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Old 04-10-2014, 07:46 AM   #376
SeanPNW OP
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I haven't chimed in in a while, but I look forward to every update.

James and yourself are some truly delightful dirtbags!


PS A quick question. I don't know if I missed it or not, but how did you and James begin riding together? Did you know each other before hand?
Hey SMC good to hear from ya. James and I met in Antigua Guatemala when he parked his bike outside OX Expeditions where I was working. We got to chatting and he seemed like a chill guy. I asked him where he was going, he said he didn't know, I asked him for how long, and he said he wasn't sure. Sounds perfect, let's ride and see how it goes . He's a good guy, been riding together since. We both know that if at any point our plans don't align, or one of us wants to do something different, we'll just peel off. He's good at a lot of shit I'm not, and aside from enjoying his company, I think we make a good team.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:47 AM   #377
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74. Pesto Pasto (Part 1) - (Colombia)

Brian, Soniyae, James and I came down from over the ridgeline and in towards Pasto. The weather is a bit crisp, but its refreshing to not be soaked in sweat for a change.



James and I have a couch surf set up in town but our host is unavailable until after 6:30, we go with Brian and Soniyae to hunt for a place to stay to kill the time and grab a bite to eat. The bread in Colombia is the best bread Iíve found since the US. Have I said that before? Iíll say it again, damn tasty. This is called Kimbolito (sp?). Itís sort of vanilla-y with raisins and a cornbread type kick to it.



6:30 came around so we went to go meet our host at his place. Heís a doctor at one of the hospitals in town so was running a bit late. We shot the shit with the security guards to pass the time. This is the nicest neighborhood in Pasto, called ďBosqueĒ, and the people here have a bit of that green stuff I would say. One of the security guards, Alex, is a full time guard but he is hired to guard just a single house on the corner. He says he works a 12hr night shift 2 days on, 2 days off cycle. He says itís good pay but itís hard. Heís not allowed to sit down, heís not allowed to talk to anyone, and heís supposed to constantly patrol the house. He keeps checking across the street towards the house as we chat. I say this seems a bit excessive. He looks around and lowers his voice to tell me that there is actually another armed guard that works inside too. He stands right inside the front door and never comes out. Heís never actually seen the guy, but he knows thereís another.



He digs the bikes and we snap some photos for him on his camera phone. He thought the gun was a nice touch. Everyone looks so serious down here when they take photos. Heís actually a very smiley guy.



The garage door to the house at the corner starts up and he scurries back to the corner to stand vigilant and block any potential traffic as the house owners pull out. He give a serious reassuring nod to them as they roll away. When they turn the corner he comes back to chat. Quite a nice guy.

Our doc gets off work and we meet him outside his place. Heís a jovial guy, sort of like a real life Santa Claus, but with a latino accent, hip swagger, and without the potbelly. Heís 65 and spry. Meet Alejandro, our host with the most. Heís got a thing for masks and has a collection of them that can be found all over his well decorated penthouse.





On his rooftop heís got a place to dry clothes, grow plants, and look out on the city.





Before going out to grab some food we asked him what the city is like. He said itís lovely, interesting, and engaging but also the most dangerous in Colombia when you look at the actual crime rate. Itís important to understand though that the city is also a smaller city of 300k and most of the crime is robbery etc, not necessarily violent. He said the main thing to look out for is petty crime and getting drugged with Scopolamine. Itís not a drug used commonly as itís difficult to work with, but when the payoff could be high, for example using it on a wealthy person or a traveller who is presumed to be wealthy, it is something to look out for. Scopolamine is a drug that I have come across before in doing research, but one that you donít necessarily hear about much I think. Itís synthesized from the flower of a fairly common tree here in Colombia, but is very potent and difficult to work with so seems to be reserved for high end crime. You can be dosed dermally (applying the drug to the skin), orally, or via inhalation. An incredibly fine amount of the substance, commonly used as a powder form for crime, is needed to elicit the desired effects. The end result for a dosed individual is a general lack of free will and thought, yet full function for all other processes. For example, you can walk, talk, answer questions, and appear otherwise OK, but you lack the ability to process situations and make judgement calls. A dosing situation might be you are at a nice bar, you are chosen as a target, and when you step outside for a smoke someone approaches you with a piece of paper asking for directions. You take a look at the paper, which has been laced in the fine dust of scopolamine, when you do, it is flicked lightly from behind and the dust goes airborne in your face. You are now dosed. The person then asks you to take them to your atm, and empty your accounts for them. You kindly oblige and loose all your money.

Because of itís effectiveness though, it is also used for home robbery for wealthy individuals with lovely homes and expensive shit to take. For example, once dosed, you will be escorted to a car, asked to direct them to your home, and you will then proceed to help your robbers empty your house of all of itís valuable possessions. If asked by your neighborhood security guard whatís going on, you will say ďthese are my friends and Iím moving.Ē Yes, it sounds ridiculous, and also perfect for organized crime, ďso why have you not heard of it?Ē Iím not sure why itís not more well known, but I assume that itís because itís not like its a drug used by petty criminals. Again, itís extremely potent and thus difficult to work with and handle, so itís not something that gets thrown around by the average evil doer or crackhead to be used on every unsuspecting bright eyed tourist. But when it is used, itís quite effective. Doc Alejandro here, has had it happen to him personally on 4 separate occasions. Once in Bogota, once in Medellin, and twice in Pasto. The first time in Pasto they emptied his entire apartment and he awoke the next day very confused and with an empty home. He was not himself and thus unable to work for 5 days. We were informed of the various common ways it is administered, ďalright, so no reading maps for strangers, no kissing pretty women in bars who seem too forward, and no getting touchy-feely with weirdos.Ē We are aware of how to not get involved now, besides, aside from when we are walking around this fancy neighborhood, we donít exactly look like wealthy prime targets. Shit, James doesnít even have bottoms to his pants and I donít think I know what a shower is anymore.



Alejandro doesnít want us to get the wrong impression of Pasto, as in fact itís quite a nice place to hang out, he just doesnít want us to be naive. Now that we are informed of the general precautions he takes us out to grab some of his favorite Arepas (food stuff).



The neighborhood does seems on the wealthier side.



We go down a couple blocks and walk into a small sit down joint that sells different types of Arepas at your choosing. I went with the beef and cheese one. OHHHH DAMNNN LOOOK AT THAT! Yep. Thatís the shit right there. For 4,000 ling lacks ($2) you get this bad boy. I wolfed it down, and with the very first bite, a new love affair was born. Iíll be back for you again.



Alejandros places has a small parking garage at the bottom and full time security guard to watch over the place. We made homies with them the night before so we feel fine leaving everything on the bikes as is. Itís all foot power today.



In the garage thereís also a sweet old sidecar BSA with 6k miles on it, and a military bike that looks like itís all to spec.





Also an old US military jeep. All of these rides look like they are in full show quality condition.



Alejandro works most days so James and I go out walking. Itís apparent that the neighborhood residences here are Ďcomfortableí. This is a families house.



We left Bosque and headed down the hill towards downtown to see what we could find.

This street art reads ďIn this world, there is a very bad thing. What is bad, what is bad, what thing? Language.Ē Iím not sure I totally understand, but it made me think, and I liked the use of Charlie Chaplin.





There are lots of old churches in Pasto. Most seem pretty damn big.





There are several large public squares.



And of course a statue of an important man in a powerful pose.



This is another square, neat large structures in it.







Later in the evening we met back up with Alejandro at his place. He showed us a big brick of Panela, which is a common cooking ingredient here. It can be added to water, coffee, or anything you want to turn into a diabetic shock. Itís derived from sugar cane and is incredibly sweet. A little too much so for me.



If Panela is too sweet, this is a nice alternative. You donít eat the banana husk that itís wrapped in, but the crumbly yellow honey-y sweet stuff on the inside is quite smooth and nice. Similar to Bit-o-honey if you know what that is.



After loading up on some colombian coffee, Alejandro drinks 8 or so cups a day, we went out walking around town together. This little patch of park is in front of a church, and supposedly, the first place that football...sorry, soccer...was introduced to Colombia. The architect for the church was from Germany and taught some of the locals the sport here in this park. I assume they had less benches and more grass back then.



Pasto, like any city at night, is active. Bright lights, people about, you get it.



We went to one of the main squares and dropped into a cafe for a drink.





On the second floor you have a nice view overlooking the square. He said on the weekends the square is full and itís a good spot for people watching.



Alejandro is a cool guy and knows a lot about Pasto. If we had just rolled into the city and stayed in a hostel we probably would have only stayed for a day. Alejandro said we could stay as long as we want so we are going to stay for a couple more days. Tomorrow we are going to go check out the views from the surrounding hills that the city sits among, and I think grab lunch with his aunt.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:36 AM   #378
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Lovin this RR. It's been a while since I have been on a proper adventure but im totally living vicariously through this! Keep it up!
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:49 AM   #379
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Great update Sean. You guys seem to be having quite a bit more connection with the locals via couch-surfing than the standard traveler does. I've always wanted to travel and spend a longer time in one place to get to know it and the people better. What you are doing seems to make that much more possible. Well done, and thanks for taking us along.

Now, spend a few hard earned bucks on a local seamstress to put an ass back in James pants will ya?

Speaking of James, you guys seem to make a great team. Any chance you can sit him in front of your computer and have him tell us his background/story?
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:31 PM   #380
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Sean- I finally got caught up on this entire thread. Really good stuff. I will be in Colombia in a week. Any plans to go through Bucaramanga? I grew up in the Llanos from 1979 to 1992. Great country and I completely understand what you say about the bread.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:08 PM   #381
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Scopolamine or "Scope" is also used for motion sickness in appropriate doses. Usually a patch. A friend who was sailing south got rolled in Ecuador by two women using either that or Rohipnol (roofies). Effect is as described, ambulatory, disoriented and compliant.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:28 PM   #382
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:04 AM   #383
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Thanks for support nineToFive, glad to be able to share the ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_PDX View Post
Great update Sean. You guys seem to be having quite a bit more connection with the locals via couch-surfing than the standard traveler does. I've always wanted to travel and spend a longer time in one place to get to know it and the people better. What you are doing seems to make that much more possible. Well done, and thanks for taking us along.

Now, spend a few hard earned bucks on a local seamstress to put an ass back in James pants will ya?

Speaking of James, you guys seem to make a great team. Any chance you can sit him in front of your computer and have him tell us his background/story?
Couch surfing has definitely been a highlight on the trip in terms of meeting folks and learning about the local flare of a place. There are a lot of places that I would likely just have spent a night or two and then moved on if we hadn't met someone who knew the area. Not because a place isn't interesting, because any place that you stay long enough in you'll find something to learn about, but sometimes these little interesting things are only written down in the minds of the residence who live there.

In terms of James and his story, I know he's got an ADV account, lets get him to punch some keys in here. He might be busy sacrificing one of his pants to patch his other pair, but I'm sure he'll jump on. Paging Mr. James, James, Paging Mr. James.....

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Sean- I finally got caught up on this entire thread. Really good stuff. I will be in Colombia in a week. Any plans to go through Bucaramanga? I grew up in the Llanos from 1979 to 1992. Great country and I completely understand what you say about the bread.
Llanos during the 80's, Wow, what was that like growing up there?! That whole side of Colombia and up near Bucaramanga is one I want to get into and explore. Danielle in Pereira showed me some outdoor exploration magazines that blew my socks off with the articles from that area. I'm going to keep riding south now as I'm low on money but I'm hoping to be back in Colombia to explore more later. There's just so much to see in Colombia, it should be a trip in and of itself.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:07 AM   #384
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Scopolamine or "Scope" is also used for motion sickness in appropriate doses. Usually a patch. A friend who was sailing south got rolled in Ecuador by two women using either that or Rohipnol (roofies). Effect is as described, ambulatory, disoriented and compliant.
You learn something new every day huh Keith, always wondered what the active ingredient in those motion sickness patches was
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:55 AM   #385
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[QUOTE=SeanPNW;

Llanos during the 80's, Wow, what was that like growing up there?! That whole side of Colombia and up near Bucaramanga is one I want to get into and explore. Danielle in Pereira showed me some outdoor exploration magazines that blew my socks off with the articles from that area. I'm going to keep riding south now as I'm low on money but I'm hoping to be back in Colombia to explore more later. There's just so much to see in Colombia, it should be a trip in and of itself.[/QUOTE]


It was the Wild West with out a care in the world. We all drove motorcycles of some sort. I had a cb125 and CT trail 90. My parents were missionaries. All in all it was a perfect upbringing. No regrets.


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Old 04-12-2014, 07:44 AM   #386
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75. Pesto Pasto (Part 2) - (Colombia)

The next morning Alejandro, James, and I walked across town to catch a bus up to one of the surrounding hillsides.





A short bit later I was surprised when the big city bus hit dirt and took us all the way to the top.



Once on top we walked around a bit and checked out the view of Pasto from above.



Pasto sits below an active volcano. The volcano is the volcano shaped volcano thing looking all volcano-y. A bit ago there were 11 biologists from different countries around the world that went into the crater while doing research. It happened to become active at this time and they all lost their lives. Since then the volcano has been closed, this includes to researches as well. Last year 5 kids went up there and were never found. There are construction regulations on the hillsides that lead up to the volcano as well as in the valley down below. You have to apply if you want to build up there, and for the most part, everyone is declined. The houses and little communities that can be seen in this picture are only allowed to stay because they were built a long time ago before the new laws. In general the city down below now expands out to the left, rather than down into the valley to the right.



On the other side of the hillside that we are on you can see where Pasto snakes around to the left. This is higher up in the hills, and in my opinion has better views, but it is a bit removed from the city and thus is where the poorer communities reside.



Although the community on top of this hill is considered quite poor, they have a knack for the beautiful.



As well as a good sense of humor.



We took a walk down into the community below to get a feel for the place. The colorful buildings were built by the city as low income housing. They are having some issues with people scooping up more than one unit and creating a bit of a low income mansion of sorts, but in general the program has been working well. I like the colors.



We popped a squat on a grassy corner and sat for a bit to watch the cars and people go by.



Today is Alejandros day off, he likes to drink beer on his day off. Every day is beer day for me. Poker and Club Colombia I think are the best here.



We sit and chat about Pasto and Colombia in general. Alejandro is a very educated guy and cares greatly for his country. I ask him what he thinks is in store for the future of Colombia in the next 5-10 years. He says that he thinks it will become more violent unfortunately. His reasoning is that there is a fair amount of delinquency and high rates of young women having babies with young boys. We are talking 11 - 16 year olds here.. These kids are raised by young parents who havenít learned enough about their own lives to really impart any sort of life experience or wisdom onto a another sentient being. Kids are then left up to their parents-parents to raise, but they are busy trying to get by and feed their own family as well. All too often the young dads get tired and feel they are less obligated to the kid and jet. Girls are then obliged to find another suitable father, more often than not compromising a healthy relationship for an older more financially established man, who then eventually wants his own kid as well. The churches effect on the state means they have had a very difficult time over the years educating their youth about the human body and sexual activity, as well as providing accessible and reasonable means for contraception. These young kids growing up right now with no real role models end up delinquent and become molded into perfect targets for gang recruiters and people looking for your impressionable youth to swell their ranks in ďalternative business practicesĒ. There is a growing awareness to this cycle and the detrimental effects it has on the community as well as the country's economy, the there are heavy hands in the political realm that need to be lifted for anything to happen. Until then, based on what heís seen through his daily work, Alejandro thinks there will be an increase in delinquency and thus crime in the near future. Hopefully things will change and progress can be made, so that this future can be stemmed.

We head back to Alejandros pad where his family friend and employed housekeeper has been prepping a nice home cooked lunch for us. We are joined by Sergio, as well as Alejandroís aunt. Growing up with a single mother himself, Alejandroís aunt was basically his second mother. Sheís a gem.



I canít remember the name of this dish, but supposedly it is a typical Colombian dish. And yes, there is a difference between ďcomida corrienteĒ (current food) and ďcomida tipicaĒ (typical food). As Alejandro informed me, comida corriente is whatever colombians are commonly eating in this day and age, and comida tipica is culturally and historically accurate colombian dishes.



After lunch we took a walk down to the mall to grab some coffee and see another side of Pasto. This is a new and expensive mall, as with most malls, itís a bit of a scene and cultural gathering place for people. It sits right on the Panamericana. Funny to think that we could basically take this road all the way back to Alaska if we wanted.





We sat, drank more Colombian coffee, talked more about colombian politics, and then took a walk back to Alejandroís Aunts place. Sheís got a beautiful home right in the middle of downtown. You wouldnít know itís a house from the outside as it takes up the better half of a block. But once you enter through the unassuming door in the windowless wall on the street corner you enter into a beautiful and tasteful place.



The house is large, and this is where Alejandro grew up when he was a little kid. Auntie has it all to herself now, but when Alejandro was growing up here there were 12 people in total living here as one big family.



Up top thereís a rooftop with open access to the city views. Sheís watched the city change a lot from this rooftop over the years.





We jumped a cab back up town to Alejandroís place and pulled out some Aguardiente. Aguardiente is the national drink, maybe not official (?), but itís everywhere and each department (state) has a different spin on theirs. The unifying taste though is the flavoring of Anise (liquorice). I am NOT a fan of liquorice, but if this is the cultural drink around here, then Iím down to try it. The version in Pasto is a bit sweeter than the stuff I had in Medellin, but both have a good kick to them.



Alejandroís friend Santiago came over and we all had some more.



Soon we pulled the training wheels off though and went for the 2 liter jug of hillside moonshine called Chapil. Chapil can only be found here in the Pasto area and is only cooked up in the small rural mountain towns. Aguardiente is too expensive for the poorer rural folk so they make this stuff by distilling sugar cane. You have to go up into the towns to buy it, but Alejandro says itís worth the trip. He gets the best stuff from a good distiller he knows, but obviously thereís a gradient that goes from high quality artisanal Chapil, down to boondock blinder Chapil. You never really know how potent the stuff is, but Iím guessing itís up there. For us though, after several rounds of Aguardiente the throat is nice and lubricated and the Chapil is less of a shock. I personally quite like the stuff.



Good times guys.



Early the next day we headed out to catch a bus to Lake Cocha, a popular lake to go visit thatís about 20 kilometers away. We did a bit more sightseeing on the way to meet Brian and Soniyae who were also still and town and gonna come along.



This organization outside this church cooks up large amounts of food and serves as a meeting place for young single mothers to come and get assistance and a hot meal.



Fun fact about the church, itís all painted with natural colors taken from soils and plants. So are all of the large paintings inside hung up high on the walls.



Big joint, somebodies bringing in the money.



In an adjacent building we stopped into there is an above ground cemetery. Iím sure thereís a specific word but thatís the best I got right now. After spending a few years in the ground in a normal cemetery the bodies are exhumed and brought to places like this to save space.



Alejandro has several generations of family members placed here dating back to the 1800ís.



We grabbed a fruit snack for the bus.


The lake is big, but the road is windy, so this is the only shot I managed.



The lake is also a popular weekend excursion place for many locals and travellers alike. Sundays get particularly full.



These are called black roses. Can you have a favorite flower? These are everywhere.



Although itís touristy, everything is relaxed and quiet. There is a hushed tranquility here.





The water level can change around here, so most of the structures and houses are built up on stilts. These fiberus tree trunks are what support the structures. Several years ago there was a natural disaster where this lake received 3 months worth of rain in 2 days. The water level of the lake rose so high that this whole area was under water. Everyone abandoned their homes and retreated to the surrounding highlands. There was no food, livestock drowned, and people were without homes for months.



People navigate via launcha and these waterways. Bridges across lead to personal residences.







The population here is historically indigenous. This is a type of ice cream of sorts. It tasted similar to butterscotch with a slight fruity kick. Nam nam.



Group shot.



Gun shot.



More black roses. I want to smuggle some home with me.



Alejandro takes some indigenous dance classes and is quite good. He tried to show us some simple steps.



We then nahmed some soup and fish.



And took a boat out to the island that sits in the lake to do an eco walk.



Some pretty homes and hotels on the lake shore.



Fun fact, there are bears in South America. They are called Spectacled Bears and are the logo trophy piece for the natural parks in Colombia. Technically they are the largest land carnivore on the continent.



Iím told that this island is somewhat of a floating island. If you were to dig down through the island you would hit water, as there is no real solid terraferma below, more of a mangled mess of tree roots and gelatinous substrate from vegetation holding it in place. The island exists because of the trees and plants that grow on it, die, and then rot to provide new soil for new trees to grow from. If the island were to be logged, eventually it would cease to exists. Because it is like a big sponge, it is also always wet.





This island is very important to the indigenous for historical purposes as well as cultural ceremonies. It is said to be an energy center and hold special powers. I canít feel the extra power, but the air is fresh and the views sure are nice. If I were to hold a ceremony Iíd do it here too.





We hung out for a bit longer, snapped a few more photos, and then headed back.



Back at Alejandros place he cooked up some hot raspberry juice drank and we threw in some Chapil to cut the cold from walking around in the wind all day.



We topped up the food tanks with another visit to the BEST FUCKING AREPAS IN COLOMBIA and called it a day.



The next day Brian and Soniyae left to go spend some more time in Colombia. They were originally going to do the rest of South America, but having only a month left in their trip they decided to slow down, enjoy their time in Colombia, and just stash the bike and return to it next December. Good choice guys. James and I had another day which we filled with some relaxation at Alejandros place, another great home cooked lunch at his Aunts, and one last visit to those sweet sweet Arepas. Thanks for the great time Alejandro, weíll be back for more Arepas soon enough. For now, I think itís time to go see what's going on in Ecuador.
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SeanPNW screwed with this post 04-13-2014 at 02:31 PM Reason: spellings and grammars
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:31 AM   #387
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Drop me a line when you're around Quito! Actually heading to Colombia for a week now myself but will be back in the Quito area by next weekend.
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Old 04-12-2014, 04:08 PM   #388
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Drop me a line when you're around Quito! Actually heading to Colombia for a week now myself but will be back in the Quito area by next weekend.
Hey BustinJustin, if you'll be rolling over into Colombia we'll probably miss you, heading to Quito tomorrow morning. Hoping I might be able to find a tire there. Enjoy Colombia .
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Old 04-13-2014, 04:42 AM   #389
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Oddometer: 440
76. Finding More Than Expected In Ibarra

It was raining when we left Pasto and a bit chillier than we were used to. Didn’t take long for me to rethink my layering options and need to put a few more on. When we stopped a biker from Japan rolled up.



He’s on the first leg of a three year peddle.



A compass and a map, all ya need.



We heard that there’s a neat church near the border, so we made a slight detour to stop by it on the way. It’s in a gully of sorts.





Place is called Las Lajas, it’s big.







Pretty high up above the drop.







Just like the outside, the inside is a biggum too.



In the back you can see the place is cut right into the rock.



If you get downstairs things start to look medieval.



Yet at the same time, if you get up real close to things, they also look like they were just built? Apparently the church is a basilica and has been a pilgrimage destination since the 18th century. The place in its modern form was built between 1916 - 1949. Must just be well preserved.



We found some grub and soon after we also found the Ecuador border.



We met these two guys from the Czeck Republic, they picked up some bikes in Michigan and started boogyn’. They said they weren’t really big riders before the trip or anything, just thought it would be a fun thing for two brothers to do. Cool guys.



We had been scrimping the last of our Colombian pesos and crossed the border with a solid 8,000 pesos left ($4). James creeped across the border on reserve and then filled up. Holy shit balls! $3 for 2 gallons of gas! Saweet.



Cool to see Ecuador embraces it’s history. Here we see the grand Blue Toed Mastodon and the slaying of it’s smaller weaker brethren in the background.





Roads were smooth and the scenery was good. We are heading towards Ibarra where we’ll be meeting up with a friend that one of James’s friends put us in touch with.



Wherever we rolled, the hills were never far off.



We rolled into the outskirts of Ibarra and followed the directions we were given onto a path leading up above the city.



Is this right? Views up here are pretty darn good.





Guess this is it?!



Sweet pad man.



Meet Horacio. Horacio was studying in Holland when he met one of James’ childhood friends at a party. Next thing you know we are getting linked up and now we are here drinking our first Ecuadorian beer with him at his house, small world huh.



Man, if this is the view, I can get used to this.



One of Horacio’s childhood friends was in town as well, so we went down into town to try some local cuisine and get some more of that delicious beer. Big beers are just $1!



This was $3, and is basically a plate of mixed meet. There’s liver, intestine, stomach, and throat in there. It’s all cooked up over a BBQ and has a good earthy taste to it. It’s spread over a bed of what seems to be puffed corn, which has a pasta-y texture to it.



We ate up, grabbed some more beers to go, and headed back up to the house. It’s easy to give directions to the house, as it sits just below the Arc Angel San Michael statue, which can be seen sitting brightly lit up on the hillside from many places in the city.





We woke up the next day and Horacio had a spread of good eats on the table for us. Bread, granola, yogurt, and fruits. Thanks Horacio!



Walking out onto the porch of this old farmhouse is pretty nice. Gorgeous location. Very relaxing.



Inside the farmhouse is rustically decorated and cozy. Beehive fireplace here.



We are staying up in the loft. There’s a cool pole to slide on for the ride down.



Horacio is working on his Ph.D thesis and is using the house as a writing location. He’s been working on rural water resource development and his case study location is in this region of Ecuador where he’s from. Soon he’ll be heading back to Holland to finish up the last year of his program. He gave us some recommendations for places to go ride to, so we filled up and rolled out. Man these prices are crazy cheap.



We headed out of town to a lake that was created in the crater of a blown out volcano.



Backroads took us out there. All paved and smooth.



When we got to the location there was a full blown museum, but besides ourselves and a couple tourists, it looked deserted. Not an employee in sight? Must be slow season.







The lake was created when the cone of the volcano collapsed, cooled, and filled with water.



Although not a person was in sight, the place seemed well maintained.





We took a walk on the well built path that goes up the way on the small ridge.



This place has a strong history with the indigenous communities. Along the walk there is a modern sun calendar.



Further up there’s also a lunar calendar. Not a clue how this thing works.



And finally a offering location. We had nothing to offer, but enjoyed the views.





We meandered back to a small town to find some food and so James could check out some leather shops.





Place seems like they are trying to turn it into a tourist destination. Lots of roadwork and construction for shopping. If you are looking to buy some leather goods, this is the place to go.



We came back to the house and kicked back for the night. I’ve had a small leak in my right fork seal so I decided this was the place to fix it. The day before on our way to the lake I spotted a KTM 450exc parked outside of a shop on the side of the road. Swung back around to check them out and found a dirtbike shop there. I met Fernando and he said if I had some maintenance to do I could come by the shop and do it there. Saweet. The next morning we had some Kimbolito that Horacio’s mom dropped off.



And then I headed back into town to get some work done on the bike. When I showed up at Fernandos shop I found out he’s also a classic car guy. I had a ‘67 Chevy that I built in highschool and sold for this trip. Love seeing classics in good restored condition. Parts are hard to come by down here, so it makes what he’s done to this one all the more special.





After shooting the shit about cars for a bit he let me roll the bike around back into their shop and I got to work.



He’s got a cool enduro that he rides on most weekends. He’ll throw it in the back of his El Camino and roll out to the track or drop in out in the hills somewhere. He burned the shit out of his leg on his pipe the other day though, so he’s out of the saddle for a few days right now.



Fun trick of the day, if you’ve got cartridge forks and don’t want to completely disassemble them to replace your seals, you can hook up a bicycle pump or something that doesn’t blast out a ton of pressure real quick and you can slowly blow your seals out via the air valve. Make sure to remove your retainer clip and to drain the oil first so you don’t get a valdez in your shop. They’ll usually blow loose somewhere around 80-100psi.



Replaced the motor oil too while I had the space. Nothing but the best for this little piggy. Since I overbored the motor she doesn’t burn a single drop of oil.



Found a cool bicycle in the shop. What about riding south america on one of these?



After finishing everything up, I went to go pay for the fork oil that I had used. Fernando wouldn’t let me pay and instead hooked me up, saying it’s a gift for journey. Thanks a ton Fernando! If you are rolling through Ibarra stop in to Multibikes Ecuador, right off the Panamericana, they’ll set you straight on what you need.



Back at the house Horacio’s mom had dropped off some homemade empanadas. They were cheese filled and the dough was damn good.



Tomorrow Horacio is flying out to Bogota to go to a theatre festival for 12 days, so we went out to grab some drinks and a bite for his last night.





Afterwards we came back to the pad, had some more beer, played some music, and kicked back.



Although Horacio is leaving, he said that we can stay and kick it at the house as long as we want, “Just lock up and slide the keys under the door when you leave!”. Thanks a ton for all your hospitality Horacio, we’d love to stay a few more days and soak it in, we promise to not burn your cool pad down!



Since Horacio left, we’ve spent the last few days lounging and enjoying the beautiful location he’s got up here on his hill. When chilling on the lawn at the end of the day, drinking a few beers, and playing some cards, you get to overlook the city below, and peer on the active volcano in the distance.



Aside from lounging we’ve been trying out new fruits.



Making smoothies from said fruits.



And eating some of the well known ice cream snacks in town. This is raspberry and cream. If you take the creamy berry sauce that is left over after eating a bowl of cobbler with vanilla ice cream, and then freeze that shit, you would get something very similar in taste to this delicious item. I fucking love raspberry cobbler.



It’s been really nice kicking back here and relaxing. There is something special about this little piece of land and this old house that sits on it. It’s not just the killer view, or the cozy decor, or even the fact that he’s only paying $250/mo to rent the place. There’s something else that makes it ‘just right’. If I was writing a thesis, this is the place I would want to be doing it too.







If we hadn’t had met Horacio, we probably would have only stayed in Ibarra for a night or so. It’s nice finding more than you expected in a place. We don’t travel with a guide book, or do much (if any) research about a place beforehand. Instead we prefer to hear about places or things to go see by word of mouth and asking people that might be in the know. Invariably we miss things, but we also end up having zero expectations, and many things that we come across from day to day become a pleasant surprise. Tomorrow we’ll be heading out, thanks for the good time you sweet little place, and thanks again Horacio for the great hospitality.

__________________
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"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688

SeanPNW screwed with this post 04-13-2014 at 02:58 PM Reason: spellings and grammars
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:11 AM   #390
sophijo
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Joined: Sep 2013
Location: SE Michigan
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Thanks

More coolness!!
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