Wednesday, January 27, 2016

That time Azure ruined our ONLY map of Colombia... Or more simply "LOST in Colombia"

Traffic out of town is horrific. We get stuck for a while in a jam of smog producing old trucks. Not a good start but before long we are on our way South. We get passed by a V-Strom. They wave and then rapidly disappear. Luis advised us to take the small road to Fredonia and then to La Pintada. Lots of curves and no traffic sounded like a very good plan. Just before the turn off the other bike is waiting for us. We pull over and have a quick chat. Uriel and Anna are from the coffee triangle in Colombia and have been around South America themselves. We get invited to stay with them whenever we pass through their city. 

Uriel and Anna on their V-Strom

The road to Fredonia is beautiful and winding and exactly what we needed after busy city traffic. The clean air flows through our nostrils again. What a blessing to be riding again. We have lunch in a small restaurant and have a hard time resisting the looks of some 4 legged friends as we eat our local meals.
Sucker found!
Good things come to those who wait...

In La Pintada we fill up gas and ask for directions. We backtrack a little bit and then find the road to Valparaiso. It goes up into the mountains and is stunning to ride but it's not the road I was expecting to be on. 


It should be straight and following a river. I look at the map again and see that I have made a mistake. The dot for Valparaiso is not on the main road. Note to self: Always get good maps. A copied version is not going to do much good. Especially when your girlfriend hangs her dripping wet laundry over it. :( 

 We keep going on the same road that gets smaller and smaller. We spent quite some time in Medellin and Azure's Mom has just told us that she found a good last minute ticket to meet us in Ecuador, so we have to make good on some miles. This is not the way to do it but it's a great ride. 


We ride through Caramanta, a colorful town with a typical Colombian square. The people are surprised to see two big bikes riding by. We ask directions again. The people seem hesitant to answer when we ask for direction, and everyone checks their watches and looks at the setting sun, but eventually, they all point us in the same direction. 

We ride out of town on a downhill road and then come to a full stop. A rough dirt road continues down the mountain. That was not in the plan for the day! We look at each other. Well, we are not riding back all the way... I let go of the brakes and the bike starts rolling onto the sharp rocks that comprise the road. 
We have NO idea where we are.
It's slow going and we get a feeling that we should not really be here. There is no road on my map and MapsMe shows us to be riding in the middle of nowhere. The landscape is becoming more and more interesting and soon the steep hills on the side of the road are covered in small coffee and banana plantations. 


An hour later the road becomes more lively. There are people and animals everywhere and the road turns to concrete again. We ride into Supia just before dark and find a cheap hotel to spend the night.
Never thought we'd actually be happy to see traffic...
...or be stuck behind a truck!

After a cup of local coffee early in the morning we set off for our next destination, not sure what or where it is going to be. We enjoy the paved road til we get to La Merced. Then we turn to a curvy dirt road again. It is beautiful and the vistas are unreal. Black vultures circle above our heads as if they are in a vortex. In the distance, the town of Salamina is beginning to take shape with a majestic church towering above all the other buildings on the top of the mountain. We try to get lunch but no one seems to want to serve us. Upon asking there seems to be only one waitress. There are 5 women hanging out in the kitchen but ok... Frustrated we eat a granola bar and get back on the bikes.


We race down to Manizales and stop at a gas station to fill up the bikes and our tummies. People flock around the bikes and a smile returns on my face. A couple on a Triumph stop when they see us and invite us to stay at their hospedaje. 

The hospitality and warmth we've experienced in Colombia is truly incredible.
Manizales is a beautiful town and we wish we had the time to stay and hang out with the locals but a quick ride through will have to do for now. We have our minds set on Salento where the 60 meter/180 feet high palm trees in the Valle Del Cocora are waiting. The Coffee Highway takes us there fast and just after dark we set up camp.  
Azure's new favorite highway.


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