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Old 03-02-2014, 03:14 PM   #166
d_mob OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outjustout View Post
Thank you for sharing the rainy days as well as the sunshine. These are the days that really define our true solo journeys. We fall into our old habits and then berate ourselves for just being who we are. Your post brought up memories of a similar time during one of my trips. They are hard memories but, ones that should not be forgotten.
Travel safe and I look forward to the next sunny installment.
Thanks mate... We're def back to sunshine. Sunny post coming within the hour. Just rode down to Torti with Johnny from Alabama on his Triumph Tiger, and Sheldon/Ewa from RideForSmiles fame. We will meet up with several others tomorrow morning for the Stahlratte journey to Cartagena. Also joining us will be Jeffrey (RideForPeace). Unfortunately Julian (RideTheWorld) had to head a separate direction.
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:19 PM   #167
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Carti

Hold the speed after you turn left on the Carti Road, it can really trip you up!
Have I think $13 ready for the Indigenous Peoples as you get close to Carti.
Tell Ludwig Colleen and James said HI!
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:24 PM   #168
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Ciao América Central | Hasta Pronto...



First off, I got some flak for my last post, sorry about that. I know the 'issues' I described were trivial in the grand scheme, but they were issues to me and piled on all around the same time. Regardless, the mood has flipped and my frown has certainly turned upside down...



I enjoyed my last few days in Venao thanks to my buddy Paul who showed up and got me off my lazy ass, introduced me to a ton of people around town, took me on some epic rides, and provided an all around positive and funny vibe. I love that dude and can't wait to see him again someday soon. Whether it is in his home country of England, back Stateside, or somewhere on the road, I know we'll travel again together someday soon and will be friends from here on. Paul, if you are reading this I hope you have a great time in Venao with the old lady. Catch you on the flip! PS... Need to book a show for The Squits in the States someday as well. :)



Yesterday I rode from Venao the 225 miles to Panama House B&B where several fellow ADV moto travelers were staying. Most of them are joining me on the Stahlratte for the five day sailing journey to Cartagena. There was Sheldon and Ewa who have been traveling for 2 1/2 years and have visited 66 countries thus far. Sheldon was in Prague and randomly met Uwa there and said "hey, you wanna hop on my bike and travel the world?". She said "yes" and they've been at it for a year together. There was also Johnny Alabama, who is on a beautiful Triumph Tiger on his way down to Argentina. And Jeffrey, who left Indonesia in 2006 and hasn't looked back. He has traveled over 300k km and visited almost 90 countries to date! And finally, my new French buddy Julian who has also traveled around 2 1/2 years all over the world. I met a really great girl last night within minutes of arrival named Kiko from Cali. She and I hung out last night and then we grabbed the crew to check out the first night of Carnival, which was nuts!



Today we packed up and mounted the bikes for a ride to Kuna country, near Darien. We had a killer ride and are staying at a place called Hotel Avicar, which is muy tranquilo w/ adequate secure parking for the bikes. If you make your way down here ask for Andres and he will hook you up. This is peaceful country living and much, much cooler (from a temperature perspective) than the city, which is blistering. Tomorrow we wake up super early and make the trek to the dock to board the Stahlratte. The boat will be sailing for two days through San Blas for some relaxation, beach exploration, spear fishing, etc, etc, etc. Then we'll sail three days (weather depending) and port in Cartagena on March 7th. I've been looking forward to this part of the trip since I started planning. I can't freaking wait... It is going to be stellar I'm sure. And it seems the lot of us (so far) all get on really well, so the group on the boat should provide really good energy and fun.



I really can't believe chapter three of my journey is coming to a close. I'm filled with excitement and anticipation for the boat trip and the beginning of South America. I'm also filled with sadness that I'm leaving behind many memories, friends, experiences, new places, and cultures. There is also the anxiety about the unknown. I had planned Mexico thoroughly, Central America semi-thoroughly, but South America I intentionally left completely unplanned. I have a rough outline of where I'd like to go, but no real plans from here on out. I need to meet a great friend from Denver (Sam - fellow road racer and all around good bloke) on May 12th in Lima, but other than that there are no solid plans, which is nice, but a bit scary. In addition, I had perfect maps all through Mexico and Central America with BiciMapas on my Garmin Zumo, but have yet to source anything for South America, aside from paper maps and Google Maps on my phone. I do have Garmin South America, but hear that it blows more than a hooker on crack. If anyone wants to do me a solid, shoot me an e-mail with your GPS experience through S.A.



Ok, I think that's all for now. It's 7:30pm here and I need to grab some dinner and get some rest (by rest I mean several beers w/ Johnny, Sheldon, and Uwa). Sorry for the short post, but I def wanted to get one in before I'm offline for a week starting tomorrow. Ciao for now...

Lovin' life (again) on two wheels... ~ D

PS... The road from Cacao to Las Tablas is new, and it is absolutely EPIC on a motorbike. Views for days, and the curves and fresh tarmac resemble a supermoto race course. Do it! Do it now!!!







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Old 03-02-2014, 05:02 PM   #169
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Garmin South America served us well.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:00 PM   #170
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:25 PM   #171
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Quote:
I got some flak for my last post, sorry about that
Please disregard whatever was said about that. We all have rough times, and, telling the good and bad keeps it real and interesting. It's usually obvious when a report is pretending they were on a months/thousands long trip that was nothing but a party.

Your positive attitude will prevail. Best of luck on the crossing.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:54 PM   #172
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Along

Enjoy the cruise across, time is sneaking up fast on our rendezvous, like that KTM rig...
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:38 PM   #173
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[/IMG]

Hey guys have a nice trip........David, Johny, Sheldon....nice to meet you
Here are some pics of the place i was talking about.





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Old 03-04-2014, 02:58 PM   #174
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I am along for the ride. Loving your RR.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:16 PM   #175
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I am still enjoying your epic ride. Man, I told you to watch out for Panama! I used Open Street Maps for Garmin for South America and it was pretty damn good. The download process is pretty cluggy, but the data themselves are free and good enough to get you through almost everywhere in South America and they are routable on Garmin GPS's as well.
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:34 AM   #176
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awesome!

I know I'm late to the report but just wanted to start by saying, my sincere condolence. No one should have to witness a love one passing away like that. My mom passed away 1.5yrs ago from pancreatic cancer and I'm guessing she had the same last two weeks your step father had. So I'm with you there and I'm so glad to see such an awesome perspective on life and to see that you are actually doing something about it! Wish you safe travels and will be following along!
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:55 PM   #177
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Welcome to Chapter 4 | South America...



So, I left off a week ago just as we were about to board the Stahlratte for a five day sail to Cartagena, Colombia. The lot of us woke up early and headed out for Carti Pier around 6:30am. It was Johnny Alabama, Sheldon/Ewa (Ride For Smiles), and me. Just as we reached the turn off for the pier, the rest of the moto group who were coming from the city arrived as well. There were two local bikes, Jeffrey (Ride For Peace), Scott/Susan, and Bentley (Bentley's Big Adventure - the happy dog on the back of Scott's bike). We all enjoyed the ride up and over the twisty and beautiful road to the pier. We found Ludwig (the captain) and the Stahlratte waiting patiently for us when we arrived. It really was a magical moment as I'd been waiting to take the trip aboard the ship for years. Before we knew it, they asked us to park the bikes on the dock and remove all the bags. Then next thing I knew, they were hiking my bike up via wench up and over the side of the boat. It was a tense feeling watching my baby dangling from a small rope as it made it's way safely on deck.



Shortly after loading the bikes, we motor sailed for approx three hours to a beautiful small island in San Blas (one of 360+) and made anchor for two nights. There was drinking, laughing, music, rope swinging/back flipping into the water, an amazing BBQ on the beach w/ massive amounts of rum punch, and beautiful views for 360 degrees. San Blas is paradise and I would recommend a visit there if at all possible. Shortly after boarding the boat I realized there were 14 others on the boat taking the sail w/out motorcycles. I immediately noticed and targeted in on Janina (Nina), a beautiful German girl, and we struck up a conversation. Fast forward a couple hours later and we found ourselves swimming together, searching for shells on the island, and enjoying the BBQ together. After knowing each other for only several hours it felt like we had been close for years... it just clicked. The combination of her, great friends, wind in the sails, dolphin sightings, and everything else made for an epic journey to Cartagena. If you find yourself in need of transport (with or without motorbike) to/from Colombia I would HIGHLY recommend using Ludwig and the Stahlratte's services. Zero complaints from me and it will go down as one of the most memorable five days of my life. Easily...



We made it to Cartagena early in the morning three days ago and several of us made our way to Amber Hostel. I've been fortunate enough to have spent time in San Blas and Cartagena before, so I was able to show Nina around. We walked the streets of the old town, had amazing meals, enjoyed each other's company, and were even able to take the bike out of town to explore a couple of private beaches headed towards Baranquilla on 90A. We were also able to spend more time with Johnny Alabama, Sheldon/Ewa, Jeffrey, and Susan/Scott. Cartagena really is a special place. Upon arrival, everyone takes notice of the sweltering heat, which really is brutal. However, once acclimated the romance of the town really begins to show. The architecture, flowers, people, tranquil vibe, and parks/plazas are all spectacular. You can also find quite a party in the evening if you are searching for it. The city has everything a visitor can ask for, but at a price. When I first came here in 2004 I don't recall it being as expensive. Now it's mad pricey. Nina and I had two paletas (popsicles) today and the tab was $10! Of course you can get out of old town and into the heart of the city and find cheap eats and entertainment if needed.



I had a LOT of time to think and reflect on the boat. I realized again how lucky I am to be taking a trip like this. Of course I knew it already, but it is very easy to forget. Especially when you are traveling with people like Jeffrey (Ride For Peace), who has been on the road for eight years, and visited over 90 countries. It's easy to get jealous and think, "man, I wish I could do that!". The thought/feeling was further solidified when we got to Cartagena and I saw the discrepancy between wealthy tourists and locals eking out a living selling handicrafts, arepas, fruit, etc. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to have this experience. I've made a pact with myself to never forget that, however long it lasts. The first night we were in town a group headed to Cafe Del Mar, which is a beautiful bar nestled on top of the fortified wall of the old town. Almost exactly ten years ago my ex took me there. It was an amazing feeling sitting there with Nina, a fantastic group of new friends, the wind, and a realization that I'm happier now than I've ever been... ten years later. I thought life was good then, but it truly is now. Funny thing is, I was staying at a proper five star boutique hotel, and eating lobster then. Now I'm staying in a dingy (not that bad) hostel, and eating street meat! I feel like I'm definitely collecting experiences and memories now, not things. Which in my opinion is much better.



I'd be lying though if I said it was 100% positive emotions at present. Nina just hopped in a cab to jump a bus to Bogota where she is working for a month. We only knew each other for five days, but I really, really enjoyed my time with her. Normally I have an issue sitting around doing nothing. I mean, I can relax and read from time to time, or sit in a theater for a film, but doing absolutely nothing sometimes bothers me... a lot. I'm not sure if it's my personality, anxiety, or what. Regardless, I found myself incredibly relaxed when I was with her. We could sit in a park and talk for hours or walk around aimlessly, and it felt great. I'm looking forward to getting to Bogota sometime soon so we can continue our laziness together. Maybe I'm a bit smitten, but I miss her already. :)



So that brings me to my plans. Tomorrow I'll wake up relatively early for a spot check of the bike (adjust/lube chain, check pressures, possibly change air filter, etc). Then I'll head northeast through Baranquilla to Santa Marta. I plan to spend a couple of nights there, and then possibly camp on a beach in Parque Tayrona for a bit. From there I'll make the trek south down to Medellin with a couple of nights somewhere in the middle (if anyone has recommendations feel free to send them along). After visiting friends in Medellin for several nights, I'll head south to Bogota to explore and figure 'things' out. After that, the plan is to head down to Ipiales for Santuario de las Lajas, then into Ecuador. Then there really is no plan, aside from meeting my buddy Sam in Lima on May 12th. Having no plan is new for me. Mexico was planned thoroughly, Central America somewhat, but South America is entirely open... and it feels great that way! I'm thinking maybe I'll find a nice beach in Ecuador and volunteer some time or find work at a bar or hostel. I'd like to set up shop somewhere and 'live' for a bit. Possibly a month, we'll see.



I guess that's that for now... Sheldon met a guy from England today who has been traveling north through south america via Yamaha Tenere for 1 1/2 years. We're going to meet up with him to swap stories and get some advice/recommendations on routing.



I've said it once and I'll say it again, if you are on the fence about a trip like this, F'ing DO IT! You will not regret it. Someday never comes...



I'll be sure to post soon and often. For now I'll leave you with a $hitload of photos from the past week.

Chat soon... ~ D



























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Old 03-08-2014, 06:17 PM   #178
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Wow!

Sub'd a while back but just caught up from Vivo Escondido.
Simply amazing, but I have a question.
Was the planning part of this trip overwhelming? or was it simply make a few concrete commitments (boat) and let the trip flow?
Not sure I'd be up for an adventure of this duration, but man do I enjoy reading about yours.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:33 PM   #179
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Most every motorbiker heads for the Shamrock in Medillin.
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:40 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by Quackersnacker View Post
Sub'd a while back but just caught up from Vivo Escondido.
Simply amazing, but I have a question.
Was the planning part of this trip overwhelming? or was it simply make a few concrete commitments (boat) and let the trip flow?
Not sure I'd be up for an adventure of this duration, but man do I enjoy reading about yours.
i'd been planning for years it seems. don't let it overwhelm you. make a list and enjoy checking things off one at a time. the planning is part of the trip and experience and is meant to be enjoyed as well. IMO.

with regards to routing, yeah like you said, the main things are set, like the boat trip, etc. everything else has kind of just gone with the flow. you get advice to visit places that sound interesting, advice to cross things off your list, relationships keep you places longer than expected, etc.

anyway, the "duration" of my trip seemed scary when i was planning it, but time is flying by. i'd urge you to just do it. i'm with an older gentleman named Johnny at the moment who is new'ish to motorcycles and had never left the US/Canada until this trip. now he has been traveling for months and months, and plans to spend a year in S America and has already told himself that the trip will continue after that, most likely over to Africa. he speaks (southern gentleman accent) and rides slow, and is taking it all in with the best attitude. like you, i don't think he had intentions of a massive/grand adventure, but warning, this type of travel/adventure will suck you in fast!
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