and other pasteries.







We continued on to La Pipinta and enjoyed the fantastic scenery along the way.






Kind of a late-model chiva.

We arrived at the La Pipinta hotel well before sunset. I met a nice Colombian couple named Gustavo and Manuéla who had travelled up from Medellín on their F800GS.

The views of the cliffs and the Cauca River were spectacular.


This view is from my hotel room window.




The walkway down to the mirador.




And we had a pool.


We had a little bit of time for a horseback ride along the river.


The hotel was not fancy, but the setting was very beautiful.



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Old 01-25-2012, 08:25 PM   #99
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The next day would be our last day of riding. We didn't have too far to go, and planned to be back in Medellín by about 2:30 PM, and would stop in Santa Fe de Antioquia for lunch. We had some time for chain adjustments and oiling in the morning.




Dave got his elbow re-taped by Jay.

The road along the Cauca River was winding, but relatively flat. Our first brief stop was for salpicon, a fruit cocktail with a bit of ice cream on top.








Motos, wheelchairs, and even horses have knobbies in Colombia.

The road leading up to Santa Fe de Antioquia had a few washouts and mudslides.

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Old 01-26-2012, 07:05 AM   #100
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We had our salpicons and got back on the road. We were still in the valley, and the road was relatively flat, although there were many washouts and potholes. Ben had gone ahead to set up for a shot of us riding by, but unfortunately got stopped at a police checkpoint. They only wanted to check his papers, and everything was in order.

About another 30 minutes down the road, we encountered a group of people that had gathered around the scene of a moto accident. A young Colombian rider got a flat tire, was unable to control the bike, and went down hard with his girlfriend on the back. Both were wearing helmets, but nothing more in the way of protective gear, which is typical of Colombian riders.

The rider had a badly bruised and scraped shoulder, elbow, and knee. The knee was ground down through the skin and into the kneecap. He appeared to be in shock. The girl was scraped up, but did not appear to in as bad shape as her boyfriend. Jay tended to the boys woulds, cleaning them and applying gauze bandages as I talked to the girl to determine the extent of her injuries. She was likely in shock, and might have had a concussion.

Mike asked the locals if they had called the police or an ambulance, and found out that they did not. I jumped on my bike and road 10 kilometers back to Bolombolo, the nearest small town with a hospital, to ask for an ambulance. The hospital was very small, more like a clinic, and the employee I spoke with said that all moto accidents must first be reported to the police, who would call an ambulance. He dialed the local police dispatcher, and put me on the phone to provide details about the accident and its location.

I rode back to the scene and we waited about 15 minutes before the police arrived in a pickup truck. The boy was able to walk onto the bed of the pickup, and we loaded the girl in using plank of wood as a makeshift stretcher. The police thanked us for our help, and we were off to Santa Fe de Antioquia.

Santa Fe de Antioquia is a beautiful old colonial village that was the capital of Colombia before it was moved to Bogotá. We parked the bikes along the plaza and had lunch, and of course, más café.




Ben convinced a taxista to let him drive one of these little three-wheeled taxis around the plaza. He was a natural. I filmed the ride for the documentary with one of Ben's cameras. Hope it turns out!




Evidently this was not a "drive-through" fruit stand.


Mike and Albert, waiting for the rest of the group in Santa Fe de Antioquia.

We left at about 1:30, a little later than planned, for the ride back into Medellín. The road took us through a very long tunnel about five kms in length. In the tunnel, speed was controlled by radar, and passing was prohibited. Mike had passed a slow-moving tractor in the tunnel, got caught on camera, and was promptly pulled over when he exited the tunnel. After he received his ticket, we took off following Albert into Medellín, lane-splitting like seasoned pros through heavy city traffic to his bar in El Poblado.


Some of the group enjoying a cerveza fria at The Shamrock, the only authentic fake Irish pub in Medellín.

And here is the group in front of the bikes at The Shamrock. It was a perfect ending to an incredible and unforgettable tour of Colombia.



A toast to Mike who, not only gave us an unforgettable ride, treated us to a fine dinner in El Poblado on our last night.

The ride down in December was great and, while fast, was fun and full of memorable experiences. The two weeks in Colombia were equally exiting. I experienced so much of what Colombia has to offer, and made many, many new friends during my stay. The Country is beautiful, and the people are some of the most warm and welcoming of any I have ever met. It is no wonder that there are so many people who came to visit and now make Colombia their home. My moto is still there, and I will be back soon to continue the trip.
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:11 AM   #101
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:24 AM   #102
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Hola Parcero

Hola Parcero
I just found your post last night and looks like a lot of fun.
i;m looking forward to read it from the begining.
my wife and I are from medellin colombia and currently live in Florida US.
we are planing a long trip south and i would like to ask you a few questions about your trip.
I have the r1200gs adventure and again, i'd like to talk to you and ask you a few questions about the bike, the borders and the transportation of the bike from panama to colombia.
Thanks for sharing your trip.

South Rider.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:29 AM   #103
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No problem, glad to be of help. The trip is still fresh in my mind. PM me when you are ready and I can answer any questions you have either by email or telephone.

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Hola Parcero
I just found your post last night and looks like a lot of fun.
i;m looking forward to read it from the begining.
my wife and I are from medellin colombia and currently live in Florida US.
we are planing a long trip south and i would like to ask you a few questions about your trip.
I have the r1200gs adventure and again, i'd like to talk to you and ask you a few questions about the bike, the borders and the transportation of the bike from panama to colombia.
Thanks for sharing your trip.

South Rider.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:14 AM   #104
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Great report, thanks for taking the time! I'm kind of curious too, how much did it cost to fly the GS over the Darian Gap (if you don't mind)? Airfare? Is there any substantial savings with a lighter bike like a DR?
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:54 AM   #105
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Girag is NOT the lowest cost provider. They charged about $850 but the process was very easy, and they let me drop the bike off a month in advance since I wanted to fly home myself for the holidays. It also arrived with no damage whatsoever. Girag only flys bikes to Bogotá and I am told that there are other carriers that will ship them to almost any major city in Colombia. As for the DR, I think Girag charges a flat rate regardless of bike size. Contact Xenia Jurado at Girag at xenia.jurado@girag.com for more information. She was extremely helpful.

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Great report, thanks for taking the time! I'm kind of curious too, how much did it cost to fly the GS over the Darian Gap (if you don't mind)? Airfare? Is there any substantial savings with a lighter bike like a DR?
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