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Old 03-22-2014, 10:10 AM   #1726
Maritime Mike
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I hear ya!
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:26 AM   #1727
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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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Old 03-22-2014, 12:29 PM   #1728
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Originally Posted by ebdavidson View Post
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).
The Biebs or Duck Dynasty can lighten a conversation immediately. Found this out in MX on vacation, they were absolutely interested in anything that had to do with either. Could have sold my Duck Dynasty thermo cup a hundred times. (ended up giving it to my fav bartender) enjoy your trip. Do you have a ride report or blog going? (sorry for the slight hijack)
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:29 AM   #1729
Jbone11 11
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Hey Gene and Neda! Just spent the better part of 4 days catching up from the very beginning. Its been said by many already, but bears repeating: Great pictures and awesome write ups! Gene, you definitely have a knack for hammin' it up (As a fellow Ham, I can appreciate the effort and skill involved.....or maybe as a fellow Torontonian, I recognize the humour).

Your adventure is a true inspiration. I've been telling everyone, including my wife about it, and in fact if it wasn't for our 7 month old daughter, we'd very likely be doing very much the same as you. For the better part of 10 years we were living abroad (India for 2 years, Italy for 3, lots of stops in and around SE asia) and have only recently settled down to have our Daughter....but we're starting to get itchy feet again (This bloody never ending winter might have something to do with it) and I suspect it won't be long before we're off yet again, specially reading amazing tales like these!

I sent a link to a buddy and fellow biker who used to live in Mexico City as well. He loved Mexico and reading your experiences of the country really reminded me of his stories....needless to say, he's hooked

Anyways, thanks again guys. Looking forward to future updates...and should we ever end up somewhere along your path, there'll be plenty of room in the garage for the beemers.....as long as they don't mind sharing a room with a KTM...and maybe a Ducati

Cheers guys!
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:23 PM   #1730
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:46 PM   #1731
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/141.html



No, the map isn't wrong. We're headed north again... And back to the city as well. :( We're less than 200 kms away from Medellin. Perhaps we can get our old apartment back again?


Rolling through the streets of Manizales

We're not really here to see the city, it's just a sleepover stop so we can visit some of the coffee farms in the area. But we did make it out for a walk in the centre of town and we were surprised that just like Armenia, the city was very vibrant. So this is just a quick update to show you a little bit of Manizales:


Main street is designated pedestrian-only. We rode down it. Oops...


This was the church right beside our hostel: La Iglesia La Inmaculada Concepcion. Beautiful wood detailing!


At first we couldn't understand how this guy was floating.
But after careful inspection, we figured it out: Magic.



Blogging. Old School.


The Cathedral of Manizales. At 113 meters, it's the third tallest in Latin America


Pretty stained glass windows


"I'm Batman."


Something about candles in churches makes me feel like I'm back in Medieval Times.


Staring out into the main plaza from the Cathedral. The statues, I mean.


All dressed up for her christening


Young explorer


Very bizarre statue, it's a guy with a condor head and wings for arms. And then his face is mounted below.
It's meant to symbolize man's inability to create art that can be understood by anyone.



Home-cooked spaghetti in our hostel! My favorite meal!


Of course it rains all evening. Of course...

Tomorrow: Coffee! We'll need the caffeine because it'll be an early start to beat the afternoon showers. And then after that we're going to fly us and the bikes to the Sahara Desert. So bloody sick of all this rain.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:04 PM   #1732
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I so love your ride report. Thank you for the updates. I only met you in passing in Medellin at Christmas, but it was so nice to meet you both.

Perhaps you have been to Salento, but if not I recommend it. I had a hard time leaving.

I am currently in Argentina heading to Uruguay to park my Sherpa and head back for the summer to work and earn more travel money, but will be back in South America next October. I hope to meet you down the road again mis amigos.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:12 PM   #1733
Balanda
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Hi Gene and Neda, thanks for the look around Manizales, some of those Colombian cities are enchanting. Still enjoying your travels and RR's, Balanda.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:29 PM   #1734
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Still loving this trip!!! The videos and pictures are fantastic, and I love your keep-going attitude.

Do you think you'll ever make it to Europe, or even down to Tierra Del Fuego? You seem to love Central/South America but I know you were hoping to do RTW. Still, hell of a great trip you've had, hard to believe you've been on the road so long!!!
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:20 AM   #1735
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Originally Posted by ebdavidson View Post
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!
Yes! PM us when you start riding up the west coast, we might be in Peru by then... Maybe...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebdavidson View Post
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
On our stops I've picked up that if the officer is talking more than Neda, then we are not doing good. But if he starts asking Neda questions, and I hear her mention Alaska, Central America, Cuba, etc... we're going to be okay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbone11 11 View Post
Gene, you definitely have a knack for hammin' it up (As a fellow Ham, I can appreciate the effort and skill involved.....or maybe as a fellow Torontonian, I recognize the humour).
A little bit of Canadian bacon always make the day brighter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbone11 11 View Post
there'll be plenty of room in the garage for the beemers.....as long as they don't mind sharing a room with a KTM...and maybe a Ducati
Thanks, the Ducati will make sharing a garage with a KTM a lot more bearable!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyWriter View Post
Do you think you'll ever make it to Europe, or even down to Tierra Del Fuego? You seem to love Central/South America but I know you were hoping to do RTW.
Honestly, we'd like to, but our focus has changed radically since we started this trip. The priority right now is just to appreciate where we are right now without looking too far ahead down the road.

Also, we tend to meet a lot of fellow moto-travelers this way too, as we're both the welcome wagon and the farewell party as they blow right past us!
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:08 AM   #1736
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The Sahara....

"And then after that we're going to fly us and the bikes to the Sahara Desert. So bloody sick of all this rain".

As much as rain is a pain I changed my mind about it after spending 2 months baking in the Sahara in Algeria back in the 90's. When we landed in London I almost kissed the ground...cause it was raining.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:54 AM   #1737
pceire32
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"I'm Batman." Love it, thank you for the great photos and the great laughs. Safe dry journey .
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:48 AM   #1738
Jbone11 11
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Whats the general idea for Peru? More curios than anything as I've backpacked there twice with a good friend who is Peruvian/Canadian, loved it both times! Would absolutely love to do it on bikes....riding from Lima to Cusco would be a trip in every sense of the word!!

Deserts to the south in Ica and further south to Arequipa would be awesome as well. There used to be a cool little oasis town in the sand dunes of Ica.....very Lawrence of Arabia. That was a while ago....lord knows what its like now...hopefully the same.

Also did a bit of Bolivia. Pretty rugged place from what remember.. Lake Titicaca was cool. IF you're not ruined by ruins....Tiahuanaco is worth a visit.....sits in the middle of this immense open plain surrounded by mountains...was very LOR.
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:26 PM   #1739
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/141.html



Gene,

At first I thought that this was some kind of trickery or illusion kinda thing going on....



At first we couldn't understand how this guy was floating.
But after careful inspection, we figured it out: Magic.


I am glad you cleared up the mystery .

Always ready for some good magic....
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:11 PM   #1740
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The Coffee Triangle consists of three departments: Caldas (where Manizales is located), Quindio (where Armenia is) and Risaralda (see map above). We've ridden through all the departments in the last few days, taking in our surroundings of steep hills lined with regular dots of coffee plants. Today we're going to visit one of the bigger fincas (farms) in the region to learn about what makes Colombian coffee the best in the world.


On our way to the coffee farm!

Hacienda Valencia is one of the largest coffee farms in the area and we heard they offer a great tour of their operations. It's only 20 minutes away from Manizales, so we hop on our bikes real early to try to get to their farm on time for their tour. Unfortunately due to a GPS problem, we get lost trying to find our way out of the city. Neda was leading and she was cursing up a storm as we backtracked from a very long dead-end road. What should have been an easy 20-minute ride turned out to be a 40-minute rush.

We got to the farm 15 minutes late for the start time. Neda was very upset. However a guide from the farm approached our bikes and told us the tour started an hour later than we thought. We were 45 minutes early! Neda's mood visibly improved and I was happy. Because happy wife = happy life!


Not 5 minutes into arriving, we were handed these espressos

I have to preface this blog entry by saying that neither Neda or I are coffee drinkers, me especially. Besides the odd sip, I've had maybe two whole cups of coffee in my life and one of them was an Ice Frappucino... However, I am a Diet Coke addict, so I wasn't really overly worried about my caffeine intake for today. Bring it on, Hacienda Valencia!


The first sip of the day - perfect for calming down Neda's frayed nerves from this morning's frantic ride!

We were led to an outdoor "classroom" where we were given a brief history of coffee farming in Colombia. The espresso I tried was a bit sour. I'm not sure what to compare it to, never having had an espresso... I didn't like it too much, but our guide says that some people prefer the tart taste. Okay, I'll try a second cup to see if it grows on me. Free coffee throughout the tour! And I'm a sucker for free stuff.

Our guide gave a very comprehensive explanation of why Colombian coffee was the best in the world, but for some reason, all I could focus on was how my right knee was tapping out a frenetic message in morse code against the underneath of the tabletop. Strange. Dot-Dash-Dash-Dot-Dot... I wish I knew morse code.

From what little I got from the presentation, the Coffee Triangle in Colombia is special because it receives two rainy seasons every year, as the annual migration of the clouds follow a close pattern in the region. Apparently this makes for perennially fresh coffee. But when I hear two rainy seasons, the biker in me just gets mad. We rode all the way to an area with two rainy seasons?! On motorcycles?! WTF? I drown my sorrows with another free espresso.

Just thinking about Two Rainy Seasons is making my head pound and my heart race. TWO RAINY SEASONS! I think I might even be feeling a bit nauseous...!


Walking around the coffee farm

After the presentation, we get to tour the farm itself. It's not that warm outside, but all this walking around seems to make me sweat alot, especially my palms. Weird.

We got to hear about the lives of the migrant farm hands who work on the farm. They follow the harvest season as it moves across different areas. Colombian coffee is famous around the world because of the manual process these workers provide to sort out different quality of the beans that they pick.


One coffee bean ripe for picking


I seemed to be more interested in these plants that curled up when you touched them! Neat!

The tour was very informative, but there was a lot of information being given to us. It kinda made my head spin, like physically, my brain was dizzy from information overload. I think I needed to sit down to process all this knowledge transfer. Yes, sitting down seems like a good idea right now.


Oh look, peacocks! So... what was I saying...?


And lilypads too!

At the end of the tour, we were led to the main building where we saw our lunch being prepared. It felt good to rest up a bit and I was able to take some pictures of more than birds and lilypads (why was that so interesting 15 minutes ago?!?)


Hacienda Valencia is also a villa where you can stay. It's super nice, but super expensive too.


Kitchen reflection


Pollo

Lunch was good. Digesting food and information made me feel a lot better. I walked over to the espresso machine for more free java but Neda stopped me, "I think you've had enough".

"What are you talking about? I've had like 5 cups and the stuff hasn't even affected me one bit!"


Mexican Jumping Gene

On our tour of the processing facility, we asked where they shipped Hacienda Valencia coffee beans to. Our guide replied, "All over the world!" Since we've been accused of traveling too slowly by motorcycle, I thought we could ship ourselves to our next destination by coffee bean bag instead. We're going to use a courier company called "Federal Espresso"...


Just a little dip in the pool before heading back to the daily Grind

Great day! Great tour! Not a coffee convert though. Just didn't provide the same kick as my Diet Coke habit.

Oh look, a bird!
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