The big trip

Where have you been riding? Tell us all about your trip. Prove it with pictures! If ya didn't take pictures, it didn't happen...
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This is the place for you to post reports about your rides. Remember the mantra: "If you don't post pictures, it didn't happen".
Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:49 pm

More memories from Colombia.
Arriving in Cartagena was a bit strange. At every light we were surrounded by motorcycles. They were all wearing either black full face helmets or face masks it was like being surrounded by Darth Vaders on motorcycles.

We were offered a place to stay in some body’s house. It was in a local “barrio” a definite experience. It was loud, busy, somewhat chaotic, hot and very interesting. The bike was safely parked behind the fence but was still turning heads. Everyone who passed checked it out and smiled. I can safely say Pferdi was the first sidecar in this barrio. Unfortunately the house had no AC or wifi so we had to find a hotel with both. Cartagena is on the Caribbean coast and is very hot and humid. Temperatures of a 100f and a 100% humidity by 9.30am does not encourage going out.

The reason for going to Cartagena was to extend our paperwork for another 90 days. The visas were easy, hand over the money and you are good to go. Both the visa and customs offices were located near the port requiring a very unpleasant drive. It has the worst traffic we have been in so far and that is not something you put in your tourist brochure. One street we drove down a few times I thought was a one way until I saw a bus coming the other way. Turns out the taxis and bikes just drove down the wrong side if nothing was coming.

After the visas we had to get another 90 days of insurance you can’t get the bike's TIP extended without proof of insurance. By the time that was done and we got back to the hotel we were both mentally and physically fried. Tomorrow customs and then we are good for another 3 months. More heat and traffic and when we got to the customs office you can’t park in the building and there is no legal parking nearby except overpriced private lots. Don’t you love the invisible hand of the market? Finally all was done except the bike check to verify the vin, "come back tomorrow" the guy said. No reason was given or needed after all he is the official. More traffic and heat and then all he does is cast a quick glance at Pferdi and head back to his desk to stamp the papers and that was it.

Hot, tired and thoroughly peed off I chose that moment to get completely lost. What a f..king life.

After Cartagena the plan was to go to Puentas Gallinas the northern most point in South America. The clutch cable decided to give up in traffic in Santa Marta. A quick fix in a driveway with all sorts of assistance offered but not needed, Colombian hospitality is always there.

Riohacha is the starting point for Puentas Gallinas tours, unfortunately it was rainy season and a bad one at that. The paved road stops about 100k south of the point and according to the locals even the local 4x4’s were having problems getting there. (Later we met another biker who was there around the same time. He told us it was very hard going and only he met a group of Colombians on their Himalayas he would never have made it. It took twice as long as they planned with long stretches of soft slick mud with multiple offs and dragging of bikes to get there. A very difficult ride was the verdict.) A change of plan was called for, briefly we thought about a 4 day hike into the jungle to see the lost city. We nixed that due to the heat, humidity and insects.

Minca was our next choice; it is a village in the mountains almost due south of Santa Marta. We stayed in an old converted convent, the only guests. During breakfast we watched humming birds at the feeders that they maintain. Minca is birders paradise and the hotel goes through 50kilos of sugar a year feeding the humming birds. It is pretty impressive to see up to a 100 of them at one time. The sound of their wings beating was amazing and how they didn’t keep crashing into each other was a miracle. The rain at night made us glad that we had not done the 4 day hike to the lost city. When it rains here it really rains. After a few days all the pleasures of Minca were exhausted and it was time to roll on down the road again.

Camarones is a lagoon on the coast that flamingoes use on their migration route. We stayed there for 2 nights would have stayed longer except for the mosquitos and all the other biting insects. Our accommodations we in an indigenous village on the beach, a beautiful spot except for the afore mentioned insects. Unfortunately we were there at the wrong time of the year for the migration but being poled in a traditional canoe around the lagoon was incredibly peaceful and relaxing. Only man powered or sail boats are allowed. We saw some flamingoes and other wildlife so I considered it a very good day out. One little guy of about 7 or 8 I would guess followed us around nearly all the time trying to sell us woven bracelets with our name on them. We finally gave in and bought one each as we were packing the bike. They were not designed for gringo wrists but are a great memory booster of a beautiful place and people.

Heading south we covered a lot of the same ground but this time we stopped at the Cañón del Chicamocha we had been told of it before but didn’t have the chance to stop and see it. It is on Route 45A one of the greatest roads we have ever been on. We stayed on the west side of the canyon and the only way to get to the park was by cable car. It took over 30 mins to get across. The initial drop off the top was not my most favorite bit of the trip so far, but after a couple of minutes that passed and it was spectacular. At the other side there is a huge sculpture commemorating one of the many revolutions in Columbia. This particular one was about all the indigenous people protesting the Spanish raising their taxes to pay for a war somewhere else, among other things. When the rebels got to the gates of the city they were met by the local Bish who of being a man of God committed to rectify the unjust situation. After inviting them in for talks with a promise of safe conduct he had them imprisoned, tortured and executed. So much for trusting a man of God.

When we got to the end of Route 45A we stayed at the same hotel, the one with the pet chicken, as we did on the way North It was clean, had plenty of hot water and safe parking. After we got there I noticed that the spokes on the sidecar wheel were loose. I did the best I could but it would need some expert help in Bogota. I had had too much fun tossing Pferdi through the curves of Rte45a and now had to pay the piper.

Going from somewhere to somewhere else on the way south I was passing a few trucks over a double yellow line, as I crested the hill there was a police checkpoint. I was so busted I didn’t even wait for the signal I just pulled over. I was chewed out badly and all I could say was “ No entiendo” It was patiently explained to me that “en Columbia no paseo doble lineas amarrillo”. In the meantime the drug dog checked the bike and I’m not sure if the usual photos were taken but we were free to go. I have to say they were a lot nicer to me than Yvonne was. You always hear bad stories about the cops here but that has not been our experience.

Back in Bogota again at the same hotel near the KTM dealer. They gave me the name of a guy who could help with the wheel. Pasquale was great and had a fantastic shop at the side of his house. He was able to true the wheel, weld the base of the tractor seat and a bunch of other small stuff. His normal business was building or restoring from the ground up various bikes. One of his clients was an air ambulance pilot who had a 1975 cb 750. He had bought all the parts he needed in the US and when the jet went to the Carolinas for service he brought the parts back in it. When I arrived Pasquale was wiring in a Daker style road book and GPS into a KTM that was trying to qualify for the Daker in 2021.

When we had to pick up parts I let Pasquale drive Pferdi, he was good. Apart from forgetting about the car twice he hardly made a mistake. He told me how much concentration it took and I can relate. It was so tiring in the beginning when I was learning I would be mentally and physically knackered after less than an hour or so.

Ecuador our next port of call decided to have some civil unrest then and it looked like we would have to fly the bike to Peru. Again Pasquale and his Dad were a lot of help. Even though Columbia has 5 land borders only 2 are road accessible, Venezuela and Ecuador. With not a lot of time on our Columbian extensions left this was a big worry. Thankfully after about 2 weeks common sense prevailed and both sides agreed to talk. The border opened again and things quickly returned to normal. This was really good because the other option to flying the bike to Lima was to fly Pferdi to a town in eastern Columbia. Then drive across the border to Brazil, then by river boat to a town 4/5days away. After that who knows?

In Finlandia which is in the Zona Cafeteria we stayed in a hostel run by an English couple. They had driven around S. America for over 2 years and decided to stay. The thought of returning to the IT business in London was too much. They had bought a small finca and started a traveler hostel. The country side was beautiful was beautiful with rolling hills and valleys as far as you could. The place had a large covered area for working on your bike. It made changing the rear tire so much easier having light and room to work. We met a young German couple there who were driving around the world and had a large social media following. They had got some sponsorship including a bike (used) from a dealer in Germany. It sounded great until we saw the amount of work that it took. New places all the time, having to have new postings daily, their audience dictated their trip. They had lost control. Yvonne and I agreed that it was now a job and not a journey. As you can tell by the time between my postings I would never be able to do what they do.

Cali was just another big city with nothing memorial about it except for the cab driver who flat refused to give us our change. It was only about 50 cents but it was a first.

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Mr Wazzock
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Re: The big trip

Post by Mr Wazzock » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:27 pm

:thumbsup:

:lurker:
Mike H
2016 Ural cT, in glorious terracotta
(aka Oranzhevaya Opasnost, "The Orange Peril")

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Manscout
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Re: The big trip

Post by Manscout » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:02 pm

Thanks for the update! Glad to hear almost all is going well. This is a great story to start out 2020. Be safe and travel well!
"It goes nowhere fast, and everywhere cool".

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Gillette, Wy
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Wildhorse Cafe
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Re: The big trip

Post by Wildhorse Cafe » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:33 pm

I worked installing a microwave system for a trans Colombian pipeline in the eighties. The FARC was at its peak in those years. They would take hostages and hold them for ransom. Most were returned after were paid for. But there was one German engineer whom had no respect for the Colombian laborers on the pipeline and made no secret of his disdain. After his ransom was paid the FARC said, no thanks we' re keeping this one. Funny thing, the hostages were kept tied to trees just a few feet from the road, such was the nature of the jungle. Working on remote mountain tops in the Andes was always interesting with the added excitement of being kidnapped. :lurker:
2011 Patrol, The Higgs Bison Super Collider, formally known as, the Orange and Silver Pumpkin Coach.

2013 Black Retro, Chernaya Krasota, formally known as, my name is nobody.

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca
pray the road is long , full of adventure, full of knowledge
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage

C.P. Cavafy

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tgtrotter
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Re: The big trip

Post by tgtrotter » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:29 pm

Wildhorse Cafe wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:33 pm
I worked installing a microwave system for a trans Colombian pipeline in the eighties. The FARC was at its peak in those years. They would take hostages and hold them for ransom. Most were returned after were paid for. But there was one German engineer whom had no respect for the Colombian laborers on the pipeline and made no secret of his disdain. After his ransom was paid the FARC said, no thanks we' re keeping this one. Funny thing, the hostages were kept tied to trees just a few feet from the road, such was the nature of the jungle. Working on remote mountain tops in the Andes was always interesting with the added excitement of being kidnapped. :lurker:

fark that $#!+.
What eventually happened with the German ? Did he just disappear ?
2007 Woodland Green Patrol :foilhead:
2004 FLTRI :machinegun:
1992 Trek 830 :P

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Wildhorse Cafe
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Re: The big trip

Post by Wildhorse Cafe » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:48 pm

tgtrotter wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:29 pm
Wildhorse Cafe wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:33 pm
I worked installing a microwave system for a trans Colombian pipeline in the eighties. The FARC was at its peak in those years. They would take hostages and hold them for ransom. Most were returned after were paid for. But there was one German engineer whom had no respect for the Colombian laborers on the pipeline and made no secret of his disdain. After his ransom was paid the FARC said, no thanks we' re keeping this one. Funny thing, the hostages were kept tied to trees just a few feet from the road, such was the nature of the jungle. Working on remote mountain tops in the Andes was always interesting with the added excitement of being kidnapped. :lurker:

fark that $#!+.
What eventually happened with the German ? Did he just disappear ?
Oh he was gone, I've got to say, he was a walking, talking, stereo type of Teutonic Arrogance. I don't know what he might have said to his captures, but I can't think, it was the right thing.

I found out the best way to look out for yourself was to keep an eye on the Colombian military guards we had looking after us. When they got scarce and disappeared, it was time for you to do the same thing. One time that happened and the FARC dynamited the pipeline, the guards showed up hours after the fact and saw us looking into the smoking hole and figured we had to be the cause and put their guns on us.
2011 Patrol, The Higgs Bison Super Collider, formally known as, the Orange and Silver Pumpkin Coach.

2013 Black Retro, Chernaya Krasota, formally known as, my name is nobody.

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca
pray the road is long , full of adventure, full of knowledge
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage

C.P. Cavafy

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:07 am

Thanks Wildhorse for the great story. It is so different now, some of the friendliest and most hospitable people we have ever met. It is also very safe, I am sure you could get into trouble there but that is true of any where on earth. To change the subject. Just broke the front upper strut bolt and found out the lower adjusters on the sidecar struts are seized with rust. I am thinking of pouring some AFT fluid into them to try and free them up. Is there any downside to this? I have tried heat and no go any other ideas? If I lose the keys how do I hot wire the ignition? Happy riding to all.

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:36 pm

Fran, didn't I give you the orange wire set with terminals to substitute the switch in an emergency? (i cannot find my set, so I assumed to have it given to you. ) On Sophie usually the head light contact overheats and melts the plastic around it, what interferes with the contact plates.
You need one 2 terminal jumper and a second one with 3 terminals.
If I remember well the one with 3 terminals does Plus-ignition-head light = upper 3 contacts on photo. The 2 terminals connect position light = lower 2 contacts on photo.

Sometimes the plastic contact plate just starts to move and mismatch the 2 internal contact plates
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Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1. 43.388km crank replacement: Back on the road since 23.Okt.2019 :party:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:11 am

Here is the latest from Yvonne hope you enjoy it.

Code: Select all

https://fyoconnor.wixsite.com/nofixedabode

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:46 am

Not sure what I am doing wrong on the link. Hope this works.
https://fyoconnor.wixsite.com/nofixedabode

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Manscout
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Re: The big trip

Post by Manscout » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:25 pm

Hey Fran, I noticed that some of the Columbia posts show "Not Available". Just thought I'd let you know. Say hi to Y for us. :)
"It goes nowhere fast, and everywhere cool".

2011 Ural Patrol
Gillette, Wy
Instagram: manscoutwyo

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:10 pm

Hello Yvonne and Fran,
Rick Ch. and Chico got watered this week in Rick's forest farm, while Richard P. and i delivered one of his diagnosis-treatment lights to the Cabecar-indian reservation at the end of the last gravel road in Talamanca mountains. Marvelous landscape for the solo bikes, but our Ural rigs would not have liked it at all. :| Damn steep. :shock:
RP continues to twist the throttle like the day he had you on the string... sos.
Oh my poor back.
LOL. :roll: :D

Best regards from all .
Enjoy.
Sven
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1. 43.388km crank replacement: Back on the road since 23.Okt.2019 :party:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

Fran
Hero of the Soviet Union - 2019
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Posts: 190
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:06 pm

Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:57 pm

A quick update on our situation in Peru. We are just outside of Ica about half way between there and Huacachina. We are in, The Huacachina desert hotel, it has a pool and kitchen. There are 6 of us here in total, 2 other guests and the manager and his wife. When we arrived from Lima on the day before lockdown we had no idea what a lucky choice this would be. We had only planned to stay 2 days.

Peru declared a 2 week lock down on the 16th of March with a curfew from 8pm to 5am. Outside of those hours you were allowed to leave to do so essential things like shopping, banking, medical stuff etc. Food supplies are plenty full, atm’s have money and pharmacies are open. Because of our position outside of Ica Yvonne and myself were able to take a walk early in the morning without a problem.

There is a large police and military presence with license checks in the towns and road blocks at the edges of towns and villages. No unauthorized intercity travel is allowed. We have encountered no problems and the authorities have been firm but polite. We are obeying the rules and if you weren’t I am sure it would be different.

The lock down has been extended to 4/12 and more restrictions are in place. Curfew is now 5pm and in Lima 4pm to 5am. The use of private transport is disallowed except of essential travel, men can go out on Mon, Wed and Friday, women on the other days. You have to wear a face mask in public. Food is still plentiful but alcohol sales are banned at least in the supermarket we use, I‘m sure you could get it in the smaller shops if you tried. I personally am going the healthy living route for once in my life.

These new rules and curfew times were brought in because a number of cities and provinces weren’t enforcing the original restrictions.

We are using the time to connect with family, old friends, read, write, relax and enjoy the thing that most people don’t have enough of, Time. We have heard that all going well the restrictions will be lifted in stages from 4/12. We will probably stay here a few days longer to see how it all pans out and then make plans. We have to renew/extend our and Pferdi’s paperwork. Normally that can be done by spending 24hrs outside the country but who knows if the borders will be open.

I am not sure what you may have heard about the situation here, our experience is that the authorities have been politely firm but serious. We have had no experience of fear of foreigners, or any abuse etc. It is reassuring to be in a country that is taking this threat seriously and got ahead of the curve to try and protect their people. I don’t understand why so many tourists felt the need to return to their home countries when they weren’t and some still aren’t taking this pandemic seriously.

We are safe and content, the plan is to move on when it is safe. As each country’s situation is different we have no idea where we can go.

Stay safe all of you and thanks for all the help and following our travels.

Here is a link to Y’s blog. https://fyoconnor.wixsite.com/nofixedabode

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Manscout
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Re: The big trip

Post by Manscout » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:35 pm

Well, I am glad to hear you are in a good place and healthy. It sounds like they got on top of it.
Have you been able to make any progress on the sidecar bushing?
"It goes nowhere fast, and everywhere cool".

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Gillette, Wy
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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:39 pm

Fran and Ivonne,
Can you imagine 95% of Santo Domingo's shops with lowered curtains...including the banks?
In front of your former door. Empty street, no noise.
Best regards from Flory too.
Sven
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1. 43.388km crank replacement: Back on the road since 23.Okt.2019 :party:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

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