Voyage to South America travel blog

Dump truck in ditch

Dump truck in ditch

Dump truck in ditch

Flowers at the church in Guane

Inside the church in Guane

Newly paved road in and out of the valley

?? Drive slow!

Big country

March 15, 2010

I spent the good part of the day driving north. Ultimately my goal is Santa Marta and Cartagena. Well, actually not Santa Marta – it’s a hole but there is a town just to the east of it called Taganga. The Brits told me about it AND the told me the place to stay – Casa de Felipe. This is what the ‘book’ reads about the town, ‘Taganga is one of those places where the word got out too fast – Gringo Paradise!’ I don’t know how long I’ll stay. But alas from Villa de Leyva to Taganga is a long way away. At least 500 or 600km’s away. So I am going to break it up and stop in three places on my way there. First stop – Barichara.

The drive to Barichara was pretty much uneventful until I came across a dump truck in the ditch. I was on a back road of sorts to get to the highway and came up on a long line of stopped traffic. Well I have Electra so I just raced to the front to see what the hold up was. They were trying to pull it out with two dump trucks and a backhoe. Someone was going to get hurt. And it wasn’t going to be me. So, after a few pictures and some small talk I left to go lay down in a field and rad a while. No sooner did I get settled it when I read tracks driving from the direction of the accident. Fuck it – I decided that if trucks are getting through I MUST be able to pass.

I go there and they were still at it. I guess what they do is every ½ hour or so move off the road to let traffic pass.

The rest of the trip went with out a hitch and I found a room in Barichara no problem. I guess the place gets packed on the weekends but being a weekday I was good to go.

March 16, 2011

Barichara moves slow. Too slow for me. I spent my first day exploring the town and getting the lay of the land.

PRO TIP #101. When entering a town this slow and there are only five restaurants – eat BEFORE 6 or you’ll be sourcing the nicest hotel in town in the hopes that they can feed you. I got feed but it cost me a bunch.

Reminds me of the time we ran out of toilet paper in India. We ran out in the moring and were in a town of about 500k so we thought, ‘We’ll just keep our eyes pealed all day and surely we’ll run across some in a market somewhere. Nope. At the end of the day we had to go to the nicest hotel in town – because we know that they would cater to the occasional westerner – and buy some off them. UDS$1.00/roll [in 1997!! – what’s that like - $20.00 today!!!???]

But all in all barichara is a pretty cool place – for a while. It’s still pretty campesino.

There are no cantinas here [Colombia] – the men just drink on the street or in tables set up in tiendias.

March 17, 2011

Today I decided to go for a ride. It was going to be a circuit so I left everything at the hotel to keep the load light. I left around 10am just as it was getting hot. Most of the trip was going to be off-road and not thinking I left Electra’s of f-road shoes in Bogota.

I wanted to drop into the valley at which Barichara sits on; the slopes of Cordillera Oriental. It was about 17kmo the bottom; all gravel. I had to cross a pretty large rio at the bottom. I was really hoping for a bridge. There was. A really nice one actually. A few more km’s and I can upon a village called Guane. There was a very large [five guys] military presence here. They were trying to hustle so local girls. Everyone was sitting across from the church so I rode over and parked next to them. My Spanish is OK for the simple stuff but there was an old guy there he started going into me about my tattoos. As I left and started to walk to the church he told me that that is where I should be going then he started a dialect I had never heard before. After the church I went for lunch. I realy don’t think they see to many tourists around here. The old guy said that it has been a long time since he has seen someone with blond hair.

I wanted to do a circuit out of the ride. I asked the military guys if it was safe for me and if I am writing this all is good. My next stop was Zapatoca.

It was all dirt road to Zapatoca. Well rather rock – but it sis get sandy towards the end. I set up the suspension before I left Barichara and adjusted the tyre pressure so all was good – still I was dreaming of the new bike.

Zapatoca is a pleasant little town. Actually, not so little – but really really nice. I stopped for a tinto and left. Next stoop Giron a suburb of Bucaramanga. To get from Zapatoca to Giron I had to go into a very deep gorge. I was amazing. The gorge road was the only road paved and it was freshly paved. The views were spectacular. I have never seen such big country since the Yukon.

When I rolled into Giron Electra needed air in her rear tyre so I stopped for that and nothing else. When I hit Giron the aspalt reappeared and to went straight home. I didn’t arrive until 7:30pm. Pitch black.

March 18, 2010

I had a massive seizure last night. This is the first seizure I have had in a long time and it was the strongest since September 2, 2008. I blacked out and when I woke I was laying in piss.

I remember it starting and I thought I could just ride it out then it go too out of hand for me to call for help and that is the last thing I remember.

When I came to I got the lady at the front desk top get someone to take me to the hospital. They administered a sedative and I laid there for a few hours then went back to the room to rest.

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