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Old 03-18-2014, 06:38 PM   #1711
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Kamloops, BC
Oddometer: 908
Maybe Putin has annexed some posts.....just to correct history and restore order

The interwebby thing at ADV sometimes gobbles things up....n'er to be seen again.....

What counts is that you guys are OK and will keep on keeping on...
Ged Schwartz
Kamloops , BC

Baja '05 , Baja 06/07 , Baja 08/09 , BC Alpine Single Track

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Old 03-18-2014, 07:05 PM   #1712
lightcycle OP
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Updated from

We've been spending a lot of time in big cities lately and while it's nice having all the amenities nearby (shops for food, motorcycle parts, government offices for getting our paperwork done, etc), the downside is that there is always the constant background noise of trucks, the honking of traffic, car alarms, etc. Plus, we're getting a bit tired of sightseeing as well, so we're heading out to the countryside to escape from the big city din.

Ah, the tranquil countryside!

Salento was the destination we were headed towards before we were forced to stop for the night in Armenia. It's only about an hour away, but the narrow, twisty road through the lush scenery is better enjoyed during the daytime.

Neda takes time to make a feline friend

Happy canines roam the streets

Neda really wants a dog.

We've been talking more and more about it lately. She's used to own a dog while growing up in Croatia and she said it was her best friend. So it seems that if and when we settle down, the first thing we're going to do is not find a place to live, nor find a job... we're going to get a dog.

Priorities, you know...?

Like all touristy towns on the Gringo Trail, the buildings are painted bright colours

Salento attracts a lot of tourists, local and foreign. It's recently been added as an attraction to the Gringo Trail, which like Antigua, Granada, etc., has become one of the popular places for foreigners to get a taste of Latin America outside of the beachside resorts. However, being a Gringo Trail town greatly changes the atmosphere: souvenir shops abound, pricey restaurants at every street corner and all the buildings are painted in colours that I'm sure they didn't have back in colonial times.

It's the Heisenberg-GringoTrail Uncertainty Principle...

Big guy straining at the leash!

The stairs in the background are part of the Alta de la Cruz, 250 steps that lead up to a nice viewpoint of the town and the surrounding valley. (Just another GringoTrail example: these stairs weren't painted until just a couple of years ago, I checked online!) At various points along the stairs there are tiny vestibules containing crucifixes - 14 of them, called "Stations of the Cross" - exactly like the Salt Cathedral in Zipiquira. Except these were tiny and not made of salt...

We didn't get half-way up the stairs when the skies darkened quickly and the winds picked up. So we hurried back down and ran back to the shelter of our hostel just as the first massive drops of rain started hammering down on the roof. We watched the torrential rain mercilessly pounding away at the streets and anyone unlucky enough to be caught outside.

The daily afternoon rains are forcing me to become a morning person, which is quite an unnatural act for me, since I don't normally get to sleep till around 2-3AM. No me gusta...

Hanging out with more GringoPaint

I'm only half-joking about all the touristy touches in town. Salento was a huge step up from the big cities we've been staying in, full of character and such a peaceful place to stay. And Neda loves poking around all the souvenir shops, playing with the curios and trying on the multi-coloured fabrics that the locals wear. We're certainly not snooty and above acting like tourists because quite frankly, we are.

It's just nice to be the *ONLY* tourists, and not part of a load of Gringos that a tourbus vomited out onto these painted streets. LOL! So hypocritical! :)

Walking the pretty streets of Salento

We're not actually here to see Salento, tranquil as it is. Neda organized a hike (ugh.) of the Cocora Valley a few kms outside of town. It's part of the Los Nevados National Park and is a popular place for hikes and horseback rides.

I just can't seem to remember the name Cocora, I keep calling it Carcosa. You know, the place where black stars hang in the heavens, and strange moons circle through the skies. Now where did I put my pallid mask...?

Early morning hike to beat the afternoon rains

All over the area you can see tall palm trees!

The Los Nevados National Natural Park is designated a sanctuary to an endangered species. What are they trying to protect? It's these tall wax palm trees, which are Colombia's national symbol. And what are the threats to these magnificent, yet meek and mild trees? Palm Sunday. Seriously. Every Palm Sunday, people cut down the branches of thousands of these trees for their religious ceremonies. So the government has set up a palm sanctuary here, not just for the trees, but also for the plenitude of wildlife who depend on the palms for shelter and sustenance - parrots, butterflies and hummingbirds.

As if to prove my point: Does not need palm trees and *not* an endangered species...

Enjoying a Palm Sundae

What a nice break from the city. All I needed was a golf cart... 4WD of course...

Muddy from the previous day's rain, so the hostel lent us some rubber booties

Great for not getting dirty, but not so good for hiking. Many blisters later...

Lot of bridges over streams in the interior of Cocora Valley

Resting the dogs

As we climb up the hill overlooking the valley, we encounter mist. The palm trees look otherworldly!

Quit horsin' around, Neda! Lot of four-legged animals in this blog entry...

Some of these palm trees grow as tall as 60m (200feet)! These are the tallest palm trees in the world

Down at the valley floor. A little bit of scale.

Neda says, "Great hike!" Gene replies, "Ok. Bedtime."

tldr; Here's a video instead

I hope there are no Spanish speakers watching this video, because the music has nothing to do with riding or hiking or dark stars over Carcosa. It's just because Shakira is crazy hot and she's on the cover of every magazine and on every TV station here in Colombia. And her hips are telling the truth...

No loud diesel engines, no cars honking in traffic, no alarms, just peace and quiet. Buenas Noches.
Gene · · R1200GS
Ride Reports: Ride The World! · Indian Himalayas · Iceland · Europe · New Zealand

lightcycle screwed with this post 03-20-2014 at 11:58 PM
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:33 PM   #1713
Kevin K
Joined: Jul 2008
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I'll bet 99% of all men that ride would do the same thing as you two if thier pretty wife said "That's a great idea!" when they told her they were thinking of selling the house and quitting work and riding motorcycles around the world.
I approached my wife with the idea of selling our house and full time live in the motorhome . Only Id work, I can be a carpenter anywhere. She wasn't as excited about the plan as I was.
I liked Neda even better when I saw she liked animals.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:57 PM   #1714
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Location: 34.0544° S, 150.6958° E, AUSTRALIA.
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Big brother is watching.

Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
woah, where did all the posts go?
I'm the one that originally posted this item...

It seems the mods of this sight have decided to move those replys to here...
Sugar Cane to Cotton Fields

Poverty is the mother of invention.

Phrog screwed with this post 03-18-2014 at 11:43 PM
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:08 AM   #1715
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Location: Just ahead of a flat line.
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Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
woah, where did all the posts go?
Looks like all the ones that addressed internet problems in third world were annexed by the mods to the "crap from ride reports" thread. Meant to keep ride reports on topic and from heading off into Jo Mamma land arguments. Onward
“Most things don’t work out as expected, but what happens instead often turns out to be the good stuff.”.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:34 AM   #1716
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although the map posts were a bit off topic they were part of the flow of this's like editing a day to day conversation because somewhere along the way the people involved decided to talk about a different topic...but hey .

those were some amazing palm trees, very cool to see :)

'13 Yamaha XT660Z Ténéré
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Carry On
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:40 AM   #1717
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Location: Ft Collins
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Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
woah, where did all the posts go?
I think spring finally hit most of the US after a really bad winter, I have noticed it on other threads as well. Oops, reread and realized stuff got moved.
'08 XR650L

edjo69 screwed with this post 03-19-2014 at 10:06 AM
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:26 AM   #1718
Max Wedge
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Joined: May 2008
Location: Lwr Mi
Oddometer: 563
Gene and Neda,
Loved the video, music worked, even if I didn't understand the lyrics. I am glad you posted the pic with Neda and the Palms for scale. You can't visualize how huge they are. Good eye. Waiting for the next installment.....
'10 R1200GS

-you never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychiatrist's office.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:14 PM   #1719
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Location: The Springs, CO
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Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
tourbus vomited
Took me a bit but I finally made it thru your posts on RideDot...all caught up. Thank you both for allowing me to ride along. Gene you make me LOL at least once in each of your posts...maybe some stand-up in your future?

I got hooked into this blog a few years ago...they had a similar approach as you guys...but on pedal power. And now I'm hooked into this RR.

Keep on keepin' on!
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:41 AM   #1720
lightcycle OP
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Location: No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
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Originally Posted by imcja View Post
maybe some stand-up in your future?
I tried stand-up once. They told me to sit-down...
Gene · · R1200GS
Ride Reports: Ride The World! · Indian Himalayas · Iceland · Europe · New Zealand
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:39 AM   #1721
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Valley Mills, Texas
Oddometer: 155
Hey Y'all!

Glad y'all are still riding and having a blast! If you ever get back to Texas one day stop in!

2009 BMW 1200 GSA - 2012 KLR 650 - 2012 KLX 250s
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:09 AM   #1722
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Joined: Mar 2014
Oddometer: 2
I have been lurking for awhile reading the ride reports on this site. Yours prompted me to join so I could tell you how much I have enjoyed following along.
What a fantastic journey, thanks for sharing it with us!
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:04 PM   #1723
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Wow! This is really a great RR. Just found it recently and have finally got caught up. Great pix and entertaining commentary. Hope the 2 of you continue to enjoy your journey for as long as possible. Ride safely and enjoy life to the fullest.
2008 Yamaha Road Star
2008 Kawasaki KLR 650
2014 Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Two lane blacktop isn't a highway, it's an attitude.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:10 AM   #1724
Maritime Mike
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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"And her hips are telling the truth..."

I hear ya!
Lemay Photography
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:26 AM   #1725
Joined: Jan 2014
Location: Somewhere between Buenos Aires and Toronto
Oddometer: 15
Hey Guys!

I'm a Torontonian heading south, solo on an 800 GS. I started in Vancouver on January 1st.

I love reading your blog! I haven't gotten through everything, but I came upon it while looking for advice on the roads from Lanquin to Semuc Champey (Guatemala if you have already forgotten!), and while I found no information about that here, I did learn that there is a super cool couple wandering around South America.

I'm going to be arriving in Colombia in a few weeks and heading east through Venezuela. The plan is to go along the east coast to Buenos Aires and and then cross to the west coast and go north. I hope I run into you guys somewhere! Stay safe and keep living the good life! Enjoy Colombia, it's my favourite!

Just to contribute, I recently had my first run-in with the police in Honduras, and when the officer learned that I was from Canada, he immediately brought up Justin Bieber. That was when I knew I wouldn't have to pay any bribes that day (at least it wasn't Rob Ford).
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