Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wild Camping on the Way to La Gran Sabana

It had rained all night. The road consisted of deep red mud and it took me a long time to get back on the main, pothole filled road. I was still mesmerized with Los Llanos and yet I was on my way to another highlight of Venezuela. There was only 1100Km/700Miles between me and La Gran Sabana in the east. According to the locals it would be a tricky ride that would take me over bad roads, through many army check points and close to the Colombian border. But aside from all that it would be a beautiful region to ride through.
[​IMG] Cows seem to have a preference for tarmac. Good! I prefer the side road!
In no time I hit the first check points. After sharing all the bike details (cost, speed, power, engine size etc) I was let go again. It did make me feel uncomfortable to see all the checkpoints. Especially when they included armored vehicles. They are there for a reason right!?! I found a gas station in town and filled up for free as the attendant loved what I was doing. A few people came over for a chat. The last one was acting weird and I could not make any sense of what he was saying. After making him repeat himself a few times I understood that he wanted the bike. I made a joke of it and tried to leave as fast as possible. When the man rode out with me in the same direction I decided it was time to show him the difference between 100 cc and a 750cc Africa Twin... I left him in a dust cloud and kept up my speed just to be on the safe side.

The road was straight and most of it was in good condition. I had the feeling I was riding through African savannas. It was so vast and it looked the same for a long time but it felt like magic to ride through this area of Venezuela. I wanted to make it across the Orinoco River today so I was flying wherever the road conditions allowed it. I was running low on gas again and found every gas station was closed because they had run out. Yep, Colombia must be close again!

[​IMG] Gas was not available but cheese was on every corner of the road. Anyone?!?
I asked around and a helpful man took me to a friend of his who sold me some gas. I was very relieved to have a full tank again and did not mind that he "ripped me off". Instead off the normal US$0.01 for a fill up I payed 0.70 this time. Great service though! I made it to the ferry over the massive Orinoco river just in time as it was filling up with other passengers. I rode past the line and managed to squeeze in the bike. Soon the men started lifting the ramp with a manual hoist. When the captain could not get the ferry to get away from shore they instructed one of the heavily loaded trucks to back up and drive forward aggressively a couple of times to get it unstuck. After 6 times, the time I needed to figure out what the heck they were doing, we were on our way. Just in time another bike managed to ride on while the ferry was already moving. Madness in our world but hey, it all works!

[​IMG] The Orinoco River ferry. It felt special, in a weird way to cross this "lifeline" of Venezuela.
I was still close to the border when the sun was setting behind beautiful black rock formations. They stood out so sharp in all the greener than green surroundings. I was hoping for a hotel but the small villages I was riding through had none.

[​IMG] The strait road started swirling around hills like this one. A road sign and heavy rain clouds told me that I was riding into the Venezuelan Amazon region.
Well, it was time to start stealth camping again! Just before dark I found a rock formation that I thought I could ride up. I made it up but it was rockier than I had anticipated. I got stuck behind a rock and dropped the bike. It was very humid and sweat gushed down my body. I managed to get the bike up and rode down on the other side of the hill to find a beautiful grassy spot behind some rocks. This was perfect! It was not till later the next day that I received a message from Azure, checking in on me because she had worked out on our SPOT website that I was camping in a region called Los Muertos...

[​IMG] I found a place to stealth camp just in time to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the savannas.
The Nemo tent blends in very well with the local greenery.


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  2. Excellent campsite! I've been enjoying reading your updates. Venezuela sounds amazing! Spot is a good idea when you have family concerned about you.

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