Canadian brother and sister Philip and Jayne Davidson are traveling on motorcycles from the Arctic Circle to Patagonia. This is the latest entry in their travel blog. Read their adventure so far, and see where they are right now, here.
In trying to catch up on the blog during this downtime while I heal, I find much must be omitted for space. I guess you will have to just go see it all for yourself!
The hunt to catch up with Jayne continues, but not before we encounter wheelies, thefts, many escorts and of course the most amazing swingset in the world.
On our arrival to Armenia, we met our CS host Luis, settled in quickly, then went out to join every other person in Colombia to watch their world cup qualifier against Chile.
Down 3-0 at halftime, but after a goal in the second half the fans were back in it.
After Colombias third goal, completing the incredible world cup qualifying comeback, I was fully enjoying the emotions of the rollercoaster... and my hug with this guy.
The celebration for a tie game was incredible. Throwing flour on everyone is what the kids do here, and while we were able to dodge them for most of the evening, a drunken gang of hooligans brought us into their celebration just as we were headed home for the night. Nothing like a breaded beard.
The next day was a party at the University where Luis worked. Drunken students dancing and lining up to take photos with me like my no-longer-breaded-beard was a porn star.
Colombians know how to throw a good party!
Once one started, the photo-op went on and on until we left for the parade. Great people!
Right by the university, the Jeep Willys parade was passing by. Jeep Willys have been used for years in the coffee country, known for their low-gearing, durable everything and incredible payload capacity. The parade showcased all these fine attributes and more.
One of the 100s of Willy´s Jeeps in the parade. This one gave me a mini woven basket!
Hello Willys, nice to overload you.
Part of the move-the-whole-house-in-one-load contingent. All have a picture of Jesus on the front...
...but only one had a live squirrel on the back!
The Plantain section. Someone snuck that new model jeep in somehow.
It´s not a true parade without a jeep pulling a stripper pole.
Kelly and Luis with my favorite: Wheely Willys!!
The wheelie Willys wheely were wonderful! Check the clip below to see them in action!
Luis and Ariana took us out in the evening to nearby Circasia for some coffee, snacks and then Tejo! Tejo is the national sport of Colombia, and Jayne played a couple rounds too in Salento.
For some time afterwards I took a lot of grief from Kelly for not causing any explosions, even more grief after we met up with Jayne again. Fair enough. I was a lesser player at Tejo... but then I read Jayne´s post and see the photos. We weren´t on even close to a level playing field!!
Regulation sized Tejo. Tiny triangles. Big Clay pit...
...thrown from far away. Kelly did well exploding more than one! "un punto para mi!"
(this is playing from the midway line too!)
Not that I´m bitter or anything... stupid Tejo.
It was a blast anyways, as is any sport where you MUST be drinking to be allowed to play.
We had a really great time with Luis and his family.
Luis´ Mom hops aboard Jugs for a trial. She´s not tiny at all, Jugs is just enormous.
Luis even came to join Kelly and I when I met up with my Pen-pal Kerry. I had been emailing since virtually introduced by Roger and Sasha. Both having motorcycles, we were of course fast friends.
Drinking boxed wine in the Calarca square with Kelly, Adriana, Kerry and Luis. Kelly is a spilly pourer.
Luis: "Just park it in the living room".
Post Armenia, we debated a day in Salento since everyone loved it so, but with Jayne still well ahead of us, and long days on the bike causing Kelly knee pain, we skipped Salento and head straight for Cali. Luis escorted us out of town through some nice back roads before saying goodbye.
I just can´t let go.
Also met the "Pulsar" moto club from Cali out for a ride on the same country roads.
Easy road to Cali. We followed Jayne´s footsteps and stayed at the same El Viajero hostel, looking forward to the highly touted Yoga and Salsa lessons. Sadly when we arrived we found that both were canceled for the next day. Ugh.
We were able to meet up with Fernando, a fellow KLR rider who came to meet us and guided us on a short ride through Cali at night. He told us his story of escaping death after a robbery of the pharmacy he works in left him filled with 5 bullets. I suppose some of the warnings of danger in Colombia do get substantiated at times, as in every country. Fernando offered for us to stay at his place the next night. We sadly had to turn down his offer in our bid to try to catch up to Jayne while avoiding long days on the road.
Death defying Fernando, his lady and Kelly out for a walk.
KLR riders... at night
From Cali down to Popayan, aka Papa John´s, a town that Kelly talks more about in her post. Leaving Cali I asked some moto police for directions out of town.
Rather than give directions, they gave us a police escort!
Once in Popayan, there was no parking at the hostel, so I dropped off Kelly and found a parking lot. There I took advantage of the space to drain the last of my gas (see motorcycle minute below). I checked-in with our spot tracker and set it down beside me out from the overhang covering the bikes so it could see satelites better.
See the sky, from beside the bike of that thief guy.
After some help from the lot owner to dump the last dregs of my gas (which he happily put in his bike regardless), I looked back to see a motorbike in the place where my Spot had been. I had seen the bike pull in. I did not see him when he pocketed my Spot. I asked the lot owner if he had moved it. He had not. We checked that his son hadn´t started playing with it. Nope.
Alright then. Now my bad temper exploded.
As calmly as I could (not very), I explained exactly what the spot tracker is, looks like, why it is useless to anyone else, and how I will uh, well, murder the guy when I see him... I miiiight have lost my mind.
Fortunately for all involved, before I even had the chance to start dismantling the thiefs bike piece by piece (for ransom/murder parts), the lot owner ran down the street and minutes later came running back. Spot in hand. He knew where the thief worked apparently. Homicide averted. I didn´t even have to cut off his finger.
Otherwise Popayan was a calm place, with friendly people, where again kind folks led us out of town rather than just giving directions!
Kind gent named Lorenzo and his daughter lead us to the highway out of town!
Pasto. Oh Pasto. Pasto is as dreary as Jayne says. We spent our night in a cheap sex hotel for just 15,000 for the night!
Note the tiled walls for easy cleaning.
After heading to watch a movie to escape the cold miserable night, I left Colombia with a bang... Unfortunately that bang was from the explosion of vomit and diarrhea coming from my body. I guess restaurant "Mister Pollo" isn't such a gentleman after all. Regardless, I will miss Colombia and look forward to my return visit!
Stunning wide open landscapes welcome you to Ecuador. Plus cheap gas!
Entering Ecuador was about as easy as Jayne describes it. I did have some problems getting gas.
As I started to fill my tank at the first station, and a man came running over uttering that I wasn't allowed with my foreign plates. I paid the 0.78$ for the gas, at 1.48$/gallon: enough to tide me over for awhile.
As recomended by Jayne, Kelly and I stopped for a night in Otavalo.
"Ecuaaador...Equaaator...Ecuaaador... I never imagined it would be cold!" says Kelly, looking at the fantastic view.
Kelly loooooved the market.
... but she haaaaated this toque, without which has now left my ears cold.
From Otavalo it´s a short ride through much contruction to Quito. Not long into the ride I spotted "The most amazing swingset in the world". It is. No lie. Being so magical, it took a moment to register that what I had seen was indeed real. But then it sunk in and I pulled a U-turn so Kelly and I could go play.
The holy grail of swings
Kelly and I had a couple swings to ourselves before a gaggle of kids swarmed to take advantage of my pushing-them-back-up abilities. I left exhausted. It was awesome! (In Ecuador and want to play? Map link!)
Great kids! The kneeling twin is the same one who wouldn´t swing on the swings. Twins, yet sooooo different. Like many twins I suppose.
Once in Quito, still buzzing from the great swing session, it was time for a catch up, now reunited with my sister!
Just minutes after arriving and getting the bike parked, we were welcomed with HAIL! Glad to have missed out on riding in that!
With all the sputtering since starting the ride up to Bogota, and with it resolving each time I draing my carb, I was of the mind I must be dealing with bad gas. Fortunatley, I also was starting to notice a light oil leak, so I pulled the tank off at Luis place to investigate.
Pulled the tank to find a leak and... wait why is my spark plug wobbling like that?
Pulling the spark lead, the plug wobbled!! It was very loose, I´m surprised the bike even ran at all. Plug tightened, I also checked the valve cover bolts for tightness since that was where the oil leak stemmed. Without a torque wrench I was hesitant to tighten too much. The valve cover bolts are pretty specific. Regardless, glad to have found the loose spark plug! Bad gas? Now doubtfull.
Regardless I dumped the remnants of the tank in Popayan just to be sure. Had made it 400km on a tank even with the extra load of Kelly and her gear, well impressed!
Footpeg: Leaving Cali I found a moto shop with a new passenger footpeg for Kelly. The right peg was slanted and we figured that may be contribuiting to her knee pain. It was. One 6,000 peso (3$) footpeg later her knee pain was gone!
The shop only had one footpeg, luckily it was for the right side! Old one is notably worn out.
and I´ll leave you with this:
Nothing to do with motos, I just like the spanish Pun. (p.s. It´s a bakery)