Sunday, January 15, 2012

Colombia's Last Run

Christmas Day. Leaving the farm, we let the bikes stretch their legs as we headed for the border, keeping our record alive of somehow landing in the gutter on every major holiday.  Southern Colombia has some beautiful scenery.

At one point we got lost, weird.  We followed a local's directions that started sending us up a dirt road over a mountain range.  A ways up we got a good view that showed us how wrong we were. 

Passing, squeezing, darting and weaving, little by little you can cross the planet, even on a 250.

Safety codes are strict down here.

CHRISTMAS.  Santa came in zingin this time.  We rode all day.  We found ourselves on a road that seemed hopeless for a town that could offer any sort of comfort for a normally cozy holiday.  With the sun fading and our bodies fatigued, we came to a broken village that had the sacred needed resource, gasoline.  There was also an unsettling checkpoint that had military soldiers crawling around the station.  Holding our breath against the burning of the fake papers in our pockets, Mike strolled right up to one of the police and asked for the distance to the next hotel.  Pointing around the corner we saw a hurt building that sunk our battleship of a classy Christmas of whiskey and good food.  Accepting the idea of another holiday in the gutter, we pushed our bikes inside and walked to the only bar.  It was an open air, dirt floor room with 3 pool tables, and the music screeched to a stop.  I'm not sure we even got our beers ordered before we were being handed shots of the local version of Colombia's traditionsl anise liquor, Aguadiente, as they pulled us up tiny wooden step stools to the circle of excited drunks and the mom that was breast feeding.  We fell into a night of ridiculous banter.  They taught us how to play a sort of pool on tables with no holes.  A musical group later appeared from the shadows of falling night to play us some songs.  Leaving Mike inside, I tried to rangle up the excitement to catch on camera.  It turned into a few unforgettable musicals and a pretty epic photoshoot.  I returned inside to find Mike gone.  I ordered some beers and got out of there.  I found Mike up in the room.  Both properly hammered from an unknown number of obligatory shots, we feasted on a Christmas dinner of turkey, ham, various casseroles, mashed potatoes, and ... I'm lying... we had about 6 tiny bags of potato chips for dinner that concluded an outrageously great Christmas. 

Buga, Colombia.  Marisol, Jonattan, and the big man.  This is the place, and these are the friends that took me in on my solo 30th birthday on my way back up to Medellin from the Ecuadorian horse farm.  Seeing friends twice in a huge trip like this is a blessing.

The big man...and Mike
These buses are the traditional flavor of Colombian transportation.  They will never go out of style.

An accidental shot.  Taking pictures while riding, which are many, requires taking off a glove, digging out your camera, taking the pic or video, and then doing it all again in reverse while cornering, being chased by dogs and ... nevermind. 

Starting into the Andes has its many ups and downs, this is what some of the ups look like.


For some unexplainable reason, there was hardly any gasoline in southern Colombia.  Just in the nick of time, we found a station that finally had some.  We needed to stock up, so we filled our tanks and bought gas bags that the attendant brought out.  They both had holes that drinched us and our stuff in gas.  It was a disaster as we tried to fill anything we could find.

At this stop, we were starving and found the Colombian version of funnelcakes.  They were served with a chunk of cheese and coffee. It would not be far fetched to think that the cheese came from these guys.

Dirty and exhausted.  Somewhere in there we crossed the border into Ecuador, thus beginning our race to cross through the beautiful, highland country.  I was given 4 days to get through since I stayed so long working on the horse farm.  Nonstop riding all day everyday on small broken two lane roads is a test, and it was only beginning due to having to be in the middle of Peru to meet a visiting friend in mid-January.   

The Colombian flag by the way.

Hasta luego Colombia, thank you.