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Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, Day 108 - 114, COLOMBIA CENTRAL

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DAY 108, Jan. 26, 2012, Puerto Berrio, Temp 33-25 (680/13,370km)

Delayed start as I held on for Dan to finish some property business in Santa Marta.  We never thought we would reach Medellin in one day as it was about 800+ km, but had no idea where we would stop.  The original plan was to go to a town near Bucaramanga which was about the half way point.  However, the day went well and the roads were straightish for most of it so we were able to eat up quite a bit.  Unfortunately with the late start, some construction hold ups and Dan's KLR acting up Medellin was about 200km out of reach and we were only able to make Puerto Berrio on the River Magdalena.  It was as far as we could get in the dark once the road turned to shit, so we found Hotel Magdalena with private rooms for $11.  Not a bad spot, but we had to leave the bikes out front, which in the end was no problem at all.  RECOMMEND Hotel Magadalena to stay and P-Way as a good spot to grab dinner.

Road notes: Santa Marta (hwy 45) first 150km C3R7T4V7/8.  Great greenery with a mountain backdrop.
Around 180km from Santa Marta there is a massive dip in the road that almost launched me off the bike!  It pushed me in to a standing position, holy crap!  Temp = Desert hot btw.  180km to Aquachica C4R6T5V7/8 Desert and Mountains with ranchlands.  Short stint on Ruta 62 C3R6T4V7.  Last section hwy 45 to Puerto Berrio not great, C4R4T3V?(night so no views).

Papa choreada for breaky = $.40

Just in case anyone needs to know
where the chicks are...

Huge pier off Cienaga

Get out of our way pal!

Colombian police force with a
great taste in Motos.

Open your eyes? or turn on your headlights.  It is not
mandatory to have daytime running lights even on bikes.

Road vendors hanging around the
speed humps as usual.

Free lane for motos at the tolls

Cop on his way to work, with some local road side shops

All ways to hitch a ride

Tight bridge
Commercial train line

Who will win the race?  Horse dude
or bucket doubler

Santa Marta (hwy 45) first 150km C3R7T4V7/8.
Great greenery with a mountain backdrop.

A larger animal transport

Would like to see this guy navigate a bike lane at the tolls

Some roadside expansion

Road construction zone which no
one slows for.

Beautiful, C4R6T5V7/8 180km to Aquachica

Not such a private Air filling spot
in Aquachica

Ruta 62 C3R6T4V7

There goes the sun, but it's nice

Sunset ride still 1 hour from Puerto Berrio

Cooks for P-Way across the street

Dan and I having a well earned Pilsen at P-Way

Nice little feed

Well, either Berrio has too many
birds or not enough wires?
DAY 109-114, Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, 2012, Medellin, Temp 28C (200/13,570km)

A short day to Medellin, but through the mountains so curves and a slower average speed was to be expected.  Before we left "the real Colombia", Puerto Berrio, we went back to the cool train and car bridge to get some footage.  Check out the transport moto they have for it. 

Not tired of horse and buggy photos yet.  And check the
bike.  Bet that can carry a lot!

"You know how I know you're gay?"
"How?"  "You wanted to be
a bike cop in Colombia."

Near Central Plaza

Don't they look amazing?  The night before I had a piece
and it was so dry.  Of course the next day I tried the one
on the left.  Same baker, same result damn it!

This is awesome!  Dragging rebar
behind a scooter. At least he's got

 Train and Car bridge at Puerto Berrio

Kind of one and a half lanes

Moto transport for Puerto Berrio rail line, so cool!

I want one!

A curvy road up to Santa Domingo on hwy 62 C7R6/7T2V8 with no one around.  Excellent sweeps which I love.  The second part of the journey after a hill top lunch was on a rougher road, but still very doable as we dropped into the valley towards Medellin (1500m) C8R3/4T3V8.

Dan on the corner heading up to
Santa Domingo

Poor horse having a gas bottle
strapped to him...

Curves through a tiny road side village.
Friendly kids always waving at
the bike

This could be New Zealand if I was on the other side of the road.  Legally I mean...

Very NZ like
Just a great road

Santa Domingo way up in the mountains
Road started to get a bit rougher

Careful on that corner Dan as the
sign states.

Little pig, little pig...

In the valley close to Medellin

Passing through Bello next to Medellin

Always a sign a city is coming up
when you start to see a lot of taxis


Basically a city nestled between
mountains.  Lots of builds on the
side of the mountains of course.
After looking around the tourist area for a couple of hours and seeing a bunch of the guys from the boat we decided to take the recommendation to go to this really nice hotel in a less touristy area - Itagui, Hotel Central Plaza.  This would be good as Dan and I would still need to speak spanish which definitely doesn't happen in the gringo zones and it was only a $4 cab to Parque Lleras the main spot.  Hotel Central Plaza is close to the clothing district and a major hooker avenue, which was very interesting to say the least.

As Medellin (Colombia in general) is a major motorcycle city with tonnes of shops this was the place to get services done.  Hell, they even have a Suzuki Factory 4 hours south of Medellin.  Paul the owner of Casa Kiwi where we originally wanted to stay recommended Carlos and his shop Moto House.  Thanks for that Paul and for hanging on to some of our stuff over the 3 or 4 days.  So, Dan and I headed over to Moto House, met with the very capable Carlos, left the bikes and helmets and took all our stuff in a taxi to Hotel Central Plaza.  My service included oil change (synethic $15/L) and filter, air filter, valve check and resealing covers so they wouldn't leak oil anymore and a new chain ($150 which was cheaper then the USA by $50).  RECOMMEND Moto House and chatting with Carlos who has continued to support me via email on my trip.  Total bill for all that work and parts was just under $500 and would be closer to $900 in Canada.

This is cool, you drive the bike from the street through the
offices and show room down this ramp to the shop.

Very Clean shop
Video of Moto House when we picked up the bikes after 3 days in the shop.  I've never been to a shop so clean the mechanic can use his lap top (which was super clean too).

Going through Dan's Multiple issues
My mechanic, Bumble Bee and Me

Hotel Central Plaza in Itague, Medellin

Central Plaza room

The beautiful bed

Views towards the centre and Rosario.  Look at the roofs
to the right that are con-caved for water collection.

View out the back to one side
showing some of the surrounding

Up top at Hotel Central Plaza where the bar and spas are.

Zoom shot towards the centre

Central Plaza at night from the roof top

So with a 1 week stay at Hotel Central Plaza it was time to relax.  Dan and headed to Parque Lleras / Rosario for Friday and Saturday and then I truly chilled for 4 days in my hotel only going out for food and some shopping for GPSs and speakers.  It was a good break even though I started to feel like Hunter S. Thompson in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".  This is probably why I lost my Blackberry somewhere, Urgh!

In general, Medellin is a good town with great beauty and a ton of Moto bike shops.  It would be easy to spend more time there, but this is only the start of South America...

Should I eat here?

Looks pretty good to me

Typical lunch for $4 

Hourly rates, $7 for 2 hours.  We must be in a classy area.

Love to see the wife holding the bike

The incline would be more comfortable I suppose.

Always impressed by
this style of window
Following people to where?  A Market?...

or church...

Side Story: 9 Bikes and Bikers crossed the Darien Gap on my boat (MS Independence - NOT RECOMMENDED) and we had one accident out of the 9 just outside of Medellin (Bello).  Nothing fatal, but enough to end Scottish Annie's trip when she and her Harley got sandwiched by a truck and a bus at low speed breaking her arm and leg.  In the end, what Annie thought would be 6 weeks turned out to be 6 months so insurance flew her back to Scotland.  Sorry Annie.  It sounds like you already have plans to return so best of luck with the recovery and your return to South America!

Other things

Yes, he's got a fridge on a wheel barrel!
That's the best Gas for sure

Waffles, Burgers, Hot dogs.  OK.

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